Bordeaux is a formidable red in more ways than one. Championed as one of the greatest of reds when it comes to taste, aroma, texture, and color, Bordeaux is a wine that other wines aspire to become: complex, memorable, and, quite simply, delicious. Whether a first-growth Bordeaux or a fifth, the region itself commands respect—and rightly so.
In 1855, to officially recognize the very best producers in this impressive region, 60 vintages from the subregion of Médoc and one from Graves were classified according to factors such as quality and price. Four were given first-growth status: Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Margaux. Another 15 of those ranked claimed second-growth positions.
There are now several second-growth estates so highly regarded that they are now referred to as Bordeaux super seconds.
Since that time, few classifications have shifted, though both the quality and price gap between some estates have narrowed. Only one former second-growth estate has graduated to first-growth prestige: Château Mouton Rothschild. That doesn’t mean that no other estates are deserving, just that official change comes slowly, if it comes at all. In fact, there are now several second-growth estates so highly regarded that they are now referred to as Bordeaux super seconds. Their grand vins look, feel, and taste like first-growth wines–and any serious Bordeaux collector should make it a priority to invest in them.
Which Producers Are Considered Super Seconds?
The following estates, though technically classified as second growth, repeatedly produce vintages that have earned them the reputation, and title, of being super seconds in the marketplace. The first six estates below produced exceptionally flavorful 2018 vintages, earning each between 100 and 98 points from Wine Advocate. Many, like the 2018 Château Cos d’Estournel, make ideal candidates for long-term aging. Of course, all of the estates on the list below produce exceptional Bordeaux year after year:
- Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe
- Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien
- Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
- Château Léoville-Las Cases, Saint-Julien
- Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien
- Château Montrose, Saint-Estèphe
- Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Pauillac
- Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
Why Are Super Seconds Worth Collecting?
Price is inextricably tied to value and, thus, demand. Considered more valuable than other second-growth Bordeaux thanks largely to their quality, super seconds are quite expensive. Yet, they remain affordable when compared to their higher-ranked first-growth counterparts and their quality is on par with many of those higher-priced wines.
Super seconds are ideal wines for aging—and they can realize potentially significant returns when it comes time to sell.
A more affordable price tag in no way reduces the investment value of Bordeaux super seconds. Like many Left-Bank Bordeaux known for having strongly present tannins, delicate aromas evocative of the terroir, and a wealth of flavor, super seconds are ideal wines for aging—and they can realize potentially significant returns when it comes time to sell. Since they can also be purchased at a more affordable price point than a first growth, diversifying your portfolio with multiple Bordeaux super seconds is easy to achieve as well as a smart way to invest.
Storing Your Bordeaux Super Second Investment
No matter which super second producers you decide to buy, if your intention is to purchase wine as an investment, think critically about how and where you’ll store your Bordeaux. Light, temperature, and humidity must remain constant to preserve the quality and value of every bottle you buy. A home cellar in which these conditions are controlled is a great place to start. Without seismic racking, fire protection, around-the-clock security, and insurance, however, the entirety of your portfolio will still be at risk.
Investing in professional storage for all of your fine wines is the only way to ensure that your carefully chosen bottles of Bordeaux provide you with the highest potential future profits. Some reputable storage facilities also make great marketplaces for buying and selling wine that is authentic, rewarding, and a joy to taste, too.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.