Media Recognition Lake Magazine


Quite the Amenity:

Wine cellars are becoming a luxury item in homes and providing a place for wine to age gracefully.


According to the National Association of Home Builders, a wine cellar s currently one of the hottest trends in home building. A consensus among real estate professionals is that buyers of luxury homes consider wine storage not just an amenity but also an essential feature.

Builders are including wine refrigerators and climate-controlled wine rooms in homes starting at $300,000. With more and more people discovering the pleasures of wine, adding wine features to new and existing homes increase the value and appeal of the property.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate lists a wine cellar in the top three most requested amenities for luxury homeowners. A gourmet kitchen ranked first followed by a media room with theatre-style seating. The current trend is clearly toward more entertaining at home, but one has to wonder what good is a gourmet kitchen without a wine cellar?

Despite a not-so-stellar ranking by one national real estate company, wine cellars do appeal to high-end homebuyers. Having a wine feature can be the deciding factor in the sale or resale of a home. Wine is hot, and wine rooms are way cool.

Proper wine storage isn't just for the megabuck wine collector who buys low with the hope of selling high. Investors wheeling and dealing in wine understand that only documented, perfectly cellared wines fetch top dollar; maintaining the proper conditions is critical. The example below illustrates the essence of collecting just for the fun of it.

The wine for this example is Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2003 from Spain. It is a dry red table wine of 100% Grenache grapes. In Alabama it will cost about $10. Last June, wine guru, Robert Parker, rated this wine at 88 points. Here's some of what he said: "The 2003 Granacha has just been released, and it's another winner. Aromas of sweet black cherries, etc, etc, etc. Soft tannin and good depth suggest drinking over the next 1-3 years is warranted. "

I totally agree. When the wine arrived in May of '05, my own evaluation was that it was tight and needed six months to a year in the bottle to e4qual the smooth 2002 vintage of which only a few bottles remained. The '03 is now as delightful as the '02 with about two more years of aging potential remaining.

Las Rocas is not in the same class as an expensive Bordeaux or big California Cabernet capable of aging twenty years or longer. For most people, holding wine for twenty years is, well, unrealistic at best. By now the '03 Las Rocas is probably gone. It is, however, a good example of how a wine matures in just a short time after which it will rapidly decline. Experiencing this is what cellaring wine is all about.

As a footnote, remember that red wines age better than whites because the tannins and chemical properties of red wine allow it, under correct conditions, to evolve at a gradual pace.

Quite often, the process creates sediment in the bottle that is neither harmful to the wine nor the consumer. It can be somewhat distasteful, even frightening to the unsuspecting. Sediment can be removed by carefully decanting the wine into a clean container- a crystal decanter, a mayonnaise jar or whatever.

Sediment usually develops with older wines, though it can occur in bottles of younger wines. Not being in the habit of decanting young wines, which would also serve to aerate the wine, it is easy to be caught off guard when sediment appears. In lieu of decanting, stand the bottle for several hours before serving to allow the sediment to settle. Then pour slowly to avoid disturbing whatever sediment might be present.

Another reminder for this time of year is a repeat of my warning of last year. If it's too hot to leave your dog in the car, it's too hot for wine. Make the wine shop your last stop on the way home. Happy summer!


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