In this guide to cult wine prices, you’ll not only learn what you can expect to pay for a bottle of fine cult wine but also why these wines consistently perform so well on the market. With this understanding, you’ll have all of the information you need to select the best wines for your collection or start a cult wine investment that you can use to plan for the future.
Whether you’re starting a collection from scratch or you want to improve your fine wine knowledge, here are ten of the most important Cabernet Sauvignon facts every collector should know.
You don’t have to travel to Burgundy to find complex white wines with distinctive minerality and finesse. California’s northern Sonoma Coast is home to some of the most reputable Chardonnay producers in the world. Unlike most New-World Chardonnay, which is typically rich and buttery, top-rated Sonoma Chardonnay leans toward an elegant, acidic, and earthy profile. These wines have compelling notes of crisp green apple, refreshing citrus, racy acidity, brine, and wet stone—flavors and aromas that develop even greater depth with age.
Pinot Noir is a wine chameleon—it evolves in response to its surroundings, taking on an entirely new personality in every terroir. This light-bodied red wine variety is extremely sensitive to even the slightest changes in climate, which is why there’s such a notable difference between New-World Pinot Noir and Old-World Pinot Noir. While New-World Pinot Noir is often fruit-forward, heavily oaked, and extracted, Old-World Pinot Noir is generally more delicate, acidic, and earthy.
This summer, I went to a wedding and was served the most delicious homemade Indian food I’ve ever tasted. I filled my plate with buttery chicken makhani, smoky tandoori, and a huge variety of spicy curries. The bride and groom provided two different alcoholic beverages to pair with the food: lager beer and Grenache. I’ll admit that when I saw Grenache on the menu, I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure how the wine’s flavors would interact with all of the complex spices in the meal. To my surprise, however, the Grenache blend the couple chose perfectly complemented the food. The fruitiness of the Grenache played well with the creamier dishes on the table, while the spicy notes in the wine enhanced the food’s smoky paprika and cardamom flavors. Grenache and Indian food is now one of my favorite pairings.
A few years ago, I attended a retrospective tasting event of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at a local wine bar. We sampled wines from some of the best years for Napa Cabernet, and it was easy to see which vintages everyone enjoyed the most. The 2007 wines in particular were a huge hit among the crowd. The man sitting next to me gushed over a glass of intense, incredibly complex 2007 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, saying it was one of the best wines he’s ever had. Most of the 2007 wines received similar praise; it was clearly the winning vintage of the night.
Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile wines to pair with food—from fresh spring vegetables to rich paté, you can serve this wine with a huge range of dishes. In fact, when I’m invited to a dinner party or bring my own wine to a restaurant, I very often take along a Pinot Noir, especially if I’m not sure what dish is going to be served. The wine’s perfect balance of bracing acidity, sweet fruit, and complex aromatics make it a joy to drink on its own or paired with nearly any dish.
When I purchased a few bottles of R. Lopez de Heredia to lay down more than a decade ago, I wasn’t sure how long to cellar them or what to expect after they had aged for a few years; the wine was so wonderfully rounded and charming in its youth that I worried it wouldn’t age well over a long period of time. I’d had more experience with Bordeaux, which is typically unapproachable until it has aged in a cellar for a number of years. However, more than ten years after buying the Rioja, I’ve found that these bottles are still aging beautifully and taste even better than they did in their youth.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is so much more than a bold, jammy fruit bomb; in years when the weather is perfect and the harvest conditions are just right, even the boldest of producers can craft wines that are balanced, refined, and elegantly supple in personality. This is precisely what happened during the 2014 growing season. The best 2014 Napa Cabernet has that rare, legendary combination of elegance, youthful charm, and robust tannins that will allow these wines to age spectacularly over the next 25 years or more. In other words, these are wines that will impress you whether you choose to uncork them now or wait until they’ve reached their full potential in 30 years. The 2014 vintage is the perfect balance of soft fruit and a firm backbone, making it one of the greatest Napa vintages of the past two decades, and well worth a space in your cellar.
I once stayed at a Washington winery with a couple of friends who were chefs on the estate. We were wandering in the on-campus garden one day when my friend said, “I hate the smell of sage. It reminds me of cat pee.” I laughed at first, but he was serious. He said, “Smell that…
Early in my career, if you told me that I’d one day be buying up Argentinian Malbec by the case full, I’d have assumed you’d gone mad. Many of the Malbecs I’ve tried have managed to be both bold and bland all at once, with jammy fruit and no complexity. However, recent years have changed…
A few weeks into September, like clockwork, I start getting email notifications letting me know that my wine allocations are on their way. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up with multiple cases of wine at my doorstep, and no place to put them. Fall is one of the two busiest times of the year…