You can’t count yourself a wine lover without a substantial collection of wine – Rieslings from obscure Mosel estates, personal discoveries from the depths of the Languedoc, a couple of ‘special’ cases picked up while touring Tuscany or prized icons from California or Australia – all should have a place in your racks. Well they aren’t in mine.
Actually I do have an icon wine, a bottle of Penfolds Grange picked up for a song. It retails for over £100 these days but I brought a single bottle for £45. My brown box also houses three bottles of port, a posh bottle of something white from Alsace, three different clarets, a bottle of Sauternes and a sweet white fortified oddity from South Africa. Hardly something to impress a fellow wine aficionado.
The reason is simple. I just cannot keep wine for very long. A bottle on a rack is just screaming to meet Mr. Corkscrew. Impoverishment also rules out the purchase of cases of wines that benefit from extended ageing. A majority of wines I buy or are sent as samples are designed to be drunk within a year or two anyway.
It seems hardly worth recording this little collection but blogger talk invariably moves from friendly size-boasting to cellar management systems.
The ability to store and compare drinking experiences and recommend that a specific wine is ready to drink is one of the delights in using a common wine database alongside other enthusiasts. If I want to check if my solitary bottle of Grange is ready to be opened or destined for another year or two in the box then a quick perusal of one of the online cellar management systems available should supply all the info I need. Some of these systems even link direct to merchant websites enabling a ‘cellar top-up’ with just a couple of mouse clicks. Deep joy.
I picked on Adegga and Snooth to link to via Spittoon you can tell they are at the cutting edge of geekdom by their made-up web 2.0 names.
Adegga is run by a team based in Portugal; who tell me that a new, more modern design is imminent. Adegga is pushing a universal numbering system for wines. So the delicious Hugel Tradition Gewurztraminer 2006 is AVIN8979734608252. Not something that trips of the tongue but aims to be the book categorization standard of the wine world. The system hooks into various blogs, mine included, to automatically update its database with new notes and ratings.
Snooth is a similar system, run from California by an Englishman but comes with a more funky design. It is grappling with the complexities of world-wide currencies but is generally more dollar-focused.
The benefit of these systems linking in with wine merchants (you can also leave reviews and experiences of merchants) is great when, say, a recommendation for a South African Sauvignon from someone in Hong Kong can link you quickly to a UK website to buy your own stocks (hence the attraction of all to use Adegga’s AVIN numbering system). Sadly though not many UK merchants, although the list is growing, seem to have picked up on this obvious and free sales line.
All well and good for the geeky wine lover but do more general wine drinkers actually use these internet platforms to find, locate and record wine purchases and cellar contents? More to the point does anyone actually have a cellar that needs recording?
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