The Best Wines to Cellar
Amongst a variety of lavish amenities offered at the Mansions at Acqualina, residents may enjoy a modern wine cellar and tasting lounge. Every resident has their own wine locker to store a selection of their favorite wines.
“Wine is a living thing, which makes it both fascinating and unpredictable. The joy of aging wine is discovering how the fruit from a single year can continue to evolve for decades.” – Sommelier Courtney Humiston of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA.
While the words “wine cellar” may conjure up thoughts of underground caverns or ancient Roman catacombs, a wine cellar can really be considered any space dedicated to storing wine. While there are vast differences between the varying types of wine cellars, each cellar exists for the same purpose – to store wine in an ideal environment to be aged and enjoyed in the future.
With this being said, the question then becomes which wines are worth storing for years before you can finally pour yourself a glass? Wine connoisseurs the world over will, of course, have their own specific criteria for the wines they allow entrance into their cellars; however, to oversimplify, it can be agreed that it comes down to acid and structure. “People try to say it’s about a lot of things, but really, if there’s acid, then the wine will at least survive, if not get better,” says Collin Casey of Weygandt Metzler Importing. Wines with residual sugar also take refuge in the cellars of many wine aficionados, as their trajectory will allow them to become drier over time, creating a medley of magical flavors.
White Wines to Cellar
While most white wines are made to enjoy while fresh and young, there are a few noteworthy exceptions.
- German, Austrian, and Alsatian Rieslings are impermeable to time’s pressures and will develop wondrous complexity with age.
- Chenin Blanc is another sommelier favorite, with Foreau Vouvray Demi-Sec being an honorable mention.
- The best Chardonnays will dramatically increase in richness and complexity. Aged top-rank white Burgundies will most certainly prove this point as will some of the best California and Australian Chardonnays.
- Dessert wines based on white grapes such as Sauternes, Tokaji, and later harvest Rieslings, age and improve for years and, in some cases, even decades.
Red Wines to Cellar
The common thread that ties together a gorgeous collection of reds has three criteria: high acid, lower alcohol (beware of anything over 14%) and low oak.
- Cabernet Sauvignon has enormously concentrated tannins, pigments, and flavor compounds, allowing it to out-live almost all other wines, according to Master of Wine Jancis Robinson.
- Pinot Noir has a reputation of being quite a finicky wine; nevertheless, the top-notch French versions make it impossible not to include on this list, as they age beautifully after several decades. However, generally Pinot Noir should be consumed in under 10 years.
- Merlot is one of the world’s most popular red wines, known for its soft, fruity, and simple qualities; yet, being the noble grape that it is, it has the ability to be just as robust and commanding as even the staunchest of cabernet sauvignons, albeit in a silkier style. Great vintage Merlots can last anywhere from five to 25 years.
Remember, this is just a guide and is by no means an exhaustive list of the best wines to store, just enough to start a beautiful, lifelong collection. Cheers!