Finally, there appears to be a pandemic lockdown trend I can get behind – the home wine cellar. While cellars in films can be the stuff of nightmares, cellars for wines are the stuff of dreams, but a wine cellar doesn’t have to be the exclusive nirvana of the 1%. It doesn’t have to take over an entire room, or meet minimum dimensions. Get creative and you can create your wine cellar in any nook or cranny of your home – so long as it’s not brightly lit, too warm or subject to temperature fluctuations.
If you’re a wine lover, then starting your own wine cellar is one of the of most fun, generous things you can do for yourself (and your friends and family). It’s like dropping gems along a path you know you’ll return to see glistening in the sunshine later. And although graduating from the ready to drink wine rack to a longer term wine cellar can seem like a giant leap, it can start with just one bottle and be built bespoke for you, by you, from there. The key is to include a variety of wine styles, so that all your drinking occasions are covered and to include wines which are ready to drink, alongside those to be cellared longer term.
If you’d rather not give up your under–stair storage or prefer to leave it to the experts to select your collection, then consider cellar services such as ‘Cellar Circle’ offered by Phipps client Lay & Wheeler. Your personal wine advisor will guide you each step of the way, allowing you to build your own wine portfolio to be accessed when you, or the wines, are ready.
Whichever option you choose, here are some top picks to get you started.
- Rioja – majestic and complex, Rioja Gran Reserva wines, though ready to drink upon release, are made with longevity and cellaring in mind.
- Rhône – alongside classic cellar stablemates, Bordeaux and Burgundy, consider setting aside space for the Syrah dominated wines of the famed Côte–Rôtie
- German Riesling – with its trademark acidity and a broad range of styles from dry to sweet, Riesling is a cellar must have. Consider buying for the future from the 2019 vintage which Jancis Robinson hopes will be the “best vintage of the century so far.”
- California Chardonnay – a personal favourite, include some for immediate drinking and longer ageing
- Vintage Champagne – while Champagne isn’t always a cellar staple, you’ll be highly rewarded if you set aside some bottles from a great vintage like the 2012
- Port – a classic choice. Go for a vintage port as these are only declared in the best years and are made for ageing. Stock up on the mature 1970 for drinking now.