How To: Start A Wine Collection
We all love a drop or two of Sav Blanc with dinner and impressing our friends with our choice of Shiraz- but taking that next step from wine enthusiast to collector can seem intimidating. We chat to Rory Kent, wine expert and founder of the Young Guns of Wine Awards, to learn how easy and enjoyable it can be to start your own wine collection at home.
If you like good wine, then collecting it makes sense.
“Mature wine is hard to find, and can be expensive. It can make economic sense. That’s the logical answer. But, really, wine enjoyment isn’t a logical thing. So you should only collect wine if it’s a real passion”, explains Rory
Rory’s tip for taking that first step towards starting your own collection is to share the experience with friends. “It’s fun getting a little group together to help one another discover new wines, and even join forces to buy some special wines for the cellar.”
So what types of wines should you buy to begin your collection?
“Whatever you enjoy!”
Rory explains that you really don’t need to overthink this process, just select wines that you will one day want to drink. However, if you need a little guidance, Rory has a few recommendations for varieties that are tend to age particularly well.
“Hunter Semillon is the quintessential white for ageing. They demand a long time in the cellar and reward the patience with a delightful change from something almost tart to something honeyed. Clare Valley Riesling is the other Aussie classic. Whites with high acidity is the key. All these you can pickup relatively cheap, which makes cellaring all the more fun.
“In reds, there’s plenty of Shiraz and Cabernets from all over Australia… Margaret River Cabernets; Barossa and McLarenVale Grenache; Coonawarra Cabernet and Shiraz blends are great; and the list goes on. Good Pinot Noir can cellar well too”.
When choosing which wines to cellar it is always a good idea to do a bit of research and look for producers or vineyards that have a good track record as sometimes if can be difficult to know if a particular vintage will age well.
“When I first started buying wine, I bought a few bottles from a vintage where there had been bushfires. I could detect a hint of smoke on the palate, which I thought was charming, but just a couple of years in the cellar and that hint became like drinking wine from a used ashtray. Never making that mistake again”.
Next comes the fun part, and when it comes to knowing when to open a cellared bottle you will be happy to hear that it’s all about practice.
“The more you drink wine, the more confident you became in getting a gauge for a wine’s lifespan”, explains Rory.
“It’s nice to have at least a few bottles of each wine, so you can periodically open one and see how the fruit flavours evolve into savoury characters, how white wines darken, or how the tannins and colour softens in reds.”