OK, Let’s be honest, we all love a wine..
And, whether you have an interest in the art of wine making or not, most of us know a great tasting wine. Now if you're ready to make the move from just being a happy consumer of wine to starting to build your own collection, then there's a few things you need to know about storing wine. (Plus we've included some serving & drinking tips too, because after all that's the point of the exercise.)
Wine Keeping 101
Wine is happiest when it's stored in a cool, dark spot in the home. If you have a spot under the house like a basement, then this is ideal. Alternatively, look for a small spot in your house that is cool and dark - maybe under the stairs, or in a closet that's well insulated. The key is to find a spot that has stable temperatures, as it's the variable temperatures - the constant heating up and cooling down that spoil wine. For most people, this means that the garage is definitely out, as very few are insulated.
If you live in a warmer climate, or one where there are large temperature variations, it's probably worth looking at a wine fridge. A wine fridge will help to keep your wines at a constant temperature, with constant humidity. Your budding wine collection, will be looked after and you should avoid the disappointment of drinking a wine you've been looking forward to, that's now past it's best.
For a beginner, there are compact wine fridges that hold up to 3 cartons, or if you've already accumulated more wine than that, have a look at some of the larger units. Options include zoning for different wines needing different storage temperatures.
Right now, you're probably thinking, but what are the right temperatures for storing wine? We're so glad you asked.
White Wine Storage Temperature
Ideally, white wine should be consumed at 11 degrees Celsius for whites - which is actually several degrees warmer than your average fridge, which generally sits around 4 degrees. Sparkling wine however, is best served a little colder at six degrees Celsius. As Matthew Gerard from Grand Cru explains, "If your wine is too cold, you won’t be able to taste the flavours, and if it's too warm, your wine may get flat", so if you're nice bottles to drink, it's well worth the extra bit of effort to serve them at the right temperature.
Red Wine Storage Temperature
So what about red wine? Six to 18 degrees Celsius is best for reds. Plus, the experts recommend allow your red wines some time to breathe. Open the bottle and keep it still for some time or pour the bottle into a decanter to speed up the process.
Tips for Serving Wine
As much as the temperature is important, serving it in the right glassware can change the way your wine tastes. When it comes to drinking wine, the shape, size and thickness of the glass all matters. Another tip from Matthew is to rotate the wine in your glass, "Wine opens up as it comes into contact with air and releases otherwise hidden aromas" he explains.
So if you are beginning to get a little more serious about your wine, Matthew recommends investing in good glassware, "Incorrect glassware can destroy even the best of wines" he explains.
Tips for Choosing Wine
And the really fun bit is buying wine to store, and to enjoy. So we asked Matthew if he had any tips on which wines to buy. Of course - the very first rule of thumb is, buy what you like. But if you are wanting to build a collection, then Matthew suggests:
Invest in wines of exquisite quality, not necessarily of exquisite price.
Invest in wines with limited production.
Only buy wines from winemakers and wineries with a good reputation.
Buy wines with a sense of place and regional provenance - If possible buy direct from the wineries and look out for winery exclusive labels.
Do some research to understand the market, so that you know what are the good vintages to buy.
And if the question you really were looking for an answer to is - what wine goes best with dark chocolate? Then you'll be pleased to know that the more sophisticated taste of dark chocolate matches beautifully with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo Chianti and Chianti. Experiment with different percentages of cocoa and see how it goes. Enjoy!
Below is a selection of Grand Cru's Wine Storage Fridges.
We would like to thank Matthew for his expert tips. If you would like to learn more about wine storage and find more tips on how to enjoy wine, visit the Grand Cru blog or visit the Grand Cru website.
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Image Credit: Jonathan Ho