If you think cellaring wine is the hobby of an expert connoisseur, think again. With some research on how to choose wines for ageing and by following a few golden rules, you might find yourself opening a bottle of truly spectacular wine a few years down the road.
When it comes to ageing wine, acidity is important since wine loses acidity with time. Therefore a wine containing high acidity can be cellared. Red wine also ages beautifully due to the polyphenols in the wine, which limits the chemical reactions that result in wine breaking down over time. Balance is key when it comes to choosing the perfect red wine for ageing. Select one that has moderately high tannin yet not overshadowing the fruit or other flavours in the wine.
Wines made from grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have great potential for ageing. Classical reds from Bordeaux have always done well in cellars with first growths from Médoc such as Latour or Mouton being collectors’ favourites. Saint-Émilion is also producing incredible wine nowadays. Look to Châteauneuf-du-Pape to discover age-worthy reds and pay attention to the smaller estates such as Clos des Papes and Clos Saint Jean.
Nebbiolo is another grape that produces wine supreme for ageing. Think about the robust tannin and high acidity of Barolo, its ruby red turning garnet over time, evoking mellowed aroma of cherry, leather, cedar and tobacco when tasted. One producer who ranks high amongst Barolo lovers is Cantina Bartolo Mascarello.
The best white wine for cellaring are those with added polyphenols, which you will find in wines that are aged in oak or those made from grapes with high acidity. You will do fine with Chardonnay, taking Napa Valley’s Stony Hill for example. Vouvray, produced from the acidic Chenin Blanc is another white wine that does well with age. From the Loire valley in France, Domaine Huet’s Le Mont Vouvray is one superb white wine to have in your cellar.