There are some things in this world that grow better as they age. Some become more beautiful with wrinkles on their faces, while some things simply grow mellower, richer, and tastier as they age. One such thing is red wine. If stored in proper conditions, it grows all the more divine in taste as it ages slowly.
Many believe that a well-aged red wine is fit for the Gods in heaven, and is one of the very reasons to celebrate life and mortality. Its scent and color can have one transfixed. Using it in cooking gives your food the heavenly taste and delicious aroma. However, you need to know how exactly you can store it, or else you will have it turning into vinegar.
Your cellar need not be a basement room, it could be just a special place allotted for your wines. You can easily have a small storage in your flat or apartment as well.
Need of a Cellar
Not all wines are meant for storage, and only those that require aging are the ones put in a cellar. For starters, white wine is for straight consumption and should not be stored at all. But red wine stored at the ideal temperature, ages gracefully to fetch higher prices and greater demand. Thus, they definitely need good temperature and humidity-regulated cellars. If white wine is temporarily stored in the same cellar as red wines, it needs to be refrigerated at least an hour before actual consumption. If properly stored in airtight containers, red wine is known to stay good for an unbelievable 100 years.
Good control over temperature is essential if you are to keep the wine in your cellar edible. It is also important not to hasten the mellowing process with inappropriate temperature, for the drink wouldn't taste half as good then, and there are even chances of its getting spoiled. Here are a few facts you would be interested to know about:
- The ideal temperature is documented to be between 55ºF (13ºC) and 58ºF (15ºC). This is known to be the best to encourage a slow mellowing. At 55ºF, the aging is complex and requires no additional attention, as it will go about doing its own thing in a proper and desired manner.
- Any temperature between 40ºF (5ºC) and 65ºF (18ºC) also does well for the proper storage and aging, provided it remains free of large fluctuations. Large or rapid fluctuations can not only harm your product by aging them too quickly, but will also change the chemical reactions taking place in them to give out unpredictable results in their taste.
- Along with the right temperature, it is absolutely essential to keep them corked in air-tight containers. If they are not stored in such a manner, oxidation will ruin them irrevocably and render it useless for consumption purposes. Even short time durations around 87ºF can harm them, so it is essential to maintain strict wine cellar temperature control.
- Keeping them at high temperatures even for short durations effectively cooks them, and believe me, have a sip of such a cooked drink, and you'll never want it again! They will lose most of their freshness and character, making your expensive wine taste like some rotten grape juice.
- One last thing, it is absolutely okay if your cellar temperature drops below the ideal figure. Just ensure that your wine doesn't freeze (i.e., keep the temperature of the cellar above 0ºC), and it will continue to stay good and age gracefully.
A cellar is expected to be somewhat damp, but not in the extreme sense of the word. The dampness aids in preserving the bottle corks, and prevents their excessive drying out. This is necessary to keep the corks in shape, and even storing the bottles horizontally helps in keeping them well hydrated and expanded in perfect shape. Excessive dampness can also spoil the wine stored in the cellar, so such a case should be avoided by taking the proper measures for the same.
Just maintaining the proper temperature and humidity is not enough for the proper storage. They need to be stored in relative darkness, as harsh ultra-violet rays spoil their taste. This is one of the main reasons why it has historically been marketed in colored glass bottles. Apart from this, it requires the least amount of disturbance and vibrations.
It should be allowed to sleep in an undisturbed, unmoved manner, for it to get the most uniformly-mellowed aging. Last, but not the least, it is very important to keep strong odors away from your cellar. Strong smells can effectively permeate through the corks of the stored wine, and may end up changing their taste and character.
Even after giving your wines the perfect atmosphere and providing them with the best facilitation, they may not mature well. This is solely because, the taste and character is dependent on several factors, like the type and quality of grapes and the sizes of the bottles. Now you know why the best of wines is always so damn expensive, after all, so much hard work and effort has been spent in its making.