By Kori ~ May 19th, 2008.
“What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.” –William Sokolin
The two biggest dangers to wine are wide temperature fluctuations and high temperatures for a sustained period of time. For wines that you plan to consume in the next week to the next year, which will probably be most of your wine, a dark, low-vibration closet in a home or apartment with a normal household temperature of 68 to 72 degrees is fine. It’s also wise to store your wine flat, so that the wine remains in contact with the cork and keeps the cork from drying out. Actually, the color and thickness of the wine bottle itself are inherently a great help in protecting the wine as well.
Only for those few collectible wines that merit aging for years before consumption do you need to be concerned with a temperature- and humidity-controlled facility. Unless you have literally hundreds of these elite bottles, a refrigerated wine storage unit is probably your best bet. Unlike a standard refrigerator, these units keep wine at an ideal temperature of about 55 degrees and 70 percent humidity, with a minimum of vibration. We have had good luck with a EuroCave unit, but there are several other top brands with good reputations.
Base your wine inventory on what you eat and how you entertain. Always have a little sparkling wine on hand for an aperitif (before dinner drink) and the occasional celebration. Have some good whites (we generally have Sauvignon Blanc in our household) and plenty of reds. For the reds, you’ll want some Shiraz/Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, and fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon for immediate consumption, and possibly some special Bordeaux, Bordeaux-style blends, and age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz/Syrah to put away for those future special occasions. Finally, you’ll want a few wines to complement your special desserts, such as Moscato or late-harvest Riesling.
More wine is ruined by being too warm than too cold. When in doubt, serve a wine colder than you might think necessary.
Filed under: General Wine Information