Choosing wines worth cellaring can be tricky – here are five perfect red wines ideal for storing

 

Not every wine lover focuses on cellaring bottles of wine. Many people like to buy wine and enjoy it immediately. But for the serious fine wine collector, or for someone new to the idea, it’s worth knowing that aged bottles can be more delicious after a few years.

And while aged bottles can taste better after a number of years, there’s also much to be said for wine evoking memory and nostalgia. For example, celebrating a wedding anniversary by opening a bottle stored since the big day can make it extra special. Or, by opening bottles stashed after a trip to a winery, you can take yourself back to that holiday.

 

Are all wines worth cellaring?

So, how do you choose which wines are worth cellaring? Around 95% of wines aren’t designed to age, and actually taste better when opened quickly. And this means that finding wines worth ageing is more of a challenge.

Given that most wines last around two years, what should you look for in a wine you intend to store for between ten and 20 years? Primarily, you’re looking for wines with structure. This refers to the taste attributes in the wine that act as preservatives. For example, red wines for cellaring must be packed with great fruit, bold tannins, good levels of acidity and oak and boast a solid structure. You’re looking for the more expensive red wines in this case, as mass-produced wines generally don’t cellar well. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wines work well for cellaring, particularly if you’re new to it.

To cellar wines, you don’t need an actual wine cellar, of course. Most of us don’t have the kind of cool, dark basements that are necessary for storing wine for years. If you have a room with a constant, cool temperature then that will do, or you can invest in a wine fridge. Many fine wine collectors choose to store wines in temperature controlled bonded warehouses, which ensures it’s kept properly and fully catalogued.

At Ideal Wine Company, we’ve come up with five excellent reds worth cellaring below.

  1. Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This is one of the most popular red wines from the Californian Napa Valley region. The 2013 vintage is very intense, and has layers of sweetness, fruitiness, and a lot of tannins. It’s possible to find vintages going back to the 1980s, but if you’re considering buying one of these, check that they were stored properly.

  1. Coudoulet de Beaucastel Rouge 2013

Winemaker Marc Perrin’s flagship wine is Cheateau de Beaucastel’s Chateuneuf du Pape, which goes for more than £100 a bottle. But this dark and complex Cotes du Rhone is made with grapes from vineyards just opposite those used to make the more expensive wine. This is perfect for buying a few bottles now, enjoying some and storing the rest away. Aim to cellar them for between five and ten years, and you’ll be enjoying this delicious red wine for years to come.

  1. Domaine Raspail-ay Gigondas 2014

A classic Gigondas, this is made by a family producer who has been in the business for five generations. It’s packed with dark cherry flavours and notes of white pepper. If you enjoy it now you will find a rich and lush red, but if you store it for around a decade or more, you can expect an even richer, deeper, spicier wine later on.

  1. Tasca D’Ameritae Rosso del Conte 2012

This Sicilian red was first created back in the 1960s by wine enthusiast Count Giuseppe Tasca. It was one of the first reds to show that Sicily can produce top-class wines, and not just those that are nice to drink on holiday. When it’s young and new it has plenty of tannins but keep it for a couple of decades and you can expect a deep, luscious, warmly spicy black cherry wine.

  1. Chateau Meyre Haut-Medoc 2011

This Bordeaux style blended red wine from Chateau Meyre is a deep, richred with lots of black fruits. It has a solid structure thanks to the tannins and blackberries working in partnership leaving a full, rich texture on the palate. Store for up to ten years and enjoy this excellent red with good potential.

 

What you need to know about fine wine investment

When it comes to fine wine investment, there’s one golden rule – don’t drink your collection! It’s one of the few asset classes that can’t be used in some way. Even with fine art collecting, you can generally look at your purchases. But serious fine wine investors store their wine in bonded warehouses.

 

Fine wine investment and bonded warehouses

Bonded warehouses are licensed by the Government, and the wine stored in them is therefore exempt from VAT (value added tax). Wine stored in bond means the bottles are stored safely in a controlled environment, and any wines not aimed at the UK market avoid customs duty.

Wine collectors who choose to sell ‘in bond’ is usually sold in the standard 12 bottle case. However, there are exceptions to this. Collectors with wine stored in bonded warehouse accounts can also get condition reports for a fee. The fee is usually relatively small, and certainly makes sense if you have a collection worth thousands of pounds.

There are, of course, fees and insurance costs when you choose to store wine in bonded warehouses. And, should you choose to drink it after all, you can arrange for bonded delivery. This will mean that you will have to pay VAT and customs duty. The VAT will be charged at a rate based on the original price of the wine rather than its current value.

 

Follow the global marketplace listing for trading wine

Of course, the idea of fine wine investment is to ensure your assets are increasing in value. You’re not looking to enjoy drinking the wine but making as much money as possible on your chosen asset class.

The global marketplace for wine trading is called Liv-ex. Following this regularly will help you keep on top of the wines that are hot right now. According to the Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000 wine index, the top one thousand bottles have increased in value by 48.35% since 2014. While that sounds very encouraging, it’s worth noting that the index has only gone up by 0.11% during 2019.

 

Which wine regions should you invest in?

Traditionally, Burgundy and Bordeaux have been popular regions for fine wine investors and collectors. The Liv-ex Burgundy 150 index shows that Burgundy has gained by 94.9% over the five years. And in 2018, a bottle of burgundy made a record smashing £434,850 ($558,000) at Sotheby’s. The bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti wasn’t alone, with another bottle selling at the same auction for almost as much (£386,533/ $496,000).

After such highs, perhaps it’s not surprising that the French fine wine market is showing signs of fatigue. In the 12 months up to the end of June 2019, the index dropped by 6.2%.

 

Head for Italy for Tuscan and Piedmont wines

As for wines that are worth investing in right now, Italian wine is always a good bed. There is evidence to show that wine has been made in Italy for at least six thousand years. But when it comes to the investment market, Italy is relatively new. Just like France, the Italian wine market is dominated by two regions – Piedmont and Tuscany.

Examples of wines known as ‘super Tuscans’ include Sassicaia. The most coveted wines from Piedmont are probably Barbaresco and Barolo. In terms of the Liv-ex indexes, the Italy 100 was the highest performing. It gained 3% and while it’s not the best yet, it is definitely worth considering for wine investors.

A review of affordable wine storage systems

Collecting wines is one of the greatest pleasures of life – but the prospect of looking after and storing fine wine can sometimes seem a complicated and daunting process. Ideal Wine Company reviews the affordable wine storage systems, perfect for any wine collection.

It doesn’t have to be. Not all wine is suitable for long-term storage – many are best consumed within a few months or years of the vintage – however some wines will improve with age. Here’s our guide to how to store your wine at home – without having to invest a huge amount of money.

Ideal Wine Company wine storage
How can wine storage systems make storing wine easier?

Why store wine anyway?

There are two key considerations that you need to bear in mind when storing wine. The first is that you will be protecting your wine, while the second is that you are attempting to age it. The first consideration – merely protecting your wine – is most probably the most important aim of short term storage. The second, aging, is obviously only a factor if you’re looking to store it longer term.

Affordable options

So, what are the options? For short term storage, we recommend keeping things simple. For most wines that will be consumed within a few weeks or months, there is no need to worry too much about factors like humidity, vibration or temperature. Try to keep it at around 12C – but the most important consideration here is maintaining a relatively constant temperature. That means that the places people usually store their wine – in the kitchen, in the garage or in a shed – are completely unsuitable due to the fact that there is usually a broad temperature differential depending on the time of year – hot in summer, and extremely cold in the winter.

Finding a happy balance

A clean basement then is your best option – and we’d highly recommend you invest in a wine storage system to keep the bottles off the floor. You have a few options here too – wire racks are cheap, but can bend, while hardwood racks are odour-free and strong enough for the job. Try and avoid softwood systems as they can warp in the damp atmosphere. If you don’t have a basement, then under the stairs – or any cupboard away from the outside walls – is a great alternative. Remember again that a nice constant temperature is by far and away the most important consideration. There are plenty of plastic storage solutions that work well in these smaller spaces.

Longer term

If you’re looking to store bottles of wine at home for longer, but aren’t able to invest in an expensive wine cellar, then a wine storage cabinet is a viable – but still relatively costly – option. Once again, the idea is to maintain a constant temperature, away from light, in which to store your wine – fundamental principles that you’ll need to bear in mind when it comes to wine storage, however much money you’re looking to invest.

You can find out more about storing wines at home on our website.