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The Best Types of Wine to Cellar

December 29, 2021 by Antone Boustani

The term wine cellar usually brings to mind a softly lit, cavernous space with floor to ceiling shelves of bottles, like a subterranean library of liquid. The personal wine cellar is a bit more conceptual. You don’t necessarily need a dedicated room or tonnes of cash to have a cellar. It might be under the stairs, a small wine fridge or just a cool space in the garage. It could even be wines stored at a specialty wine storage facility. At any rate, the concept of a cellar is that you are storing some wines to develop and drink somewhere down the line.

The majority of wine is consumed within 24 hours of purchase; so don’t feel bad if you tend to only buy a bottle when you need it. The idea of a cellar is to put away some wines that are either special to you or will develop interesting flavours over time. The following are suggestions for how to build up a small collection and what kinds of wine will work best when being put away.

 Next time you go to buy your favourite bottle, get a second one to put away, or see if there are discounts for purchasing six or more. It’s always good to have that solid favourite on hand, and great to see how they develop. Popular wines like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc are generally better fresh and drunk young, but there’s value in comparing vintages. If you have a favourite winery, see if they have some back vintages to get you started.

Riesling can be long-lived and develop interesting secondary flavours while remaining fresh and refreshing wines. Arguably a Clare Valley Riesling will develop in similarly interesting ways to French or German Rieslings, but at a much smaller cost. A great exercise is buying a case of under $20 Australian Riesling and tasting a bottle every year or so to see how the wine develops.

Big Reds
Traditional wine cellars around the world hold Chianti Classico, First Growth Bordeaux and Gran Riserva Rioja. These wines are renowned for ageing gracefully, but the same can be true for the lower-level wines of these regions or your local equivalent. If your budget doesn’t run to Chateau Margaux, its likely a fifth growth or even Bordeaux Superior will prove a good option. Similarly, New World big reds like Californian cabernet, Argentinian Malbec or Shiraz from South Australia love to be set down for a few years. Red wine storage is all about stability with temperature and humidity.

Pinot Noir
Pinot isn’t known for long-term cellaring but can really reward ageing in the short term. If you want to stock up on Burgundy, by all means but you may find your budget runs out quite quickly. The Pinot Noir from Victoria is definitely world class, and often reaches its peak within 5-10 years, although some can go for 30 or more.

After Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, the Chenin Blanc wines of Vouvray are the most famous output of the Loire Valley. Made in a range of styles, the medium-sweet Moelleux styles have the sugar, acid and body to age for decades. These wines appear less sweet over time as they integrate and produce flavours of honey, marmalade and nut flavours.

The structure of Nebbiolo makes it perfect for ageing, with acid and tannin giving a great base for the range of fruit, herb and savoury flavours. Barolo is a great way to go, as it is Italy’s, if not the world’s greatest example of Nebbiolo. Barbaresco and other Piemonte wines will also do well, as well as a few Australian examples.

Fortified Wines
A Rutherglen Muscat, Port or Madeira is handy to have in the cellar, especially if they are vintage indicated. It’s always fun to surprise a friend or family member with something from their birth year. These fortified wines are all long lived and taste great sometimes up to 100 years later!

Whatever you end up choosing to store for later rather than drinking immediately, remember to keep them at a consistent cool temperature and away from direct sunlight. Your cellar may not start huge, but you’ll know there’s a special bottle waiting for you for the right occasion.

The best types of wine to include in your collection are the ones you enjoy most. Right? Maybe. It depends on your goals.

Are you an investor? In other words, is your primary purpose to sell the wine after (hopefully) it’s increased in value? Or, is your goal just to have a decent selection of wine for that impromptu dinner party?

No matter what your answer, there are certain facts to consider:

1) Most types of wine are ready-to-drink. So, if you’re cellaring this kind of wine for that impromptu dinner party, hopefully you will drink it within a year (this time frame is based on storing the wine under ideal conditions).
If however, you’re cellaring this type of wine as an investment, good luck. It has already reached its peak, and will more than likely deteriorate with age even under the best conditions.

2) Certain types of wine improve with age. So, if you’re a casual wine collector, buying this kind of wine provides several benefits (assuming proper storage conditions):
• You have a longer time frame to enjoy your wine.
• You can increase the size and variety (balance) of your collection.
• You can save money by taking advantage of sales and bargains.

If you’re an investor, these are the wines most likely to increase in value. However, less than 1% of all the wines worldwide are investment grade and Bordeaux makes up 80% of them.

The name Bordeaux is synonymous with wine investment. Red Bordeaux has an established resale history and is still the primary investment medium. The reason for this (as you can see from the list below) is that it has a long history of improving with age. However, the research required to buy Bordeaux wine can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Types of Wine that Age Well
Note: In general, more expensive wines are designed to become better with age. Most inexpensive wines do not benefit from aging.

Types of Red Wine
• Cabernet Sauvignon e.g. Bordeaux in the Medoc Region of France
• Merlot e.g. St. Emilion and Pomerol in Bordeaux France
• Pinot Noir e.g. Grand Cru Burgundies of France
• Syrah / Shiraz e.g. Hermitage and Cote Rotie districts of the Rhone, France

Types of White Wine
• Chardonnay e.g. French Chablis and White Burgundy
• Riesling e.g. German Spatlese, Auslese and Beerenauslese
• Sauvignon Blanc / Semillion e.g. White Bordeaux in the Graves Region of France
Types of Dessert Wine
• Hungarian Tokaji / Tokay
• Riesling e.g. German Trockenbeerenauslese
• Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc e.g. Sauternes the sweet wine region of Bordeaux France
• Portugese Vintage Port
• Madeira

Types of Sparkling Wine
• Prestige Cuvee Champagne e.g. Dom Perignon, France

New World vs Old World Wines
You may have noticed that there are no New World wines mentioned in the above list (e.g. wines from California and Australia). Although wineries in California and Australia plant the same grape varieties that can be found in Europe, the balance of their wines are different (there are of course exceptions). This difference is mostly due to climate, although the preference of American wine-drinkers for wines with high-alcohol content has affected the wines produced.

Wine balance is the harmony of fruitiness, acidity, alcohol (sugar), and tannin. High acid and tannin levels increase the longevity of wine. As a grape ripens it loses acidity and the sugar level increases along with its ability to produce alcohol. This is the basis of the difference between New World and Old World wines.
Due to the colder climate, most northern European wine growing regions have a shorter growing season than New World wine regions. Therefore, northern European grapes have less time to ripen and have lower sugar levels than New World grapes. The result is Old World wines of high acid, low sugar (alcohol 12.5%), relatively low fruitiness and high longevity versus New World wines of low acid, high sugar (alcohol 14.5+%), high fruitiness and relatively low longevity.

Another consequence of the traditionally high acid and low alcohol content of Old World wines is they are not as accessible when young compared to New World wines. They often require several years in the bottle before they are consumed to soften the acids and tannins and develop their delicate fruit flavours.

So how long should you store your wines? The list below shows the number of years after the vintage date (year grapes were harvested) that some common types of wine are likely to reach their peak.

Aging Suggestions for Common Types of Wine
Beaujolais – 0 to 3 years
Beaujolais Nouveau – drink as soon as possible
Bordeaux, Red – 5 to 20 years
Bordeaux, White – 4 to 10 years
Cabernet Sauvignon – 5 to 15 years
Champagne, non-Vintage – 0 to 2 years
Champagne, Vintage – 5 to 10 years
Chianti – 0 to 7 years
Chardonnay – 0 to 5 years
Merlot – 2 to 8 years
Gewurztraminer – 0 to 4 years
Pinot Noir – 0 to 5 years
Port, non-vintage, tawny, etc. – 0 to 5 years
Port, Vintage – 10-20+ years
Rioja – 4 to 10 years
Riesling – 3 to 20 years
Sangiovese and Barolo – 5 to 10 years
Sauternes and other sweet whites – 5 to 15 years
Sauvignon Blanc – 0 to 2 years
Shiraz – 5 to 12 years
Vouvray – 0 to 5 years
Zinfandel, Red – 5 to 10 years
Zinfandel, White – 0 to 1 years

This is just a guide, every winery has different methods, and low-quality wines won’t last as long as high quality wines of the exact same type (or grape variety). Wines from good years last much longer than wines from poor years. For example, the recommended aging period for Red Bordeaux is 5 to 20 years. But, a Premier Crus chateaux (top-level winery) from this region can produce a wine that improves for 30+ years in a good vintage.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the best types of wine to store, but it’s enough to start your collection.

Storing wine is a passion of Kennards Self Storage. Kennards Storage has purpose built Wine Storage cabinets in temperature controlled environment that is accessible 24 hours a day. Wine storage can be easy to organise. Self storage is great because you get your own space and there are no lock in contracts meaning you only pay for the days used. The quoted amount is for a one month period. Pay for that period and then get a refund for the days not used if you move out before months end. This pro-rata amount is calculated to the day you finish. Kennards moving boxes range includes the wine storage box which carries 12 Bottles of wine and fits the wine storage cabinet perfectly.

Log on to you will find a very easy to use web site.

You will find Kennards Wine Storage and be able to view prices and sizes. You can then reserve or rent a space at a location near you with in a couple of clicks. From there you can then purchase wine storage boxes and get them delivered to your home or office. Pack your wine and then bring them to your storage space. 
If you purchase wine online, get them delivered to your Kennards Storage facility and we will accept the delivery on your behalf and then contact you so that you can pick them up. No more wine sitting at your front door waiting for you to come home.

Kennards Self storage has decades experience in providing storage solutions to the casual drinker, the wine collector and businesses like wine importers and restaurants.

Kennards Self Storage – Creating the space for Change.

Antone Boustani

Antone joined the Kennards Self Storage in 2012 as a Team Support Manager. Progressing to the roles of NSW Rostering Co-ordinator and Waterloo Centre manager led to the position of NSW Operations Manager in 2019. Antone has gained leadership skills at previous roles as a Manager at KFC and Decorug and did run his own business a Deli / Fruit shop called Naremburn Natural. He loves that we are the people that care and how that is achieved through procedures that enable our teams to offer great customer service. He is invested in improving himself and the team around him and believes that doing what you love is the key. Outside work Antone loves travelling overseas as much as getting on the open road and you can find him watching any type of sport but especially cricket.

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