Building Your Wine Cellar
Today’s article deals with the all-important matter of building and stocking your personal wine-cellar. “How many?” “What kinds? and of course “What’s this going to cost me?” Are all legitimate questions.
Let’s deal with the hardware first. You can create your personal “cellar” out of virtually anything that will keep your bottles cool, dark and undisturbed. For the apartment dweller, a closet will suffice. If you’re doing some serious cell-time, you’re "cellar" is gonna have to be a few bottles shoved under your cot. If you can attack a couple of guards with a home-made shiv, you should be able to get a nice long stretch in solitary and your wine will do very well in that dark, damp environment. Then all you gotta do is bribe the Warden to import some Bordeaux and Stratus for you and your time behind bars will be very well-spent. Proper jail etiquette requires a bribe of a carton of cigarettes for the Bordeaux and maybe two cartons of cigarettes and 3 bars of Irish Spring for the Stratus. Follow the rules and you’ll have a nice, cozy little wine-bar behind bars running in no time!
It’s true that you can purchase expensive wine refrigerators, but they are more for snob appeal than actual usefulness. You can always stick your white wine in the fridge for a while if you plan in advance what you’re going to drink. You don’t need every frickin’ bottle at that temperature all the time. If you take issue with this, I direct you to my other newsletter that you’ll find more suited to your intelligence: Wine for Dix
Anyhow...I recommend you go to IKEA and purchase a stand-alone pinewood wine rack for about 150 bucks. Yes, it’s a pain to put together. You’re given a stack of lumber and some nuts and bolts and a white instruction sheet that makes about as much sense as a Japanese blowfish speaking Hungarian. The key is to put on some AC/DC and open a few bottles of 14.5 % alcohol New World Shiraz and reward yourself with a glass for every accomplishment; say everytime you put a screw in correctly. Granted this will extend the building of the wine rack to the tune of several hours, but you’ll be damn happy with the result!
100 bottles is a good number to aim for in the beginning. That way you’ll have variety on hand and will not have to run out to pick up an Alsatian Gewürztraminer because you are serving Thai. Make sure you get a good assortment. I recommend the following representative types from both Old World and New World vintages:
Cabernet Sauvignon – 6 types
Cabernet Franc – 2 or 3 types
Merlot – None whatsoever (If you’re tempted to contest this, see Wine for Dix)
Red Zinfandel - 2 types
Pinot Noir – lots
Shiraz – tons
Bordeaux – 6 to 10 bottles to lay down and drink later
Barolo – 2 types
Amarone – 2 bottles
Beaujolais – 2 or 3 bottles of a good one such as Julienas
Argentinean Malbec - Try a few brands. This grape does great in South America
Chablis – 4 bottles minimum
Chardonnay – 6 types, both oaked and unoaked
Sauvignon Blanc – 6 types
Pinot Gris or Grigio – a few bottles for frivolity’s sake
Hungarian Furmint – a few bottles because it’s delicious
Bordeaux Blanc – 2 types
Gewurtztraminier – couple of bottles
Cremant de Bourgogne sparkling white – 6 bottles
Veuve Clicquot Champagne – All you can afford
Remember the 15 minute rule: Put your reds into the fridge (not freezer) for 15 minutes before drinking to bring them to cellar temperature. Pull your whites out of the fridge 15 minutes before drinking. Most people drink reds too warm and whites too cold.
Assorted Canadian Wines
Try out some of these whether or not they’re listed above. Don’t miss the following wineries: Henry of Pelham, Burrowing Owl, Inniskillin, and of course Stratus. If you’re going to try Canadian Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, I highly recommend you buy from a left-coast winery. I just don’t see evidence of any good ones coming out of Ontario yet. Make sure you pick up some Trius Grand Red if you can spare the coin.
Flesh out your collection with a wide variety of other wines, including Port, Sherry and Madeira and you’ll be off to the races.
Now get drinking!
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh