Champagne is home to more than 100 different houses, and each one has its own distinctive style. From Bollinger’s biscuity, full-bodied profile to Gimonnet’s delicate apple flavors, Champagne house styles are incredibly diverse. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult for even experienced collectors to find producers that make wine in the style they most enjoy. Whether you’re starting your collection of top-quality Champagne from scratch or you’re an experienced collector who wants to try new producers, learning about individual Champagne house styles can help you invest in wines that will suit your palate.
What are the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintages for cellaring? Nearly all of them, to some extent. This region has a reputation for producing wines with great aging potential–most red Châteauneuf-du-Pape benefits from at least five years in a cellar, and the finest vintages can even last for decades. Last month, I met a collector who had a bottle of 1998 Pégaü Cuvée Laurence in his cellar that he had completely forgotten about until this summer. When he opened the wine, he was met with wonderfully intense, earthy aromas, soft tannin, and rich flavors of smoked meat. After 20 years, the wine had reached near perfection.
When I was in my early twenties, my grandmother lived just 30 miles away from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Over the summer, I’d regularly drive down to visit her and we’d spend the weekend exploring some of Santa Cruz’s finest wineries together, from Ridge to Rhys. Through those experiences, I discovered that I preferred Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Chardonnay from Napa Valley; in fact, I currently have close to a dozen bottles of Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard in my cellar at the moment.
Before you invest in Left Bank or Right Bank wines, you’ll want to understand their key differences. For example, while both banks make age-worthy, collectible wines, the Left Bank tends to make wines with better aging potential overall compared to most wines from the Right Bank. This is why many collectors perceive the Left Bank to be more collectible; the Left Bank is also home to all five of Bordeaux’s First Growth producers. However, when it comes to Left Bank vs. Right Bank Bordeaux, the differences go beyond collectibility.
Italian wine is notoriously difficult to navigate in part because the differences between the regions are so pronounced. This guide will dig into the eight most important wine regions in Italy to help you make wise investment decisions about this complicated country’s wine.
The biggest issue with selling port wine is that only some rare vintages are actually worth flipping for a profit. Additionally, port takes decades to mature and gain in value, and collectors who don’t have time to wait may not be able to make a profit. This is why it’s important to know when, whether, and how to sell port wine.
Danish author Isak Dinesen famously wrote, “There are many ways to the recognition of truth, and Burgundy is one of them.” The Burgundy region crafts some of the greatest bottles of Pinot Noir in the world, full of rich flavors that often grow more complex and beautiful with age. But over the past decade, Burgundy’s red wines have been overshadowed somewhat by Bordeaux. In the mid-2000s, as Bordeaux’s value skyrocketed (especially in countries like China), Burgundy’s value remained more steady. This caused some serious collectors to question whether Burgundian wine was worth the investment, or if Bordeaux would be a wiser choice.
The wine world is expanding at a rapid pace. Just 50 years ago, most serious collectors only invested in wines from a handful of areas. In general, if the wine didn’t come from Old-World regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Champagne, many collectors didn’t see much value in buying it. But this attitude is changing, and we’re seeing New World wine regions like Chile gain popularity among serious collectors and casual drinkers alike. In fact, Liv-ex lists Chilean wine as one of the top regions to follow in its latest 2017 Power 100 Report. The region’s top wines, especially offerings from Seña and Almaviva, are being sold on the secondary market in greater numbers this year, and these wines are expected to grow in value significantly over the next decade.
Calling the 2017 Loire Valley vintage “difficult” is a serious understatement. Winemakers had to navigate worrisome spring frosts shortly after bud break, which threatened to destroy most of the crop before it even had a chance to grow. However, now that the harvest is over and the wine is aging in vats across the region, Loire winemakers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Early Loire vintage reports show that both red and white wines are developing beautifully in spite of the difficulties that winemakers faced early in the season, and these may be among the most drinkable (and potentially collectible) Loire wines of the past few years. While it’s still too early to say exactly how these wines will compare to past vintages like the 2016 and 2015, winemakers are very optimistic about the investment potential of the 2017 vintage.
What affects wine quality? The answer to this question isn’t so simple. A number of different factors, from the age of the vine’s rootstock to the vineyard’s climate, can dramatically impact how a wine tastes and how long it will last in your cellar. If the winemaker starts off with underripe, poorly grown grapes, then the resulting wine won’t taste elegant or refined, even if the producer ages the wine in the finest French oak. To invest in the highest-quality wines on the market, it’s a good idea to understand some of the growing techniques that affect wine quality, including climate, vine age, soil composition, pruning, weather, and harvest dates. By considering each of these factors as you shop for collectible wine, you’ll learn how to identify the best wines from the top producers–and be able to pick out unlikely gems from lesser producers as well.
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.
MENTIONED IN THIS POST: -Chateau Margaux -Chateau Ausone -Chateau d’Yquem -Maison Louis Jadot -Domaine Henri Jayer When I first started collecting wine, I assumed I knew everything about reading a French wine label. As long as I recognized words like “Chateauneuf du Pape,” “Grand Cru,” or “Margaux,” I thought that I could tell whether a…