What a pleasure it is to receive a good bottle of wine as a gift or to make a lucky find at your favorite wine shop, but then the eternal question of wine conservation arises.
If the ideal wine cellar does exist, buried underground, between stone and clay, with a naturally optimal temperature and humidity level, it is unfortunately rare to have one at hand. However, there is no need to rush to taste your new wine acquisitions. If you want to keep your bottles of wine carefully so that you can open them when the time is right, here are 6 tips for storing wine well, with or without a cellar.
What is the ideal temperature for storing wine?
Temperature is one of the main criteria to be considered when it comes to wine storage. A temperature that is too high or subject to too many variations would have a detrimental effect on the wine. In a cellar, the temperature remains moderate and almost constant throughout the seasons, but this is not the case in our kitchens and living rooms.
It is therefore recommended to store the wine in a place that is neither too hot nor too cold, protected from sudden temperature changes, and that does not exceed 18°C. The gradual changes in temperature that occur naturally throughout the year do not pose a particular threat to the conservation of wine, if it is sufficiently sheltered.
How much light do I need?
Ideally, in order to be preserved as long as possible, the wine must be completely protected from light. Light is indeed formidable for Bacchus' liquor, especially for white wines, which are more vulnerable to light exposure. It can cause an alteration of the wine's aromas, commonly referred to in the jargon as "light taste".
A wine cabinet or closet away from strong light sources is the best place to store wine at home. If you do not have this possibility, take inspiration from producers who wrap their bottles in tissue paper to keep them in the dark.
What humidity level to keep the wine?
Temperature and light are not the only factors that influence the evolution of wine. Sometimes wrongly forgotten in the conservation of wine, humidity plays a major role in its proper aging. In a too dry environment, the wine tends to evaporate and oxidize more quickly, even more so when dryness is combined with excessive temperature.
The good news is that humans also need an environment with a sufficient level of humidity for their health. Ideally, our houses and apartments should have a humidity level of between 45 and 60%, while wine requires a humidity level of between 50 and 80%. Therefore, storing wine at home is not a headache.
Shelf life of the wine
How long can wine be stored? What is the ideal time to enjoy a bottle? There is no set answer to these questions, but it can be said that the length of time a wine can be stored varies according to the conditions in which it is stored.
If you are lucky enough to store your wine in a cellar with ideal conditions, the wine will evolve very slowly. This method of storage, ideal for the great collectors, is however less suitable for the more impatient who are waiting for the golden age of their bottles to discover their secrets... Moreover, some great wines can remain unaltered for decades, while others lose their superb quality after only a few years.
On the other hand, there is no such thing as a "best before date" for wine consumption. Rather, there are wines that grow more beautiful with age and others that peak in their youth; oenophiles who are fond of deep aromas developed over time and others who prefer the candid fruitiness of new bottles.
In which position to keep the bottles of wine?
It is essential to keep wine in a horizontal position, which is why wine cabinets are equipped with shelves for this purpose. The nemesis of wine, the dreaded oxidation, is at the origin of this storage requirement. When the bottle is stored upright, the wine is not in contact with the cork. Over time, the cork dries out, shrinks, crumbles and lets air into the bottle, which will lead to premature aging of the wine. Keeping the bottles horizontal prevents this phenomenon, as the wine is in constant contact with the cork and allows it to maintain its humidity.
Whether you are an inveterate wine lover or an oenophile in your spare time, whether you have a cellar or a simple cupboard, don't deprive yourself of beautiful acquisitions: you now have all the information you need to pamper them from your home. Enter now the prestigious cellar of the Fauchon house and discover our selection of top-of-the-range wines, great vintages to be tasted without delay or to be jealously preserved.