In three parts, I’ve laid out details to help you start building a small but varied collection of wines for only $50 a week. While this is not a trifling sum, it’s relatively modest as far as cellars go, and it buys you quite a selection of wines.
Today, I’m upping the ante. For those of you who want to take it to the next level, consider this part four of the $2500 cellar, except in this case you’ll end up with half the number of bottles for the next $2500 you invest.
What does that mean? It gives you an entrance to the world’s top wines. All the great B’s are here: Barolo, Brunello, Bordeaux and of course, Burgundy. Plus there is a whole lot more, so check out my suggestions for stocking your $5000 cellar! Five additional types of wine, three labels of each type, three bottles of each, all at less than $60 a bottle!
Photo courtesy Megan Mallen via Flickr/CC
Cellaring Conditions: Keep Your Bottles Cool
Before we get started, I should point out that these are wines that I love and wines I know will develop and appeal to my palate. There are no universal truths in wine so take these suggestions with a grain of salt. They will all improve with age and offer a great experience typical to the region and varietal.
If you do take the plunge and start building out your cellar, make sure to check out the articles about cellaring conditions here on Snooth. It’s imperative that your bottles be stored well, and while I am not as anal about my storage conditions as many wine geeks are, the results I’ve enjoyed from bottles cellared for 20 or almost 30 years in my passive cellar speak for themselves.
The bottom line? Keep your bottles cool, under 65 degrees is pretty much ideal, with good humidity, no light and limited vibration, and you’ll be fine.
Photo courtesy Rioja 1808 via Flickr/CC
I’m beginning with Pinot Noir because you’ll most likely end up with Pinot Noir. It seems, with sufficient anecdotal evidence to support the hypothesis, that we tend to end our vinous journeys with a preference for delicacy coupled with complexity. To many that means Pinot Noir, though Nebbiolo takes a close second.
Pinot, and more specifically Burgundy, is many a wine lover’s fantasy, exhibiting the finesse, elegance and intensity of a great wine. While we might think Burgundy is the ultimate expression of Pinot Noir, there is no reason for you to swallow that before experiencing for yourself what Pinot Noir can do in different regions.
Photo courtesy Isbardel via Flickr/CC
Simon Bize Savigny Aux Vergelesses $50
The Côte-d'Or, or Golden Slope, in France really does produce some of the world’s greatest wines. Unfortunately, many of these wines are priced well out of reach of most wine lovers. There is still some room for discovery at relatively affordable prices, you just have to look to the lesser appellations and find the best producers there.
Simon Bize is the star of Savigny. His sappy, vivid wines are priced at the top of the heap here, but they still represent terrific value as they often can compete with wines costing twice the price. Look out for his Aux Vergelesses bottling, though the Les Fourneaux, Les Marconnets and Les Serpentieres crus are all exemplary in their own right and a touch less expensive.
Recent great vintages include 2005, 2009 and 2010. These wines tend to drink well about 10 years after the vintage.
I’m almost sorry to do this, really I am, but I have to call on Domaine Drouhin to represent Oregon. Yes, I might get some serious flack here, but the only Oregon Pinot I have extensive tasting experience with is Domaine Drouhin’s Laurene and it does a fine job of exhibiting the finesse and delicacy of Pinot Noir as only Oregon can do.
It’s a fine split of Burgundian know-how and Oregon’s clones and climate which produces a unique and distinctive Pinot Noir that seems to combine the best of both worlds. These drink well after only two to tfree years in the bottle, but improve effortlessly past age 15.
Recent great vintages include 2006, 2007, 2008
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir $60
New Zealand might just be the country whose wines closest resemble the fine wines of Europe. I’m not saying these are just like great Burgundy, but there is something about these wines that makes me think of France.
Felton Road in particular has achieved notable acclaim for their Pinots, wines that combine a tenderness of tannin with a firmness and balance that allows for remarkably harmonious ageing curves. While all of New Zealand’s wine industry is still awfully young and thus without much of a track record for ageing, their progress over the past decades is nothing short of remarkable. You can be assured that the wines most producers bottle today are better than those bottled a decade ago.
In Felton Road’s case, the wines bottled a decade ago are still going strong with lovely fresh fruit, and the one’s bottled most recently already show more depth and complexity than those before. Putting some away in the cellar sounds like a sure bet.
Recent great vintages include 2007, 2009, 2010