1. Taste for balance, as this is the most important factor in choosing wine that will age well. If any single component – alcohol, oak, acid or tannins seems to overpower the other, they will only become more pronounced and unpleasant with age.
However if the wine has lots of everything, in equally and appealing amounts, then a few years in the cellar will help the wine integrate.
2. Read a little, and discover the classic regions with their established producers and good vintages. When you’re starting out, these will give you the framework to build the foundations of a solid collection. This information is easily found by reading recognized writers and magazine sites.
3. Then, take risks. Once you’ve established the base of your collection with a few cellar staples, it’s time to branch out. Check out new varieties, and keep tasting. Begin to trust your own palate rather than always checking with the critics.
4. Remember to have a range of bottles on-hand for any occasion and to go with any food: to serve a dry and crisp white with oysters, a powerful red with a braised meat dish, or an elegant sweet wine with desert is true luxury. So make sure you have a good balance between bottles ready to drink immediately and others which you intend to mature for some years.