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Greg Fitzsimmons is the Fine Wine Manager at auction website GraysWine. Here, the private cellar and fine wine specialist shares his expert tips on cellaring wine.
What are the key tenets of cellaring wine?
Ensure the temperature is stable and doesn’t fluctuate. You also want to make sure the area isn’t damp as excess moisture can cause damage to corks and labels.
Are you a screwcap or a cork man?
I do collect a fair bit of French wine, and I like the cork and the change that can happen to the wines over time.
For someone who’s just starting out in cellaring, which styles of wines should they buy?
It will depend on what they like to drink, but I think you can’t go past cool-climate shiraz, such as Heathcote, Eden Valley and lighter examples from the Barossa. Pinot noir from the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley are also great additions to any cellar.
Any tips for buying wine via auction?
Look out for the ullage – you don’t want the wine to have dropped too far down the neck of the bottle. And try to take a good look at the label – if it's scuffed and marked, it's highly likely that it’s been moved in and out of cellars and not kept in a stable condition. On Gray’s, we give each bottle a provenance rating, which is based on who the seller is and the history of the wine, including where and how it has been stored.
What would we find in your own cellar?
I have a small Vintec at home, plus I store some at my father-in-law’s. His cellar is under the house and it’s made of stone and brick, so the temperature is cool and stable. I also have some stowed at Wine Ark. My favourite wines to collect are from the Rhone region in southern France, such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cote Rotie.
To buy or sell wine online, visit graysonline.com/wine