Like Rooney's wine cellar? Here's how to start your own (cheaper) collection
Aldi has released some tips on budget wine storage
Recently, we learnt Wayne Rooney has treated himself to an extravagant new wine cellar and walk in bar costing over £150k, and we saw some pics of Kylie Jenner’s own impressive wine collection. But the fact is, a decent wine collection isn't something that is the reserve of the rich and famous. With some patience and a bit of space, you too can start ageing some bottles of your own to enjoy in the future. Aldi, a supermarket renowned for its excellent, budget-friendly wines, has released a few tips and tricks for anyone wanting to start their own collection on the cheap.
Which wines are best to store?
If you want to get the most out of supermarket wines, Aldi's resident wine expert, Sam Caporn MW, explains what to look out for while browsing the wine aisle:
“The general rule of thumb is that anything that has some good tannin structure and a decent level of acidity can age well within the bottle as over time the tannins will soften, and the fruit becomes more mellow. Anything around the £10-20 should easily be able to age for a year. I’d recommend sticking to red, whites and sparkling wines like Champagne – don’t we all love a vintage fizz for a special occasion!”
“Aldi’s ICON range is a good place to start as these are classic styles without the premium price tag. Their aromas may change slightly over a year which makes them even more of a treat when the time comes to pop the cork! The Châteauneuf-du-Pape is wonderfully affordable and is sure to please both the palate and the purse strings. If you’d like to add a couple of white wines to your collection, opt for the Pouilly-Fuissé with its touch of smokiness, it’s bound to get better with age!”
How should wine be stored?
Ok so we've established which wines are best, but how on earth should they be stored? Sam suggests we should treat wine as if the bottles are sleeping. That means they ought to be kept out of the light, vibrations, movement and temperature fluctuations. It should be nice and cool too.
"Storage is often in short supply in most people's houses so it is important to be practical. Garages are a great place to store wines, if not, under the stairs as long as you don’t thunder up and down them. However, if the wine doesn’t tend to hang around for too long, then a small wine rack placed in the coolest part of your home is all that is really required."
Should you store wine in the fridge?
Another thing you might be wondering is: to fridge or not to fridge. It seems perfectly natural to pop your whites in there until you want to drink them, but the expert says otherwise:
"Wine shouldn’t be stored in the fridge per se, the fridge should be utilised for chilling prior to drinking."
A short tan(in)gent: on drinking temperatures
And while we're on temperatures, Sam has a thing or two to say about drinking temperatures too.
First of all, no surprise that: 'Fizz should always be served fairly well chilled, over time as it warms up in the glass, the aromas of the sparkling wine will change and open up in a similar way to whites."
However, something that might surprise you is that Sam suggest you need to watch the temp of your whites:
"White wines shouldn’t be served straight out of the fridge. If they are too cold it can close down the aroma or nose of the wine.
Similarly lots of us are going wrong with reds too:
"Reds", Caporn adds, "are often served a bit too warm. They can benefit from being popped into the fridge just before serving – an easy way to enhance their vibrancy and drinkability!"
The 20/20 rule
If this is all getting a bit complicated, then stay calm. All you need to do is follow what Aldi call the 20/20 rule: take white wines out 20 minutes before serving and pop red wines in the fridge 20 minutes before serving.
Back to storage: upright or on side?
According to the expert, anything with a natural cork needs to be stored on its side to stop the cork drying out – the contact of the wine with the cork keeps it moist. Screwcaps and sparkling wines can be stored standing up.
Storing open wine?
The shelf life of opened bottles has caused many a pre-meal row. But what does the expert say? How long will an open bottle retain its intended aromas and flavours? What can we do to keep them as long as possible?
"Once a wine has been opened and you have some left over the best thing to do for both red and white wines is to pop them in the fridge as this will keep them fresher for longer. Some wines you will find improve with having been opened whilst others tend to lose fruit freshness."
"It’s often a matter of trial and error, as well as personal preference, but generally wines that are lighter and with higher acidity tend to stay fresh for longer. Wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for example, can easily last a good few days after opening and in my experience can even make a week."
"Rounder, fuller wines would want to be drunk within a couple of days. Reds are trickier as drinkability after opening tends to be extremely varied, the acidity in the wine will play a key role so I’d pop in the fridge and try to enjoy the rest of it within 2-3 days."
And for sparkling, it all depends on the pressure: "he higher the atmospheric pressure in the wine, the longer the bubbles can last for – this means that Champagne and other traditional method sparkling wines (Cava) will stay fizzier for longer than Prosecco and tank method sparklers."
"Champagne can last probably two days whilst I would drink Prosecco the following night. Store the bottle standing up and use a sparkling wine closure, not a teaspoon as that old trick doesn't work!"
How can you tell if wine has gone off?
"Wines don't go bad so much as they fade and don't taste as good as they did on opening. The liquid will only really go bad if kept open for quite a long time; after a good couple of weeks the wine will slowly turn into vinegar and it will taste as such too - I once popped an old, opened bottle of red into my cooking and it nearly destroyed the dish as it was basically vinegar so don't keep opened red for cooking!"
What can you do with a wine you've opened and found you didn't like?
"In my experience there haven’t been many wines that I didn’t like enough to drink, however, in the event that you’ve popped open a bottle that’s not for you, there are a couple routes you can go down before pouring it down the sink!"
"You can use both red and white wines to add depth and flavour to a variety of dishes including soups, stews and even sauces. Alternatively, you can make spritzers or even a jug or two of some crowd-pleasing sangria – white or red! If it’s a bottle that has already been opened, just be sure to taste it to make sure it hasn’t oxidised and got that vinegary twang before you use."
Plenty of tips here to get you storing in style. Put in place even half of these and you're guaranteed to enhance your wine drinking experience. Cheers!