If you are thinking about getting a wine cellar or already have one in your home, you know how difficult it can be to find the right type of wine to fill it. Questions like which wines you should consume right away or which will last the longest can undermine the selection process.
The key is to have a well-balanced selection of wines that complement every occasion and your tastes. You should also know which types of wines are worth cellaring and which are not. If you want to master wine’s art and science, you might want to consider taking a sommelier certification.
It is fair to say that there are many different wines, each with its own unique and fascinating qualities. Few wines, however, stand out as truly special enough to be collected. Here’s a list of some of the most delicious wines you must keep in your wine cellar for various occasions.
One of the world’s most popular wines, Chardonnay is a must-have wine in your selection. This wine can be aged or consumed right away, making it suitable for various occasions. Its versatility stems from the wine’s various aging techniques —the wine can age in stainless steel or oak barrels before being bottled, with every method producing a completely different and mesmerizing flavor.
Furthermore, the best way to expand your knowledge of wine is to experience free tastings in different distilleries and wineries across your country.
Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains offer stunning wanderlust and a few of the world’s most popular wineries. With a little bit of searching and Googling, you can find the best Gatlinburg winery to visit and experience a self-guided tour of wine and its history.
2. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir, most commonly known as red Burgundy, is a French wine that originated in the Burgundy region. Moreover, this wine has a rich, bold flavor frequently accompanied by cherry and strawberry notes. Red Burgundy is one of the more expensive wines available, making it an excellent investment if you’re planning a special occasion in the future. However, please don’t be concerned about the price. It has become a famous and fancy style of wine over the years. It can now be found at more reasonable price points in Australia, Oregon, and California.
3. The Big Reds
First Growth Bordeaux, Gran Riserva Rioja, and Chianti Classico – are the Big Reds and can be found in traditional wine cellars around the globe. These wines are known for their ability to age gracefully. Still, the same can be said for lower-level wines from these areas or your local equivalent.
Red wine storage is all about maintaining temperature and humidity stability when it comes to storage. If your budget does not allow for Chateau Margaux, a fifth growth or even a Bordeaux Superior will most likely suffice. Similarly, big reds from the New World, such as Argentine Malbec, South Australian Shiraz, or Californian cabernet, benefit from aging.
After Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre, the Chenin Blanc wines of Vouvray are the most well-known Loire Valley products. The medium-sweet Moelleux styles have the body, acid, and sugar to age for decades. Over time, these wines become less sweet as they merge and produce honey, nut, and marmalade flavors and are available in various styles.
Similar to the finest white wines, Vouvray is best enjoyed chilled and pairs wonderfully with tasty meals. Prior to drinking, refrigerate a bottle of Vouvray and allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately 20 to 30 minutes on a warm spring or summer day. This French wine is a perfect accompaniment to salmon, trout, shellfish, sushi, pork tenderloin, veal, and spicy chicken. It also pairs well with dishes such as cheese souffle, pasta, and roasted pork with apples.
This versatile wine is grown exclusively in California and comes in various styles. Zinfandel is one of the few grapes thought to be indigenous to the United States. Zinfandel is typically aged in American oak, imparting an earthy spiciness to the jam-like ripe fruit flavors. Zinfandel is also known as one of the more intoxicated wine varieties, with a powerful punch. Although it is known to pair well with a wide range of foods, grilled or smoked meats are its ideal match.
The structure of Nebbiolo makes it ideal for aging, with tannin and acid providing a solid foundation for a variety of herb, fruit, and savory flavors. Barolo is an excellent choice because it is Italy’s finest example of Nebbiolo. Moreover, Barbaresco and other Piemonte wines and a few Australian standards will do well in cellar keeping.
7. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet sauvignon is the most amazing red wine, with anise, black pepper, and currant flavors. It is a rich and bold wine grown in almost every wine-growing region worldwide. Cabernet sauvignon, best known for its origins in Bordeaux and Napa, is also widely grown in South America. If you’re serving red meat, Cabernet Sauvignon is your wine, but if it’s a little too powerful for your taste. Look for Meritage, which means a mixture of two or more Bordeaux fruit, which can be malbec, petit Verdot, merlot, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon.
8. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety with green skin that produces crisp, dry, medium-bodied varietal wine.
This dry wine has a tropical fruit flavor of green apples and flavors of bell pepper and fresh gooseberry. Sauvignon Blanc is also used in the white Bordeaux wine blend as a blending grape. It can age for up to seven years, but Sauvignon Blanc blends can be ten to twenty years old and are best served in a tiny U-shaped wine glass.
Riesling grapes grow best in cooler wine regions. It is primarily grown in France, Germany, and a few other parts of the world. Riesling wines have a distinguishable acidity and a rigorous fruit flavor: apricot, pear, green apple, and peach. Furthermore, dry Riesling wines can be aged 5-15 years, while sweet Rieslings can be aged 20-30 years.
Riesling wines offer a range of fruity to floral aromas. Initial notes are often intense with hints of citrus or orchard fruits. Sweeter Riesling wines exhibit stronger flavors of peach and apricot, while dry Rieslings showcase more pronounced aromas of grapefruit and apple.
The recommended serving temperature for Riesling is 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When chilled in the fridge, the wine becomes cooler, so it’s advisable to allow it to sit at room temperature before serving to achieve the perfect flavor profile.
Dry Riesling pairs well with white meat dishes, fish, and seafood. On the other hand, semi-dry Riesling is ideal for fruitier or lightly spiced dishes such as Indian or Thai cuisine. It also complements pork dishes with various fruit sauces.
10. Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a classic Italian white wine. This wine is dry, light, and refreshing, with crisp fruit flavors like pear or apple. The Pinot Grigio also contains different cultivation styles that yield medium-bodied wines with floral aromas and a dash of minerality. Although both styles are interchangeable, the latter is usually referred to as Pinot Gris rather than Pinot Grigio. Both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio couple well with seafood, particularly shellfish.
So these were some of the best wines to keep in your cellar. And since there’s a big and all-encompassing world of wine for you to experience and explore, you should keep your taste buds open and ready to try something new. A good wine cellar is, after all, diverse and full of exotic flavors. So add these wines to your collection and increase the fun of the celebration.