enhanced in 2011

Only buy 28 wine bottles

You can put together a cellar that will enhance your tasting pleasure. It can be quite small if you select rather than collect.

 

Discovering wines

Buying the cheapest wine on the shelf does not necessarily get you a wine value. I invite you to consider wines made in not-so-famous districts with not-so-trendy grape varieties. It will bring more fun to your drinking, and not burden your budget.

There is more to collecting wine than spotting bargains (or trophy wines). Your cellar should contain wines of different ages and types (regions, varieties) to suit the next occasion or tasting.

US label, Hock, Napa Valley, CA, XIXth century
A common mistake is buying too much wine. Not only will it drain your wallet, it may also leave you stranded with a number of bottles that you cannot open (or give away) fast enough. Until you find out more about your own tastes, it is wise to pick only few bottles at a time.

You may also sometimes open bottles that you would have preferred to keep. A solution here is to diversify your buying. You can purchase less wine dedicated to ageing and more wine for near-term consumption.

Your collecting should fit your consumption. The latter will depend on your drinking habits which could evolve with your experience.

In short there is room for diversity: try different wines and build your own path.

 

Wine shopping list

How many wines are there? Below is a list of only 28 bottles. You can use it for starting a cellar to accompany European-style meals. It includes lesser-known regions and lesser-known grape varieties. Why? You will discover wine styles to get value for money and so that you improve your wine appreciation.


  16 red wines
 
*Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
*Bordeaux reds (compare with Cabernet)
*Argentine Malbec
*2 non-Bordeaux from Southwest France (compare with Malbec)
*Oregon Pinot Noir
*red from Burgundy (compare with Oregon)
*Shiraz from Australia
*2 Rhône reds (compare with Australia)
*Languedoc red
*red from Provence
*Gamay (such as Beaujolais)
*Loire red
*red from Spain
*red from Italy
    
  12 white wines
 
*New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
*European Riesling
*white from Provence
*dry Rhône white
*white from Burgundy
*dry Loire white
*sweet Loire white
*dry Alsace
*"Vendanges Tardives" Alsace
*dry Muscat varietal
*2 sparkling wines

  Selected French reds

  Selected French whites

 
 

label of Bongiovanni, Gamba di Pernice, Piemonte
Before you let your collection grow, I advise patience: purchase often but in small amounts. Never buy more than two bottles of a particular wine until you have had the chance to sample it (or you have at least tasted the previous vintage).

Also take care to balance the regions of origin so as to vary the pleasures and leave yourself plenty of options for matching wine with food.

You could also discuss with a wine merchant: Find one in your area by typing a location into the white box below.

Finally you may confront the types of wine by organizing a wine tasting party.

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