Why A Wine Cellar. . .
Most people collect and store wine as either an investment or a hobby. Although ninety-nine per cent of the world's wine is meant to be consumed before the next vintage, it's that other one per cent that cellar owners are fanatic about. Regardless of your motives, however, the wine becomes the true benefactor of storage because aging is essential for the wine's potential to be realized. Mature wines offer exotic flavors and aromas that just aren't found in young wines. As fine wine ages, the fresh grapey aromas diminish and are replaced by aromas of ripe fruit, cedar, chocolate, leather and others. Meanwhile, tannins agglomerate, making the wine smoother and easier to drink.
As you will learn, aside from impressing your guests, there are some very practical reasons for building a wine cellar. The cellar's function is to age each bottle until it reaches its point of perfection. This can only be achieved by providing the wine with an ideal temperature, as well as environment. Temperature is the most important factor in wine storage, because warmth speeds up the process of reactions and causes wine to age faster. Therefore, the necessity of a cool space for storage is crucial. Equally important is an odor free environment, free of contaminants and equipped with the means to provide a constant humidity. Wines stored properly, reclining inside a cool, dark, humid place, can only increase in value and character. Excess heat cooks off wines finer characteristics, while too much chill retards its maturation. A key note here is no matter what kind of cellar you have, passive or active, wine does not like change.
For expensive fine wines such as classified Bordeaux and burgundy, California cult cabernet, vintage champagne, TBA German wine, and super-Tuscanc, aging makes economic sense too. After several years, many of these wines double or triple in price, making them the kind of liquid assets you treasure, regardless of the economy.
It makes sound financial sense to buy wines upon release when they are cheapest and most available. Andrew Lloyd Webber auctioned his 18,000-bottle cellar for $6.1 million in 1997.
In the final analysis, it's really not about investment, vanity bottles or one upsmanship. It's about celebrating all that wine encompasses: taste, history, science, culture, friendship and intimacy.
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