To say first-growth Bordeaux wine is high in quality is an understatement. There are only five first-growth estates in Bordeaux, and each of them crafts some of the most elegant, prestigious, and valuable wines in the world. Wines with official first-growth classifications are often worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more than their lesser-ranked peers and are considered by many to be the cornerstone of any serious French wine collection.
Colgin Cellars’ wines are supremely rare and exclusive. The Napa Valley winery sells fewer than 2,800 cases of wine per year to a handful of upscale restaurants and 8,000 members on its selective mailing list. Getting your hands on these complex and delectable red wines isn’t easy, particularly if you’re on the hunt for one of Colgin’s many 100-point vintages. These top-rated wines are highly sought-after among serious wine enthusiasts and tend to sell out very quickly on the secondary market.
The best vintages of Château Latour are among the longest-lived wines in the world. While certain wines like fine port and Tokaji are known to age for 100 years or more, it’s rare to find a red Bordeaux blend with the same aging potential. Château Latour is one of these extraordinary wines. For instance, the 1961 vintage—considered one of the greatest in the estate’s history—continues to develop in complexity even to this day. When Master of Wine Jancis Robinson tried the 1961 vintage a few years ago, she said, “I can hardly believe the drinking dates I am suggesting for this wine! Drink through 2040.”
The iconic Château Margaux estate is nicknamed the “Versailles of the Médoc.” From its stunning neo-Palladian architecture to its rows of carefully-planted vines, it’s a picturesque estate that’s fit for royalty. The wines themselves are equally alluring. President Thomas Jefferson famously adored these wines, saying, “There couldn’t be a better Bordeaux bottle.” The moody dark berry flavors and heady violet aroma generally present in the grand vin have earned this estate a reputation as one of the world’s greatest wine producers.
There is no Champagne in the world quite like Salon’s blanc de blancs Le Mesnil cuvée. Made from top-quality Chardonnay grapes grown in just one grand cru village and from a single vintage, the wine is an outstanding expression of time and place. Every bottle of Salon is distinctive and potentially legendary—the house only produces a vintage when the quality is phenomenal.
Top-quality Harlan Estate vintages impress even the most experienced and judicious of wine critics. Tasting six Harlan Estate wines in 2018, Master of Wine Jancis Robinson says many exceeded her expectations. “Only the prejudiced would reject them as too sweet and too alcoholic,” she adds. While the price of these bottles is quite high compared to most other examples of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Robinson says the extra cost is generally worth it. These wines are deeply fragrant, powerful, and age-worthy–a tempting combination.
If you ask a serious Burgundy collector which wine they’d love to have in their cellar right now, chances are they will say Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti. Not only is DRC’s flagship wine one of the most delicious ever created, but it’s also a unicorn wine for Pinot Noir enthusiasts. These wines—particularly the highest-rated vintages—can be nearly impossible to find for sale. Still, these iconic wines do sometimes come on the market, and, when they do, you’ll want to be prepared.
The best vintages of Pétrus have the power to move people. A commenter on the Wine Berserkers forum claimed that after trying 488 wines from 1990, he found that Château Pétrus was his absolute favorite of that year, even over the first-growth wines he tried. In average years, these wines are still unbelievably decadent, but in great years, they are otherworldly. When it comes to investing in Pétrus wine, it’s almost impossible to make a poor decision. As always, though, there are still some vintages that wine enthusiasts consider to be a cut above the rest. This guide will help you find the most legendary Château Pétrus wines for your collection.
When the Vinfolio team visited Pomerol during en primeur week this past spring, we stopped at Château Lafleur to taste some of their incredible wines. During our tasting of the 2018 vintage, we had an enlightening discussion with a representative from the estate about what makes Pomerol special. Here, terroir is king. Château Lafleur and other Pomerol wine producers know just how unique the soil and climate are in this region, so they take a hands-off approach. The quality of the area’s terroir and the grapes it produces really do speak for themselves and this is a large part of what makes Pomerol so distinctive. In most other regions of Bordeaux, the winemaker’s signature style is very apparent in the wine; in Pomerol, most producers prefer not to interfere with the terroir’s natural characteristics at all.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet is consistently high in quality, but when you find an especially extraordinary vintage, the experience can be transformative. Moreover, these wines are as valuable as they are delicious. Like all Domaine de la Romanée-Conti labels, the Montrachet label increases in value as the wine ages, making it a great choice for collectors who want to resell their wine on the secondary market. There are many fantastic DRC Montrachet vintages to choose from; we’ll recommend the very best vintages–both recent and older–from this iconic label.
In 2016, wine critic Jane Anson had the opportunity to try 44 different Sassicaia vintages in a single day. By the end of the tasting, she was “approaching sensory overload,” but she never got tired of the wine. Anson said the Sassicaia vintages displayed an excellent balance that kept them from being overpowering. She said, “[It’s] almost impossible to imagine another European Cabernet-based wine, tasted through this many vintages, managing to pull off this gentle physicality.” In particular, Anson enjoyed the 2014, 2010, 2006, 2001, 1996, and 1985 vintages, as they were especially refined, complex, and aromatic.
Moët & Chandon produces some of the most age-worthy, valuable, and flavorful wines in the world. However, if you’re new to Moët & Chandon, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of labels and vintages available to choose from. Moët & Chandon tasting notes can help you make your decision. Professional tasting notes are designed to guide collectors and wine enthusiasts to the wines that best match their personal tastes and investment goals. This guide will direct you to reliable reviews for Moët & Chandon’s best labels and vintages. You’ll see what experienced wine experts have to say about specific wines and will get detailed advice on the best bottles to add to your collection.