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.
Knowing how to buy wine for aging is a challenge for many beginner collectors. This is partially because it’s easy to conflate quality with aging potential. However, just because a wine is delicious and received high scores from critics does not necessarily mean it can age for decades. So, which wines do have great aging potential and why should you age wine at all?
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.
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.