France in the Cellar

What wines to cellar and how long for


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France in the Cellar One of the joys of wine geekery is the selecting, buying, cellaring, and eventual consumption of wines. Establishing one’s cellar, and all that entails, is an integral part of the wine lifestyle and the simple fact that millions of people have spent many millions of dollars just building shrines to their collections illustrates how fundamental to the character of a wine geek one’s cellar becomes.

Soon I hope to begin to take a look at wine cellars again, but the truth is you have to have something to put into your cellar if it’s going to become a true cellar, as opposed to simply a room built to store wine. Where does one start? Well, it’s a great question and many a wine geek’s day has passed while trying to answer it. I’ve pointed out some examples worth pursuing in the past, but today I wanted to lay down a framework for our future discussions, beginning with France.

Any discussion of cellarable wine has to begin in France. Why France, you ask? Simply put, no country has as long a history of producing ageworthy wines that have endured as benchmarks in the wine world. Here's a quick rundown of the main cellarable wines from France.

Mentioned in this article


  • Any good lead about dry Concord grape red wine.

    Feb 07, 2011 at 1:01 PM

  • Snooth User: erniex
    634476 60

    A very relevant and interesting topic Greg, but honestly I find it way to lightly touched upon. Hope you will come to elaborate on the subject!
    Vintage, exact grape varieties, specific terroir and winemaker insight are all quite important details to know and understand to be able to estimate the possible lifespan of a wine.
    Of course only a very generic and high level set of rules can be defined, but none the least I find the rule set of this article far to broad for any newcomer to practically benefit from. Basically you are saying that all French wines can be cellared from 3 - 40 years and will cost from 10 - 1000 usd...

    For Bordeaux, for example, there is a huge difference from one vintage to another, from right to left bank (Merlot/Cabernet dominated), from classed growths and super seconds to Cru Bourgeois, AOC and generic Bordeaux.
    Price is normally also indicative of aging capability (relative to the above insights at least).
    Certain schematics can certainly be made to give a more detailed idea of how to buy if the idea is to build a cellar for the longer term consumption.

    And what joy it is to finally open a great bottle you have had aging for 10 years or more! This, to me, is one of the core thrills of collecting and drinking good wines. The knowledge of what to buy and how to store is fundamental if you want to avoid the joy replaced by disappointment when opening a bottle of dead grape juice. Or even vinegar...

    Feb 08, 2011 at 12:06 AM

  • Snooth User: Kenlj
    674549 16

    An article titled "11 of the Best French Wines for Your Cellar" and you talk vaguely about regions? I expected a "best buy" recommendation for specific wines and vintages from different regions, which would have been entertaining and held my interest. Instead, I found this article to be shorter and less enlightening than I would expect from wikipedia. Both surprising and disappointing from Snooth. . .

    Feb 08, 2011 at 12:36 AM

  • Snooth User: Cahors Wines
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    498228 91

    Too bad that in this article the famous Cahors wines weren't mentioned.
    Also some of these wines can be cellared for years!

    Feb 08, 2011 at 2:52 AM

  • Snooth User: bbruce
    191822 23

    Nice maps, pity about the narrative!

    Feb 08, 2011 at 4:22 AM

  • "Bordeaux: The world’s most famous wines, based primarily on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cellar from 3-40 years, $10-$1000."

    Even WE know a bit more than that!!!

    Feb 08, 2011 at 7:06 AM

  • People don't normally associate Mosels and Rieslings with France, it's true, but the people of Alsace also eat hassenpfeffer (called simply "lapin") and sauerkraut, or "chouchroute." I wonder if there are some premium Rhenish beers from France that we also don't know about...

    Feb 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

  • Way oversimplified. Sometimes, Greg, it seems like you tread very lightly where you should instead plant your flag. If you have opinions about specific wines, state them and worry less about how well or poorly you hit the sweet spot. The subject *wine* is so subjective anyway, it would be the exception that your review will be received with total approbation, but at least make the column honest by taking a stand.

    Feb 12, 2011 at 7:23 PM

  • Snooth User: svbstuart
    461874 13

    I quite liked this introduction to cellaring. If you cellar already, I doubt you were the prime audience. It was a perfect lead-in for me, someone who wants to cellar but has not started.

    Feb 16, 2011 at 11:25 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749


    Next week I'll start making some specific recommendations for these regions.

    Feb 16, 2011 at 1:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Speed95
    543326 59

    Hey this list should be a guide, if you need or want more Specific info you should read taste and travel more to fill in the blanks. Thanks for the info

    Mar 07, 2011 at 9:46 PM

  • fantastic

    Sep 24, 2013 at 9:24 AM

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