How to Stock Your Home Wine Cellar (or Rack)

White Rose and Red WineWhen you’re first “getting into” wine, learning about all the different varieties and growing regions and aging regimens and customs can be a daunting experience.

At the very beginning of what, for many, becomes a life-long journey, all that most people want to know is what types of wine they should have on hand to cover just about any type of occasion that could arise — planned or unexpected.

So, the Vinesse tasting panel and I put together a list of “go-to” wines that would make just about any home wine cellar (or wine rack) prepared for handling just about any type of culinary or social event.

If space is an issue, keep a few bottles of each type on hand, and then replace them as you use them…

  1. CHARDONNAY. America’s favorite white wine. The variety with which almost any guest would be familiar. The perfect wine to sip while catching up with friends.
  1. SAUVIGNON BLANC. The wine to serve with shrimp, crab cakes, scallops or other seafood specialties. Bright and refreshing.
  1. CHENIN BLANC. A flavorful and versatile food wine — great with fish, chicken or salads. Before Chardonnay took the crown, it was the white wine king of California.
  1. GEWURZTRAMINER or RIESLING. If you enjoy Chinese or Thai take-out, either of these varieties will match beautifully. Also great with Tex-Mex. Serve well chilled to help counterbalance the spiciness of the food.
  1. CABERNET SAUVIGNON. The king of red wines. Great for special occasion toasting, or to accompany a thick, juicy steak.
  1. MERLOT. The “mellow” red. Easy drinking and delicious.
  1. PINOT NOIR. Grilling salmon? Burgers? This is the wine to uncork.
  1. ZINFANDEL. The perfect pizza wine. And we mean that in a good way.
  1. CHAMPAGNE/SPARKLING WINE. Even people who think they don’t like wine will drink a glass of bubbly on occasion.
  1. DESSERT WINE. For the guest with a sweet tooth, or for an after-dinner treat, have a sweet variety such as Muscat Canelli or Moscato on hand.
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