It’s a fact that the whole wine fridge industry measures its internal storage capacity of its fridges with the regular Bordeaux shaped bottle making the choices for those storing majority or exclusively Bordeaux wines and maturing those vintages over the longer term much easier. Unlike mixed storage, or wide based Burgundy or Champagne storage, the bottle capacity stated on the wine fridge will closely match the number of bottles you can store when choosing wine fridges for Bordeaux storage.
However, does what type of wine you wish to store from Bordeaux make a difference to the wine fridge you should choose? Potentially, but not due to bottle shape, but down to drinking windows and the need for excellent, long term maturation. For example, apart from a few notable exceptions, the wines of Bourg or Blaye and many from the Graves can be drunk fairly young, if your Bordeaux selection is made up of mostly young and early drinking wines you may not need as many of the tech additions that come with the long term maturation fridges. However, if you’re storing left bank classified growth wines or grand cru wines from St Emilion or top wines from Pomerol, it’s important they are matured expertly in a wine cabinet to avoid any disappointment down the line.
What wine fridge features are essential for storing fine Bordeaux?
Maturing fine Bordeaux is a labour of love that can pull on the heartstrings and lighten the wallet. The last thing a Bordeaux wine lover needs is to pop the cork on that top Pomerol or priceless Pauillac and find it has bad aromas, or light strike or any other wine storage issue.
In order to avoid anything disturbing the perfect maturation of your fine Bordeaux wines simply ensure your wine fridge is fitted with the following technology;
1) A carbon filter - To ensure no bad aromas damage the wine over the years its important to install and replace your carbon filters. Most premium brands will have these pre-installed including all the Swisscave and Artevino ranges.
2) Regulated humidity levels - Don't allow the corks to dry out and cause your wines to oxidise, instead ensure the humidity levels are managed. Every wine cabinet of quality will have either manual or automatic humidity management.
3) Audible and visible alarms - From time to time wine fridges can malfunction, the better ones let you know. Ensure these alarms are part of the build and check they are working frequently.
4) Triple UV protected glass door or solid door - Do not allow harmful UV light to penetrate your fine wines and ensure they are kept in relative or total darkness.
5) No/low vibration - Premium wine cabinets have their compressors mounted on anti-vibration bearings to ensure the wines are not disturbed. Good quality wood, such as mahogany for shelving, can also help damped vibrations too. Swisscave's Premium Edition wine fridges use Sapele wood, ideal for this problem.
Which is the best wine fridge for Bordeaux Wines?
We recommend two excellent wine cabinets for maturing Bordeaux wine, both have winter systems and could operate around the home or garage but one is more aesthetically pleasing with a UV protected glass door and the other offers the benefit of total darkness like a Chateau cellar.
The Artevino brand is owned by the world's premier wine cabinet producer, Eurocave and is their solution for long term wine maturation. These multi-zone units though are produced for a very specific wine lover in mind, those with a significant number of bottles to cellar who would also like a small section of their wine storage for white/Champagne and red wine service. This wine cabinet is ideal for those with around 174 special bottles that need maturing with the top and bottom sections of the fridge dedicated to instantly serving your Champagne/Bordeaux/Burgundy at the ideal temperature.
Like all the Artevino cabinets, the OXG3T199NPD comes with a winter system which allows it to be placed in a garage or outbuilding so it can operate at low ambient temperatures. The standard configuration OXG3T199NPD comes with a solid door, 6 universal beech wood shelves that can be used for display, storage or sliding shelves plus two wooden compartments. As all these units are bespoke and made to order, customers should use the chat facility if they'd like to swap the door or add more shelves.
The three multizone temperature blocks can be set from 6 - 20°C. That is 15°C - 20°C for the upper (red service) section of the cabinet and 10°C - 14°C for the central section of the cabinet that can be used for wine storage and maturation and the chilling compartment can be set between 6 and 10°C. The temperature gradient between these zones is between 4 and 6°C.
The ultimate Swisscave, this Premium Edition comes with both the Sapele shelving and the manual humidity management system giving control of the maturation to the collector themselves.
Containing the latest in wine cooler technology and the reliability and quality of the Swisscave brand, the WLB-460FHU-MIX operates one temperature zone (5-20°C) and benefits from 14 Beech wood sliding shelves giving quick and instant access to your wines. Swisscave use the highest quality components in their Premium range including an inverter compressor, high quality internal and external fans and upgraded evaporators, these are the best and quietest components to ensure your wines are protected to their fullest in a quiet unit that is also economical to run.
Which wines come from the Bordeaux Region?
The Bordeaux wine classifications are complex and have evolved over the years to include a variety of different types of wine. The Bordeaux wine classifications are divided into three main categories – the Left Bank, the Right Bank, and the Entre-Deux-Mers. The Left Bank is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while the Right Bank is primarily Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Entre-Deux-Mers is a blend of both the Left and Right Bank wines. Within each of these categories are further classifications. The Left Bank is further divided into the 1855 Classification, the Cru Bourgeois, and the Petites Chateaux.
The 1855 Classification includes the First Growth of Bordeaux, which are the highest-ranking wines. These are followed by the 2nd and 3rd Growth wines, and then the other wines such as the Cru Bourgeois and Petites Chateaux. The Right Bank is further divided into the Grand Cru Classe, the Cru Bourgeois, and the Petites Chateaux. The Grand Cru Classe is the highest-ranking wines and encompasses the famous Pomerol and St. Emilion wines. The Cru Bourgeois and Petites Chateaux are the lesser-known wines, but can still be very good. The Entre-Deux-Mers is made up of a variety of different wines from the Left and Right Bank. It is a great way to explore different styles of Bordeaux wines and discover something new.
Characteristics of Bordeaux Wines
When it comes to French wines, Bordeaux stands out as one of the world's most famous and beloved varieties. In fact, Bordeaux wines account for more than half of all French wine exports. Bordeaux is an expansive region in southwestern France, known for its excellent terroir and a wide variety of different grapes. This combination of factors makes Bordeaux the perfect place to produce a range of full-bodied, complex wines.
The Bordeaux climate is mild and typically wet, creating the ideal environment for growing grapes. The most common grapes used to make Bordeaux wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. The blend of these grapes, along with the region's unique terroir, creates wines that are full-bodied and complex in flavour. Bordeaux wines typically have a deep ruby colour, with aromas of black fruit, cedar, tobacco, leather, and sometimes even olives or mushrooms. These wines are known for their high tannin levels, which give them a nice, full mouthfeel. The tannins also give Bordeaux wines a long finish that lingers on the palate.
Bordeaux wines tend to be well-balanced, with a good acidity and moderate levels of alcohol. Bordeaux wines are typically quite versatile and pair well with a variety of foods. They go particularly well with red meats, game, and cheese. Bordeaux wines also have great aging potential, with some of the best wines able to improve for decades. Bordeaux wines are among the most popular and well-respected wines in the world. They are made in an incredibly diverse range of styles, ranging from light, fruity wines to big, bold, and tannic wines. No matter what you're after, there's sure to be a Bordeaux wine that fits the bill.
Should Sauternes be matured differently?
No, but it should be served differently as sweet Sauternes and Barsac should be served around 5c. If your wine collection is made up exclusively of sweet wine, these half bottles will add extra capacity to the stated bottle capacity of your wine fridge.
Left Bank Bordeaux Wine Storage
Left Bank Bordeaux wines, from the banks of the Gironde estuary in the region of Bordeaux, France, are some of the most famous and revered wines in the world. Often referred to as “first growths,” these wines are made from the classic Bordeaux grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, and their unique terroir produces remarkable wines that can age for decades.
The Left Bank comprises the communes of Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and Saint-Estèphe, and the wines made in each are distinctive. The wines of Margaux are known for their elegance and finesse, as well as floral and herbaceous aromas. Saint-Julien wines are known for their structure and for having aromas of dark berries, plums, and spices. Pauillac wines are known for their power and tannic structure, as well as intense aromas of cedar, blackcurrant, and cigar box. Saint-Estèphe wines are known for their rustic, earthy characters and aromas of tobacco, leather, and black fruits.
The Left Bank produces some of the most famous wines in the world, such as Château Margaux, Château Latour, and Château Lafite Rothschild. These wines are highly sought after and can sell for thousands of dollars a bottle. However, there are also many less-expensive wines that can be enjoyed at a fraction of the cost. In addition to the classic Bordeaux blends, the Left Bank also produces a variety of other wines, such as the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, and the white wines of Graves and Pessac-Léognan. Left Bank Bordeaux wines are often described as “classic” – with their structure and complexity, they are some of the most age-worthy wines in the world.
The best wines can age for decades, and in some cases more than a century, developing layers of complexity and flavour. With proper cellaring, these wines can be enjoyed for years to come. For those looking to experience Left Bank Bordeaux wines, there are many styles and price points to choose from. From everyday table wines to the most prestigious first-growth wines, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced wine enthusiast, there’s no better way to experience the beauty of the Left Bank than by tasting the wines it produces.
Right Bank Bordeaux Wine Storage
Right Bank Bordeaux wines are some of the most sought-after wines in the world. They come from the Left Bank of the River Gironde in southwest France, an area known for its exceptional terroir and optimal growing conditions. The Right Bank is home to some of the most illustrious appellations in all of Bordeaux, including Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac.
These wines are characterized by their intense aromas, lush textures, and complex flavours. Right Bank wines are typically made from a blend of three primary grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot makes up the majority of the blend, contributing rich, ripe fruit flavours and aromas. Cabernet Franc adds an herbal and mineral element to the blend, while Cabernet Sauvignon adds structure, tannins, and aging potential.
The Right Bank is the source of some of the most iconic and collectible wines in the world. Saint-Emilion wines are known for their intense aromas of dark fruits, earth, and spice, while Pomerol wines are known for their lush fruit flavours, velvet texture, and aromas of plums and violets. Fronsac wines are known for their perfumed aromas and velvety tannins.
The Right Bank has a unique terroir that is perfect for producing world-class wines. The soils are composed of limestone, clay, and gravel, which allow the roots of the vines to dig deep and access the natural minerality of the land. The climate is warm and humid, with the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean keeping temperatures moderate and allowing for an extended growing season. When it comes to aging, Right Bank wines tend to be best enjoyed around 5 to 8 years after the vintage. This is when the fruit flavours have started to mellow and the wines have developed a complexity and depth of flavour.
The aging potential of Right Bank wines is often much longer than those of the Left Bank, and some of the most collectible wines can still be enjoyed after 30 years or more. No matter your preference, Right Bank wines offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a light and easy-drinking red or a more complex and age-worthy bottle, you’re sure to find something to love in this amazing region of Bordeaux.
Maturing and Storing Bordeaux Wines
Maturing fine Bordeaux wines is an art form that requires much patience and knowledge. The process of aging these exquisite wines requires a deep understanding of how the maturation process works, and how best to utilize the conditions that allow it to occur. To truly appreciate the complexity and depth of a mature Bordeaux wine, it is important to have an understanding of the different factors that go into the aging process. In Bordeaux, the grapes used to make wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Carménère.
Depending on the vintage, the proportions of these grapes can vary greatly. Each grape has its own unique characteristics and contributes to the overall flavour profile of a Bordeaux. The aging process is the most important factor in maturing fine Bordeaux wines. Aging the wine in oak barrels helps to mellow the tannins and bring out the complex flavours of the wine. The number of years that a Bordeaux should be aged depends on its style. White Bordeaux can be aged anywhere from one to five years, while red Bordeaux can be aged anywhere from eight to twenty years.
The environment in which the wine is stored is also very important. Bordeaux wines should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity. The ideal temperature for Bordeaux is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal humidity is around 70 percent. The wine should also be stored in a dark and cool area with good ventilation. The aging process also requires patience. Bordeaux wines should be tasted periodically in order to determine when they are ready to be consumed. This is where the expertise of a professional comes in to play.
A skilled taster can detect subtle changes that occur as the wine ages, and can provide guidance to the consumer on when the wine is ready to drink. Finally, the most important factor in maturing fine Bordeaux wines is patience. This isn’t a process that happens overnight, and it’s important to remember that it takes time for the complexity of the wine to develop. With proper storage and patience, a Bordeaux can reach its full potential and bring immense joy to the lucky person who tastes it.
If you need any help choosing the best wine fridge to mature your Bordeaux selection then ask one of our experts via live chat or visit us in our Wandsworth, London store.