All wine lovers dream of owning a large, well-organised wine cellar. However, this is not so easy to achieve and taking those first, all-important decisions can be difficult. Let Club Baron de Lestac help you get started on this ambitious project which will doubtless result in many memorable tasting moments.
First, unpack your bottles carefully. Do not keep them in cardboard boxes as these can retain humidity, nor in wooden boxes which will be too dry. Wine bottles should be stored laying down so the cork remains continuously in contact with the wine. This way it stays moist, swollen and watertight, preventing the wine from damage. Now comes the time to choose one of several options. If you are fortunate enough to have a wine cellar with the right features in terms of light, temperature, aeration and humidity, this is the ideal storage solution, but it is not within the means of all. The next option - which is better suited to smaller spaces - is the wine fridge. Choose the right model for your needs, depending on whether you want a model for serving wine at the correct temperature, or a wine fridge for ageing your bottles.
Build your wine cellar as a reflection of your own taste. Take notes when you taste wine and select those bottles that move you to form an idea of your preferences and the style of wine that suits you best. Do you enjoy lively, fresh whites, or something rounder with a fuller mouthfeel? Are you a fan of lighter, fresher reds, or do you prefer wines with more structure? Would you choose sparkling wines with plenty of mouthwatering acidity, or perhaps a creamier character? Be curious: try organising tastings with fellow wine fans, with each person bringing a bottle. When you travel, be it in France or overseas, take time to discover different kinds of wine growing and the myriad different grape varieties, wine styles and vintages. And of course, when building your wine collection, include younger wines for earlier drinking along with others that can be laid down for several years, to appreciate their ageing potential.
Having a large selection of wines to hand is wonderful, but it's important to be able to find the right bottle quickly and easily. Be sure to store your wines in an orderly fashion (you can choose whichever order works best for you, of course). Typically, a wine cellar is organised by colour, but this is not the only way: you might prefer to store your bottles by region, grape variety, vintage, or ageing potential. Using some kind of visual reference (small labels, a combination of letters and numbers, coloured stickers) can be helpful. If you have a large collection, create a spreadsheet on your computer (or a handwritten document if you prefer) to list your wines and keep track of those you have opened. Update your cellar, adding new discoveries on a regular basis, and consider adding a note about the ideal drinking window. Depending on your lifestyle and culinary habits, you might also like to add notes about food pairings, making your wine cellar an invaluable part of your daily life.