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How To Start Your Wine Collection


wine collection

There is something special about collecting various valuable types of items. And collecting wine is definitely one of those that can be special.

Originating from China about 7000 to 6600 BC, wine fermentation technique expanded slowly but surely across western Asia and Europe to become the symbol of epicureanism or luxurious taste in drinking. The ancient Greek god Dionysus and fellow Roman Bacchus wouldn’t deny it. Wine was already part of a sophisticated lifestyle even before Christ.

Today, wine is even more fascinating as it has evolved into a delicate blend of earth, heritage, and know-how from the four corners of the world. Experts define the earth dimension as “terroir,” which covers the specific characteristics of the vineyard such as its soil composition, latitude, elevation, contour, sun exposure, and climate (Mediterranean, maritime, or continental depending on its geographical location). Each terroir is unique and the concept doesn’t include the vintage influence that will vary from a year to another according to the weather conditions. Each producer carries then the heritage of the previous generations of winemakers to sublime the terroir assets and please our palates—just like a traditional set of golden rules that have been applied for decades of practice to perfect the single varietal or blend expressions. Finally, each winemaker brings a personal touch through an array of techniques and know-how to make the estate craft exclusive.

As wine enthusiasts, our personal appreciation starts in the cellar and each single bottle can play a major role in the conversation around the table or the taste of the gathering. Margaret Fuller brilliantly said that “wine is earth’s answer to the sun.” But there is also potential for highly profitable investments other than poetry in some cases. A sensational illustration is Château Lafite Rothschild 1982, which raised from $390 a case when it was first offered in 1983 to an impressive winning bid of $35,000 in 2016.

Wine is quite unique in this way and this is why the first duty of a wine collector is to determine his or her cellar journey. Perspectives can widely differ depending on the lifestyle and budget but the most important is the final purpose of the wine collection. And the great thing is that all approaches will be satisfying if the collector takes time to consider how the wines will be truly appreciated. Pleasing guests in any circumstances or generating long-term economic benefits? Enjoying memorable moments with my friends or experiencing the sensory charm of wine in the next decade?

Naturally, there is no point to collect expensive wines (those over P5,000) if you don’t see many opportunities to enjoy them yourself and share them with your guests. Delightful wines in a more affordable price range can offer great moments, as well. Exceptional wines call for exceptional moments that you may feel don’t happen so often. But as the guardian of your wine collection, you will always have the ability to turn the ordinary occasion into a special experience.

Exceptional wines call for exceptional moments that you may feel don’t happen so often. But as the guardian of your wine collection, you will always have the ability to turn the ordinary occasion into a special experience.

The beauty of wine lies also in its capability of reminding us to enjoy the pleasures of the moment without worries about the future. An outstanding wine, however, will require a necessary ritual to bring out its unique character. This will begin with a traditional service in a decanter followed by a story evoking complimentary emotions to its aromas and taste.

It is also crucial to determine how patient you are willing to be with your collection. No one will appreciate having a wine cellar only filled with quality wines to be aged or not ready to be fully appreciated. Wine is a living element, and the evidence is the way it evolves and matures in the bottle. Fine wines tend to require at least a couple of years, if not a decade or more of maturation for the most exceptional ones, to fully express their true character. Drinking these out of impatience would be a waste so they cannot be the only options in your cellar.

A balanced cellar, therefore, would offer various wine options to suit any occasion. It should combine sparkling and still wines, red and white, young and mature, and everyday and prestigious bottles. The collection should represent various wine regions and expressions of single varietals or blends, but also provide an option to fit any food pairings as wine is always more delightful with a bite. Rosé wines, more particularly those from Provence in France, should also be considered because they can be appreciated chilled at any moment of the day, on their own or with any type of cuisine. A wine cellar composed for instant gratification would only include fine wines that are at their best of maturation. This type of approach would definitely require a higher budget.

wine collection 2

FINE WINE The cellar at Cork BGC (Photo by Noel Pabalate)

Another approach would be to build the collection for comparative tastings. The wine selection would be then based on your personal taste, for you to expand your experience and knowledge of what you love, but also on some other wines that you would like to explore. This type of approach could offer three distinct tasting experiences such as vertical tastings (to explore one producer through multiple vintages), horizontal tasting (to experience one type of wine across multiple estates and wine regions for the same vintage), and hierarchical tastings (to enjoy the pyramid of quality produced in a wine region through a balanced selection).

But perhaps most importantly, we must remember the original purpose of a wine cellar: To preserve the quality of the collection. The cellar’s primary objective is to protect the bottles from heat, light, and vibration. Nowadays, anyone can turn a part of their home into a protected cocoon but a cellar can be much more. It’s uncommon atmosphere and aesthetics can create a unique sanctuary fully integrated in any living area. It’s more than just a space to proudly display the collection. It’s the delightful start of a delicious journey to share new flavors and emotions.

Kevin is the founder of the Tasting Club. If you want to learn more about the world of wine, the Tasting Club will conduct a beginner wine appreciation workshop on Saturday, Nov. 16 (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) at Tauro Pintxos (Makati) and a comparative tasting experience between wines of both new world and old world on Saturday, Nov. 30 (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) at Dr. Wine (Poblacion). hello@thetastingclubmanila. com | (+639) 18 205 8151

Source: Manila Bulletin

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