To answer your question on when to drink wines here is my system which may work for you. First I buy a wine of age worthy quality (I reference several different sources like Sotheby's Enclopedia of Wine, Hugh Johnson Guides, Oz Clark & Steven Spurrier Guides, Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson). I taste the one bottle before the recommeded opening date over several days to see how the wine opens up over numerous days.
If it seems as though it is a wine I would enjoy in the future then I buy 4 or 6 more bottles to open in the future. I get such a thrill when I open a bottle of the wine every year or two years after and taste a difference in the wine as well as see a difference with my tasting notes. I know you mentioned a lack of space but, once you taste the difference for yourself you will begin to understand a whole new dimension to wine appreciation.