Intermediate guide to collecting fine wine
Ten things every great wine collection needs
An excellent wine collection requires dedication and joy in the thrill of the hunt. Serious collectors never allow their cellars to lay dormant, constantly seeking out special additions that excite them. In order to optimize and perfect your own collection, we have ten considerations that you should keep top of mind. Learn more.
How to build a meaningful wine collection
It is a common occurrence for intermediate wine collectors: they continue to buy bottles in small quantities over long period of time, rarely experiencing a single moment when they realize they’ve become serious collectors. Yet it’s essential for wine lovers to recognize when they’ve made this transition. If you go into serious collecting without a solid plan, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. Learn more.
The best Bordeaux wines for your cellar
In the world of wine, some things never change. The critics’ collective opinion of the best Bordeaux wines, which was established over 150 years ago, remains largely unchanged today. In 1855, during an international exhibition in Paris, the best Bordeaux wines were classified into categories. Among the wines distinguished were: Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Margaux, and Château Mouton Rothschild. Today, even an average vintage of these Premier Crus is highly sought after and will cost a collector more than $1,000. Learn more.
Ten must-have Pinot Noirs for your cellar
Pinot Noir has been in production more than 1,000 years longer than Cabernet Sauvignon, yet it is increasingly rare to find a bottle that lives up to this varietal’s elegant reputation. Only the finest estates are able to grow these difficult grapes to the perfection Pinot Noir deserves. As wine writer Bob Thompson famously says about the variety, “Even where it prospers, it needs to be coaxed, wheedled, flattered, cajoled, cursed and prayed over almost ounce by ounce through a series of crises that starts at the fermenters and lasts beyond bottling.” Learn more.
The best Italian wine regions for your cellar
Italian wine is notoriously difficult to navigate, in part because the differences between the regions are so pronounced. When you visit, say, Sonoma and Santa Barbara in California, you’ll likely find that the Pinot Noir in both places tastes similar. But visit virtually any sub region of Italy and you’ll see a much greater degree of variance among regions in terms of style, winemaking techniques, and local grape varieties. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide to navigating the best Italian wine regions. 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. Learn more.
The best Italian producers for your cellar
It’s common for even the most experienced collectors to struggle when learning about Italian wine. However, one technique for overcoming this struggle is to sample a range of wines from some of the best Italian wine producers. You don’t necessarily have to spend time living in Italy in order to learn firsthand which winemaking techniques, grape varieties, and flavors make Italian wine so unique. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the best Italian wine producers to help you get started on your journey. Learn more.
Your guide to age-worthy white wines
I have a confession: I used to be intimidated by the idea of collecting any white wine other than Champagne. Like many collectors out there, I loved a crisp glass of Chardonnay, but my white wines rarely stuck around my cellar longer than a few months–just long enough for me to drink them. I was paranoid about making the wrong long-term investment choice; I didn’t want to invest in a vintage bottle of Chenin Blanc only to discover 15 years later that the wine wasn’t nearly as delicious as I expected it to be in its maturity. Collecting age-worthy white wines is easier than it sounds, as long as you have the right tools at your disposal. Learn more.
Understanding the magic of dry white Bordeaux
In my experience, collectors also gravitate toward red wine because they have a conception of reds as somehow nobler and more interesting than whites, especially when it comes to pairing with food. But if you’ve ever had white Bordeaux with steak, you’ll know that these wines can hold their own in a pairing, and with their punchy acidity, they’re just as bold and versatile as any light red Bordeaux blend on the market. Learn more.
Everything you need to know about insuring your wine collection
Napa Valley experienced a sudden earthquake in 2014 that destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of winery and collector wine bottles within a few short minutes. It’s impossible for wineries and collectors to prevent natural disasters, which is why wine insurance is so crucial for every serious collector. Wine insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all, though, and that’s why we’re going to explain how to know when you’re ready for insurance, and which plan is right for you. Learn more.
The best way to track your wine collection
No collection is too small for a wine cellar tracking system. Even if you think that you can remember where every bottle is, it only takes one moment of forgetfulness to lose it forever to spoilage or heat damage. That’s why it’s important for every collector to have a comprehensive system that tracks each bottle, its location, and recommends consumption based on drink dates, whether you own 50 or 50,000 bottles. Learn more.
Understanding the connection between Sancerre and Chablis
Chablis is technically Burgundy, just as Sancerre is technically Loire, but they have far more in common with each other than they do with any of their regional peers. The very first time I tried a bottle of Chablis, I did a double take. It was flinty and sharply acidic, without so much as a hint of the creamy oak I was used to tasting in typical white Burgundy. I had a near-identical reaction when I tried Sancerre for the first time: the wine was steely and crisp, completely different from Loire’s long-lived sweet wines. When you look at a map of the best French wine regions, it’s easy to see why Sancerre and Chablis have near-identical qualities, since they’re practically sitting on top of one another. They represent that glorious grey area between regions, bleeding into one another to create an entirely new terroir. Learn more.
Discovering top Spanish wine regions
Spaniards live for pleasure: lazy afternoons by the seashore, big lunches with abundant wine and sherry, siestas and nightlife. I love that about Spain. If a Spaniard has one penny, he will spend it enjoying life. Wine is a big part of enjoying life in Spain, and the country has no lack of wineries. Planning a wine tasting tour of some of the country’s top regions is a challenging task, because there is simply so much to see and taste. As a lover of tradition and history, I always want to see the places with the longest tradition first and taste the most traditional wines. This made me start in Rioja, a region with many historical links to Bordeaux, and thus, one of the most interesting on the peninsula. Learn more.