Wine Talk

Snooth User: bri729

How to find a good wine that ages well?

Posted by bri729, Sep 20, 2011.

I like red wines like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir.  I'm looking into storing up some to keep for special occassions like anniversaries, birthdays, etc.  I was told that Cabernet ages better than Merlot and Bordeaux wines also age well.  But I'm not sure what to look for in a wine that could help me distinguish that.  Any suggestions?

Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 20, 2011.

Some great ageable wines contain a mixture of both Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and some other Bordeaux varities like Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, etc.  Sounds like you're more familiar with California wines.  We've recently talked about how Ridge Montebello (CA cabernet based wine, that also contains some Merlot, Cabernet Franc, etc) is probably the best wine to age from CA.

If you go for French Bordeaux, or Italian wines there are many options, but for all you're probably looking at a price range of at least $80 - $200 to get very good ageable wines, is that about what you had in mind? If your budget is less, Spain will come in handy very nicely, if it's more, well Bordeaux and certain Cult Cabernets in CA know no limits. 

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Reply by rolifingers, Sep 20, 2011.

Hey bri729, have you ever tried italian Barolo or Barbaresco? They are great wines and are also ageable. They come from the Piemonte region of Italy.

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Reply by bri729, Sep 21, 2011.

Hi Guys!  Thanks for the information, this really helps give me an idea.  I have another question, does the price help give me a better idea of what type of wine it is?  I went to a local Wine Shop here looking for Bordeaux and they asked me what price range I have rather than what kind of taste.  Is it because Bordeaux's just have one specific taste to it and the only difference is price?  Sorry, I'm just trying to learn more about wine and it's pretty exciting.

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Reply by EMark, Sep 21, 2011.

Bri729--I think you detected an issue with your wine salesman if his/her first question was about your pocketbook.  I agree that, ultimately, you have to find a wine that fits your budget, but that is certainly not the place to start.  I sounds like the clerk with whom you were dealing wanted to cut to the chase and close a sale without bothering to learn about you and establishing a rapport.  It you look back through some of the forum conversations here on Snooth, you will see many instances where a correspondent raves about a wine purveyor who listened for likes and dislikes and then recommended something that, it turns out, was right on target.  I doubt if you'll read a rave about somebody getting a wine that fit a price guideline.

If you go to a real estate agent to buy a house, typically, the agent will first try to find out what kind of house you want.  You tell him that you are looking for a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, single story house, and he starts to show you offerings that fit, or are close to, your desires.  It does not take long before he can zero in on your budget.  I think it should be the same with wine.  Let him learn about you and, then, make some suggestions.  It won't be long before he figures out your budget.

Also, I wouldn't necessarily scratch this local wine shop off my list.  Try going back to see if a different clerk--hopefully, someone who has a long-term interest in the shop, not just an hourly worker--can provide a little better customer service.

The short answer to your question about Bordeaux having one specific taste is that, broadly speaking there is some consistency, but strictly speaking, there is significant variation.  Bordeaux covers a fairly large geographic area and it doesn't take long in any conversation to start to narrow in on its component sub-regions.  Each of these has its own micro-climate, and it's own tradition of wine making.  There are a handfull of grape varieties that are grown in the Bordeaux, but there is a wide variation in the percentage utilization of those grapes.  Paulliac will be predominantly cabernet sauvignon (with lower percentages, at the winemaker's discretion, of grapes like petit verdot, merlot, cabernet franc).  St. Emilion, on the other hand will be, primarily, merlot (with lower percentages of the other grapes).  So, obviously, there are going to be taste differences.  The individual taster will decide the signficance of those differences.  However, a good wine consultant (clerk) should be able to give you some general guidelines before asking how much you want to spend.

One last comment.  I think you have stumbled onto a terrific resource, here at Snooth, that will help you learn about wines.  There are some terrific correspondents here.  JohnDerry and rolifingers, who have posted above, have exception knowledge.  There are many others.  If you look at the right hand side of this page (at least if you look at it today, I understand that there are soon going to be some changes here on Snooth) you will see a "Search" box.  Type in a topic and look for previous conversations.  I've done that and have learned a lot.

Have fun.

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 21, 2011.

True, ideally they wouldn't ask you about price first, but it has to come up at some point, so maybe getting that out of the way isn't the worst thing if they're good at everything else. It's also of course the big question in Bordeaux, the wines can get very pricey indeed.  Regardless, a good wine shop should be able to find you good expressions of Bordeaux in any price range of $20+

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Reply by 1 jayjay, Sep 21, 2011.

bri

if you can, try to get to a local dealer who is having a tasting (sampling) evening and try a few differant types of reds, take your time and ask how well they keep. find one you like and then one you love, its fun to compare as time goes bye, But most dealers will help you with this if you ask

JJ

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Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 21, 2011.

I work in a wine shop, and generally, I ask about a customer's likes and dislikes before I ask about price. 

There are a few exceptions to that, of course.  Sometimes a customer comes in and says, "I don't drink wine at all, ever, but I'm having a dinner party and I want to serve a good red wine."  At that point, I will ask about how many people are coming, I know how much wine they need, and then price, because the person doesn't have a preference.   Also, if a customer is looking at several different bottles of Bordeaux and they range in price from $20 to $200, I'm going to have to ask politely, "Is there a price point you are looking for as well?" 

In general though, the clerk should ask what types of wine you have had that you liked before.  If you can't name a varietal or region, you should at least be able to tell us what you liked and didn't about wines you had before.  That gets us on the right track.  My general method of figuring out budget is showing the customer three wines.  One on the lowest end of the spectrum, one in the middle, and one in the highest.  Usually they will select one wine in their price point and say, "Tell me more about this one."

 

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Reply by bri729, Sep 21, 2011.

Hi EMark, thanks for the explanation.  Yes, JohnDerry and rolifingers are great and very informative.  I'll learn a lot from them and Snooth is a great resource for beginners like me.  I did find it odd that was their benchmark, the person I spoke to was the owner so I think that's as good as it gets there.  Also he never even got back to me, I told him I'm looking to spend around $500/case, he said he'll check and email me.  I was hoping he would recommend something cheaper or a little more expensive and explain why he thinks it better.  He never got back to me, I even went back in a couple times to see if he'll remember me and ask me about it in case he lost my card.  I might try to look for another Wine Shop to visit and hopefully get a better explanation of what I'm really looking for.  I have tend to like Merlot more because of the fruitiness and the finish.  So I might looking into St Emilion's for Bordeaux and try it out.  Thanks again!  If you have any specific wine brands you like, please suggest them.  I'd like to try them out.

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Reply by bri729, Sep 21, 2011.

Hi ScottLauraH.  Thanks, that's what makes it so exciting about buying Wine.  There's a whole variety and every one tastes different.  I'm looking for a Bordeaux that's more on the Merlot side like St Emilion as EMark explained, maybe in the $50 - $100 range.  My wife suggested to me before buying a whole case, try them out first.  I'm glad I did, if not I'd be stuck with a wine I didn't actually like in the first place for years. hahaha!  Well, she's pregnant now so I guess I'll be trying them by myself. =)

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 21, 2011.

St Emilion would be a great place to look Bri...i'd recommend the 2005 Chateau Fleur Cardinale for your budget. It might be closer to $600/case, but the reviews have all been excellent for this wine and vintage. I have a couple in my cellar, but i'm waiting a year or two before popping the first one, but this is a wine you could easily store for 10-15+ years.

You can read more about the winery and owners here.  Also a pretty good DIY website/blog by Jeff Leve with a write up about Ctx Fleur Cardinale: http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/bordeaux-wine-producer-profiles/bordeaux/st-emilion/fleur-cardinale/

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Reply by bri729, Sep 22, 2011.

Hi Jon, I've been searching online for this wine.  Apparently, it's not easy to find.  Most Wine Shops that have it are in LA, I'll be checking out our local Wine Shops.  Thanks for the tips, it has great reviews from All the websites I visited.  How would someone know what year is better?  I guess you'd have to do more research and read reviews?  It seems like the 2010 Chateau Fleur Cardinale is coming out or is already out and has about similar reviews, would you recommend such a young Wine to keep for future occassions?

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Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 22, 2011.

We carry a St. Emilion called Chateau Lyonnat that is very reasonably priced.  (Off the top of my head, I think $20-$25 range.)  It's a great value and quite nice. 

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Reply by bri729, Sep 22, 2011.

Hi ScottLauraH, thanks.  I'm not sure but is it legal to ship wine via UPS or FedEx?  I found this website www.winecellarage.com, you can buy the wine and have them store it for you or pick it up or have them ship.  It's close to where I live but I'm not sure about the idea.  What do you think?  Also you mentioned you have a store, do you have a website I can order from?  Where is your store located?

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 22, 2011.

Hi Bri,

It's definitely not the easiest wine to come accross, but for the region you're looking at, St. Emelion (which I love), it's not the easiest to find here in the states, and especially to find a stand out at the price range you're looking at.  You'd be very safe in ordering the 2005 or waiting a year for the 2009, but would encourage you to try a few different labels from the area and see what you believe is the best quality and price. 

Just to clarify, I wouldn't recommend buying 2009 or 2010 Bordeaux right now, because you'd only be buying a piece of paper, with a promise to be entitled to the bottles once they arrive (fall 2012 for the 2009 vintage, and fall 2013 for the 2010 vintage.) Too risky, and you really wont be saving much, or at all by buying now.  It's also highly doubtful that this particular wine will sell out before it arrives, in fact I pretty much guarantee it wont.

Recent vintages in Bordeaux: 2005 & 2009 best. 2010 also getting some hype, but it's a little bit mixed.  2008 was slightly above average for St. Emilion, and definitely look to avoid 2004, 2006, and 2007 wines, at least to start.

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Reply by bri729, Sep 22, 2011.

Hi Jon,  Thanks for the tips, I will check out a local wine shop after work.  I found one that's nearby with good reviews as a wine shop.  We have a lot of Liquor Stores around but very few Wine Shops in the area.  I will definitely be looking for the 2005 vintage.

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Reply by clifhenry, Sep 22, 2011.

I wouldn't necessarily rule out liquor stores as a source of good wines (and knowledgeable staff). Some of the best wine shops in the country began llife as liquor stores (and still are), but have also developed very strong wine clienteles as well. Spec's, (which is one of the very best wine retailers in the US) in Houston comes to mind, for one; the Liquor Mart in Boulder would be another.

The most important thing is to find a shop or store with competent, enthusiastic staff who really want to get to know your tastes and interests, and to do your homework so that you're prepared to help them help you. I grew up in the wine and spirits business and spent many an hour working the floor, and I can tell you that there are a lot of clerks who genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge and working with their customers on a one-to-one basis. Keep looking, they won't be hard to identify.

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Reply by bri729, Sep 23, 2011.

I have had no luck finding the Chateau Fleur Cardinale 2005.  hehehe!  But I was offered Chateau La Couronne 2005 and Chateau Simard 1999, these were the only selections they had for St. Emilion.  I was thinking of getting the 2005 but I wanted to do some more research before I buy any of them.  Anyone tried any of these?

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 23, 2011.

Bummer on the Fleur Cardinale.  Haven't heard of La Couronne, but would recommend trying a bottle first before buying a case and you're probably safer with the 05.  Anyway, either the 05' or 99' should have enough age on it (for St. Emilion) to give you a good idea if you'll like it down the road. In fact, the 99' with already about 12 years could have already peaked, so while many right bank bordeauxs will age for decades, the 99' is more of a risk in terms of aging it significantly further.  The 05' vintage is younger, and pretty famous for being a great vintage to age well and go a distance.

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Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 23, 2011.

@Bri729, we are tiny wine shop and we don't have a website.  However, I believe we can ship.  I can find out about that if you would like. 

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Reply by bri729, Sep 27, 2011.

Hi Jon,  I went to another Wine Shop a couple miles away, they don't have the Fleur Cardinale as well.  I have found a wine I've tried before that's pretty good.  It's an Argentina wine called JELU, I believe I tried it at a Barcelona Restaurant.  There's a big Wine Shop a couple miles away that I'll call to see if they might have a bigger selection of Bordeaux's from St. Emilion region.  Thanks.


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