If you buy all of the wines I’ve suggested, you’ll end up with 72 bottles of wine priced at around $30 a bottle for consumption over the coming six or so years, 45 bottles at an average of $60 a bottle for drinking roughly between age five and 15, and this final set of 60 bottles priced at around $85 a bottle for drinking between the ages of 10 and 25!
Photo courtesy John Picken via Flickr/CC
It’s a plan, of which there are many, to help stock a cellar while providing for drinking in the all important, far too difficult early years when you’ve bought great wine yet have none to drink! Some people might think I’ve erred on the side of the expensive here. This may be true for some, but if you’re heading down this path that is more than likely where you will want to arrive in 10 years or longer. The last thing you want to find as you’re more deeply immersed in the world of wine cellaring is that you have a cellar full of wine you don’t really enjoy!
While this plan cannot prevent that from happening, by spreading out your bets you do increase your chance of finding wines that really ring your bell. If it turns out that you really don’t enjoy some of the wines, the fortunate truth is that these are investment grade wines. Keep them well and they should repay your investment and then some. It’s a side of this passion that many people disdain but when you’re buying for your future, you cannot always be prepared what you will bring to that future. Your tastes will change so don’t worry about it and sell or gift away the wines that underwhelm you. Life’s too short to drink wines you don’t enjoy!
Photo courtesy Jonathan Caves via Flickr/CC
Burgundy - Côte de Beaune
I buy a fair amount of Burgundy these days, playing catch up to a certain extent with the Nebbiolos that make up the bulk of my cellar. One of the greatest things about the wine world is that there is always a new region to discover and explore and more to learn than any one person can ever hope to master.
For a beginner it can seem daunting, mostly because it is, but as we’ve begun to explore Savigny with some earlier purchases, it’s only reasonable to continue our exploration of red Burgundy by starting in the south, Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune.
These wines tend to be the object of a little less lust among Burgophiles which means that there is more wine available and often better pricing than more illustrious labels. I find plenty of value in the Côte de Beaune and enjoy the styles of wine making as well, so you’ll get no complaints from me!
Photo courtesy Megan Mallen via Flickr/CC
Domaine Joseph Voillot Pommard Rugiens
What is the difference between the south and the north of Burgundy? It’s a good question and can mostly be answered by simply saying that the two regions have vastly different terroirs that produce somewhat different wines. I say somewhat different because at this price point, you can find some awfully good Premier Cru wines in the Côte de Beaune, like Voillot’s Pommard Rugiens. This is a rich wine, as Pommards tend to be, but it lacks much of the rusticity that one associates with Pommard. That is mostly likely due to the exceptionally light wine making touch at Voillot.
Joseph Voillot Pommard Rugiens $85
While Pommard is often known for power, Volnay is more about silky elegance. The Premier Cru Caillerets vineyard produces some of the most elegant wines due to its namesake stony soil. These lean soils lend their wines finesse and the wines of Pousse d’Or tend toward the modern side of expression, with rather bold fruit that just accents the decidedly stony foundation Caillerets provides.
Pousse d’Or Volnay Caillerets $85
Chandon des Briailles
One of the greatest differences between the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune is the number of Grand Cru vineyards there are for red Burgundy, 24 to 1! That one is a doozy though. Corton is renowned for the white wines this hill of limestone produces, but the reds from Corton are the sleepers of Burgundy. They are the most affordable Grand Cru reds you can find and while they can be tough and taut with minerality in their youth, they age spectacularly well.
Chandon des Briailles Corton Bressandes Grand Cru $85
Burgundy - Côte de Nuits
If you ask me the main difference between the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, I would sadly say price. Yes there is a stylistic difference between the two, but the value of the Côte de Beaune gives their wines an edge at this level. $85 simply doesn’t buy you all that much in the Côte de Nuits, though some of the wines do offer a hint of the grandeur that these wines can attain.
The are many great producers in the Côte de Nuits, most of them well recognized which accounts for the high prices. Some great producers still do have wines that fly under the radar and other producers are decidedly up and coming, so for value this is where we have to look!.
Photo courtesy Megan Mallen via Flickr/CC
Domaine Robert Chevillon
Robert Chevillon, actually his sons Denis and Bertrand, produce a fairly uncompromising style of Burgundy. While the wines certainly are seeming to move towards a slightly richer style than the wines of the past, they remain uncommonly firm and structured. This does act a bit like a deterrent, keeping prices just affordable for those patient enough and plugged in enough to understand how these wines evolve. Les Chaignots may not be Chevillon’s most famous Cru, but it does offer great value in the Chevillon line-up.
Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Georges Chaignots $85