The reason it’s so hard to rank the best grand cru Burgundy is that personal taste plays a huge role. It also comes down to what you value most. Are you looking for a wine with a high quality-to-price ratio (QPR)? Is flavor complexity the most important factor? Or do you want to buy wine that you can resell for a profit? No matter which quality you value most in a wine, this guide will sort–and in some cases rank–grand cru Burgundy according to a few different criteria.
A few years ago, a wine enthusiast wrote a letter to Wine Spectator’s Dr. Vinifera asking whether it’s safe to decant Sauternes. The letter writer had just come back from a restaurant and had been surprised to see that the sommelier poured a 1995 Château d’Yquem from a decanter. Dr. Vinifera responded that decanting Château d’Yquem certainly isn’t a common practice, but it’s also not a bad idea. Like any other fine wine, some Sauternes vintages open up with a little aeration and become more expressive.
In 2015, journalist Melissa Chang was invited to a private wine tasting party built around unique Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon food pairings. Each dish was designed specifically to complement a particular Dom Pérignon wine. The classic 2004 Dom Pérignon was served with bacon jam biscuits. A bottle of 1998 Dom Pérignon P2 was paired with smoked king salmon. The night wrapped up with glasses of 2003 Dom Pérignon Rosé followed by a sweet tofu dessert. Chang said the tasting reminded her just how versatile Dom Pérignon and other fine Champagne can be. She says, “Champagne is like a little black dress—it goes with everything.” This guide will show you how to create the ideal pairing for all the bottles in your collection.
While you can show that certain vintages, labels, or producers are better than others using metrics like tasting scores, price performance, and bottle value, ranking the top-rated California Cabernet is still a subjective process. In this guide, we’ve identified some of the highest quality producers, vintages, and wine labels on the market today. While these rankings are by no means definitive, they are designed to help you gain a better understanding of which wines most collectors find worthwhile so you can add top-quality Cabernet to your collection.
What makes a great Château d’Yquem vintage? All of these wines are excellent–the château doesn’t release a vintage if the grapes aren’t satisfactory–and they’re all designed to age for decades, so there aren’t many vintages that fall short. Still, different vintages have different strengths. You’ll find vintages that taste mature just 35 years after release and others that still taste exceptionally young at age 50. Some collectors prefer Château d’Yquem bottles that develop mature flavors fairly early whereas others prefer wines that age more slowly. This guide will help you find the best Château d’Yquem vintages based on your personal preferences and goals.
Designating one year as the best vintage year for Opus One is a difficult and subjective task; wines from two different years may both be fantastic in completely different ways. Some vintages are fruit-driven and intense in flavor, while others are delicate and bright. To pick the best vintages for your own collection, you’ll want to consider which of these two styles you prefer as well as whether you plan on reselling your bottles on the secondary market in the future. Our guide to the best Opus One vintages will help you narrow down your choices and build a rewarding collection of these iconic wines.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche is one of the greatest wine labels in the world. Even the lowest-rated vintages from this estate are still exceptionally high in quality, which means it’s nearly impossible to invest in a bad bottle of La Tâche. However, as with any label, some vintages are more valuable and impressive than others. Seeking out the very best wines from this producer ensures you’ll get the highest return on your investment and will get to enjoy only the finest wines the estate made.
After your first experience with the best Southern Rhône producers, it’s hard not to fill your cellar up with these incredible bottles. One of my colleagues started buying Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Pure in 2004, and she has continued to buy this label ever since. The wine’s fine tannin, elegance, and perfectly ripe fruit flavors draw her back to this producer year after year, and she has also started collecting some of the estate’s other delicious wines, like the Signature label.
If you’re looking to expand your Champagne collection, investing in wines from either Taittinger or Bollinger is a wise decision. But how do these producers compare? Which estate is the better investment? While Taittinger is elegant and dances on the palate, Bollinger tends to be richer and more powerful. Because they both produce consistently top-quality wine, your preference for either Taittinger or Bollinger will come down to personal taste, vintage, label quality, and how long you plan on storing your bottles. Weighing all of these factors will help you find the wine that speaks most strongly to you.
In his book The Pearl of the Côte, Allen Meadows reflects on his history with Burgundy, and specifically with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC). Meadows says that his love of Burgundy began in 1978, when he tried his first bottle of 1967 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg. At the time, it was the best bottle of Burgundy that Meadows had ever had–in fact, the wine was so elegant and delicious that he decided to pay a visit to Burgundy to discover more of these beautiful wines.
When I travel, I love to check out wine shops in different countries and always notice that the California selection at any shop outside of the U.S. is minuscule–usually only a handful of wines. But I’ve noticed that in Australia and Europe, if a shop is going to carry a California Cabernet, it’s always from Ridge Vineyards. The estate’s flagship Monte Bello label is highly sought-after among collectors, so much so that every year hundreds of wine enthusiasts from around the world journey to the Santa Cruz Mountains just to taste Ridge’s iconic Cabernet.
As an avid fan of Shiraz, I’ve amassed a number of bottles of Penfolds Grange Hermitage over the years. However, I recently noticed that my collection was becoming unorganized; I had more than a dozen Penfolds bottles sitting in storage, and some of these were fast approaching their peak. I knew that if I didn’t…