by Marli Hadden
This idea struck last week when a co-worker and I were naming our favourite wines in the shop for a certain price point. Under $30, under $50, etc. As we contemplated the best rapport qualité prix, or best value for price wines in the shop, I started to realize how many of them I’ve personally stashed away. Over my short time in this industry I’ve built myself a modest but exciting cellar. One of the reasons it’s exciting, other than the prospect of future enjoyment, is that it’s mostly composed of bottles that I’ve pulled right off the shelf. Building a cellar doesn’t have to be dependent on well-known labels and hefty price tags and I thought I’d let you fine followers of Metrovino in on my own (subjective) insights on cellar building.
How do I decide what to put in my cellar? My thought process is simple. I ask myself the following questions:
- Which of my current favourite wines can I not imagine my future without?
- Which of these can I reasonably afford to stash away and await an increase on my investment? That is, await a now delicious wine to become even more of a pleasure-giver down the road.
I’ve compiled a list of six wines under $62 that I think are great cellar additions. This list certainly doesn’t encompass all of the options with cellaring potential, but they’re wines that I would personally choose. Also, some of these may fall slightly under the radar so my hope is to shed some light on these gems.
2013 Weingut Knoll, Loibner Riesling Federspiel
Wachau, Austria | $41
Unfortunately this wordy label can deter folks from picking up this otherwise delicious wine. Let me break it down for you: Knoll = producer, Loibner = village, Riesling = grape, Federspiel = measure of ripeness at harvest (in this case, medium-bodied). It’s dry Riesling from a top estate in the Wachau and it already has a head start on aging. If where it’s at is an indication of where it can go, you’re in great hands. Drink now or cellar up to 10 years.
2014 Damien Laureau, “Les Genêts”
Savennières, Loire Valley, France | $57
One of the most underrated wines in the whole damn shop! Dry Chenin Blanc from the prestigious region of Savennières has power and plumpness, minerality and fruit. This is a treat at five years old, all it wants is more time. Drink now or cellar up to 20 years.
2016 Bernard Defaix
Chablis, Burgundy, France | $35
Village-level Chablis that shows its token chalkiness, but I like this one in particular because of the perky citrus fruit. The edgy acidity will soften over time, bettering the texture of an already delicious wine. Drink now or cellar up to 5 years.
2015 Antoine Lienhardt, “Les Plantes aux Bois”
Côte de Nuits-Villages, Burgundy, France | $62
Ever so slightly over my $60 budget, but hey, it’s Burgundy! It comes from a single vineyard site with vines 50-60 years old. Quite serious in its structure, I think the fruit, acidity and tannin will hold this wine up for the next decade. Lienhardt, a rare up & comer in the region, offers one of the last fleeting values. Drink now or cellar up to 15 years.
2016 Frédéric Mabileau, “Les Petits Grains”
St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Loire Valley, France | $32
The ancient appellation of St Nicolas de Bourgueil has long been known for stunning Cabernet Franc. This one hails from the sandy soils close to the riverbank which allows for a fruit and floral driven expression. Grippy tannins and crunchy fresh acidity will give this wine life well into the future. Drink now or cellar up to 5 years.
2015 Pierre Gaillard, Clos de Cuminaille
Saint-Joseph, Northern Rhône Valley, France | $41
100% Syrah from an over performing single vineyard year after year. Let this bolder vintage develop from dark fruits and flowers to game with savoury spices. This wine will continue to over-deliver as it ages. Drink now or cellar up to 15 years.