This is the first post in our 100 Bottle Cellar series where we ask collectors a simple question: How Would You Stock A 100 Bottle Cellar? Chris Caughman is Vinfolio’s Director Of Content, ensuring that all Vinfolio, WinePrices and VinCellar data is accurate and timely. Chris is an avid wine enthusiast, collector and a world class wine expert. When not geeking out on wine, Chris is also a diehard sports fan and will destroy any and all challengers at Fantasy Football. To learn more about the 100 Bottle Cellar series, click here.
Future Investment + Immediate Enjoyment
With ten years of experience working in the wine industry and a couple certifications to my name, I like to think I can navigate the landscape of fine wine with the best of them. My tastes have evolved over time, running the spectrum from oaky chardonnay to steely and mineral laced sauvignon blanc, from big, jammy reds to those of more complexity and nuance. In short, I’m a full-blown and unapologetic geek at this point. I’m also just a few years out of college, which makes me quite young to really appreciate and apply concepts of patience and restraint when I acquire a nice bottle.
I only include the long-winded bio because my level of experience and approach to drinking play very large roles in selecting my 100-bottle cellar. The fact that my tastes continue to evolve and I find many occasions to open bottles, to me, means that I essentially want my cellar split 50/50 into two super categories: wines that are ready to drink and wines that are purely for investment. The thinking here is that I have plenty of wine available to open and enjoy, while I also have plenty of wine appreciating in value as it matures. Down the road I can fund the replenishment of consumed wines and also acquire more investment grade wine with the proceeds from the sale of my investment only wines. If I can maintain this strategy, I can hopefully sustain a nice collection for a long time.
Ideally I would stock my collection with case quantities, but for the purpose of this exercise, I’m listing quantities no greater than 6 so I can feature more diversity of regions and producers. After all, as much as I value balance in a wine, I value balance in a collection. Also, it should be noted I’m moving forward considering money as no object because, well…I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m still paying student loans and investment grade wine is not in my budget. Without further ado…
My 100 Bottle Cellar
50 bottles for investment purposes only
I plan to sell these bottles at some point, so I want to use this part of my cellar only on recent vintages of high-profile wine that will appreciate in value. To me, the best bets are the 2009 and 2010 vintages for both Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundy and, plus 2009 Northern Rhone and 2010 in Chateauneuf, Piedmont and Napa. These bottles will stay tucked away under ideal storage conditions, and I will watch the market and move when the time is right to sell.
BURGUNDY – 15 bottles
6 x 2010 DRC – Romanee Conti 750ml
6 x 2009 Domaine Leroy – Musigny 750ml
2 x 2010 Armand Rousseau – Chambertin 1.5L
1 x 2009 DRC – La Tache 1.5L
BORDEAUX – 15 bottles
6 x 2010 Latour 750ml
6 x 2009 Yquem 750ml
2 x 2009 Petrus 1.5L
1 x 2010 Cheval Blanc 3.0L
RHONE – 8 bottles
6 x 2009 Chave – Cuvee Cathelin 750ml
2 x 2010 Pegau – Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo 1.5L
PIEDMONT – 8 bottles
6 x 2010 Gaja – Sori San Lorenzo 750ml
2 x 2010 Roberto Voerzio – Barolo Cerequio 1.5L
NAPA – 4 bottles
3 x 2010 Screaming Eagle 750ml
1 x 2010 Harlan Estate 1.5L
50 bottles suitable to open within the next 3 years
Aside from pairing dinners and tastings with friends who are also in the wine trade, I mostly find myself opening bottles with friends who, relatively speaking, know very little about wine. I want to feel good opening wine with both groups, so I will create an additional two categories: special occasion wine ($100-200) and value wine that I believe over delivers for the price. Whether I’m opening wine to drink with pizza at home or paying corkage at a fine dining establishment, I feel covered. Note: All of the value category wines were recommendations from our excellent Vinfolio sourcing team that I ended up coming back and purchasing on more than one occasion.
SPECIAL OCCASION – 12 bottles
3 x 2003 Leoville Barton 750ml – This one is drinking exceptionally well right now, still bright and youthful with the stuffing to last for a good while in the cellar. I brought this to a steakhouse a few months ago and it stole the show.
3 x 2006 Biondi Santi – Brunello di Montalcino 750ml
2 x 2009 Coche Dury – Bourgogne Blanc 750ml – I brought this wine home to pair with dungeness crab on Christmas Day with my family. Stunning.
2 x 2012 Guigal – Condrieu La Doriane – This wine was my contribution to the table at the most spectacular meal of my life – a 19-course tasting menu at Benu in San Francisco. Among many outstanding wines, this stood out spectacularly.
2 x NV Krug – Grande Cuvee 750ml
VALUE – 38 bottles
6 x 2011 Ragnaie – Rosso di Montalcino 750ml – For the under $30 red category, this wine is stellar. A crowd pleaser at a recent holiday party.
6 x 2004 Clos Mogador 750ml
6 x 2009 Louis Jadot – Bourgogne Couvent des Jacobins 750ml
6 x 2012 Zind-Humbrecht – (Tokay) Pinot Gris 750ml – A wine I’ve purchased on 4 or 5 occasions. I should probably just buy a case next time.
6 x 2009 Baumard – Savennieres Clos du Papillon 750ml
6 x 2009 Roche de Bellene – Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes 750ml
2 x NV Camille Saves – Brut Rose 750ml – My favorite among some nice Champagnes on New Years Eve. Outstanding for $70.
In total, here are the stats on my 100 bottle cellar.
12% Special Occasion