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Sep 17, 2008 08:29 AM

your best wine cellar tips?

what would your advice be, to someone who wants a diverse wine cellar, with wines for drinking now, but a somewhat larger share for aging, not for investement, but for pleasure, so not only big names - but a few are certainly welcome. Bottle price averagely 35,- (10,- to 100,-), lets say 600 bottles. How many red, how many white, how many from which regions?
Looking forward to your tips and ideas!

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  1. Doesn't this COMPLETELY depend on what you like?

    Were I to say, as an example, you need 24 bottles of Muscadet -- and you happen to *hate* Muscadet -- how would this be of any help to you whatsoever? Further, were I to recommend a small winery from, again as an example, the Santa Cruz Mountains -- but you live in the Netherlands and have no chance in hell of even finding that particular winery -- how would this be of any help to you whatsoever?

    Were you, OTOH, to provide some information about where you live, what kind of wines you like, and so on . . . recommendations would abound!


    1. There are a few hints in Willem's profile, but I would like to see some information on stores or availability, not to mention pricing, in Holland.
      If someone were advising me, as an example, I would be totally dependent on Vintages monthly releases, and a few Classics, while the futures would be somewhat overpriced.

      1. Hi Jason and jat90, thank you! Perhaps the clue is in 'diverse'. I'm discussing such a cellar with somebody who likes wine and wants to start collecting - the post is not about my own cellar. We certainly have some ideas, though like to learn from others, find interesting ideas...
        And experiences of others with the proportions of wine types in their collections.

        In the Netherlands about anything European is avialable, as well as many, many quality wines from Australia and New Zealand, including ones from smaller wineries. South African wines are reasonably available, whereas the better ones from South America are not. US wines are available, though not in an extremely wide range. As far as I know everything not from the Americas is a bit cheaper here then in the US, not much.

        What we like is pretty broad, though it is never 'pure power' wines, though when a powerfull wine has elegance, it is certainly most welcome!! Favourites are, amongst others, the red and white Rhone wines, including Condrieu, Tuscan sangiovese, many Southern Italians, white and red Priorato, many white Spanish wines, fuller dry rieslings, fuller gruner veltliners, many sauvignon blanc, Loire chenin blanc, Douro, not-too-overdone-shiraz from everywhere, Northern Italy, South of France, dry Elzas pinot gris, Amarone...and we're open to anything good and interesting.

        The areas where we lack knowledge are Bordeaux, US, South America, and know we like Spanish reds, but could use some extra pointers here as well.

        Thanks again!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Willem

          ...and when you collect more vintages from a certain wine, how many of each vintage would you choose?

          1. re: Willem


            This is a very tough question to answer because I don't buy -- or know anyone who buys -- based upon rules. I buy what I like and can afford. For example, I almost never spend over $125 on a bottle of wine, but for Quintarelli Alzero, $300+ doesn't seem so bad -- I just cannot afford more than 1 bottle. Similarly, I just discuvered an Austrian producer -- Sighardt Donnabaum -- whom I adore, and that one discovery has shifted my recent buying of white wines rather dramatically.

            Personally, if I were putting together a 600 bottle cellar for myself that met with your price citeria, it would be *roughly* 70 still "dinner" white, 50 Champagne, 20 still "dessert" white, 10 Port, and 450 red. This doesn't really represent my drinking percentage -- I drink only about twice the amount of red I do white -- but, rather, it relfects aging potential as well.

            I would spend my money on Champagne, Piedmonts, Rhones, and (red)Burgundy. I wouldn't have much from the Veneto, what what I did have would be seriously good. My whites would be larglely Austrian, Alsatian, and Italian and represent good value, whith a few higher end Graves and white Rhones thrown in. Value red wines would mostl be Italian with a focus on Barberas, Spanish wines (I'd also throw in some higher end Priorat)...

          2. re: Willem


            I am with Jason, but it is germane to your question. I'd go with what you enjoy. The ideal is to lay down a case (or half-case) of favorites, that have aging potential. Over time, you drink down this case, to monitor how it's aging and also to enjoy along its road. When you think it might be nearing, or at, its peak, host a dinner and serve much of it. Keep a few bottles to enjoy later in the wine's life and remember that dinner, as it slips into decline.

            Since you are NOT investing, but wishing to acquire for your personal enjoyment, then keep your cellar based on YOUR enjoyment. If you like white Burgs, go for them. If you like Bdx., pick some favs, and lay those down.

            If you were just starting out, I'd urge you to buy mixed cases of wines, to find what you enjoy. You are probably past that, so I'd recommend on buying each wine in some quantity, and enjoy them, as they age. If you have a case of Ch. X, you should not feel bad opening a bottle, when you feel it's too young. Enjoy it at that moment, and make notes (mental will work), and try to project where it'll be in X-years. Try it again in X -3 years, just to see how it's doing. With a case, you are learning and not wasting wines. You still have more of this wine, for when it peaks (in YOUR mind, and that is all that is important).

            Most of all, enjoy and share with good friends,


          3. These are the suggestions given in the Le Guide Hachette des Vins 2008 for a 150 btl "cave" ( approx cost 2700 Euro ):

            40 Bordeaux: 30 red (fronsac, pomerol, saint-émilion, graves, médoc; crus classés & crus bourgeois), 10 whites (5 grands secs, 5 sainte-croix-du-mont,sauterns, barsac )

            30 Bourgogne: 15 reds ( Côte de Nuits crus,Côte de Beaune crus, Côte chalonnaise), 15 whites(chablis, meursault, puligny-montrachet)

            25 Rhône: 19 reds (côte-rotie, hermitage red, cornas, saint-joseph, châteauneuf-du-pape, gigondas, côtes-du-rhône villages), 6 whites (condrieu, hermitage white, châteauneuf-du-pape white)

            12 Loire: 5 reds (bourgueil, chinon, saumur-champigny), 7 whites (pouilly-fumé, vouvray, coteaux-du-layon)

            10 Sud-Ouest: 7 reds (madiran, cahors), 3 whites (jurançon dry & sweet)

            8 Sud-Est: 6 reds (bandol, palette red), 2 whites ( casis, palette white)

            7 Alsace: all whites (gewurztraminer, riesling, tokay)

            4 Jura: all whites ( vins jaunes, côtes-du-jura, arbois)

            4 Languedoc-Rousillon: 2 reds (coteaux-du-languedoc, corbières, banyuls), 2 VDN [vin doux naturels] (banyuls, rivesaltes)

            10 champagnes & other bubblies ( crémants, different types of champagnes )