Cellaring wines and restaurant wine lists

11I’m interested in starting a wine cellar at my home in New Delhi, and am wondering what wines you’d advise I start off with?

The principle question is, will this cellar serve the purpose of containing wines for a short rotation of time – say less than three years – or is this cellar designed to age wines. I am not convinced that in New Delhi you can build a cellar to age wines and thus will opt for first alternative.

Assuming that your wines are intended to be shared among friends, I would embark on a selection of 30 bottles of which 10 would be whites. The cellar should be vintage oriented concentrating on two “old worlds” – French and Italian and one “new world” probably Australian or Chilean.

For the reds, I would base my selection on vintages that are not older than 2008. For the whites I would be inclined to go for younger vintages like 2009 or 2010. As for the grape variety I would stick to the classics like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir for the reds and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for the whites. On depletion of your taste orientation.

 I often leave my wine in less than ideal conditions before drinking it. What factors are harmful to wines and what can I do to reduce quality deterioration without a proper cellar?

The major and direct enemies for stored wines are heat, light, oxygen and low humidity. If you are a casual wine drinker who will leave a good wine bottle lying around for less than six months to a year before consuming it, then a sophisticated cellar system is not required provided you adhere to the following fundamental suggestions.

Always keep your bottles on their sides, stored in a cool place below 20°C humidity levels of between 65% to 90%. Ensure equally that your wine is kept out of direct sunlight and away from heavy age worthiness of your wines in order to drink them before they are past their prime. And you either buy a little more storage or fewer bottles which you will consume soon.

For a person not familiar with wine, how should I choose from an intimidating wine list at a restaurant, apart from the price?

I have always stood for drinking a wine that one enjoys rather than drinking a wine from which one must take pleasure. Expensive wines do not guarantee maximum satisfaction nor do cheaper wines symbolise deception. It is all a question of one’s individual taste and this is very personal. My recommendation to you is to start enjoying wines at random and establish the “likes” versus the “don’t likes”. Then break down your preferred selection into grape varieties and thereafter into country of origin. Once you have reached this level of savour detection your question will be automatically superseded.