Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

Hello Prince Albert! Do you buy wine to store in your cellar? For reference, cellars come in any kind of state or shape. It could be a few boards on a wall under the stairs, to a full sized, high-tech walk-in cooler complete with temperature and humidity controls. No matter what type of storage you use, saving wines for a later date can be a rewarding and satisfying experience.

There truly is something magical or special about setting aside a few bottles of wine or cigars for aging and properly maintaining the storage conditions is the key to ensuring that when you go back to sample or taste these aged goodies that they will taste how they should (or even better). I’m going to share a few tips this week on storing both wine and cigars and the results you can achieve with the correct steps.

The storage or cellaring of wine doesn’t have to be labor-intensive and the rack/room/shelf or cooler used to store the wine doesn’t need to be flashy or expensive. When it comes to wine, the old rules are usually best. Wines with corks should be stored around or near a 45-degree angle (flat works too); this is because the cork needs to stay moist as not to dry up or disintegrate and laying the wine on its side allows the liquid inside to maintain contact with the cork.

Your cellar or room where the wine is kept should be relatively dark and quiet for a few simple reasons. Sunlight can damage the pigment and structure of the wine (glass intensifies this effect) and also heat the wine up, destroying essential proteins and turning the wine into vinegar. You also don’t want the cellar to be too cold as this can also damage the contents. Cellar temperature is considered to be between 13 to 15 degrees Celsius so anywhere in that range is good.

As for the quiet, vibrations can actually interrupt the aging process and wreck a good wine. For these reasons, wine should never be stored near a radiator or on top of a fridge. As fridges produce both heat and vibration, storing a quality wine on top of the fridge is one of the simplest ways to destroy your investment.

When it comes to cigars, the storage requirements start to get much more important and failing to heed the basics of cigar storage will quickly leave you disappointed. The first point to address is humidity. While humidity is not as important with wine (the bottle protects the liquid), cigars have natural tobacco wrappers which easily absorb and distribute humidity to their surroundings. You will need a container that can maintain relative humidity levels of 60 to 70 percent.

I use a variety of containers like jars which hold a lower RH (relative humidity) for cigars I want to smoke right away to my coolidor (a cooler with Boveda 65% RH packets) which keeps the cigars humidified for moderate amounts of time. When I want a cigar to develop more character and to transform with age, a proper humidor is required which is lined with authentic Spanish cedar and seals properly allowing no air to escape. There is nothing like opening a humidor and smelling that rich wave of sweet cedar mixed with aged tobacco.

You can find many coolers/cabinets online that maintain both humidity and temperature so those looking to age both cigars and wine might want to look into it. Here are my wine and whisky picks of the week!

Black Market the Syndicate 2015: (VQA Okanagan Valley, BC). Dry red, deep ruby color with fading at edges. The bouquet of this BC red is lush and ripe with juicy brambleberries, hints of barnyard, dark cherry, tar, pencil shavings, plums, petrichor, mint/eucalyptus and toast. The wine is full-bodied on the palate with a round mouthfeel of silky and fruity cherries, plums, currants, sweet earth and tar, foliage, walnut skins and smooth, fine medium-plus tannins which create a pleasant fuzzy texture on the teeth, lips and tongue. Medium acidity balances the wine and leaves a soft tingle in the cheeks. A bit of pepper prickle comes in after the delightfully fruity and round mid-palate of dark fruits along with vanilla-cream flavors, savory toast and gentle, sweet baking spice notes like cinnamon or cardamom. The finish is medium in length and the focus of flavors are certainly in the ripe fruit category. Bitterness is kept to a minimum and 8 years of age have mellowed the tannins significantly. The flavor profile is generally simple but packed full of ripe fruit and surprises like hints of mint or vanilla frosting. Pair this with bison burgers, grilled bratwurst or 5-layer vegetable lasagna in a tangy marinara sauce. Very good! $40 (online @, 14.4% ABV

Old Pulteney 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch: (Scotland). Scotch whisky, medium golden color with an amber tint. The nose is delicate and subtle with whisps of salty sea air, sponge toffee, caramel, malted biscuits and a slight metallic twang. On the palate, the mouthfeel is on the lighter side but the flavors are nicely concentrated. Flavors of salted toffee, caramel, sea salt and a touch of copper mingle deliciously. Taking a small sip to adjust the palate is recommended at first; after that, flavors are much easier to pick out. This malt reminds me of sitting by the sea and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells. You can almost hear the ocean when taking your time. This whisky responds well to a drop or two of water, releasing more of that salted caramel character and it pairs exceptionally well with a variety of premium cigars including the Arturo Fuente Reserva ($12), the Rocky Patel Edge Maduro ($10) and it tastes exceptional with the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 ($25). Currently one of my favorite Scotches. Very good! $70, 40% ABV

Cheers and thanks for reading!