what are ex-chateau wines

What Are Ex-Château Wines?

How much would you pay for a bottle of 1995 Latour? If I told you that the bottle had remained at the Latour estate since it was bottled nearly two decades ago, would you be willing to pay more for it than a bottle that had passed through dozens of hands?

In 2013, collectors had to make this exact choice after Latour decided to drop out of en-primeur sales altogether and sell off older wines from 1995 instead. Latour held onto the 1995 bottles, waiting until they reached peak drinking age, then sold them directly to collectors as ex-château wines.

But what are ex-château wines?

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Caymus cabernet sauvignon on table with fruit and cheese.

The Best Cabernet Under $200

High prices are mistaken too often as a guarantee of high quality. While it’s true that many of the best wines in the world are also among the most expensive, simply buying an expensive wine does not guarantee that you will enjoy it. Nor does a low price tag necessarily mean that a wine isn’t worth adding to your collection.

For example, you can find some of the best Cabernet wines for under $200 if you know where to look.

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Bottle of red wine bought directly from producer in front of barrel in bucolic setting.

How Do I Buy Wine Direct From a Producer?

In the world of wine, less is more—at least when it comes to handling and transportation. Whether you relish local wines or seek to collect cases from around the world, you want assurance that the journey from the vineyard to your doorstep was as straightforward and uneventful as possible.

Why? If you aim to enjoy the wine at your next dinner party, you’ll want to serve nothing less than the best a bottle has to offer. And if you’d prefer to resell the wine for profit instead, you’ll receive the greatest ROI from a bottle that’s all but guaranteed perfect provenance.

In either case, the best approach may be to buy directly from producers.

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vineyard for winery direct

What is Winery Direct? Direct From the Vineyard to Your Door

Most wines travel hundreds, or thousands, of miles and pass through many doors before they complete their journey with the pop of a cork. This process factors into the price and—more importantly—the provenance of these wines. The farther the wines travel, and the more complex the journey, the greater the increase in cost and the higher the chances of a mishap. Winery direct shipping offers a faster, safer alternative that limits the extent to which these wines are handled and the risk of damage occurring during transportation.

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mclaren vale wine region

Exploring the McLaren Vale Wine Region

Located in the South Australia wine state just a short drive south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale is considered to be among the most significant viticultural areas in the world. For a relatively small region, it’s impressively diverse. A number of different red and white grape varieties thrive here thanks to the varied terroirs that coexist within this one appellation. The producers themselves also come in many shapes and sizes; McLaren Vale is home to both industry giants and small, high-end wineries alike.

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chateau pontet-canet label

A Guide to the Best Château Pontet-Canet Vintages

Some wines seem destined for greatness. Founded in Pauillac—one of the most prolific and praised Left Bank appellations of Bordeaux—by the Governor of the Médoc himself in the early 1700s, Château Pontet-Canet has produced some of the most poignant and intriguing Red Bordeaux blends to date.

If you’re eager to add a few radiant red wines to a well-stocked cellar of Bordeaux, or if you’re interested in starting a new Pauillac or Bordeaux collection, save a place for a few bottles of Château Pontet-Canet’s best vintages. 

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Château La Mission Haut-Brion is a Bordeaux super second.

10 Château Haut-Brion Best Vintages for Any Investor

As rich in history as they are in flavor and complexity, this producer’s red and white blends are a must-have for any connoisseur interested in adding some quality Bordeaux wine to their collection. It can be difficult to know where to start when so many of their wines have received such high acclaim, but our guide below to Château Haut-Brion’s best vintages of all time provides an excellent place to begin your search.

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Aubert wine rating

Aubert Wine Ratings: The Producer’s Best Vintages

Mark Aubert’s winery first sprang into existence from California’s rich soils in 1999, and ever since, Aubert Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines have been climbing steadily higher in professional and public opinion, like grapevines reaching for the sun. Of course, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the state’s most prolifically planted varieties. With so many other notable California producers specializing in similar wines—Peter Michael, Williams Selyem, and Donum among them—what is it about Aubert wines that merits an ever-growing waiting list just to join the winery’s mailing list?

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Clarendon Hills Winery vineyards

The Best Vintages from Clarendon Hills: Choosing Top Astralis and Other Clarendon Hills Wines

Shiraz grapes grow bountifully in the Land Down Under, where the climate is warm and the sunlight shines bright—particularly in the McLaren Vale wine region. This appellation is celebrated for consistently producing world-class Australian Shiraz—though Roman Bratasuik, owner of the Clarendon Hills winery, prefers to use this grape’s Old World name, Syrah, for his top-rated wines.

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Grand Cru Chablis

The 10 Best Chablis Producers

The best Chablis wine has a fairytale quality to it. Crafted by master vintners in a remote subregion of Burgundy in northern France, the subtle flavors and aromas of these light-bodied white wines gently guide you on a journey through the idyllic green hills and breezy vineyards of this picturesque area. They may not be as famous as their Champagne neighbors to the north, but there is nothing quite like the fresh, airy purity of a quality Chablis wine.

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