An expert guide to storing BC wines that improve with age

Wine expert Anthony Gismondi took on the challenge of building a 40-bottle wine cellar that you can expand to 80 or 120 bottles by adding an extra bottle or two of each wine to your inventory.

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As far as I can tell, building a cellar full of BC wine that would age and improve in bottle is something few wine collectors considered in the early days of VQA. Sure, individual bottles have ended up in cellars, but finding a complete collection of high-quality BC wines would have been as rare as coming across highly rated BC wine, but that all changed over the course of the last decade.

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Knowing what is known today about local wines and their ability to age, it now seems possible to make an entirely BC collection with ease. So, in this edition of Salut, we’ve taken on the challenge of building a 40-bottle wine cellar that you can expand up to 80 or 120 bottles by adding an extra bottle or two of each wine to your inventory. The extra bottles let you track the wine as it ages. Three bottle lots are the perfect amount for young collectors unless the wine is a complete knockout and a safe bet to live on for two or 20 years.

Budget will be an early constraint, but you don’t have to fill the whole cellar on the first day; in fact, I recommend that you don’t because there will always be something you want on the road. After that, the biggest obstacle to creating a cellar will be finding the appropriate space. The traditional underground wine cellar is an unlikely option unless you live in a house with a free basement room. That said, makeshift basement wine cellars are popping up frequently, and many condo dwellers are buying specialty wine fridges to safely store their wines. Offsite storage is also an option for those short on space. You can work with any number of private wine storage facilities such as Vancouver Wine Vault, Griffin Wine Storage or 13C Wine Storage to store and insure your wine.

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Maintaining a modest collection makes sense because almost all quality wines improve in the bottle. A few weeks or months can make an immediate difference when storing wine. There’s nothing like a quiet, cool place for a wine to rest, settle, and recover from the shock of being bottled, shipped, and generally bounced back at the start of its life. . Also not to be overlooked, buying young bottles means that you will always pay the minimum price for a product which inevitably increases in value as market supply decreases.

How long should you keep your wine? I’m a fan of the seven to ten year rule for quality wines in the best vintages and I make adjustments for nothing less. The best ones can stay alive for decades when all the components meld together, delivering something far more complex than just primary fruit or oak flavors. Once you know the thrill of sipping aged wine, it’s hard to go back to fruity, youthful versions from the same labels.

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Not all wines are made to improve over time. The majority of white wines require little to no cellaring time, although white Burgundy, Champagne, Riesling and an assorted list of high-acid whites lead to a small list of collectibles that can improve with age. time in the cellar. Again, price can be a rough guide; few wines under $15-20 are designed for aging, although any reds with large amounts of cabernet and/or syrah can benefit from cellar time, regardless of cost.

As most red wines are fermented and left in contact with their skins for an extended period to extract large amounts of color and tannin (before it is aged in wood), it takes time for all parts combine and become a homogeneous whole. , balanced and delicious wine.

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The following is a momentary list of 40 BC wine labels that have shown their ability to improve in bottle and, with additional cellar time, the ability to fetch a higher price at their peak. It’s clear from tasting older bottles that BC’s best bets for the winery are Syrah, a wine that will age effortlessly. Then come many big red grape varieties, especially when they make up a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. The pinot noir is moving up the ladder, but it’s a three-to-seven-year cellaring candidate for now. BC whites are fortunate to be located over 49 degrees north, giving them plenty of acidity and an essential prerequisite for aging. This allowed us to continue the cellar of the best white wines, in particular Riesling and Chardonnay, and perhaps even the best promising sparkling wines made according to the traditional Champagne method.

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We’ve broken our list down into three main aging components so you’ll have some wine to drink while you wait for the rest to come online. You needed it to love all those choices. Our selections are based on a wine’s history and its ability to age; you can insert your favorites in their place. Finally, please note the vintages even if the retailers prevent you from knowing in which year they sell. Although the best picks are 2020, this could be a good aging base for 2019, 2017 and 2016. These four years are worth pursuing to build your cellar.


A BC wine cellar

Cellar 3-5 years

Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs RD Traditional Method, Okanagan Valley, $50

Boutinot Project B Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley, $26

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Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyard 2018 Bench of Pinot Noir Naramata, $35

Capella Clos du Soleil 2019 British Columbia, $25

2017 Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine, $33

Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019 Summerland, $30

Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Elysia Vineyard Traditional Method Brut Nature, Summerland, $35

Peak Cellars Grüner Veltliner, Okanagan Valley, $24

Terravista Fandango, Naramata Bench, $25

Tightrope Winery Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon Thomas Vineyard, Okanagan Valley, $22

Canton 7 Sirius Seven Stars, Fraser Valley, $80

Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnay, Cowichan Valley, $31


Cellar 5-7 years

1 Mill Road Pinot Noir 2019 Bench Naramata, $50

Red Amulet 2020 Okanagan Valley, $35

Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Noir 2019 Cowichan Valley, $37.99

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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Gamay Noir 2019 Okanagan Falls, $30

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay Dekleva Vineyard, Golden Mile Bench, $125

LaStella Allegretto Merlot Pie Franco, Osoyoos, $65

Lock and Worth Semillon, Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, $26

Little Farm Winery Pied de Cuve Chardonnay, Cawston, $31

Martin’s Lane Dehart Vineyard Pinot Noir, East Kelowna, $100

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, $32

Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay, Osoyoos, $65

Phantom Creek Estates Riesling, Okanagan Valley, $33

Red Barn at Jagged Rock Silent Partner Cabernet Franc, Oliver, $50

RMX by Ingo Grady, Okanagan Valley, $37

Roche Nuances 2018, Okanagan Valley, $32.19

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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrah, Similkameen Valley, $44

Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyard, Summerland, $33

Reserve Tantalus Pinot Noir, East Kelowna, $65


Cellar 7-10 years

Black Hills Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $40

CedarCreek Bloc 4 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $75

Church & State Wines Quintessential, Okanagan Valley, $75

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red, Similkameen Valley, $53

Talus corcelettes, Similkameen Valley, $50

Hillside Merlot Dickinson Vineyard Merlot, Naramata Bench, $40

LaStella Allegretto Merlot Pie Franco, Osoyoos, $65

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $90

Martin’s Lane Fritzi’s Vineyard Riesling, Naramata Bench, $65

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, $45

Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus, Okanagan Valley, $149.99

Nichol Vineyard Old Vines Syrah 2019, Naramata Bench, $35

Orofino Home Vineyard Wild Ferment Old Vines Riesling, Cawston, $25

Osoyoos Larose, Okanagan Valley, $49

Painted Rock Red Icon, Skaha Bench, $80

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée No. 23, Osoyoos, $125

Cabernet Franc Poplar Grove, Bench Naramata, $35

Quails’ Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, $45

Route 13 GSM, Okanagan Valley, $37

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling, Okanagan Valley, $35

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