Q & A with wine expert Matt
Did you know that Big Yellow Self Storage in Fulham has a temperature controlled wine storage facility? We thought we’d go behind the scenes and talk to Matt, the manager of the Wine Cellars, to ask him about how he came to be involved with wine, what wines are good as an investment and any tips on what’s good in the supermarkets right now!
BYSS BLOG: Matt, where did your passion for wine start?
I got into wine while at University, I had a part time job at a beautiful little wine shop that had been selling bottles for over a hundred years and through in-store tastings I was able to try some great wines. The wine that really got me hooked was a bottle of Margaux, I forget the chateau but remember it being like nothing else I’d ever smelt with a silky smooth mouth feel and intense fruit it was an awakening and I’ve worked in the wine trade ever since!
BYSS BLOG: Why should we get into collecting wine?
Wine is infinitely rewarding, and once bitten by the bug you will learn about geography, geology, meteorology, viticulture and history. It is also a very human product that needs care and affection in its youth to grow into something spectacular, gaining complexity and nuance as it ages before hitting its peak declining into old age.
BYSS BLOG: What’s Big Yellow got to do with wine?
The wine cellars at Big Yellow Self Storage Fulham are a one of a kind facility that offers everyone the opportunity of having their own secure, accessible wine cellar. Two stories below ground and fully climate controlled to the perfect temperature and humidity, you can rest assured that as soon as wine reaches us it will have the opportunity to age to its full potential. The Wine Cellars is also the home of The West London Wine School who offer a range of courses from one off specialist tastings to the advanced WSET qualification. Find out more here; www.westlondonwineschool.com
BYSS BLOG: What tips have you got for us if we want to start collecting?
The majority of wine that is made on the planet is for early consumption and is best drunk within a year or two of being produced; this includes the majority of white & rose wine and many red wines. Wines that have the potential to age and will get better with age tend to be fuller more robust red & sweet wines, as with everything though there are always exceptions to the rule! The three main things a wine needs to be able to age are acidity, tannin and plenty of fruit character. Acidity is needed to keep the wine fresh in the mouth and is usually more important to the ageing potential of white wines. Tannin is a natural preservative that is found in the skin & stalks of the grapes and can also be imparted through ageing or fermenting the wine in barrel.
BYSS BLOG: Isn’t it just for very wealthy people?
Not at all! The good news is that wine doesn’t have to cost the earth to be worthy of cellaring and a great wine collection is well within the reach of most people. Wine making techniques have improved massively over the last 20-30 years and through experimentation and better understanding of both the vineyard and winemaking techniques the wines that we find on our tables are the best they have ever been. It is now a relatively hard job to buy a bad bottle of wine, and nearly all the major supermarkets now have excellent wine buyers that are usually headed up by an MW (Master of Wine) and will be able to offer you some great wines no matter what your price point.
BYSS: OK we’re sold, how do we get started?
If you are looking to buy a wine that will age well my top tips would be to buy wine from a good vintage, a good producer and enough bottles to be able to see how the wine evolves over the years (at least 12 bottles). There is amazing value to be had from new world wine producing countries such as Argentina & Chile, the quality of a £20 red from this part of the world can sometimes be twice that of its European equivalent. Closer to home the country that I would look at in most depth is Spain. There is a plethora of fantastic wine producing areas in Spain and if you keep away from the well known trophy wines there is also great value – Priorat is a current favourite of mine.
BYSS: That’s fine, but can I get something from my local Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s?
I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to find a couple of bottles from my birth vintage 1981. One of the only places that had a particularly good vintage in ’81 was Rioja and the two wines that I tried are both quite readily available in a number of supermarkets or wine merchants. They both tasted exceptional and I can’t tell you how much they enhanced my special day (although I did have to share them with some good friends!)
2 wines I’d check out now are
Faustino 1 is available from £18.99 from numerous outlets
Prado Enea Muga 2004 is £30 from Majestic
BYSS: Thanks Matt! Wine Storage Starts from £6.50 per week. If you need a quote just visit www.bigyellow.co.uk/wine-storage. Big Yellow’s Wine Cellars have their own Facebook page too. Why not become a fan and get regular updates from Matt.