Which Wine Varietals Are Best for Collecting?


The biggest mistake I ever made as a young, inexperienced wine drinker was when I chose to keep a bottle of Italian Dolcetto given to me on my 21st birthday by a cousin studying in Italy over the summer. I had no idea at the time that it wasn’t a wine worth cellaring, so I kept it in a cabinet for three years. When I finally opened the bottle, it was no longer the delicate, juicy wine of its youth; it was sour, bitter, and long past its expiration date. I quickly learned that just because a wine is worth buying or drinking doesn’t mean it’s worth aging. While you’re in the process of starting your own collection, you need to know which wine varietals are best for collecting, and which you’re better off drinking right away or skipping altogether.


Ranking Burgundy Wines: What the New Cremant de Bourgogne Ranking System Means for Collectors


When you think of celebrating the holidays, you probably imagine crystal flutes of fine Champagne, but writer Eva Weirich dreams of Cremant de Bourgogne. Her family originally bought this famous sparkling Burgundy to cook with, and over time they’ve realized they enjoy drinking Cremant more than Champagne, especially during the holidays. She says Cremant is her family’s first choice because “if you find a good Cremant, you’ll find that it’s got no reason to hide its light under a bushel.”

Yet when you think of collectible wine, Cremant de Bourgogne probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. If so many wine lovers adore Cremant, why isn’t it more popular among collectors? For decades now, Burgundy sparkling wine has been overshadowed by its Champagne neighbors, even when Cremant quality is high. However, all of this could soon change with the introduction of a new system for ranking Burgundy wines. Investing in Cremant might become a common trend over the next decade.


The Best Chenin Blanc for Collectors: An Old Varietal Is Worth a New Look


Wine enthusiast Tim Atkin once opened a Chenin Blanc that was bottled in 1921, and to his surprise, the wine was supremely sweet, with a fresh, crisp profile that could compete with any young wine on the market today. If Chenin Blanc can age so well for more than 50 years, why isn’t it on every serious collector’s shelf? Atkin says this is because Chenin Blanc varies dramatically in quality. He jokes, “Bad Chenin leaves your teeth feeling as if they’ve been seen to by the sadistic dentist Laurence Olivier plays in the film Marathon Man.” It’s also true that the extra high acidity of this wine makes it less accessible for the average drinker than even the most acidic Sauvignon Blanc, and it is all but impossible to drink quality Chenin Blanc young. However, more collectors are buying dry white wine, and its versatility (it can be sweet like Sauternes or dry as a desert) and ability to age are making collectors sit up and take a second look.


What Is En Primeur Wine?


In 2006, Master of Wine Susan McCraith decided to put the en primeur system to the test to find out whether collectors should invest in wine before it’s been bottled. She pre-ordered six magnums of Feytit Clinet and 12 magnums of Chateau Jonqueyres while they were still in the barrel, spending about $383 on the Feytit Clinet, and about $155 on the Jonqueyres. Now that they have been on the market for a few years, the value of these bottles has nearly doubled, with the Feytit Clinet worth at least $580. McCraith’s test was a success in two ways: she proved that the en primeur system can be profitable, and that it makes collecting wine more fun. She explains, “For me, the pleasure was all in having bought these wines as babies, and having nurtured them carefully, and then got so much shared pleasure from them.”

Although McCraith had success with her investments, buying wine en primeur can be risky. En primeur wine is any vintage that’s sold by the winery while it’s still in the barrel. At this stage of the winemaking process, it’s hard to tell whether the wine will turn out to be exceptional, or merely a purchase you regret. When you buy en primeur wine, you’re essentially gambling, hoping for a good outcome.


Rise to the Occasion by Choosing the Best Rosé Wine for Your Summer Parties


Writer Alex Beggs was sitting at a Manhattan restaurant when she saw six fashionable women walk in. Minutes later, the women’s wine orders had arrived: Provence rosé all around. This got Beggs wondering why rosé was suddenly popular again in New York City. She says, “One day — some time in the late mid-aughts maybe? — it was just…everywhere.” This is a somewhat surprising turn of events, as rosé used to be a maligned wine in the US. Cheap, overly sweet California Zinfandel turned most Americans off rosé in the 1980s, yet as the new millennium approached, this changed. Wealthy wine enthusiasts began buying dry European rosé, serving it at elaborate Great Gatsby-inspired parties in the Hamptons. Today, Millennials are twice as likely to buy and serve rosé as previous generations, and there are more rosé options on the market than ever before. Rosé is the fashionable wine of choice for the summer, and there’s good reason: a great rosé is versatile, elegant, and delicious.


Change Is in the Air in Bordeaux: 2015 Bordeaux Wine Trends Offer Lessons for Collectors


Over the past decade, Bordeaux has seen some of the most extreme ups and downs in the history of wine. Coming off a high note in 2000, when wines received excellent scores and were the most expensive in Bordeaux’s history, critics had high hopes for Bordeaux in the new millennium. However, their hopes were dashed when the 2002 Bordeaux turned out to be a flop. Although the quality was solid, the 2000 vintage overshadowed 2002, and it only got worse for Bordeaux from there. A handful of poor winegrowing years later in the decade, coupled with a booming interest in the region among Chinese collectors, resulted in a price bubble, making Bordeaux a dangerous gamble for the first time. Prices skyrocketed while wine quality remained the same, leading many collectors to avoid the region entirely.

Yet 2015 is a turning point for Bordeaux, and it’s time to reconsider investments in this region. Jancis Robinson explains, “For the first time in five years, in 2015 the Bordelais have a vintage worth making a fuss about.” To take advantage of this dramatic change, you need to know which Bordeaux wine trends will bring you success this year.