New Tasting Half Dozen released!
As a result of the considerable interest of the many new customers over recent months, for a limited period, a Tasting Half Dozen, is available on-line. The six bottles comprise three vintages (2014, 15 and 16) of 'Jenny' Cabernet, the 2014 and 2016 'Brian' Shiraz and the 2018 'Elaine' Chardonnay. This half dozen is priced at only $198, with a 10% saving available for orders of 2 dozen or more.
We are often asked about the best means of storing wine. Many wines will continue to improve with medium- or even long-term cellaring, but only if the conditions of that storage are appropriate. Of course, shorter-term storage of wine under non-cork closures lessens the storage burden.
The primary areas to be addressed are:
- Stability of temperature
- Temperature (range) itself
It’s often thought that storing our wine in an apparently cool, dark, place, such as ‘under the stairs’ or ‘under the house’, will serve as adequate conditions. However, whilst the light and humidity situations may be largely addressed, other conditions are not.
To age at a steady and appropriate rate, the wines need to be stored at a relatively stable temperature, ideally no lower than 12 degrees C and preferably less than 17 degrees C. However, particularly in the case of wine under cork, it’s just as important that there is no significant fluctuation within that range.
Unless there is constant climate control (as distinct from air-conditioning), even apparently cool nooks such as under the stairs will experience wide fluctuations over the course of year. Those fluctuations will be enough to cause expansion and contraction of corks, potentially allowing air to pass the closure and the resultant oxygen contact with the wine causing its premature ageing.
Even if wine is stored at a constant temperature, the higher that is above 17 degrees will result in the wine ageing at a faster rate. So, wine stored in a constant temperature of say 21 degrees will age faster than that at say 18 degrees. Simply air-conditioning a room is also not enough. Most residential air-con systems will struggle to maintain 16 degrees (depending on other ambient conditions, which vary significantly around Australia), but they will also de-humidify the air to an unacceptable level.
The humidity is important in that, if it is too low (with 60% typically considered a minimum), cork closures can dry and fail. If it is too high (with 80% typically used as an upper limit), there is the chance of mould damage to labels. Our home air-cons, and also food refrigerators, are known to dry the air to less than ideal levels. Food refrigerators have also been shown to sometime produce vibrations of a level which is less than ideal for long-term storage.
To address these issues, various companies produce climate control equipment specifically designed for wine storage, which provide both low enough storage temperatures and the ideal humidity range. As bottled wine is damaged by UV light, any storage room must be constantly free of natural light, or fitted with UV glazing.
It can be seen then that to achieve premium conditions, we need to provide our wines with a dedicated, climate-controlled room/cellar, or wine fridges (with any glazed door to be UV-proof). We need to spend some effort in looking after our wines if they are to be stored for future enjoyment.
WA's wines stellar show results
As we come into the Australian capital city wine show season, it’s interesting to note the incredible success of Western Australia’s Chardonnays and Cabernets at these major shows over recent years.
Western Australian wine personality and proprietor of Lamonts Wine Bar, John Jens, keeps abreast of the results of major wine competitions and is always keen to share the benefit of his monitoring. John has kindly provided the following information. Each of the 7 capital cities awards one trophy annually for best Chardonnay and Best Cabernet.
Over the past three years 2016-18, of the total 21 Best Chardonnay trophies on offer, WA wines were awarded 12. This result was achieved from less than 2% of Australia’s Chardonnay crush. WA’s Cabernets have achieved even greater success, winning 27 of the 35 capital city Best Cabernet trophies awarded over the past 5 years (2014-18).
That is, all other states’ Cabernet production regions received only 8 trophies, between them, over the past 5 years. WA’s remarkable success was achieved from less than 3% of the country’s Bordeaux varieties production. Margaret River's incredible Chardonnays and Cabernets are clearly highly recognised by show judges, and increasingly by Australian and international wine consumers!