The natural cellar
She’s beautiful, she’s mysterious, she gives her owner a great desire to show off during a discussion about wine. But is it really practical? To the “oh” of admiration aroused by the bluster – “I have a cellar to age my wine” – could well follow a more circumspect “ah” at the sight of said cellar. Remember the holy rules: cool and constant temperature (about 12 degrees), high humidity (70%), calm and darkness. So thank you for lowering your tone when you talk about your modern building cellar at 18 degrees. That or keeping your bottles under your bed is kif-kif. And if the timer lights up your bottles intermittently, they’ll quickly get hungover, like after a long strobe party. Is the author of these lines jealous because, when buying her home, she had to give up her cellar fantasy? Obviously.
The best cellar resembles the Burgundian cellars, the Champagne chalk pits or the troglodyte caves of Saumur. Stone oozes, mold blooms majestically, your joints cry out for mercy after an hour. The bottles are cushy, languid, better than tourists on a Copacabana beach. If this is your cellar, then yes, you can show off. If it doesn’t look like the mines of Moria with a goblin lurking in the shadows, but it’s under 16 degrees in the hottest of summer, and over 9 degrees in the coldest of winter, honor is safe. The wine can evolve harmoniously. Otherwise, it’s a roller coaster effect: like humans, a wine ages faster when it’s abused.
Without going into psychoanalytic interpretations, your cellar reflects a part of your soul. Your cellar is you.
There remains an unstoppable advantage: you can arrange the premises as you please. Shelves, boxes, stone niches, stacked by four, six or twelve, your bottles are stored as you see fit, always accessible. Whether you have twenty bottles or several thousand, you will always find a place for them. You can also adjust the humidity. With a bucket of water regularly sprinkled on a layer of gravel, or pots filled with wet clay balls, you ensure the necessary humidity so that the corks do not dry out. If you have a bigger budget (and bottles that deserve it), a custom humidifier and air conditioning will make it the best travel companion.
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