12 June 2018 | Raidis Estate | Raidis Estate
What makes a wine worth cellaring?
There is something truly romantic about entering a dimly lit cellar to rummage through dusty bottles of wine in search of that perfectly aged bottle to share with your guests.
Then, once chosen you blow off the dust and cobwebs, and carefully decant the chosen wine in the hope that it has held up to the test of time and has been worth the wait.
So, how do you know what wines are worth buying to age in your cellar? Well, here is a general guide to starting a cellar of your own.
Start with price point. Any wine that is $20 or under is generally made to drink within a relatively short period of time (1-2 years depending), so wines you are looking to cellar generally sit a little higher in price point.
This is not to say that there aren’t excellent wines under the $20 price point, but this is a good guide if you are looking to start collecting wines and cellaring as a hobby.
The fruit will develop and change in the wine over time, but it won’t magically appear if it’s not there to start with, so pick wines that are sourced from quality fruit and premium wine regions as they’re more likely to age well.
Tannins are a big one in ageing (red) wines. The tannins provide structure for all the other wine parts to hold on to, so imagine tannins like a spider’s web that provide the framework to hold the wine together. The more structured the wine, the more likely it will hold up over time.
The reason big bold red wines often fair better in the cellaring process is that these wines have lots of oak tannins that hold the wine together in the cellaring process.
Acid plays an important role in preserving fruit flavours and the wines themselves (more so in white wines). Having the right amount and balance of acid in a wine will assist with the wine development over time. Tip – often the best ageing white wines will be quite acidic as young wines, but develop beautifully if cellared for a few years (or more).
Pick wines that you love
Most of all, pick wines that you love the taste of in the cellar door and that you can see how that wine might develop in a few years’ time, or better still try and get your hands on an older version of that wine to compare. It’ll be like looking into a crystal ball.
At the end of the day, there is no point buying wine you don’t enjoy just to cellar it. Oh, and if in doubt, the winemaker will usually provide some guidance on the back label of the wine on its cellaring potential.