It’s happened to all of us one time or another. You’ve arrived home from work after a long and brutal day. You’re tired, even to the point where you may consider forgoing dinner altogether. But, there on the counter, a bottle catches your eye. You know its charms because you opened one just like it two nights ago and poured a glass for yourself and your spouse, finishing the bottle the next day. The fridge door opens and you spy a little cheese, Gruyere to be exact. On the other counter is half a loaf of bread. Dinner is served!
Except it’s not. The cork pulled out, the bottle poured into your glass and you’re left wanting to spit it out on your clean white carpet. The flavors, if they can be called that, are nearly gone. There’s sourness, bitterness to the wine. It might even taste like vinegar. Maybe there’s a tepid texture. The wine is warm and it is almost watery. There is no fruit, no earthy charm-just a kind of swill.
It can happen to you and there’s only one way to prepare yourself. Wine is an organic product. As lettuce goes bad, or any other produce you buy, so does wine. True, alcohol can help preservation for a couple of days, but even before the bottle is opened it needs to be stored properly. Too much heat, too much light, too much vibration, a dried out cork from a bottle that is stored upright too long, all of these can kill your wine. Proper storage of wine is a much-overlooked necessity for those who have more than just a couple of bottles lying around. If you consume more than two bottles of wine in a week, it’s time to think about proper storage and that begins with refrigeration.
The very best temperature to keep wine is between 55 and 60 degrees. Contrary to popular belief, this goes for whites and reds. You don’t want to keep white wine chilled the entire time before you drink it. It’s best to keep it at “cellar temperature” and before consumption, put it into the regular refrigerator for about an hour. Red or white, it doesn’t really matter; a wine storage receptacle is in your future.
“So,” you say, “Why not just put the bottles in the regular fridge? Pull them out when you need them?” No, this won’t do. A regular refrigerator is far too cold to keep wine at its best. Red wine especially doesn’t do well in the cold and really neither does white wine for long periods of time. Plus, the vibration from a regular refrigerator’s motor could do some damage to your wine as well by constantly keeping the wine moving, never allowing it to “rest” and the sediments to stay put. Environmental control is the key. If you have a basement in your house, you’re one step ahead. A basement can really behave very well, as long as you don’t heat it for the family. If the cellar is left, well… like a cellar, then you’ll have a great beginning. If you have no cellar, fear not. There are still many options.
The best wine cellar helps keep your favorites ready for you anytime. Or choose the best wine rack or storage cabinets for your favorite stash of red and white wines.