Reviewers' Ultimate Wine Cellar Collection

Now and again every collector—or wine lover, in general—daydreams about stocking his or her wine collection up with the very best of the best. (And we can't blame you!) But with the countless selection of fine wines out there, what would you choose for your treasure trove? 

We asked some of our reviewers how they would curate such a fantasy—after all, if you're going to tackle such a feat, you may as well take a tip from the expert. Here’s what they had to say: 

“My answer would involve Port, but not what you think—Colheita Ports, not Vintage Ports. Oh, they are both awesome, and so are many other wines, yada, yada. But, Colheitas are too often overlooked, and they age brilliantly. They are rare treasures. All collectors have Vintage Ports. Many won't offer a you a 1941 Kopke, though, because they haven't got it.” —Mark Squires

“Limiting the list down makes things pretty tough. But since we're talking "collection," I went with wines that have at least a bit of a track record for aging. Some will be expected, others maybe more surprising, since I reached into some regions not considered classic. Without further ado, here they are broken down by region: 

“From Provence: Domaine de Trevallon, Alpilles. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah has appeared in various different appellations over the years, but it is always remarkably fresh and medium-bodied for a wine from this far in the south of France. Dark fruit, Provençal herbs and tapenade impart great complexity in a wine that ages reliably well for 15 years or more from the vintage.

“From Languedoc-Roussillon: Domaine du Clos des Fées, Côte du Roussillon Villages. In the ten vintages from 2004 through 2013, the lowest this wine has been rated by WA is 89+ (most vintages reach into the mid-90s). Yet Hervé Bizeul's masterful blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre remains under the radar of most serious collectors. It's capable of cellaring for 15 years or more.

“From Rhône: J.L. Chave, Hermitage. If price is no object, you might spring for the ultra-rare (and ultra-expensive) Cuvée Cathelin, but even a 'regular' bottle of Chave's Hermitage is enough to light up any serious wine collector's face. Blended from multiple parcels across the hill of Hermitage, it has come to define the appellation. With its marriage of elegance and intensity, it effortlessly ages up to 20 years or more in most vintages, both white and red.

“From Australia: Penfolds Grange, South Australia. This, like the Chave, is a predictable pick. It's got a track record of decades, going back to the first commercial release from the 1952 vintage, and often requires 20 years to approach some level of maturity. Wines from the 1980s (and earlier) are drinking well now. Collectible vintages from the 1990s and 2000s are often available for less than the current release.

“And from New Zealand: Kumeu River Maté's Vineyard Chardonnay, Kumeu. Even in a country that's relatively new to the fine-wine scene, it was difficult to pick just one wine out for special mention. Ultimately, I opted for a wine with a long, consistent track record, the ability to age 10+ years, and something that stands apart in the New Zealand firmament. This wine's been mistaken for a premier cru Burgundy by just about everyone who's tasted it blind as part of their preparation for MS or MW exams.” —Joe Czierwinski

And for those who simply cannot wait:

“Many collectors enjoy watching their wines in the cellar like sleeping babies, with a hope to see them grow up. But those who have little patience just can’t wait to open them, even if their friends tell them it is far too early. The best drink for those who prefer immediate pleasure is sake. Aside from some aged sake, almost all sake needs to be consumed within a year, including the pricier ones. You don’t want to keep it for your children’s graduations or weddings—sake will lose its freshness after a long storage unless you keep them at a freezing temperature. So, this gives people a lovely reason to open all those bottles! What a pleasure! You open your refrigerator, check your sake and think that you have to drink them as soon as possible. Carpe diem!” —Liwen Hao

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