How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

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How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun May 21, 2006 12:26 pm

A post on another wine site got me to looking ta my wine inventory, and the distribution of vintages, while not surprising, is rather alarming.

With a big, fat bell curve centered around 2001 (tails on each side that are 3 years long), it would seem that about 2011 or 2012 I am going to need to have some hellacious parties. Granted, many of the wine I have from 1998-2004 will age far longer, but hte consumption is going to have to step up one way or another. Certainly I will not be buying ANY daily drinking bottles from about 2009-2015.

How are you set? I think there will be some massive cull parties all over the country coming up in the next decade.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Charles Weiss » Sun May 21, 2006 12:43 pm

David,
I saw that post too, looked at CellarTracker and was surprised to see my average vintage was 1997--heavily weighted by 2001 Germans. I certainly hope they have a long drinking plateau (and think they will).
Regular parties in 10 years and cull parties in 20!
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun May 21, 2006 1:05 pm

The thing that really concerns me is that since Laura does not generally drink much (or any if I am having a red) I don't finish wines in one night. Older wines tend to fade quickly, so I may end up wasting a lot of wine. Not good.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Charles Weiss » Sun May 21, 2006 2:00 pm

That's good---uses it up faster : )
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby JoePerry » Sun May 21, 2006 2:01 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:The thing that really concerns me is that since Laura does not generally drink much (or any if I am having a red) I don't finish wines in one night. Older wines tend to fade quickly, so I may end up wasting a lot of wine. Not good.


We'll help you, David.


You can always trade wines too. In 2010 if you need to unload 10 cases of German wine I'm sure someone will be happy to trade you with more recent releases.

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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Jenise » Sun May 21, 2006 3:41 pm

David,

I'm planning on moving to Cellar Tracker, and one reason is try to avert the disaster that I fear will occur in about five years when I will no doubt be looking down from my mountain of rotting wine and trace my downfall to my discovery of online auctions.

In the meantime, I still feel that none of my wines are ready to drink.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun May 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Jenise wrote:In the meantime, I still feel that none of my wines are ready to drink.


I've kept the cellar at about 55 degrees for the last 7 years, and it seems like nothing is ever ready to drink. It's very rare that I pull a bottle that I think should be at or past peak and it's anything but immature.

So maybe the big crisis is in 2015.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Jenise » Sun May 21, 2006 4:23 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:So maybe the big crisis is in 2015.


It's likely to be one of those 'be careful what you wish for' things, isn't it? After all these years of never feeling that we have wines that are, in the vernacular, "drinking well right now", we'll suddenly have far, far more than we can handle.

Oh well--like you said, party!
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Ian Sutton » Sun May 21, 2006 4:45 pm

A very interesting topic and it's amazing how many people buy without the foresight of when it will be ready. It's quite easy to work out how many bottles you get through in a year - it's also quite easy to estimate the average "cellaring life" of your collection and hence not just where you need to bring balance in, but also work out an "ideal" cellar size. It seems most wine fanatics ideal cellar size is infinite though!

We have just over 200 bottles (actually a little less due to some of these being halves), which may rise just short of 250 if we got lucky/unlucky at a recent auction. At a current rate of between a bottle and three bottles a week (averaging maybe a bottle and a half), this gives us c. 3-4 years drinking without buying any more (like that's going to happen :roll: ).

Average length of time remaining to cellar would be somewhere between 5 and 10 years, with some up to 20 and about 15-20 to be drunk asap (i.e this year).

So it seems in balance, but only if we keep buying habits in check. It's also important to avoid ploughing the same furrow for too long (e.g. 98 in South Australia; 2000 in Bordeaux; etc.) Yes they're good vintages, but too much of the same era can create peaks. I've got more than enough 98's from Oz and need to start considering 04's and 05's in the future.

On a related subject, I've now taken to standing a dozen or so bottles up in boxes marked "ready". For just grabbing a bottle on the spur, this is great - and also allows for settling the sediment in the reds. It's working well and it's quite easy to get a good choice amongst just a dozen bottles.

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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Florida Jim » Sun May 21, 2006 4:46 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:With a big, fat bell curve centered around 2001 (tails on each side that are 3 years long), it would seem that about 2011 or 2012 I am going to need to have some hellacious parties.


Five years out - I'll make plans. :wink:

Mine is well spread out from now through 2015; sometimes up a little one year and down a little the next. But unlike you, I will have to buy daily drinkers every year - which actually, I'm pretty pleased about as I enjoy doing that.
From 2015 on, the cellar will be about 80% used up, assuming I do not buy much requiring cellar time between now and then. And, in that year, I will be 68 - which strikes me as a time when many folks won't even be buying green bananas.
All in all, this is just about the way I want it.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby JoePerry » Sun May 21, 2006 7:29 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:A very interesting topic and it's amazing how many people buy without the foresight of when it will be ready. It's quite easy to work out how many bottles you get through in a year - it's also quite easy to estimate the average "cellaring life" of your collection and hence not just where you need to bring balance in, but also work out an "ideal" cellar size. It seems most wine fanatics ideal cellar size is infinite though!

We have just over 200 bottles (actually a little less due to some of these being halves), which may rise just short of 250 if we got lucky/unlucky at a recent auction. At a current rate of between a bottle and three bottles a week (averaging maybe a bottle and a half), this gives us c. 3-4 years drinking without buying any more (like that's going to happen :roll: ).


Ian, that may work for you, but I think your equasion is off for most of us. One bottle a week is the bare minimum, but you don't take into account the maximum or even mode. During peak offline months I may go through as many as 12-20 wines cellar-worthy wines. Someone like David goes through even more with all his German Wine Society gatherings.

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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun May 21, 2006 8:22 pm

I did a little figuring while I walked on the treadmill today (nothing better to do, as the Sox were getting pounded).

Between personal consumption, offlines, parties and formal tastings I go through about 220 bottles a year. So if I bought nothing from here on out I could go until 2016 or so before draining the cellar. Of course that would mean many wines being drunk up in early to early- middle age, which of course is not a problem, but not always my intention, especially since many of the wines in the cellar have delicious life expectancies well into the 2020s.

So perhaps more of the Florida Jim approach is warranted: buy good QPR daily drinkers, but tempered with the Joe Perry approach: buy one really good bottle each time out.

In thinking about maturity of vintages to come, I will likely be past my peak before they are, so big chunks of Bordeaux, Port or Barolo no longer make sense.

Despite this calming of my fears, I still hold that there are some very fun parties required. So come one come all to Connecticut. The cellar is open.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Rahsaan » Mon May 22, 2006 9:28 am

During peak offline months


Interesting. Which months are those?
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby JoePerry » Mon May 22, 2006 10:22 am

Rahsaan wrote:
During peak offline months


Interesting. Which months are those?


October, January, February, March.
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Rahsaan » Mon May 22, 2006 10:32 am

What is special about those months for offlines?
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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby JoePerry » Mon May 22, 2006 10:55 am

New England is so cold that the Summer/warm months must be saved for other pursuits (many wines don't work well with hot weather as well).

October is the first truly chilly month, and people are excited to get back into "red wine season." November and December have major family holidays but January, February and March are usually free for people to get together. By the time April hits, everyone is offlined out, but there are still a number of gatherings up through the first two weeks of June.

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Re: How balanced is the cellar - or what to do in 2011...

Postby Dan Donahue » Mon May 22, 2006 11:58 am

David: I've troubled over this for some time. I have more of a plateau from 1999 to 2002. If they all came online at the same time I'd be in trouble, but it looks as though they'll spread out through quite a few years. Ideally I hope to limit my purchases at a maintence level for a few years. I sat down a few months ago and wrote out a target list for this years purchases. I've already screwed it up. Too many new wines to explore; too many "bargains" that I didn't resist; too many mailing lists.

Ultimately I'm headed for a serious backlog. I do try and keep on top of it and work hard on keeping my cull list manageable. I think the only solution is to drink a lot more.
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