Wine Cellars 101
By Craig Allen
Old man winter’s icy grasp will be melting away soon, opening the gateway to vibrant colors, fragrant air and new projects!
Spring is finally here and it seems the season always reinvigorates not only the environment, but also our well being. This is the time when many of us laid down the foundation for wish list projects: landscaping, a pool, or an addition to the house. And over the past few years one wish list item seems to be uncorking itself all over the country……wine cellars!
Now I’m not here to give you the blueprint of the perfect wine cellar, however I can tell you how to stock it. But, before we begin to stock, here are a few do’s and don’ts of cellars.
1. TEMPERATURE: Most important
• Inconsistent temperature and high humidity will damage your wine.
• Extreme high temperatures will cook your wine.
• Extreme low temperatures will prevent the wine from maturing.
• High humidity will rot the label.
• Low humidity will dry the cork and oxidize the wine.
• Keeping the temperature consistent will keep your vino taste buds happy.
2. LOCATION: Very important
Attics, garages, and sheds are not advised due to weather conditions of summer and winter. Basements tend to be the best option in homes, unless you decide to pay for professional storing. A preferred temperature for wine cellars is 50˚ to 60˚.
3. ORGANIZING: Helpful
Keeping a list of your wines on a spreadsheet is a good idea for a few reasons:
• You can locate wines easily and know what you have and what you need to buy.
• You can add a description area so you can remind yourself of what you liked and why.
• Wine tags are also a good tool. This prevents you from pulling out each wine until you find the one you want and alleviates any possibility of breaking a bottle as you pull it out.
4. WINE RACKS:
Make sure you use a reputable builder for your cellar. Materials should be made with a resistant material like pressure treated limber or galvanized steel. Which this will prevent rot.
California Redwood is said to be the best because it is a strong, odor-free wood that resists rot and mildew.
And make sure you keep paints, food and cardboard boxes away from your cellar. Over time the chemicals from these materials can actually seep into your wine. Yuck!
Now for the fun part…stocking your wine cellar!
Since you are reading this article—you must already be a wine connoisseur—so I don’t have to tell you to go to tastings, find what you like and stock you’re your cellar.
Here are a few additions for everyday house wine, as well as some obscure wines for aging. I also wanted you to get a nice grasp of wines from all over the world.
Under $10 Reds:
Light-bodied: Reflection Pinot Noir (France) $8.99
Medium-bodied: Arderius Rioja (Spain) $9.99
Full-bodied: Altos Las Hormigas Malbec (Argentina) $8.99
Under $10 Whites:
Light & dry Il Conti Pinot Grigio (Italy) $7.99
Medium & dry: Con Class Rueda (Spain) $9.99
Full & dry: Boyle Chardonnay (California) $9.99
Under $20 Reds:
Medium-bodied: Winners tank Shiraz (Australia) $16.99
Medium-bodied: Chateau Cap de Merle St. Emilion (France) $14.99
Full-bodied: Carr Cabernet Sauvignon (California) $19.99
Under $20 Whites:
Light & Fruity: Leitz Dragonstone Reisling (Germany) $16.99
Dry & Crisp: Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) $19.99
Dry & Elegant: Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse (France) $18.99
Dry & Light bodied: Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvee (Oregon) $42.99
Dry & Med-bodied: Clos du Mont Olivet Chateauneuf du Pape (France) $36.99
Dry & Full-bodied: Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington) $39.99
Light & fruity: Donnhoff Norheimer Kirschneck Riesling Spatlese (Germany) $44.99
Light & Dry: Selene Sauvignon Blanc (California) $29.99
Dry & Full-bodied: Ramey Chardonnay Russian River (California) $41.99
Bottles to age 5 years:
These will all have full-bodied characteristics – please note the particular year.
Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (California) $49.99
Conterno Barbera D’Alba 2005 (Italy) $39.99
Hacienda Monasterio 2004 (Spain) $36.99
Bottles to age 10 years:
Again – all full bodied and still not breaking the bank!
Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis 2001 (Italy) $79.99
Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape 2005 (France) $69.99
O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2004 (California) $79.99
So set aside the landscaping and the pool projects for ‘08. This season, reinvigorate and spring into stocking your very own wine cellar. It will impress the masses! Cheers!
Craig Allen is owner of All Star Wine & Spirits in Latham Farms. For more information call 220.9463 or visit www.allstarwine.com.