A comprehensive wine information guide in a program to manage your home cellar




НазваниеA comprehensive wine information guide in a program to manage your home cellar
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Why Cellar Wine


First and foremost, wine generally improves in the bottle as it ages


All red wines develop and improve in the bottle for the short, medium, or long term, depending on the style and quality of the wine and vintage. Although some white wines benefit from (usually short-term) cellaring, it must be said that most are best enjoyed when relatively young.


Wine is best stored somewhere cool, dark, airy, and free from vibration and dampness. A cellar need not be under the house. The single most important factor is temperature stability. Wine stored when the temperature varies gradually with the seasons are better off than wine stored in a room which is heated during the day and then allowed to cool to, say, winter temperatures at night.


If you intend to mature wines for five, 10, 15 years or more, the ideal cellar temperature is 14-15 degrees celsius, with a relative humidity of 60-75%. If the wine in your cellar is a significant investment, it is worth using a thermometer to monitor Summer temperatures. It may be cause for concern if cellar temperature goes much over 18 degrees C as warm conditions will accelerate the development of your wines.


Bottles should be stored on their sides with the label facing up, so that the cork remains wet, the bubble of air is in the shoulder, and any sediment will collect at the bottom of the bottle and you do not need not disturb a wine to identify it.. This will make the wine easier to decant.


When is a wine at its best?


There is no simple answer to this question, because so many factors are involved. Do you prefer a bold, young wine, or do you prefer the gentle, mellow, softer complexity of a fully mature wine? What style is the wine in the first place? A great and powerful Grange that needs 10 to 15 years in bottle to begin to show its best? Or an easy-drinking Koonunga Hill that may start to fade after four or five years?


Whatever your level of wine experience, the best answer is to trust your own palate. Taste a wine regularly to see how it is developing and judge when it reaches a point at which you really enjoy drinking it. If you have one case of 12 bottles, a typical pattern might be to drink two or three bottles while the wine is developing, six to eight bottles over the year or two you feel it is at its peak, with two or three bottles left over to satisfy your curiosity about its longer-term potential. Compare your judgement with the winemaker's guides given in this program.


Bear in mind, especially if you are using the guides in this program, that your wine will tend to mature more quickly if your cellaring conditions are not ideal. Also half-bottles mature more quickly, and magnums (1.5 litre) more slowly than standard 750ml bottles.


Serving Temperature


The European idea of serving red wine at "room temperature" works very well in cooler climates. But in Australia or California it could mean serving Shiraz or Cabernet at over 30 degrees C in Summer. This is too warm and ruins the experience of drinking a fine red wine.


The bottle should be cool to the touch, but not cold: a "cellar temperature" of 15 to 18 degrees C is ideal. Do not be concerned if this means cooling your reds in the refrigerator for half an hour prior to serving.


Temperatures for serving whites are not so critical, but beware of over-chilling and avoid storing white wine in the refrigerator for long periods. Both tend to deaden flavour. It is best to chill white wine as it is needed. The best way is in an ice-bucket for 20 to 30 minutes with a mixture of ice and water. Chardonnay particularly, is often served too cold. The wine's real flavour will only begin to emerge when the chill comes off.


Decanting


When should wine be decanted?


Decanting Wine is the process of pouring wine from its bottle into another vessel (the decanter). The decanter usually has a very wide base and is of a greater volume than the average bottle of wine.


There are two good reasons to decant a wine. One is to separate the clear wine from any sediment or "crust" that has formed in the bottle as the wine has aged. The other is to stimulate or enliven the wine by exposing it to air and giving it a chance to "breathe".


Wines which generally have lots of tannins often benefit from the aeration decanting provides. The exposure to oxygen helps soften some of the harsh tannins which makes the wine more enjoyable. This process is also known as allowing the wine to "breathe" which can take place in the bottle (not as effective) or in your glass (wine rarely stays in the glass long enough).


If you like, you can use a candle or light underneath the bottle to see when the sediment enters the shoulder, but it is easier, if you have a marked jug, simply to stop pouring when the wine reaches the 720ml mark, discarding the last 30ml. If you wish, rinse the bottle and pour the decanted wine back into the bottle, using a funnel if necessary.


Decanting is not just for old wines. In fact, younger wines benefit most from decanting and breathing, which "opens them up". Try buying two identical bottles, decanting one and letting the wine breathe for one to two hours, then opening the other and tasting the wine from both bottles. If it is some time before a wine will be served, the bottle can be loosely recorked. This is recommended for very old wines, which may deteriorate quickly once exposed to air.


The Right Glasses


Glassware can make a big difference to the way a wine tastes. Try the same wine out of a tumbler and a fine, thin-walled wine glass, The wine always seems to taste better out of a good glass. A good, all-purpose wine glass need not be expensive. It should have a total capacity of about 220ml and be slightly tapered or tulip-shaped at the top, which helps to concentrate the bouquet when the wine is swirled around in the glass before nosing. After all, much of what we "taste" is really what our nose tells us about the wine.


Make sure your glasses are clean, which means careful rinsing in warm or hot water and avoidance of the use of detergent in washing. Glasses should be stored upright and aired before use. Do not use glasses straight out of an old cupboard or sideboard, or straight from a cardboard box. Sniff a glass straight out of a box or cupboard and you can easily detect the musty or cardboardy smell.


The pleasures of sharing good bottles are never greater than when the wines that you chose and bought years ago turn out to have matured magnificently in your cellar. Decanted and served in fine glasses with good food, such wines epitomise the rewards of patience. We hope this advice on the cellaring and serving of wine will enable you to make certain that your good bottles taste great, and your great bottles taste truly memorable. If you love wine, the effort required to achieve this becomes part of the total experience. A good bottle of red, especially one you have carefully stored for some years, and now decanted ready for serving, is an investment that is about to pay its dividend in the form of your drinking pleasure. Such experiences are the rewards of patience.


Notwithstanding the above, you should never avoid drinking wine simply because you don't have the correct glass.

Reference information about a wine


See also Information in The Uncorked CellarInformation


% Alcohol - usually printed on the label of the bottle as a percentage.

Wines are usually in the 12.5% to 14% range with some going as high as 17%.

We no longer ask wineries to provide this information, but the field is provided for your use.


Barcode - the barcode printed on the bottle. This barcode is either EAN or UPC format and usually does not specify the bottle's vintage. This barcode on the bottle should not be confused with the barcode on the numbered or printable wine tags. The barcode on the tag is a replication of the number on the tag. At the moment we have few barcodes included in the database but are working to increase this over time


Bottle Size (or User Field 2) - Enter the size of the bottle, in mls. A standard Australian bottle is 750 mls, although some European bottles have a 700 ml size. Many Italian bottles are either 500 mls or 1 Litre which is 1000 mls.

If you have different sized bottles you should store them in different records.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


Bottles per Case - Enter the number of bottles per case of this wine (usually 12). Used where you have multiple cases of the same wine


Country - This is the country in which the wine was made. When adding wines, select this field first to load the appropriate country database


Cases - Enter the number of cases you have of this wine. Note, if you have both half and full size bottles, you should enter the wine twice, once for each bottle size. You can enter up to 5 digits here.... see also Bottle size


Drink By - Enter the date the wine should be consumed before. You may use this field to enter when a wine is "best until"

See also

When is a wine at its bestWhenisawineatitsbest


Hold Until - Enter the date the wine should be held before you taste. Usefull in conjunction with "Taste Next", "Peak" and "Drink By".

See also

When is a wine at its bestWhenisawineatitsbest


Label - the name of the wine itself.


Location (or User Field 1) - If you use bins or boxes to store your wine, you should uniquely number each box. Then you can enter the box or bin number here. This saves searching through half the boxes in the cellar to find the wine you want!

Hint: I categorise our wines first by the year they 'Peak' then by unique bin.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


Maturity - a calculated status based on the vintage of the wine, and when the winemaker thinks that the wine will be at it's peak (which we take to be 'half the life' of the wine). For the first third of the time between a wines' vintage and its peak, the wine maturity is reported as YOUNG. The next third is reported as IMPROVING, then DRINK NOW. A similar progression beyond the peak sees this reported as DRINK NOW (again), MATURING, MATURED and finally OLD (more than twice the time has elapsed between the wines' vintage and it's peak year)


Merit - a calculated figure between 0 and 100 for each vintage of this wine. Factors which are considered in the merit values for wines include a rating of this vintage of this wine as given by the winemaker (or similar wines by other winemakers in the region), vintage consistency, actual region, my general regard for this wine or winery, cost of the wine etc. While we do not claim to be experts, we do know what we like. If your opinion differs from the one displayed here, no problems. Simply change the rating as you add the wine to your cellar.

In general, ratings of 50 or above represent good wines, 70 or above represent excellent wines, while 90 or above indicate world class wines. Very few vintages of wines achieve a 100 rating - This indicates that the winemaker has no higher aspirations for this wine, and that the wine itself is truly world class. Obvious examples in this category are the better (but not all) Grange vintages.


Peak - the year the winemaker expects the wine to be at its best. Although there is really no such thing as the one best year for a wine, a wine (either red or white) will typically improve for around a third of its bottle life, be 'at its peak' for around another third, then gracefully decline as the wine ages further. This field describes the center of the wine's life (ie: half way through its peak). Where data is unavailable for the particular wine selected, the average life of wines of this variety and region is given as a guide. If you aren't sure, enter the current year or leave it blank. For display of vintages, this field is ignored if you enter a specific vintage year.

Note: a common recommendation is to open a bottle each year to see how the wine is maturing, so it is a good practice to buy wines in dozen lots.


Price - Enter the most recent price you paid per bottle.


Purchased - Enter the date you bought the wine.


Red, White, Sparkling, Fortified. - Simply click on the bottle icon (the buttons on the top left hand side) representing the style which best represents the wine. If you are unsure, Run the mouse over the appropriate bottle and you will see it's description


Region - the region in which the wine was made. (see Australian Wine RegionsAustralianRegions)


Note:

The Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation's (AWBC) Geographical Indications Committee, established in 1993, is working with the industry to clearly define the winegrape growing regions of Australia. To implement commitments under the EC/Australia Wine Agreement, a Register of Protected Names has also been established to provide protection for the names and boundaries of Australian and EC geographical indications, to register traditional expressions for wine, as well as the winegrape varieties to be used in the manufacture of wine in Australia.


Tag - Used to control your wine inventory through numbered wine tags. The tags themselves are available from our website.

See also

How do I... Add Tags To Wines in my CellarTagWizard


Taste Next - Enter the date the wine should be tasted next. You may use this field to enter when a wine is "best from"

See also

When is a wine at its bestWhenisawineatitsbest


Total Bottles - Enter the number of bottles you have of this wine. Note, if you have both half and full size bottles, you should enter the wine twice, once for each bottle size. You can enter up to 5 digits here.... see also Bottle size


User Field 1 - By default, this is labeled location.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.

As with all user fields, the one field contains information for every bottle in this record.


User Field 2 - By default, this is labeled Bottle Size.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


User Field 3 - Enter anything you want here.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


User Field 4 - Enter anything you want here.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


User Field 5 - Enter anything you want here.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


User Field 6 - Enter anything you want here.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


User Field 7 - Enter anything you want here.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.


User Field 8 - Enter anything you want here.

You can name this field on the Cellar Display Preferences page of the PreferencesSetupPreferences popup.

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