Spring Clean Your Cellar

Spring Clean Your Cellar

by Peter Tompkins

It’s widely accepted that the human fascination with collecting things, stems from our childhood. We all remember our favourite teddy bear or our favourite matchbox car and the sense of pride we felt when our collection reached a certain level of completion. There’s a deep sense of nostalgia when that inevitable house move comes to fruition, and we find ourselves sat in the attic recalling the very special memories these once-treasured items blessed us with. Alas, what use are they to us now, apart from stirring long-forgotten memories?

Collecting wine, for many reasons, is altogether different when compared with collecting inanimate objects. Wine lives and breathes. Wine is bottled history that expresses culture, place and time like no other consumable product. Wine evolves over time and each bottle ages slightly differently based on various external influences. This, coupled with our own personal interpretation, enables the experience of imbibing wine to differ hugely from person to person, from palate to palate. It’s the complexity of wine as a subject that makes it so interesting. More importantly, wine brings people together. Wine is always best when shared, as long as you’ve opened a magnum, of course!
Many disagreements or feuds can be settled with a round table, a well-ironed tablecloth and a good glass of claret.

We should all have a ‘special bottle’ tucked away, likewise we should all have a ‘special occasion’ in mind to open this treasured bottle. Afterall, what’s the point in waiting for this special occasion to arise, only to find out that your aforementioned bottle is over the hill, and far away. It’s important to remember 95% of wine produced globally is created for consumption within a few years of vintage. Keep the vinegar on your chips and out of your glass please folks!

Whether you are lucky enough to have well-stocked cellar complete with dusty bottles of Margaux from the 1950’s, or whether you have a rather modest wine rack in the kitchen (never store wine in the kitchen!!) make sure you always keep a cellar inventory list. Wine that is out of sight, could well be out of mind. This could lead to the awful and painful process of pouring a once-brilliant wine down the sink!

Without sounding like too much of a wine-anorak, make note.....Record your enjoyment or dissatisfaction. Whatever you do make note of your opinions, as this will help you to decide whether a wine needs to be decanted for longer, whether it needs further time in the cellar (or rack) or whether it will make its next appearance in Wednesday-nights’ spag bol! Or more importantly, did you like the wine, and should you buy it again? The amount of time I hear people say ‘I’ve tried that wine, although I can’t remember if I liked it?’ – Make notes of the wines you taste and you’ll save money. Money which you can then spend on more delicious cases (from Waddesdon Wine, of course).

It's highly likely that the best wine you will ever drink will be a bottle that has been cared for, not just tossed in the loft like an old teddy bear. A bottle that has been stored perfectly is worth ten that have been stored in the kitchen! Note, the fluctuation of temperature causes molecules in the wine to speed around and then slow down, which can result in a wine tasting tired and flat. This variation of temperature will also play havoc with a cork, causing it to swell and shrink and, in time, leading to premature oxidation. And trust me, no one wants premature oxidation! Aim for a consistent 10-15 degrees Celsius, away from sunlight and you’re on the way to creating the right environment to store your cherished bottles. 

Finally, drink wines when they are on the up, not on the way down. Take our Legendes St Emilion 2018 for example (which appears in our Tour de France case) many would think a five-year-old St Emilion has years ahead of it, and maybe it does. However, are these years fruitful and fun or are they a bit creaky and tired?! There’s a big difference between wine ‘keeping’ and ‘improving’. I’m a fan of tertiary complexity, yet if there’s no fruit at this party, then I’m happy I wasn’t invited!

You’d be forgiven if you don’t have the time to manage a cellar, or to make exhaustive notes. However, following a few of the pointers above will aid your enjoyment of wine. We all drink wine for different reasons; some like the warm glow of Pinot Grigio after a hard day at work. Others, seek the finer complexities of a Gevrey Chambertin, such Les Parcellaires De Saulx Gevry Chambertin Les Evocelles 2018.

Whether you’re a wine buff or whether you quite simply enjoy a good glass from time to time, what we can agree on is that sometime life gets in the way, and you just want a good bottle that you can pop n’ pour without fuss. Thankfully, we have three mixed cases all containing wines that are on form, showing well and don’t need time in the cellar.

Our Tour de France case covers six fabulous wines including a juicy and nutty Chablis from Domaine Defaix from the generous 2019 vintage, through to the plump and toasty St Emilion from DBR Lafite. Our Taste of Spring case is packed with six characterful wines, such as the vibrant and invigorating Follador Prosecco Rose that teems with sherbet and cranberry notes. You’ll find five other beauties including Punta Malbec that is simply loaded to the rafters with licoricey blackberry and generous toasty oak.

Finally, we have a case that offers tremendous value. Light up your Weekday evenings with this Bin end selection case that includes the spirited Mas Andes Carmenere with spicy red fruit and silky tannins alongside five other great value weekday pours.

Whichever case you opt for, you’ll be making a savvy purchase. And remember folks, great wine doesn’t have to cost the earth. Whatever your wine costs, firstly look after it. Secondly, make sure it came from Waddesdon Wine. No one cares for wine quite as much as we do!


Drink well and be cellar-savvy.


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