For the Future
One of the wine world's great pleasures is the ability to store it away sometimes and let it develop and change slowly in the bottle. More and more of our customers ask for our advice on wines that will be suitable for laying down. Sometimes they are looking for a bottle as a gift for a wine enthusiast or they may be interested in purchasing several cases, often En Primeur, and leaving these in store with us until the wines have matured more. Many of our restaurants now purchase wines to ensure they secure stocks of great vintages before they sell out with a view to offering these on their wine-lists at a later date and at a more mature age and price!
Some customers prefer to speculate on the future demand and scarcity of certain wines with an eye to their potential increase in value. Whilst recognising that such increases in value can and, indeed, often are achieved over the long term in great vintages of the most sought-after wines, Christopher Piper Wines never recommends the purchase of wines purely for investment purposes. In our view any increase in value must be viewed as a bonus rather than as something to be set as the primary goal. The traditional warnings, associated with most other investments that the value of such investments can go down as well as up and that past performance should never be used as a guide to future investment returns, are equally applicable to wines.
Having made all these points it should not be forgotten that wines, ports and of course fine spirits, from good vintages and reliable producers and when properly stored, should at least provide significant pleasure in their consumption when they have been given the chance to mature slowly over time. You cannot very well say that about shares in Marconi now can you!
Many wines can be laid down for future enjoyment but of particular note are red and white Bordeaux, red and white Burgundy, Rhône, German Rieslings, sweet Chenin from the central Loire, Champagnes - particularly top cuvées- and vintage ports. Many New World wines are also suitable for laying down but this is prehaps more dependant on whether a particular producer has sought to make such a wine rather than the European approach which is to let the wines develop within the timescales that nature saw fit. It surprises some people to learn that some wines can age for over 30 or 40 years or more!
If you elect to purchase wines for the future then the next important consideration is how and where the wine will be stored. If you are lucky enough to have a cellar then chances are you will have no worries but do bear in mind that some cellars are inclined to be too damp which, whilst not effecting the wines, can often ruin the labels. Most of us however are not so lucky to have a cellar so we must compromise as best we can. The most important factors are:
1. Bottles should be laid on their side.
2. They should be stored away from direct light and preferably in the dark.
3. The temperature should not fluctuate too greatly and should ideally be between 8 and 13 degress celsius. Outside these temperature ranges by a few degrees will not significantly damage the wine but voilent swings in temperature are to be avoided.
4. The wines should be stored away from vibrations.