A cellar of your own

By Angel Rivas - jun 17, 2020

You’ve already organized you closet, thrown out useless stuff and separating clothes you are not going to use anymore, but your cellar needs you to dig into it.

It doesn’t means to throw away everything. On the other hand you cellar, even if it is big or small, deserves time to get the bottles out and put them back in perfect order.

First thing is to separate wine, beer and sake. The last two are fermented drinks that cannot last too long, so you should drink them within the next six months you bought them, most of them have an expiry date. Not all will be bad after this time term, but you have to open them to know for sure.

Let’s continue with wines. Whites and rosés usually last around five years counting from their vintage year. There are some exceptions depending on the quality and the region where it was produced. Sparkling ones must be stored vertically and can be kept some more years, but not forever.

Red wine should be ordered by country, region and vintage, of course put your favourite ones in the most accessible spot. The variety is not a relevant clue for date of consumption. Buy some bottleneck labels so you can keep track of your wines by writing down on them the names and vintages. If you can recycle the labels will be better.

A red can be preserved for 10 years, but also it helps to know if there’s oak in it as it extends its life. Also the region can help you with that too.

Dessert wines and fortified, like porto or sherry, have longer lives but they aren’t inmortal.

Spirits can be maintained for a long period of time, but usually evaporate. The best tip is to order them by drink style: gin, vodka, tequila, rum, whisky, brandy, cognac and others. Bottles should be standing up and away form heat and light as all others.

Liquors should have their space and they last for long, except ones with a milk base which don’t last much. The only problem with some of these is crystallization or contamination by some odors.

You should be able to have all your bottles under your eyes when you get to your cellar and have an idea of what to drink fist remembering the expiry date, but enjoying that you know perfectly what you own.

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Food and wine journalist with two decades of experience. Editor and reporter at Reforma newspaper in Mexico and current collaborator in different media. Awarded with the Best Journalism Career 2011 by Vatel Club Mexico.