The vaults are insufferably damp.
At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains piled to the vault overhead , in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use in itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
Edgar Allen Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado” 1846
OK, i’ll admit that my cellar isn’t that impressive, or even capable of inspiring the slightest bit of dread. i’ll also admit, with a bit more reticence, that it isn’t even a cellar. In fact it is just an area underneath my stairs that i affectionately refer to as my “cellar.” It also serves as bike storage, and a cat gym.
When my wife and i first moved from Salt lake to San Jose one of the very first activities we did, after we had passed our broke “o god can we do this” handwringing stage that comes naturally with Bay Area rents, was to visit the various wineries in the area. Beginning with the two we knew from Salt Lake, David Bruce and Ridge, we slowly began to hit most of the Santa Cruz mountain’s wineries. It was at David Bruce that we bought our first case of wine, which would prove to be the tylenol- in an eventual full blown addiction.
This isn’t to say we’re alcoholics (in case our loved ones are reading), we just have a burgeoning wine
problem collection, which started off innocuously enough, with a case of wine stored under the stairs. When this started to empty, we began to fill it anew, along with the wine rack. At this point we had started to branch off a bit, and American and Australian became German and French. When the first box filled it was quickly put upon to be the Atlas of other boxes. France and germany became the Rheingau and grower/producer Champagne. The boxes tumbled, my wife engineed a solution (don’t just leave the lower boxes empty! she admonished), stronger boxes were found. Champagne and rheingau became Vouvray and Lazio. the second and third tiers were constructed, slowly, and occassionally drained.
We just drank the last bottle from that first case of david Bruce, a sprightly 2002 Pinot, which made me take a second to pause and think that i, at one point, never thought i would be storing wine. And so we continue, 10 cases and counting, a proper wine fridge in the works, ready to start buying lots of stuff for (slight, as the house isn’t temp controlled) aging.