Laying Down a Wine
Pre-eminent among wines for laying down are the red wines of Bordeaux, and those fortunate enough to secure some of the 1070s, costly as they are likely to be, may expect to have treasures indeed in the late 1070s when they are ready for drinking. Consultation with a reputable wine merchant is wise.
Storing wine at home
In most homeswine does not present insuperable problems. The underground cellar, free from draught and variations of temperature is the ideal, but as few new wine drinkers today possess one, it is necessary to seek the most suitable spot in the house or flat. That may be under the stairs, under a sideboard, in an unused corner, even in or on top of a wardrobe. The site must be away from strong light, radiators, fires or hot pipes; it must also be draught-free and unlikely to be subjected to violent temperature changes. For practical purposes this sort of laying-down should be restricted to wines likely to be drunk within a year or so. For such short-term storing a room which may be 16°C (60°F) in the summer and heated up to 18°C (65°F) in the winter does not threaten danger. Wines should be stored lying down to keep the cork moist (spirits should be kept standing) and a rack is the best place to store bottles without wasting space or risking damage. You may buy one to hold a dozen bottles and then build up gradually on Meccano lines. Look at the bottles occasionally and if a cork is ‘weeping’, drink immediately.
What to store
Do not store Champagne — it does not improve much in the bottle. Chateau-bottled Clarets and Burgundies are a good investment. Rhine wines, Sauternes and white Burgundies are also first-class wines to store. The point of the exercise is to buy wine when it is cheap enough for you to afford it, and keep it in storage until it is at its best, when it would probably be expensive to buy, though of course there is a certain gamble involved.
When to drink the wine?
If you read that a wine should be drunk young, like Beaujolais, that means within about three years of being bottled. If you are laying down wine, a rough guide is that Claret reaches maturity about 8-10 years after bottling, Burgundy about 5-8 years. But it depends on the particular wine and the year, so keep in touch with your supplier and check when your cellar should be ready to drink.