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WIne fridge recommendations

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I'm looking at wine fridges by Cavavin. They sell models with "auto defrost (humidity" feature. All of them I believe. With the higher end models offering "stabilized hydrometry". Does the latter feature do a better job of maintaining the proper humidity? Which fridges do you own? Or do you have a custom cellar?

http://www.epicureshop.ca/store/pc/Ca...

Excuse the typo in the subject. HAH!! Unfortunately we can't edit the subject line. :) And NO I haven't been sampling wines!! :)

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  1. Never used one . . . never needed to. Sorry.

    54 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      How are you storing your wine? I would think Californians would definitely need a wine fridge. Unless your home has a few levels....built in the hills...and thus have a "basement". Up here in Canada all homes have basements. I know only very old homes in California would have basements.

      1. re: BDD888

        Since the 1960s, I've only had temperature-controlled storage twice -- once at the Beverly Hills retail wine store at which I worked, and once at the San Francisco Bay area importer/wholesaler when, again, I was working. Both times I lived in a small apartment.

        Otherwise, I have always had passive cellars . . . underground, for example, beneath a bookstore in downtown Santa Cruz (18" thick cement walls; dirt floor), which worked fine until the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake destroyed downtown Santa Cruz.

        Most of my wine is today in a storage locker that is literally tunneled into a hillside, where everything remains very cool. (It's in the fog belt anyway, so even if it were not tunneled into a hillside, ambient temperature even on the warmest days would rarely be an issue.) The rest -- 8-10 cases -- is stored in the underground basement of my home in the hills above the University of California in Berkeley.

        Cheers,
        Jason

        1. re: zin1953

          Not sure if we have wine storage companies up here in Toronto. I know there are a few in San Fran and LA.

          As for storing in our basements...the temp changes too often. As would the humidity. So Canadians would definitely need a wine fridge or custom temp/humid controlled cellar.

          I'll probably buy a Cavavin dual-zone. Then when I get more serious. Just might invest in a custom cellar. Love the look.

          Any one with either a wine fridge or custom cellar....please comment. Love to hear your views and recommendations.

          I noticed looking at Sotherby's Real Estate website that many larger homes in LA have custom wine cellars with a tasting room adjoining. Impressive. My new home will have a spare room just large enough for a "fair sized" wine cellar. Maybe for

          1. re: BDD888

            If you have the space already available in the basement, go with the custom cellar. a 8x10x6 ft space will afford at least 1200 bottles depending on rack options and whether one has racks in the middle of the room. Figure $1500 or so for the cheapie racks from Rosehill, add $500 for a Whisprkool to $3700 for a INOA25 cooling unit. I don't know how much you want to spend to build walls but they'll need R20 insulation.

            Cavavin dual-zone is about $4000. Math and capacity favors the custom cellar.

            1. re: wattacetti

              True. Could go for a rack kit plus a Wisprkool unit to control the temp/humidity. Thing is....I don't yet know how serious I'm going to get. How addicted to wines I'll be. :) That and when I meant "custom" I was referring to custom woodworking. For the build-in look. Which is why I would prefer spending 4k on a Eurocave or Cavavin. But your suggestion is definitely a good option.

              If I did go with a rack kit and temp/humidity unit...in an already finished basement room...would I need to invest in a new door? Being that the typical door/entry is not sealed. Which would raise the cost of your route.

              1. re: BDD888

                >>> "I don't yet know how serious I'm going to get." <<<

                EXACTLY!

                Wait and see, before spending "beaucoup bucks" (or should I say, "lots o'looneys"?) on expensive glassware, temperature wine storage units, etc., etc. For the life of me, I can't understand why you're in a hurry to spend so much money -- unless Revenue Canada is after you!

                1. re: zin1953

                  Well, for one, we don't have hills in Toronto. So no perfect conditions like you have to store wine by just putting them in your basement. I will need to be able to control the temp and humidity.

                  Which means either building a rack kit and buying a Koolspace (temp/humidity machine) or buying a wine fridge. Is there any other way for me to store my wines properly? Without spending thousands initially? Not that I mind.

                  Just hate to come back to Toronto with a few bottles of my "investment wines" only to store them improperly and have them spoil prematurely.

                  1. re: BDD888

                    You are being overly paranoid about having perfect storage conditions . . . honest.

                    Whoever said there were "perfect conditions . . . in (my) basement"? I never said that. Wines stored in my basement -- which technically, I suppose, isn't really a basement, in that it's on ground level . . . the front door is one flight up, being on a hill, and so while the door to the basement is at ground level with no access from inside the house, it quickly becomes "underground" as the house is set "into" the hillside . . .

                    Anyway, wines stored in my basement are fall into two categories:

                    1) Wines for current consumption. These are either wines that I buy now for drinking over the short-term (i.e.: within the next 6-24 months), *or* older wines which I've removed from my off-site storage unit to the house for consumption in the near-term (i.e.: within the next, say, 6-12 months).

                    2) Wines recently purchased that are in need of long-term aging, waiting for me to move them from my house to my off-site storage unit.

                    * * * * *

                    Define "investment wines." Are you referring to wines that you are buying for investment, as one might buy stocks and bonds? Is your goal to "flip" the wines later -- to re-sell them for a profit? Or are you referring merely to wines which you want to buy now and consume after they have reached their maturity (i.e.: you have an investment in time only, but the goal is to enjoy the bottle of _________ when it's at its peak)?

                    There is a HUGE difference in these two objectives, and in what these very different goals require.

                    1. re: zin1953

                      By "investment" I mean to wait till they mature and that they are costly (e.g. over $200.00....though some would say a costly wine is one running over $50)

                      Paranoid? Not sure. But I am very concerned about preserving the quality of the "investment wine" I buy in California (e.g. Ch. Margaux, Louis Foederer Cristal Champagne...etc.) and any other less expensive wines I'll end up buying. But not drink the next day.

                      Hate to go to the trouble and expense of buying expensive vintage wines in LA, bring them back home, only to store them incorrectly. The typical fridge is not a good idea so...what do I do? "Quickest" solution would be to buy an expensive wine fridge. Not sure how reliable rack kits are. And if building a semi-custom cellar is cost effective. More so than buying a wine fridge. And I'm definitely not going to immediately spend 20-40k on a custom designed/made cellar done by craftsmen. That might happen a few years down the road. Depending on how serious I get.

                      1. re: BDD888

                        a) You are too concerned, IMHO, about wines you will be drinking within the next, say, 5 years.

                        b) Of ***critical*** discussion is: "HOW MANY bottles are you talking about?" In other words, you do not yet know how "serious" you will be about wine, and you're (talking about) spending money like there is no tomorrow -- Riedel glasses and decanters, bottles of Château Margaux, wine storage units, etc., etc., etc.

                        Look here -- http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-K... -- and you'll see 72 different options for temperature controlled wine storage for less than $1,000, and in most cases, less than $500 . . . OK, admittedly, that's US currency, but doesn't it make more sense to start out slowly?

                2. re: BDD888

                  Well, I read the offshoot of this conversation, and if you're already doing Margaux (which I do have) and Cristal (not a fan of), you may want to consider taking a bit better care of the bottles.

                  How serious: how many bottles are you buying now? If you're constantly buying a couple of bottles here and there and they're not immediately consumed, you have a storage need. You don't have to be addicted like some friends of mine whose yearly budgets are $25-30K for bottles. Just the fact that you don't have to be a slave to the provincial monopoly and can have access to wines not in the system makes it a nice to have.

                  The better wine coolers that are the size of standard refrigerators generally top out at just under 200 bottles, so your storage space is around $20/bottle + electricity. Depending on what extent you retrofit your room, your bottle storage cost could be under $2/bottle. in the long term, that's more $$ for wine.

                  I'm not sure why you would want a "built-in" look. A wine cellar is to store wine, not to entertain in since they're never really comfortable places to actually enjoy the wine. Seems to be a waste of space to me, but it depends on how you want your place to look. I have seen two massive cellars large enough to have aisles but their racks are floor to ceiling and there is no space to entertain. I have also seen very elaborate cellars with tasting tables, a minimum of storage, and the majority of wines under halogen lamps. You can recover space under the stairs, or a small corner of the basement and so forth and build something pretty reasonable. The Rosehill racks I mentioned are very solid once installed. Door: one person I know retrofit a bottom frame and weatherstrip against the existing door. One person I know bought a low-end exterior door from one of the renovation centres for about $200. Up to you. An uninsulated door just means that you'll have heat leakage so your cooler will work a bit harder.

                  By the way if you are indeed buying Margaux, you may want to take a look at the LCBO's en primeur program since retail in the US (anywhere for that matter) is $$$.

                  1. re: wattacetti

                    "LCBO's en primeur program "

                    Do you mean Bordeaux Futures ? It is only for 2009 and 2010 is coming up. It is super expensive for first growth of 2009, a bottle of Margaux 2009 is $1400 and you have to cellar it for a decade or more before it matures, mind as well get a 198x to enjoy it now (for .BDD888's purpose) It is very obvious getting wine in US is much more cheaper than getting wine in LCBO for most of the cases. Or am I mis-understanding something ?

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      I do indeed mean futures.

                      Not sure where BDD888 is getting his wine but buying recent vintages at retail rather than via futures is a fairly expensive undertaking. Stuff from the 1980s and 90s is drinkable now, though condition may depend on how bottles/cases were stored by initial purchaser.

                      Interesting the cost that you're quoting for the LCBO; I can do futures through the SAQ and I think our futures pricing is lower than yours.

                      1. re: wattacetti

                        Ok, I have the LCBO Bordeux Primeur 2009 booklet in front of me, a bottle of Chateau Margaux is listed at $1275 CAN. I think all 2009's price for Bordeaux futures are crazy expensive, no matter where you get it. The thing is a bottle of 2005-2009 Chateau Margaux is not drinkable now, or at least it is way too early to drink now to enjoy it for the $$$$ one spent on it.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          My Bordelais friends would tell me that we would be committing infanticide if we opened anything after 1996.

                          The crazy-expensive prices are the primary reason I stopped buying Bordeaux as of the 2005 futures season. I remember last year, 2009 was touted as the vintage of the decade, comparable to 2000, 1990, 1982…

                          And this year, 2010 is being touted as the miracle vintage, comparable to 2000, 1990, 1982…

                          1. re: wattacetti

                            However all 2009 Lafite, Latour, Petrus and Le Pin are SOLD OUT (in Bordeaux futures of LCBO). Let's see how their price turn out after 10 years. People are expecting 5 folds in return ?! Ha.

                            1. re: skylineR33

                              I bought Bordeaux to drink; guess I'm somewhat unsophisticated that way.

                              1. re: wattacetti

                                Buy one case, save 6 for drinking and sell the other 6 ten years later and you drink them for free. Maybe too risky for 2009 ?!

                              2. re: skylineR33

                                How do you store your wine? Do you just have a rack in a dark room in the basement like Charles? Curious.

                                1. re: BDD888

                                  Rack and a non-expensive temperature controlled cellar.

                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                    That would include an insulated "exterior door" and a temp/humidity machine that vents to another room?

                          2. re: wattacetti

                            Frist, I'm getting my wine from the LCBO. Not much choice here in Toronto. We don't have 20 plus wine shops as they do in LA. Or not that I'm aware of.

                            Regarding the Ch Margaux, LR Cristal...haven't bought them yet...plan to buy while I'm in LA since they are MUCH cheaper (as are Riedel stemware). Plus the CDN$ is very strong now.

                            As for the "built-in" custom cellar....that's down the road but something I am willing to do. For the look and for the reassurance the bottles I will end up buying won't come crashing to the floor with a "wine rack". They just don't look too stable to me. Then again I've never owned one so who knows...maybe wattacetti can comment on this since he has a rack.

                            As for buying an insulated exterior door/frame. Will consider that if I do buy rack kits and a Koolspace temp/humidity regulating machine. Can you leave them on the floor?

                            And currently I'm not drinking wine very week. Have actually gone a few weeks without a sip. :)

                            Lastly, I have looked at the sub-$500 wine fridges but none mention anything about humidity control. I noticed that the much more expensive units have "stabilized hygrometry" http://thewineestablishment.com/shopp...) to regulate humidity. Is this an absolute necessity? Or is it just "better" for the wines being stored in the long run?

                            1. re: BDD888

                              "en severage" I see. :-)

                              If you want variety in Canada, go to Alberta; they've deregulated retail and shop owners are free to stock whatever they feel like. If you want to support BC and Ontario wineries, go buy directly from the wineries as neither the LCBO nor BCLCB seem to be interested in supporting local industry. Winnipeg is a place to go if you're interested in buying Sassicaia.

                              I'll leave you to buy the stemware in LA, but I wouldn't want to be carrying something like that as carry-on. Sales in Quebec will knock down glassware by 25-35% depending on sale and stem.

                              Units like a Koolspace should be set high since cool air sinks, which will then displace warm air. If you want a floor-mount, the Eurocave INOA25 or 50 are the units to get. Each unit will tell you how it should be installed for optimum performance.

                              Any rack that is not bolted to the wall will be flimsy and twist irrespective of whether they're hand-made or commercial product. The Rosehills I mentioned are a good compromise because they're inexpensive, offer flexibility and can be "finished" with capping and nosing if you so choose. Once the things are screwed together, levelled and then bolted to the walls via drywall anchors (as per the rack installation instructions), they're not going to do much apart from hold wine unless you happen to let loose some termites, fall into your racks or have Toronto suffer an earthquake. And they do sit on the floor or on wood bases, so they're not suspended on the walls.

                              if you're really that worried about material, there are people who make racks out of terracotta tubes which are then cemented together with brick mortar. Very "cave-like".

                              Two references. Richard Gold's "How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar", and Perry Sims "Home Wine Cellar". Your library may have them or you can buy from Amazon.

                              1. re: wattacetti

                                Ok thanks pal. Was wondering if the racks could be (or are) bolted to the walls some how. Guess I'll go this route to start. And buy a Eurocave floor-mount unit. As well as buy an insulated exterior door/frame from HomeDepot. :) Shouldn't cost more than $1500.00 to start. Possibly under a grand depending on how many racks I get.

                                1. re: BDD888

                                  The Eurocave INOA25 is $3700 and will cool 900 cubic feet. The Whispr unit is $500. Both necessitate external venting outside of the cellar.

                                  Rosehill is in Toronto so why not go talk to them.

                                  1. re: wattacetti

                                    Hi watacetti,

                                    Just found the pricing on the Eurocave 25 & 50 http://www.epicureshop.ca/store/pc/Eu...

                                    For that amount of money I might as well buy one of their wine fridges. :

                                    )

                                    So I'm sort of left with one of the shelf mounted units. Suppose I could put one on top of a tack of boxes. :)

                                    Will Google Rosehill.

                                    1. re: BDD888

                                      I did say that you could get away with one of the cheaper units. The others are not shelf-mount - think of them like air conditioners (which they are in a way).

                                      http://www.rosehillwinecellars.com/3r...

                                      They're on Olivewood Road.

                                      EDIT: and they sell Riedel stemware for much less than you've been finding in the GTA.

                                      1. re: wattacetti

                                        Was just looking through their site. Pretty extensive selection. But most of the units are beaucoup expensive. Some around $5

                                        .00 :) Though the Koolspace are the cheapest at just under $600.00. But you need to cut a whole in the wall and again in an adjacent room to vent. So you'd (I) would have to factor in the cost.

                                        Plus, do you plan to stay in this home? Would you be willing to leave it behind if/when you moved?

                                        Might go this route in the future.

                                        I priced out a combination of rack kits from their 7-ft series http://www.rosehillwinecellars.com/3r...) and it came to just under $2

                                        .00 CAD. Add a Koolspace unit for just under $600.00. Add exterior door/frame (roughly $300-500 from HomeDepot). And then add the cost of shipping, tax and maybe hiring some one to install.

                                        Think I will still look at buying a wine fridge to start. Expensive. But they do their job. You can carry it with out when you move. Move it to another room. I could buy a 171 bottle Eurocave dual-zone unit for the same money.

                                        1. re: BDD888

                                          My friends Koolspace units have been going on strong for 2+ years, so it's acceptable and inexpensive. You buy the unit for the volume of the room. If you buy one that's rated for less than the volume of your space, you'll just burn it out under load.

                                          Any built-in cellar is going to be left with the house anyway, and a cellar is now being considered a nice feature to have in some neighborhoods.

                                          It's your choice, but I predict you'll outgrow the capacity of a standalone in a calendar year.

                                          I've noticed your other threads of purchasing multiple bottles and bringing them back. Exemption is still $800 with a 1.5L alcohol limit, so everything else gets tax and duty slapped on. Border Services will take your most expensive and cheapest bottles are your two exempt and then ding you on the average of the rest. if it's all Margaux and Cristal, make sure you have some money to pay the nice Customs agent.

                                          1. re: wattacetti

                                            Thing is...I'm planning on buying a new town home in Brampton. Doubt a wine cellar will add any value to the home. It will be a loss. Great for the new home owner if they are seriously into wine. If not. The racks will be a waste...they'll probably take them down and use that room for something else. Pull out the Koolspace from the wall. Close the hole.

                                            But yes I know what you're saying. Would have to be in a hi-end neighborhood like Forest Hill, Rosedale, Richmond Hill's Bayview Hill...etc.

                                            So the more we talk about this....the more I'm leaning towards a standalone fridge. If there was a much cheaper and portable solution I'd probably take it.

                                            And about bringing wines back...yeah, I suspect I will be taking somewhat of a hit on duty/taxes. Hard to fool them into thinking they are cheap bottles of wine. "Cristal" is so well known. Rap artists talking about them on entertainment shows (MTV's Cribs). Would they have some kind of list? They might not be familiar with Ch Margaux as the lavel looks like all the others.

                                            Do you know roughly how much the duty/taxes would be on lets say an $1000,00 worth of vino?

                                            1. re: BDD888

                                              They know all the major labels and you'll have to produce receipts anyways.

                                              Customs entry in Quebec would have you pay duty and provincial tax which amounts to around 100% of the value. Just keep it as a rule of thumb as Ontario sales tax rate and LCBO levy will be different.

                                              1. re: wattacetti

                                                100% of the value???? CRIKEY!! So I better keep it under $800.00 :) So that means just the one bottle of 1996 Ch Margaux. Or a bottle of 1990 Cristal Champagne (which I can get for under $500 USD). Or have a friend from LA bring up a few bottles and drop them off. :) Probably buy the Bordeaux as I'm more a fan of bordeaux's. Even if I'll have to wait for this bottle to mature.

                                                Thanks for the info!! :)

                                                1. re: BDD888

                                                  Also, there seem to be many in the Cristal-crowd, that buy, spill and seldom drink. Not bad Champagne, but a tad of a cult there. Go with the Ch. Margaux.

                                                  Enjoy,

                                                  Hunt

                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    If I do buy some Cristal it would just be to try. To see what the talk or hype is about. But for the most part Cristal is bought by posers. As you know. Most know even less than I do. :) I've seen some celeb shows where some celebs admitted they don't even drink. It's for status. Bit of a waste. Not buying a bottle of wine because they truly love the taste.

                                                    I'll still buy the Ch Margaux '96. Great price, meets the customs exemption requirement (only allowed to bring in $750 CDN worth of goods...the 96' would be just under that at $744.xx CDN...sells for more than double that at almost $1700 CDN locally as I've already mentioned).

                                                  2. re: BDD888

                                                    Cristal is one of my favorites. I like it aged...a long time....!!!! I enjoy the apricot and nutty flavors that come out particularly with Cristal. I am drinking Cristal from the 1980's now, the bubbles are smaller and fewer but the wine flavor comes out and smacks you directly in the face. I bring a 30+ year old bottle to the beach every year for my lovers Birthday. We drink it in paper cups, crack fresh shrimp -and watch the sun set over the water. Nothing else would do.

                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                      I'm cure there are educated drinkers who are fans of Cristal. I heard it's composed more of Cab Sav than Pinot Noir). I think for that reason I might prefer a bottle of Bollinger. Haven't tried both yet though. So who knows. More bottles to add to my short list to sample. :)

                                                      Hard to find 30 yr old bottles of Cristal these days. Did you buy a case of it at tome time? :)

                                                      1. re: BDD888

                                                        Yes, I bought cases of Cristal, Dom and Salon every year from 1978 through 1996. I thought I might sell some them, however, I prefer to drink them. I am drinking the mid 1980's now. It is a family and personal ritual. I hope you don't miss the fact that special wine, protected for many decades, can be a powerful source of tradition and comfort in a family. It need not be about "posers" or whatever. It can have it's own meaning and value. I know I might sound like a romantic old fart... but that doesn't happen much with "cheap wine" or others- as they come and go, they change technique/profiles/process. My loved ones value certain wines at certain times. Birth wines (or ports) are also special for your loved ones. There is much more to collecting than just buying expensive wine.

                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                          I'm sure. You reach a point in your life where if you're able why not enjoy it on good wine? We only live once. And if it has sentimental value...even better. I was just commenting before about how Cristal is more often associated with rap stars and celebs who wouldn't even know what a decanter is. :) Same thing happens with DP. Which isn't to say an experienced wino could appreciate a particular vintage of either. :)

                                                          1. re: BDD888

                                                            Yes. I totally understand. It really is very funny....when you're OLD! "Rap stars" were not in existence when I was buying it! I don't know any rap stars, but my kids listen to it (I think). However, "great wine" does not become great...and stay great...because of some rap star or celeb. It can stand on it's own, for DECADES. This is the critical piece of successful collecting. It is not "chasing" flash in the pan wines. It is (however) very unfortunate that the release prices of these wines make it darned near impossible for the average Joe or Jane to buy a case. That was not the situation when I was buying.

                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                              Also, I'm sure the celebs today that do have Cristal, aren't buying specific vintages. They're likely buying what ever the vintage is readily available at the local wine shop. :)

                                                              You've given me ideas for when I'm "old". To have found certain vintages of certain varietals of wine I found I can't be without. So special that I'd like to have a few bottles if not cases (if that's possible) for my later years.

                                                              Right now I'm in the quest stage. :) Will bring back that '96 Ch Margaux.

                                                              Could bring back a '96 Bollinger & '90 Cristal for less. But for me, for now, Champagnes are not as valued compared to a good Bordeaux, PN, Cab. Sauv., Merlot, Cab Blanc...etc.

                                                              1. re: BDD888

                                                                True story: We always drink a Cristal on Christmas morning. Several years ago, my 19 year old daughter said - " mom!!!! We are drinking what (rap star X or maybe J-Lo?) drinks"!!!! (I can't remember the name but it sounded dumb to me).LOL. Suddenly I was "really cool". How did I know? How did I figure out it was such a cool drink????

                                                                I have discovered that increasingly, I have become "really cool" with my kids :) ..........occasionally. Like the old saying goes- "the older your kids get...the smarter you become" :)

                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                  Then keep on drinking Cristal. :) Serve it more often to remind your kids. :) If you and your family enjoy Cristal keep on drinking it. No matter what any one says.

                                                                  Not sure why I typed "Cab Sauv" instead of "Chardonnay" as a key ingredient in Cristal. Freudian-slip I suppose. HEH!! Guess I had Cab Sauv on my mind. Maybe I had a thirst for some white wine. Who knows.

                                                                  Lighten up Zin. Unclench. LOL!! :)

                                                                  1. re: BDD888

                                                                    Well, the champagne topic is way OT anyway :)

                                                                    BUT, just as an FYI on this thread topic of storage- check out your fridge or shelving to see that they will "nicely" accommodate Burg bottles and champagne. My wall racking doesn't do this well AT ALL. A big burg bottle takes up "almost" 2 spaces so I have to stick a 375 in between. I can't place burgs side by side without wasting space. Same with my wine fridge (but I have a cheap-o wine fridge). Champagne takes up 2 spaces. If I had it to do over, I would have paid more attention to that.

                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                      Yes. Time to get back OT. :)

                                                                      I've considered that. The two brands I'm looking at Eurocave and Cavavin both have adjustable shelving and other options. You can drop some shelves lower if needed and place one row of bottles. Or you can drop it even lower and stack a case worth of wine on one shelf. You can have one shelf setup so that you can sit your bottles with the lavel end at the front and the bottle at a 15 degree incline if you want that row for "display". But I am definitely getting a fridge by one of the two brands first before having a custom cellar done.

                                                        2. re: BDD888

                                                          >>> I'm cure there are educated drinkers who are fans of Cristal. I heard it's composed more of Cab Sav than Pinot Noir). I think for that reason I might prefer a bottle of Bollinger. <<<

                                                          WTF?!?!?!?!?!

                                                          Champagne comes from one specific place on the planet: the delineated region of Champagne, France. Its production is governed by the regulations designed and enforced by the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO) and embodied in the ***Appellation Champagne Contrôlée ***

                                                          AMONG OTHER THINGS, it controls what grapes may be used in the making of this, the world's most famous sparking wines. Three grapes are permitted, period. One white (Chardonnay), and two black (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).

                                                          Where do you get Cabernet Sauvignon???

                                                          Some Champagnes are heavier in Pinot Noir, some heavier in Pinot Meunier, and some are heavier -- even exclusively -- Chardonnay. NONE have any Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend . . .

                                                          Bollinger is a dominated by Pinot Noir, and is one of the few where the base cuvée is stored in wood (old oak fourdes). Also, there is NO DIFFERENCE between the "regular" vintage Bollinger ("Grande Année") and their tête de cuvée ("R.D.") . . . except for the time that the Champagne spends en tirage.

                                                          Louis Roederer is also built upon black grapes, but has a more balanced blend overall. Also, there is a significant difference between their vintage wine and their tête de cuvée, Cristal.

                                                          Is Cristal good? Sure it is. Is it the best Champagne out there? No. Far from it. It's not even close to being the best tête de cuvée. What it IS, is (one of) the only Champagne to come in clear glass and without a punt. The first is not a good idea; it leaves the wine vulnerable to light damage. The second is an engineering marvel. What Cristal DOES have going for it is a great story behind its creation, and that -- in the 1980s and '90s -- it was quite popular among cocaine dealers and rap musicians.

                                                          No one I know drinks it now . . .

                          3. re: BDD888

                            Well, when I finished my cellar, my realtor was at an event. She toured the cellar (not overflowing then), and commented, "Don't worry. If you ever sell the house, I'll just call this a food cellar, should the prospective buyers not be into wine... "

                            I built a passive cellar in Denver, against the North & East walls, and then in PHX, took it to the next level. Here, with the Summer heat, I did add a backup cooler - just in case. With the super-insulation, I loose less than 0.5F/day, without cooling, so am good for some time. Should a power outage go for more than a week, I'd just get to drinking, and in a hurry, or I'd rent a Honda generator to power one of the cooling units..

                            Enjoy,

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              There's always a way of explaining a semi-custom of built-in cellar. :) For me I think I'll still start with a "portable" wine fridge from either Eurocave or Cavavin. There are smaller models carrying only 46 bottles or 146. Ranging in price from $1500-2500 CDN. The 46 bottle version can be installed as a built-in under a counter. Which I could later incorporate into a custom cellar. Don't know how serious I'll get given time. :)

                              Mostly, what is stopping me from possibly getting a custom cellar done immediately after I move into my new place next year is that when I do sell I won't be able to recoup my investment. Made that mistake with the first home I owned. Spent tens of thousands more than I could possibly recover. Thought at first I would stay there for many years more than I did.

                              My parent's home on the other hand it would be a bonus selling point. Spending 25-50k on a custom cellar would be in proportion to the value of their last home.

                              1. re: BDD888

                                Why do manufacturers like EuroCave and Cavavin both offer "dual-zone" (and even 3 zone) fridges if the "optimal" temp for both red and white wines is 13C (or between 55-60F). As is the case in cellars in France. Seems to be the general consensus from what I've been reading.

                                Though, have read in the odd article who say that white wines can be stored at colder temps. Closer to 7C.

                                Were dual-zone fridges designed to cater to those that believe reds and whites should be stored at different "optimal" temps? And along the same lines if there is an optimal storage temp than why do manufacturers bother offering a range of 5-17C for you to set their single-zone or each dual-zone fridge? Why not design the fridges to operate only at 13C?

                                1. re: BDD888

                                  Dual- and triple-zone units are designed to keep bottles in storage as well as in "serving temperature" ranges. This is one of the reasons I thought it was strange that you wanted one especially as you touted a need to store.

                                  Not everyone thinks that 13ºC is the ideal storage temp so you get some flexibility.

                                  1. re: wattacetti

                                    Funny enough that is pretty much exactly what I was just told by a whine accessory supply shop. One zone for storage the other for "serving temp". :) It was just that I read that some suggested that white wines can be stored at colder temps. Which was why I assumed one zone would be for reds and the other whites. Till I read more how many believe that reds and whites should be stored at the same "ideal" temp of 13C.

                                    So now I guess I'll either just buy a single-zone w/ a chilling tray (to bring white wines to serving temp). Or still get a dual and set the 2nd zone either to bring red or white wines to serving temp.

                                    Thanks wattacetti. Have a good one.

                                    1. re: BDD888

                                      Wine storage is supposed to mimic a cave or an uninsulated castle somewhere in England back in the 1800s.

                                      Not all whites are served heavily chilled. You'll make little Baby J*sus cry if you serve a chilled bottle of Leflaive's Les Pucelles Puligny-Montrachet. And Qupé's Bien Nacido Roussanne may as well be acidulated water if it's not close to room temp.

                                      1. re: wattacetti

                                        Didn''t know that about some white wines. :) I drink mostly reds so I suppose getting a single-zone is the way to go.

                                        I suppose those 2 whites are good wines? Will Google them....

                                        1. re: BDD888

                                          I like them but I'll let Brad Ballinger and others answer you on whether they're good or not.

                                          1. re: wattacetti

                                            Short answer: Yes. They are good.

                                            Long answer: As long as you like them, they're great. They are two highly recognized producers, Domaine Leflaive in the Côte d'Beaune and Qupé (Bob Lindquist) in California -- and for good reason.