What Wines Should and Shouldn’t be Cellared

What wines should and shouldn't be cellared

11 Dec What Wines Should and Shouldn’t be Cellared

Anyone who has an interest in drinking and collecting wines wants to know whether they should cellar them, and what wines should and shouldn’t be cellared. If we were to answer this question in one sentence – Most of the top wines will improve with age. When wine is left to mature naturally, all its flavours tend to blend and evolve and they develop a complexity that makes the wine unique; in addition, it develops bottle-aged characteristics that you obviously won’t find in wines that haven’t been aged.

The complex reactions that take place during the maturing process create various flavours and aromas and while this occurs, the wine’s structure also undergoes a subtle change, which adds robustness to these aromas and flavours.

Each wine has a “drinking window”

When you are planning to cellar wine, it’s important that you conduct some research; its best to buy only a few bottles of wine you want to cellar and keep track of the way in which they are developing. Doing this will help you identify what the “drinking window” of each wine is; to a certain extent, this will be based on your specific taste preferences. Coming back to the questions about which wines should and shouldn’t be cellared, let’s understand a little more about it.

To cellar or not to cellar

All luxury and Icon wines as well as Penfolds Bin wines benefit from cellaring; the maturation period of the bottle will depend on whether you are cellaring a white or red wine, its vintage and “style” as well as the size of the bottle (format). Bottles in a smaller format will also age much faster compared to standard and magnum bottles.

The “Drink Now” Wines

It’s not difficult to recognise wines that are largely for early drinking. The entry-level wines are specifically designed to be consumed within a year of their bottling date. Most wine experts average that 85% of current day wines shouldn’t be cellared. If you can detect a fruit-forward style in the wine, with a little structure, it’s mostly a drink-now wine and its best not to age it.

Examples of French wines could be the Languedoc based Vin de Pays d’Oc, a fleshy, juicy Merlot from Bordeaux, Picpoul de Pinet, the Muscadelle from the Loire Valley, a Bourgogne Village or a strawberry-fruited young Beaujolais for that matter. Another excellent drink now wine is Rose. Spumante Rosato from Italy, NV Rose Champagne cuvees and Rose Cava are also from the drink now group.

Wines with Cellaring Potential

It’s far trickier to recognise wines that have aging potential. A wine that is developing will have aromas such as spices, baked fruits, dried fruits, compote, honey, marmalade and a bit of yeasty, pastry notes because of the malolactic fermentation. The other common notes are aromas such as coffee, chocolate, tobacco and oak. These are also developing wines and suitable to drink now as well as for further aging.

Developed Wines

If you have stumbled upon developed wines, their aromas are fully developed and the notes that are very noticeable are animal smells including leather and animal skin, earthy notes of the forest floor, fresh meaty flavour and mushroom flavour. If you wait too long to consume these, the wines can pass their prime.

The experts at Signature Cellars can provide further guidance and tips on the best way to cellar your reds and whites. We design and install medium to large-scale wine cellars and cater to residential clients. For more information, simply call us at 02 9340 7515. You can also send us your queries about custom cellars and cellaring via this contact form and we will revert shortly.

Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
02 9340 7515

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