What to Cellar?

26 Apr

This week I joined my friends Jenn & Stub as part of their live broadcast of Wine Antics to talk discuss cellaring!

If you missed it, you can watch the episode here:


Now, during this episode, we talked about what wines you SHOULD think about cellaring, and it was suggested that I put a blog post up as a reference. #SmartThinking, #GoodResource. So let’s do that, but let’s go back to my cellar basics first:


First, let’s talk about long term storage. Those are wines that I expect will need to be in perfect temperature, light, & humidity conditions for 5+ years, and some for much, much longer!

What wines do you want to cellar long term? 

1. Start with Full-Bodied Red Wines, especially from Classic & Cult Producers

2. Any Old World First or Second Growth Wines; starting with Premium Left-Bank Bordeaux, Cru Burgundy, and stars from Châteauneuf-du-Pape

3. Italian wines from Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto, such as Amarone, Reserve Chianti & Tempranillo, Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Super-Tuscans

4. Classic Spanish and Portuguese Red Wines

5. Vintage Champagnes

6. Dessert wines such as Hungarian Tokaji, German & Alsatian Riesling, French Sauternes and Basra

7. Wines that are timeless, designed to last for decades: Port, Madeira, and Vin Jaune from The Jura region of France

8. Age-worthy white wine, usually high in acidity on release.

9. Premium/Bold Cabernet Sauvignon from the USA

Here are a few examples of wines worth holding long term:

(hey, I can dream, right?)


“But hey, JvB”, you say, “what about all the OTHER wines you have in storage?”

In addition to long term storage, I have short & medium storage, broken down as:  A) Recent acquisitions to open/taste in 1-3 year range; and B) Wines that will improve from at least 2-3 years of storage but that I may start opening sooner but enjoy before 5 years of age.

Some good examples of  wines to cellar for Short Term Storage (1-3 years): 

Washington, Texas, Virginia, & NY State Reds,

-Oregon & California Pinot Noirs,

-Most American white wines,

-American Sparkling Wines, Prosecco & Cava

-All my white/rosé wine club wines.


Some good examples of B), my wines requiring 2-to-5 years of storage, include: 

-Cru Beaujolais wines,

-Right Bank/smaller Bordeaux producers that will hit their peak earlier

-California/US Reserve Wine Club red wines

-Most European and New World lighter reds, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Garnacha

-White Bordeaux Bends, High end Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, & Chenin Blanc



Does this help you think about HOW to cellar wine, and WHAT wines to cellar, for the short, medium, or long term?

What is in your cellar? Do you have a category of wines that I entirely forgot? Drop a line and let me know what you’re holding in your cellar, for short, medium, or long term!

à votre santé!


3 Responses to “What to Cellar?”

  1. jimvanbergen April 27, 2020 at 4:21 pm #

    Hey Dave!
    Thank you for sharing & educating me, I appreciate your insight!
    So do you think many people are buying Washington State reds for 5-10 years of storage, or more? I’m going to have to go back, having gotten only a small taste (7 wineries) on my last visit to the Yakima Valley. Hope you are well! #Cheers


    • DaveTosti-Lane April 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm #

      Hi Jim – I see average windows on Cellar Tracker for some of them that extend pretty far out there. As you know, tastes really vary – I’ve had friends describe wines that I think are drinking well at a tasting as “tired” or “past their prime”, and say wines I find still too tight and harsh are “just right”.
      I personally go through periods of thinking conservatively and more liberally with regard to windows. Many of the wines I bought in 2009-2012 I initially figured for about 5 years, but am finding 2009s, 2011s, and 2012s drinking well now, with the 11s and 12s clearly able to go longer distance. Some of the 10s are starting to lose fruit and get a little tired, I don’t think they’re just temporarily shutting down, I think they may be done. With some exceptions. I often take the Vinous recommendation as a starting point when there is one, but there often isn’t. Brian Carter Cellars posts a cellaring chart – he just updated this with a 2019 version – https://www.briancartercellars.com/Purchase-Wines/Aging-Brian-Carter-Wines
      When the world is accessible again, you should come visit Woodinville with us – more than 160 tasting rooms within a half hour drive.


  2. DaveTosti-Lane April 27, 2020 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi Jim, enjoyed your appearance on the wine show.
    I agree with your basic structure of aging strategy here. (we had a lovely 2001 Fontodi Syrah the other night)
    I would argue that many of the Washington reds are also longer-term age-worthy, particularly the Cab Sauv and Cab Franc, Merlot, and some of the more interesting ones that are appearing as the climate continues to warm up, such as Touriga Nacional and Souzão. Not all of them of course – and I agree with your 3-5 rule for many. But, I’m putting down Leonetti, Brian Carter, Forgeron, Sparkman and some no longer active like William Church and Woodinville for considerably longer.
    Many of them see to drink well (if still a bit tannic) young for 2 years or so, and then cry out for 5 years at least of sleep before waking up again.
    I also think that some of the Wa Chards (usually un-oaked) seem to last well.

    Dave Tosti-Lane


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