The concept of a wine cellar sort of baffles me.
Not because I don’t think it would be awesome to convert a corner of my cold, dank, subterranean arachnology museum into a temperate haven for comatose cabernet and reposing Rioja.
And not because the craftsmanship of a master carpenter wouldn’t diffuse notice from the fact that my sump pump has been overflowing for nine days.
And not because I’m adverse to the bragging rights inherent in talking about your wine cellar, indicating that you have sufficient shinplaster not only to build one, but to stock one.
No, the thing that baffles me is that there are people in this world with the stamina, discipline and self-control to simply ignore the wines they’ve just purchased for a decade or more; people who could actually make it to the basement holding a bottle of wine and not open it along the way.
Golfers may have their Palmer, football fans their Gipper. My hero is the dude or dudette who can say, with certainty, that they will not be dead, incarcerated, or sporting a Five Year Alcoholic Anonymous pin when the lights finally go on for their case of 2007 Saint Prefert Collection Charles Giraud.
But, I am learning. And the first, foremost and most critical financial lesson that any serious collector will share is that of the world’s annual output of 36 billion bottles, only a tiny fraction of them deserve the long-term spa-treatment of a wine cellar.
So, let’s say you are independently wealthy—the Lotto ticket came in, the rich uncle died or the former Finance Minister of Nigeria finally made good on the $2.2 million he promised you in that email: How do you separate the good from the bad and ugly?
And that would be the $2.2 million dollar question, because, in fact, nobody really, really knows.
What we do know is that for a wine to improve into a delightful dotage, it requires a certain balance of acid, fruit density, tannins and, when it applies, residual sugar. This chemical cocktail provides the specifics that tend to make for ageable wine when present in at least three of the four elements. But, with aging wine to masterful maturity, there are no sure bets, and some wines with only one or two of the requirements wind up being marvelous five, even ten years beyond vintage.
Rare, of course, is the wine that really improves to fifteen years, and rarer still are those that can improve to those legendary twenty, thirty—even fifty years past vintage.
And speaking of Vintage:
Build It and They Will Come… And Drink Up All Your DRC La Tâche
San Diego’s Vintage Cellars (http://www.vintagecellars.com/ )is among the top cellar sellers in the United States, known for its quality of workmanship, expertise in cellar management equipment and especially, for reasonable pricing.
According to Vintage Cellar’s Custom Wine Cellar Specialist Jake Austad: “We can turn your wine cellar dream in a custom cellar reality. Tell us what your style, size and budget guidelines are, and we can design a custom cellar that will suit any space and lifestyle. We insulate, seal and set up cooling; custom wine racks are our specialty, and we can design and construct a wine rack system to hold your bottles beautifully.”
And how. And how I’d love to have one. As you can see, my personal wine cellar looks like Dorothy Gale’s tornado shelter.
Contrasting are some images of Vintage’s cellars from around the country.
“For the serious collector,” Austad continues, “nothing is more important that the safety and organization of the wine collection. With cellar management systems and cellar monitoring, you can keep your collection safe and ensure that you can find the perfect bottle in minutes.”
Good, because after waiting a decade or more for a baby wine to metamphorize into a grown-up Goliath, who wants to spend more than a couple of minutes locating it?
The art of cellar making is as intense as knowing the signs of a wine that can grow up to be a fine, upstanding citizen. Until you’ve perfected that, let the buyer beware. But, once you’ve nailed those skills down?
Let the cellar give care.
Check out Vintage at http://www.vintagecellars.com/wine-cellar-design/