A Well Stocked: Wine Cellar

insolence + wine

Here at insolence + wine, we're firm believers that you should always have a bottle or two of wine lying around your house. Maybe you've had a horrible day and need to drown yourself in a bottle of wine while binge watching Gilmore Girls, or your spouse just got that promotion at work and you want to do some celebrating. Even if you aren't a big wine drinker yourself, perhaps you're hosting a dinner party for friends and family who are wine drinkers.

For us, our wines are broken into several categories: weeknight wine (the bottles you’d drink if you’re having a Netflix night with your spouse after the kids have been put to bed), dinner party wine (these are the bottles you’d serve when you’re cooking for a small social gathering), celebration wine (you’d open these on an anniversary, birthday, promotion), cocktail party wine (stocking for larger gatherings where the wine or food isn’t the main focus), wine to age (this is the wine you’d be cellaring for years to save for a special occasion—warning, this area can cost you a pretty penny).

Stocking Your Wine Cellar

Before we dive into our recommendations for what to put into your wine cellar, fridge or maybe even rack, lets begin by asking ourselves a few questions: 

  1. How often do you open a bottle of wine during the week?
  2. What types of meals do you frequently eat?
  3. Do you find yourself seeking white, red or rosé?
  4. If you enjoy having company over for dinner, how frequently do you host dinner parties? How often do you attend dinner parties?
  5. Are you new to the world of wine and just don't know where to begin?

The answers to these five questions will help guide you in the right direction for selecting your perfect wines.

Consider your answers to the questions from above.

What do you cook frequently for dinner?

  • Chicken: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, a dry sparkling white wine, Syrah or Nebbiolo.
  • Salmon: Try rosé, pinot noir, Syrah, Grenache or Chardonnay. 

If you’re anything like we are, pasta is a staple in your kitchen; 

  • Cheese: Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Tomato-based sauce: Chianti, Merlot, Sangiovese. 
  • Spicy: Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Ravioli: Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel.
  • Alfredo or another cream based sauce: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling.
  • Pesto with basil: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio.
  • Seafood: Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio
  • Meat Sauce: Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Lasagna: Chianti, Barbera, Barolo.
  • Pizza: Try a good rosé, Chianti, Barbera, Zinfandel or a bubble Prosecco.
  • Filet Mignon: Cabernet Sauvignon, Bourdoux Blend, Petite Syrah.
  • Lamb Chops: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.
  • Pork Chops with Fruit: Zinfandel, Viognier, Gewürstraminer
  • Veal Parmagina: Merlot, Chianti, Brunello.
  • Ham: Reisling, Moscato, Pinot Noir
  • If you’re vegetarian or tend to eat vegetable-heavy meals: Sauvignon Blanc.

Is dessert your main draw? Serving something with apples, peaches or nectarines? Serve it with ice wine (dessert wine such as Riesling, Vidal Blanc). Chocolate or coffee? Serve it with a vintage port, which will pair beautifully with dark chocolate or coffee. 

Are you noticing a trend with the recommended wines and what you tend to cook or order from a restaurant? Those are the wines you should be buying.

Beginner Wines To Have On Hand

  • Grenache
  • Barbera
  • Syrah
  • Sparkling Wine
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Noir
  • Port
  • Reisling
  • Rosé
  • Muscat

How Do I Stock This?

Maybe you recently took the plunge and purchased that beautiful 24-bottle wine fridge you've had your eye on for the past six months. Now, you're unsure of exactly how you should make the most of your space.

First of all, always store your wine at 55º. You don't want it to spoil in the heat!

Again, ask yourself some questions: How often do you open a bottle of wine during the week? Two or three nights? Then you'll need 8-12 bottles of weeknight wine. Do you host small dinner parties a couple of times a month? Then you'll need 4-6 bottles of dinner wine. Or do you prefer to host cocktail parties? Stock your cellar with wine that you will use! Having learned the hard way, don't purchase wines just because they are on sale or the sales person at BevMo is telling you that you should buy it. Experiment with different wines and discover what you like for yourself.


What's In Our Cellar

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (2)
  • Syrah (1)
  • Petite Syrah (1)
  • Albariño (1)
  • Malbec (3)
  • Grenache (1)
  • Viognier (2)
  • Pedit Verdot (2)
  • Sauvignon Blanc (1)
  • Chardonnay (2)
  • Rosé (2)
  • Riesling (2, one sweet + one dry)
  • Port (2)
  • Champagne or Sparkling Wine (2)

what is your favorite wine in your wine cellar that you recommend to everyone? Are you new to the world of wine and feeling overwhelmed? Post your questions below!

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