by Benjamin Hodson June 28, 2018



We know you. We know what you do every Thursday like clockwork. You finish grinding it out by 5:30pm and treat yourself to an Uber Select pickup from the office. You inch along Yonge Street to the “nice LCBO” (you know, the one with the better selection). You enter the store and become immediately overwhelmed with the massive amount of stock on the shelves; racks on racks of wines that you’ve never seen before. You ask for assistance but are disappointed in the direction you are pointed in, and settle for three bottles of the same thing you had that one time at the cottage with the bicycle on the label. “I think this was OK last time” you mutter to yourself as you head out the door.  Reluctantly, you order an Uber home and drink your unsatisfying wine with your friends who give you the “oh this is so good” grin while they suffer through another glass.  


It doesn’t have to be like this.  There’s a different way; a better way to build and maintain an impressive collection of wines. Stop buying a couple of bottles at a time from the LCBO and read the rest of this post.  

Countless experts can give you advice on what you should be drinking, what you should be holding, and what you should 100% avoid; however, the team of experts at Brix + Mortar Wine Company (well, Ben and Tommy) have curated a balanced collection of amazing wines to get you started on building and maintaining your impressive wine cellar.



  1. Trust your Dealer. 90% of the world’s wine is downright dreadful, so it’s easy to make a bad purchase. Fancy press quotes and cool labels can be appealing, but they don’t always guarantee quality. The right wine agent will get to know what you want and what you need; they can suggest wines specifically tailored to you. The best part?  If you don’t like it, Brix + Mortar Wine Co. will take it back with a full refund (wild stuff, right?).

  1. Buy in multiples.  There’s nothing worse than presenting a heart-stopping Barolo like Vietti Barolo Rocche just to tell your guests, “It’s the only one”.  Because wine is a boutique farming product, there’s a possibility that a bottle may develop cork taint. Holding on to a tainted bottle for a few years will feel like a crushing defeat once opened; imagine watching your decade-long anticipation dismally draining down the sink without a another bottle as a safety-net.  If you are afraid of commitment (it’s ok, we all are), you can split any case of wine with friends.

  1. “Think” about your budget.  If you don’t have one, congratulations. If you do, remember that it isn’t a hard and fast rule. We say “think” because there’s unpredictability in human reaction when you are presented with that iconic wine (think: 2013 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-st-Georges la Charmotte); some may underwhelm you in cost, and others will blow the bank.  Have a guideline for bottle cost, but allow yourself to cheat once in a while (trust us, it’s worth it).

Now we’ve established the ground rules; let’s get down to drinking. The best way to balance a cellar is to have a good mixture of vintages, prices and drink windows; this will allow you to have perfectly drinkable wines any day of any year until you are dead.  We’ve curated a list of suggestions for you to buy now to get that cellar started off on the right foot.


Immediate drinking:

It’s patio season, and what’s better than paying top dollar for average wines on King Street? Having you own patio party with a few bottles of Terras Gauda Albarino (go ahead, click on that link).  Albarino is an afforidable wine from Rias Baixas (Spain); it’s always in stock and it’s always a hit.

Intermediate Aging:

Barbera is often compared to it’s close-cousin, Nebbiolo whose grapes produce Barolos that can age for decades; however, Barbera is a chameleon of sorts when it comes to aging. Barbera can be drunk within 3 - 5 years of production and be quite incredible.

Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne is ready for immediate drinking or you can choose to hold it for a few years; either way your friends will be impressed.

Long-Term Aging:

Barolo is one of the best things you can keep in your cellar; you can hold it for decades and it will only improve. Eric Asimov of the New York Tomes writes: “Barolo, made entirely of the nebbiolo grape, still demands years in the cellar. In its youth, it is classically tannic and austere, but given time — often a decade or more — the tannins soften, releasing a gorgeous perfume and flavors often described as licorice, tar, truffles, violets and roses.”

For some serious bragging rights, Azelia Barolo will do.


Champagne is champagne, nothing else.  It only comes from Champagne. Cava is not Champagne, prosecco is not Champagne. If you want a truly impressive bottle, opt for something unique; everyone has seen the usual suspects before. Try H. Billiot et Fils Champagne Brut Grand Cru.  Incredible value, it’s under $100 (but you would never guess it).

Now we’ve armed you with knowledge of some cellar staples, but there are tons more to choose from. Check out our website at for complete product listings, or just give us a call for some personalized recommendations. Cheers!

Benjamin Hodson
Benjamin Hodson


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