It all began in 1971 with a passion and a purpose. Giovanni Neri, in search of the perfect vineyard, purchased a large estate in Montalcino. Seven years (and three additional land purchases) later, the first Brunello harvest marked the beginning of an era of excellence—one that is not expected to conclude anytime soon. Casanova de Neri swiftly built a reputation as one of the best wineries in the region—high praise indeed for vintners hailing from Tuscany.
Great Burgundy wine tastes the way a beautiful hymn sounds. Deep and layered with complexity, it is a philosophical wine at heart. Perhaps this should come as no surprise; today’s Burgundy vineyards bear the fruits of the labors of Benedictine monks who, during the Middle Ages, cultivated the land and established the region’s reputation as a prime source of exemplary wine.
How much would you pay for a bottle of 1995 Latour? If I told you that the bottle had remained at the Latour estate since it was bottled nearly two decades ago, would you be willing to pay more for it than a bottle that had passed through dozens of hands?
In 2013, collectors had to make this exact choice after Latour decided to drop out of en-primeur sales altogether and sell off older wines from 1995 instead. Latour held onto the 1995 bottles, waiting until they reached peak drinking age, then sold them directly to collectors as ex-château wines.
But what are ex-château wines?
High prices are mistaken too often as a guarantee of high quality. While it’s true that many of the best wines in the world are also among the most expensive, simply buying an expensive wine does not guarantee that you will enjoy it. Nor does a low price tag necessarily mean that a wine isn’t worth adding to your collection.
For example, you can find some of the best Cabernet wines for under $200 if you know where to look.
In the world of wine, less is more—at least when it comes to handling and transportation. Whether you relish local wines or seek to collect cases from around the world, you want assurance that the journey from the vineyard to your doorstep was as straightforward and uneventful as possible.
Why? If you aim to enjoy the wine at your next dinner party, you’ll want to serve nothing less than the best a bottle has to offer. And if you’d prefer to resell the wine for profit instead, you’ll receive the greatest ROI from a bottle that’s all but guaranteed perfect provenance.
In either case, the best approach may be to buy directly from producers.
All great sequels do two things: they maintain the high quality of the original, and they stand on their own as something unique, and perhaps something better. For wine enthusiasts, the release of the 2016 Brunello di Montalcino wines may just prove them to be the perfect sequel to the legendary 2015 vintages.
Most wines travel hundreds, or thousands, of miles and pass through many doors before they complete their journey with the pop of a cork. This process factors into the price and—more importantly—the provenance of these wines. The farther the wines travel, and the more complex the journey, the greater the increase in cost and the higher the chances of a mishap. Winery direct shipping offers a faster, safer alternative that limits the extent to which these wines are handled and the risk of damage occurring during transportation.
Some wines seem destined for greatness. Founded in Pauillac—one of the most prolific and praised Left Bank appellations of Bordeaux—by the Governor of the Médoc himself in the early 1700s, Château Pontet-Canet has produced some of the most poignant and intriguing Red Bordeaux blends to date.
If you’re eager to add a few radiant red wines to a well-stocked cellar of Bordeaux, or if you’re interested in starting a new Pauillac or Bordeaux collection, save a place for a few bottles of Château Pontet-Canet’s best vintages.
Shiraz grapes grow bountifully in the Land Down Under, where the climate is warm and the sunlight shines bright—particularly in the McLaren Vale wine region. This appellation is celebrated for consistently producing world-class Australian Shiraz—though Roman Bratasuik, owner of the Clarendon Hills winery, prefers to use this grape’s Old World name, Syrah, for his top-rated wines.
The best Chablis wine has a fairytale quality to it. Crafted by master vintners in a remote subregion of Burgundy in northern France, the subtle flavors and aromas of these light-bodied white wines gently guide you on a journey through the idyllic green hills and breezy vineyards of this picturesque area. They may not be as famous as their Champagne neighbors to the north, but there is nothing quite like the fresh, airy purity of a quality Chablis wine.
Some wines simply seem destined for greatness from the beginning. Hailing from the Côte-Rôtie appellation of the northern Rhône, a region rich with oenological history, Étienne Guigal’s empire was founded just over 60 years ago—not long at all, when you consider how many centuries many of the world’s top estates have existed. And yet, in just over half a century, Guigal has become a leading negociant for the Rhône and now vinifies as much as 40 percent of Côte-Rôtie wines.
As one of the exceptional five first-growth Bordeaux châteaux, Château Lafite Rothschild has enjoyed over a century’s worth of acclaim for its delicately delectable wines. Today, it remains one of the most distinguished labels in the world—and if you are looking to build a top-quality Bordeaux collection, only the best vintages of Château Lafite Rothschild will do.