Did you know that the average life of a bottle of wine after sale is only 30 minutes? And that even includes all of those collectors that hold thousands and thousands of bottles for years and years. A pretty short time if you ask me. However, contrary to popular belief most wines (90%) are not made to be saved…they are meant to be consumed upon release. These include most of your white wines, inexpensive reds and Champagnes, and even some dessert wines.
So what wines are meant to be stored? Any wine of premium nature. I hate to use price as an indicator, but in this case it helps. Generally any full bodied grape (red or white), priced over $25, from a proven producer, and quality region can be cellared. But that’s a lot of if’s and sometimes we just need to take chances.
Whenever I buy a wine to save for a special occasion or later date, I buy multiple bottles either 3, 6, or 12. If I’m taking a chance on a wine or haven’t bought it before I buy 3, a good wine I’m familiar with – 6, and a wine I know I love – 12. This allows me to taste the wine over the course of its storage, say three years. I’ll open the first bottle right after purchase to make sure its good, another in a year, and the third the next. By buying multiple bottles I am able to see how the wine develops over the course of its life. And if that bottle of wine is starting to take a decline in year two, I’ll drink the third bottle that year instead of waiting.
When you are beginning your wine collection, it can be intimidating to add multiple bottles of the same wine to your collection. It adds cost, reduces storage and variety. But by making an informed decision, utilizing reviews and expert help (your local wine shop clerk), you can begin to start a high quality collection right from the start.