When you write about wine, you often fall into the habit of opening review wines instead of the wines you collect. This year, when I was due to renew my CellarTracker membership, I realized more than half of my cellared wines had “Ready to Drink” tags. It was time to start popping some corks.
As background, Cellar Tracker was originally created in March 2003 by Eric Levine to keep track of his own cellar. Today CellarTracker is an excellent cellar management tool for collectors to keep track of their collections and pertinent details like drinkability. Let’s just say I found I had a lot of aged rosé and while some can flourish, it needs to be a little more intentional.
So last week we started Cellar Roulette, a little game where we will review a shelf on one of the Eurocaves and see what looks interesting. Because I’m the one who didn’t drink the wines when I should have, I’m not going to report on the “non money” wines. Or report on some mis pulls (like opening a late harvest zinfandel that would have been just fine with some more age).
There have been some wines that were past their prime moment. Some way past their prime. But with the odds stacked against me, there’s been some good ones.
Aging wines can result in profound change as many wines do develop. But this must be done with purpose – storing and aging wines at a certain temperature – usually 55 – 59 °F (12 – 15 °C) and 55 – 75% humidity.
I’ve always hated to break the news to people that the great bottle of wine given to them as a gift and stored standing up in their kitchen cabinet for a number of years is probably not going to be resalable or even drinkable.
And beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. I made the mistake of “collecting” Marilyn Merlot bottles before I got into wine. This was a column saying how bad the wines were and what a mistake it was. The comments today are still full of people trying to sell their Marilyn Merlot collections.
So, I will continue to roll the dice on the 344 bottles that have reached the “Ready to Drink” index of wines that have reached the window of needing to be consumed. It’s now a game of “Cellar Roulette” and I’m excited about the adventure ahead.