Many aspiring collectors aren’t sure how to build a wine collection. They see experienced collectors with lots of great wines in their cellars, and wonder how they know which wines are worth aging and drinking. What will these wines taste like when they’re aged? What if their tastes change in the ten or 20 years it takes to age a great wine? Unfortunately, collecting wine is a leap of faith most of the time. There’s no way to know for sure which wines will gain in value or appeal to your tastes in the future. However, there are a few basic guidelines to help budding collectors get their start building impressive, timeless, and enjoyable wine collections.
Wine drinkers often get confused when they shop for Left Bank Bordeaux, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience reading wine labels from this region. Even some experienced wine enthusiasts aren’t sure exactly what differentiates Médoc vs. Haut-Médoc wines. Some bottles are labeled “Appellation Médoc Contrôlée” (AOC) or have the word “Médoc” in large letters. Other bottles are labeled just “Haut-Médoc.” This guide will help make sense of the incredible wines made in both the Médoc and the Haut-Médoc AOCs, providing all of the information you need to find the best bottles from each region.
Wines from Hermitage are some of the most delicious and rewarding to age. They can taste a little closed off in their youth, but over time they transform into deeply complex wines packed with peppery, smoky flavors. There is also a lot of flavor variety in wines from this region. For example, a wine enthusiast posting on the Wine Berserkers forum tried two bottles of Hermitage at dinner—a 2004 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon and a 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle. The 2007 wine was flavorful and juicy, but still a little green–a common quality in relatively young Hermitage. The 2004 wine was more complex, aromatic, and much more mature tasting, despite being only a few years older. Although these two estates are located only about three miles apart, the two wines couldn’t have been more different. Terroir, age, and vintage strongly influence Hermitage wine characteristics.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir has an excellent reputation among fine wine collectors. These wines are even compared to Burgundy’s in terms of their flavor profile. Master of Wine Jancis Robinson told the Los Angeles Times that producer Bergström makes some of her favorite Oregonian Pinot Noir in part because it reminds her of fine Burgundy. “I love Bergström’s wines because they are an exciting expression of what Oregon has to offer,” she says. “Josh Bergström trained in Burgundy, so they have a purity and a lack of palate-numbing sweetness too.” The best Willamette Valley Pinot Noir vintages achieve this purity and freshness when the weather conditions in the valley are just right. Too much or too little rain and sunshine can significantly reduce the quality of the vintage as a whole.
Alsace is home to some of the highest-quality appellations not just in France, but in the entire world of fine wine. The three main categories of Alsace wine appellations—Alsace AOC, Alsace Grand Cru AOCs, and Crémant d’Alsace AOC—each have notable characteristics that wine enthusiasts love. This guide will take you through each of these categories in detail and single out the characteristics that make these wines so special.
Storing magnum wine bottles is a major challenge for many collectors. One member of the Wine Berserkers forum had a few magnums of Krug and Riesling in off-site storage that she wanted to keep in a wine rack at home. This was a problem because the bottles were not only too large for a standard-sized rack to hold, but some of them were also unusually shaped. The Krug magnums were wide and heavy at the base, causing the neck of the bottles to tip too far forward when they were laid on their sides. To deal with this issue, she had a custom rack made specifically for her magnums and provided the company building the racks with the exact measurements of an actual Krug magnum to ensure the bottles would fit properly.
Rare wine gifts have the power to impress experienced and beginner wine enthusiasts alike. Most wine collectors appreciate the history and unique qualities of a rare bottle. Whether you’re looking for a rare wine as a gift for someone who’s impossible to shop for or you want to show the wine enthusiast in your life just how much you appreciate them, this guide will help you find the most gift-worthy bottles.
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.
My spouse and I love thoughtful, experience-based gifts. Rather than giving each other jewelry or watches for our anniversary, we always plan a special dinner and buy each other a fantastic bottle of wine. Giving wine as an anniversary gift is a perfect option for many couples because it’s something they can enjoy together. It’s also very personal; every couple is different, so every couple’s choice of wine will be unique to their relationship.
While it’s still too early to judge the 2018 Burgundy vintage with any certainty, winemakers across the region are thrilled with how these wines developing so far. Louis Fabrice Latour, president of Maison Louis Latour, told The Drinks Business, “We are very pleased to have two big crops in a row of very good quality.” Some Burgundians, like négociant Philippe Pacalet, have even compared the 2018 vintage to 1947–one of the top Burgundy vintages in history.
Whether you’re a seasoned Bordeaux collector or you want to start a collection from scratch, the 2018 vintage makes an excellent addition to a cellar. These wines are rich, concentrated, finessed, and elegant. While it’s still a very young vintage that has a long way to go, it’s already showing great promise. In this guide, we’ll offer you tips on which 2018 wines we think are worth collecting and provide you with some useful market projections that you can use to make investment decisions.
Master of Wine Jancis Robinson says, “Not much about wine makes me sad, but the average wine consumer’s attitude to sweet wines does. Good sweet wine is probably the most difficult and expensive wine in the world to make, yet so many people turn up their noses at the idea of sweetness in wine.” This is especially true for sweet red wines. While Sauternes is often praised by wine critics and collectors alike, sweet red wines aren’t given nearly as much attention. This guide will help you find the most incredible sweet red wines on the market today.