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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.