A high-end wine captivates the senses and leaves drinkers in awe of its elegance and power. Yet, there are only a few wines luxurious and valuable enough to be considered “high-end.” How do you know whether a wine fits the bill, and most importantly, where can you find these spectacular bottles?
In this guide, you’ll find detailed lists of some of the best high-end wines you can add to your collection right now. You’ll also learn exactly what makes a wine “high-end” so you can continue to grow your collection over a lifetime.
The Best High-End Wine To Collect
Some wines clearly stand out from the rest. These are the wines that have garnered a near-bulletproof reputation over the years among critics and collectors alike. A few of these labels have even become synonymous with opulence, Louis Roederer Cristal, for instance.
Below, you’ll find some of the most sought-after high-end wines on today’s market—wines that will likely continue to capture the attention of collectors for many decades to come. Whether you enjoy a rich and complex white wine like white Burgundy or deeply concentrated reds, you’ll see a wide variety of styles represented in each region below.
Wines by Region
High-End French Wines
Some essential high-end wine producers are:
High-End California Wines
Over the decades, California has become the premier destination for fine New World Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties. These “cult” wines have a reputation for being consistently high in quality and are so rare that many of the most devout Cabernet enthusiasts sign up for exclusive mailing lists for the opportunity to buy just one precious bottle.
The top cult wine producers include:
|California Cult Wines|
High-End Italian Wines
Italian wines are gaining in popularity among luxury wine collectors, in part because the country produces some of the most age-worthy reds in the world (such as Vietti Barolo). Italy’s Super Tuscans (made from a unique blend of Sangiovese with traditional French grapes) are also a must-have in any high-end wine collection.
Keep the following producers in mind:
High-End Spanish Wines
Spanish wines are gaining a foothold in the luxury wine market. A handful of standout producers are responsible for this uptick in popularity:
High-End Australian Wines
For luxury collectors looking for rare wines with immense power, Australia has some fine examples from its most celebrated regions The best winemakers in the country offer some of the world’s finest examples of Shiraz (also known as Syrah). Like California Cabernet, Australia’s Shiraz has reached “cult” status due to its rarity and popularity.
Some of the best wine producers from Australia are:
|Australian Cult Wines|
These are by no means the only high-end wines worth your time. In every region above, there are many other fine producers and labels that luxury wine collectors adore. This is simply an ideal jumping-off point if you’re starting from scratch, or if you want to broaden your horizons. However, to dive deeper into the world of fine wine, it helps to know exactly why these wines make the list, and how you can spot more bottles like them in the future.
What Makes These Wines “High-End?”
High-end wine is rare, valuable, highly rated, and has a strong “sense of place.” It is also collectible from an age-worthy standpoint, too, and can be kept in a cellar and grow more rare and ethereal with age. Yet, when it comes time to expand your collection, you might be unsure whether a wine fits into each of these categories or not. After all, some of these qualities can be subjective–what’s “valuable” to a casual drinker might be invaluable to a more experienced wine enthusiast.
So, to find a high-end wine that belongs in a luxury collection, it’s important to know what makes a wine “high-end.”
Rarity varies by region; some regions (like Champagne) are known for producing a greater number of bottles each year than others (like cult California estates). Additionally, some producers make more wine than others in the same region.
The best way to determine if a wine is rare is to look at the demand for that wine on the market. Even if a wine is produced in larger quantities, if the demand is higher than the supply, then it’s a rare bottle. Blue-chip labels from Bordeaux and Burgundy, cult wines from California and Australia, Super Tuscans, and legendary Champagne houses are just a few examples of wines that are usually in high demand and are, therefore, rare.
A high-end wine is almost always worth $200, at the very least, but here is what you can expect to pay for a standard-sized bottle of high-end wine based on its region:
- Bordeaux: $500+
- Burgundy: $300+
- Champagne: $300+
- The Rhône: $300+
- Italy: $300+
- Spain: $300+
- California: $300+
- Australia: $300+
Some wines are, of course, more valuable, but if a wine falls within this value range, it’s a sign that it is a high-end wine.
This is an easy quality to measure: you can simply read some of the latest tasting notes from professional critics. Any wine that receives more than 95 points from trusted critics is often a high-end wine worth collecting. Wines like 2019 Pingus and 2017 Château D’Yquem have even received near-perfect scores from critics.
- Sense of Place
This is a harder quality to measure since it’s largely subjective. However, certain wines come from famous terroirs, and this is often reflected in the wine’s flavor. The wine very clearly tastes “of that place and time.” For example, Château Petrus is known for its blue clay soil that is unlike any other in Bordeaux. The soil retains water and helps the fruit develop a deep color and signature flavor profile. When you collect these wines, you do so knowing there’s nothing exactly like them.
Preserve the Quality of Your High-End Wines
A high-end wine is something truly special, so you should make every effort to protect your bottles until you’re ready to enjoy them (or resell them). This is especially important for high-end wines that you can lay down for decades, and even pass down to a future generation.
To make the most of your high-end wine collection, start by purchasing your wine from a trusted source. The best wine retailers carefully track the bottle’s provenance from the moment it leaves the winery. Some even sell wines directly from the estates, ensuring the bottle is authentic and in mint condition.
From here, it’s a good idea to keep your wine in professional storage until you’re ready to open it. Most high-end wine ages slowly, building layer upon layer of flavor every year. In professional storage conditions, you can make sure your finest bottles age beautifully, so you can enjoy the experience of drinking them to the fullest.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, having a high-end wine collection is an incredibly rewarding undertaking. The craftsmanship that goes into these luxurious wines, not to mention the history behind them, can be awe-inspiring and well worth your time.
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.