Dan Murphy was an ambassador for aged Australian wine. He is quoted as saying "All great wines need age", so in the 1960s he established the first Dan Murphy’s cellar in Prahran (VIC), setting aside wines he considered would improve with time, for future sale. including thousands of bottles from the greatest wine producers of Australia.
In 2008 Dan Murphy’s original vision was carried forward with the foundation of possibly the largest climate-controlled cellar of any Australian wine retailer, which today holds well over three million bottles, allowing more Australians than ever before to experience the joys of aged Australian wine.
Today, this collection of wine is known as our Cellar Release Program. The Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel is entrusted with assessing our cellar a number of times each year – only in this way can a true picture of a wine’s evolution be accurately determined. Wines are only released from the Dan Murphy’s Cellar when deemed to be at the start of the optimum phase, after which time they will usually continue to drink well for many years.
A wine bearing our Cellar Release seal is your guarantee of quality, and that it has been carefully matured.
But what are the benefits of a cellared wine, and why do we do it? Here, we explore the great joys that can be found in an aged bottle of wine.
The ability to cellar wine is what sets it apart from almost every other beverage. To lovingly place a bottle down in your cellar, only to return to it years later to reveal a truly beautiful wine is a joy that all must experience. To sacrifice one’s own indulgence by not drinking that red or white upon purchase, but to tuck it away in a dark corner not only takes dedication, but fair amount of faith also.
A decision though has to be made. Which bottle to cellar and which bottle to enjoy immediately? While there is a general perception that wine improves with age, this is not always the case and careful selection needs to be made. In fact, most wine purchased in Australia is enjoyed within 72 hours. So why bother with cellaring? Simply put, when a wine isv cellared well, the fruit, tannin, alcohol and acid all come together harmoniously to produce a balanced wine that is eminently more enjoyable.
Unfortunately it is not just a matter of laying a bottle of wine on its side and forgetting about it for many years. Storing wine properly will greatly enhance the chances of producing a gem from the cellar. Finding a cool place in your house without sunlight, that is not too dry and is without excessive vibration are the main factors. The perfect place would be under the house in a purpose built cellar, but anywhere that ticks the above boxes would suffice.
Accessible racking that enables your cork-sealed bottles to keep both the cork and wine in constant contact is also a must. Wines now sealed under screw cap don’t require such treatment. The ideal temperature to store your wines is between 12°C and 16°C with moderate humidity to keep corks moist and expanded to keep air penetration to a minimum.
Choosing the correct varietal to lie down in your cellar is another consideration. There is no point in cellaring a style that is at its best when young and one that would be simply more enjoyable in its youth. Varieties to keep in mind for the best results are Riesling, Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.
The last decision that needs to be made in the cellaring journey of a wine is when to drag it out of the cellar, pour it into a decanter and enjoy. Inspired by Patrick Iland and Peter Gago’s 2002 Australian Wine Style and Tastes, our graph and table below outlines the changes that occur as Australian red wine ages. As a general rule, less expensive wine progresses through these phases (matures) more quickly â€“ made to drink early with soft tannins and minimal oak. Premium wines adopt practices in the vineyard and winery that deliver much greater longevity. Our most famous flagship wines, including Penfolds Grange, are not only capable of maturing beneficially for years, but indeed decades.
We recommend enjoying the first bottle within one or two years of release from the cellar, assessing any additional bottles annually to ascertain their potential.
Alternatively, if you enjoy the uniqueness of aged wines, and do not have the facilities, or time, to cellar your wine, then Dan Murphy’s Cellar Release program will be a godsend. Located in every store, our Fine Wine Managers will be happy to recommend specific wines or a specific vintage, from our extensive Cellar. Your Fine Wine Manager will also be happy to unearth a favourite prestige, or museum wine, sourced directly from the producer. Because we’re passionate about wine, we’ll do everything we can so that you can experience the pleasure of a perfectly aged wine.
The French oak and white pepper-laden blackberries have integrated in sublime fashion here, justifying our call some years ago that this is one of the classic Bin 128s of the decade.
The 2004 was a fantastic release for Coldstream Cabernet and after seven years this wine is now drinking superbly, though can be enjoyed for the next decade.
This was recently tasted at an instore event, and everyone was surprised at how youthful the 2002 still is. With plenty of bright lemon pith and peel, it has begun to show some of the rich toasty elements that make aged Semillon a must for the cellar.
I’ve seen this advertised at well less than $20 and at that it’s very good buying… It tastes of pencils, blackcurrant, mocha and cream, and is both balanced and fruity through the aftertaste.