Food & Entertaining - Wine & Spirits

A 48-bottle beginner cellar

Wondering what to stock your cellar with? Here are suggestions to make sure your wine cellar is diverse and your selection delicious.

Keep it simple to start.  Don’t buy too many different types of wine until you have explored your palate preferences.  Forty-eight bottles represent four cases that can fit in the bottom of a closet.   For diversity, I would purchase three bottles of each of the following wines, which will give you an interesting mix and a sufficient range of flavours and styles to meet most of your dining needs.  You don’t need to spend more than an average of $20 per bottle to acquire such a collection.

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (or Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire):  a dry white with flavours of passion fruit, gooseberry and freshly cut grass, with lively acidity

Chardonnay from California (Sonoma):
a rich, full-bodied wine with buttery tropical fruit flavours and an evident spicy vanilla oak

Unoaked Chardonnay (Chablis): a medium-bodied dry wine with a crisp apple and mineral flavour

Off-dry Riesling (Riesling Kabinett from Germany):
a light-bodied wine with a fine balance of fruit and acidity and apricot, honey and citrus flavours

Pinot Gris from Alsace:
a full-bodied wine with a  sweet peach and citrus acidity

Viognier (Pays d’Oc or Chile):
another full-bodied wine with peach and orange-blossom notes and a touch of residual sweetness

Sparkling wine (Brut style): Spanish cava or Australian sparkling – a medium-bodied dry bubbly with mineral, apple and citrus flavours

Beaujolais- Villages or one of the named village crus:
light– to medium-bodied, with fruity cherry and plum flavours and lively acidity

Shiraz from Australia or South Africa: full-bodied with blackberry and pepper flavours and a spicy oak finish

Cabernet Sauvignon (a petit château from Bordeaux):
medium-bodied with cedar, blackcurrant and vanilla oak flavours

Camenère from Chile: full-bodied and fruit-forward, with black cherry/blackberry flavours and vanilla oak

Malbec from Argentina:
medium to full-bodied, with jammy blackberry and white pepper flavours and an oak component

Pinot Noir from New Zealand or Oregon: Medium-bodied, with black cherry, raspberry and violet flavours

Zinfandel from California (or Primitivo from Italy): powerful and full-bodied, with plum, leather and oak flavours

Côtes-du-Rhône Villages: full-bodied, with peppery blackberry flavour and balancing acidty

Rosè (dry) from Tavel or Ontario: dry, with rhubarb and strawberry flavours – very refreshing.  You’ll find that a dry rose is the perfect summer drink, especially out of doors.

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Excerpted from Tony Aspler’s Cellar Book Copyright © 2009 by Tony Aspler. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.



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