Balancing the Types of Wine in Storage

Balancing the Types of Wine in Storage
Aging Wine in Moldova
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If you have to worry very much about the storage conditions of your wine, it probably means that you have a lot of wines to store. This, in turn, raises a new issue: ensuring that there is some balance in all the wines you have. It's not good to have all white wines, all red wines, or all wines that need to sit for a few years before reaching their peak potential. Once you start planning on storage conditions for your wine, you should start thinking about ensuring that your wine collection is well-balanced.

What Wines Do You Enjoy?

A "well-balanced" wine collection doesn't mean having approximately the same number of wines from every category. Wine is something to be drunk and enjoyed, which entails that any wine collection — large or small — must focus primarily on whichever wines you enjoy drinking the most. A good wine collection is one where you can be sure that you will always be able to find whichever sort of wine you want at that particular time.

If you prefer to drink Zinfadel the most, then your collection should have a nice variety of Zinfadel wines from different wineries and vintages. If you prefer French wines, then your collection should have a nice selection of French wines from different regions and vintages. You see, it's possible to achieve a nice selection of options even within a relatively narrow wine category. A poorly balanced collection would mean only having Zinfadels from one winery or one year, or having wines from only one region of France.

Be Prepared With Your Wines

Because different sorts of wines are appropriate for different occasions, a well-balanced wine collection needs wines that fit different situations. Even if your preference is for French wines, for example, you should have at least a few German, American, and Australian options. No matter how much you enjoy Merlot, you need to have a few other reds as well as some white wine options.

What this means is that a well-balanced wine collection is one which allows you to be prepared for any — or almost any — situation which might arise. You need wines to go with different types of meals, wines to go with desserts, wines for sipping after a meal, and so forth. You want to be able to approach your wine collection knowing that you'll be able to find something appropriate whatever has come up.

Wine Price is No Object!

Of course price matters when it comes to wine — no one can afford to buy just anything they see. What also matters, though, is that you not limit yourself solely to just cheap, inexpensive wines in your collection. You can find a lot of very good wines for very low prices, but that doesn't change the fact that there are also good and often better wines available for higher prices. Limiting yourself to just cheaper wines means limiting your wine experience and palate.

So having a well-balanced wine collection means having at least a few wines that edge up into "moderate" pricing, and maybe even one or two expensive wines. Most of your wine collection will be just fine if it's in the $10-$20 price range, but that should be balanced against some wines in the $20-$40 price range. If you can manage, a couple of wines in the $50+ price range would be a good idea as well.

This is also a matter of "being prepared," because you never know when you might find yourself entertaining someone you really want to impress, and what better way than with a $80 red wine that you've been letting mature for four or five years?

Fortunately, many of the more expensive wines also benefit from being stored for a several years before reaching their peak flavors. This means you won't need to drink them often in order to cycle through those wines before they go bad. If you drink just one of the expensive wines every couple of years, and one or two of the moderate wines every year, you should make out fine.

All of this assumes, of course, that you are storing these wines correctly — improper temperature or humidity conditions will ruin an expensive wine very quickly and even before it was ready to drink, but you might not find that out until you try to serve it to your boss or a prospective client. What better way to ruin a good impression than to bring out an $80 red wine that, after four or five years of maturing, tastes like vinegar?

Don't Horde Special Wines

One problem which many wine drinkers get themselves into is that they start collecting wines without entirely intending to or realizing it. They come across interesting wines which they would like to save for special occasions — not cheap wines, but not necessarily the super-expensive wines either — yet those "special occasions" either never come around or don't come around as fast as new special wines do. So a person finds themselves with more and more special wines for special occasions, which means they have a lot of money invested in decent wines that they don't drink.

This is a problem because wines are meant to be drunk, not simply stored on a shelf. It's one thing to just save super expensive wines that you only have for the sake of collecting, but you shouldn't do this with wines you purchased with the intention of drinking eventually. If occasions special enough for those wines aren't coming around fast enough, then you should create your own special occasions. If your birthday or anniversary aren't enough, learn to appreciate some of the minor national holidays like President's Day and Arbor Day. Or you can make up your own holiday, like Drink a Special Wine Day. You shouldn't need a huge excuse to drink a nice wine.

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