Which reds would you cellar beyond Bordeaux?

With all the hype about the Bordeaux campaign to pre-selling their 2010 wines, it made me think: surely there are more affordable, just as age-worthy alternatives out there. Here are five current releases I would cellar for 15 years that will bring a whole lot of bang for much less buck:

Domaine Baudry, La Croix Boisée, 2008. Cabernet franc grown on limestone from a top grower in Chinon. And around $30 a bottle? I would sign up for a case faster than I would a 375ml of 2010 Lafite–and I’d probably save money if I did.

Clos de la Roilette, cuvée tardive, 2009: Granted, this wine is mighty hard to find now, but it is worth seeking out. A Fleurie from the edge of Moulin-a-Vent, this is more pinot-like than gamay, structure and elegance over fruit and ebullience. I have a case and plan to age at least half of it for a decade.

Napanook 2007 cabernet sauvignon: This wine’s list price is about $50 but I’ve seen it online as low as $35. Even though it is the “second” wine from the Dominus estate, it has the seductiveness of good cabernet. And the fact that it comes from the Napanook estate under the hand of Christian Moueix gives it a track record of success.

Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco, 2006: This excellent nebbiolo can age (the 1978 is drinking well today, apparently). It sells for under $30.

Isole e Olena, Cepparello 2006, about $60: I had the chance to try this wine at a tasting last year and thought it was terrific. I don’t have a lot of experience with aging sangiovese, but if I were going to, this is where I’d start.

And, of course, for the prices Bordeaux futures are fetching, you could get plenty of Bordeaux with a decade or two of cellar age on them. There’s slightly more risk with the provenance, but the rewards come a lot sooner than pre-release Bordeaux since the pleasures of older wines can be had immediately. Or, as we recently discussed, there’s always Lopez de Heredia.

I was discussing this topic on email with a site reader who is a Spanish wine buff. He offers his suggestions from Spain after the jump. What are your suggestions for age-worthy alternatives ?

Search for these wines at retail

Under $30
Marqués De Riscal Reserva (This one could be found for around $15)
Marqués De Murrieta Ygay Reserva
Viña Lanciano Reserva
La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva (The 2001 is their current vintage for just under $30 and sufficient barrel and bottle aging to be declared a Gran Reserva)
Marqués De Cáceres Gran Reserva

Under $50
Contino Reserva
Viña Real Gran Reserva
Imperial Reserva
Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva
Finca Valpiedra Reserva
Conde De Valdemar Gran Reserva
Marqués De Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva
Torres Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon
Jean León Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva

Under $75
Marqués De Riscal Gran Reserva
Remírez De Ganuza
Roda I
López De Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco
López De Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva
López De Heredia Bosconia Gran Reserva
Imperial Gran Reserva

Over $100
Mauro Vendimia Seleccionada (~100)
La Rioja Alta 890 Gran Reserva (~100)
Contino Viña Del Olivo (~120)
Mauro Terreus (~135)
Vega Sicilia Único Gran Reserva (~300)

Bonus round
Astrales (~45)
Aalto PS (~125)

All of the ones I am listing above have at least a decade or more track record and are still improving in bottle. Some of them have outperformed consistently classified and first growth Bordeaux from top vintages in blind tastings. The tastings have been just after the wines have been released and also a decade plus after release. The bonus round has some “newer” wines, Astrales (first released in 2001) and Aalto PS (first released in 1999), that have shown very well in blind tastings and have good potential to age gracefully and outperform Bordeaux wines at a fraction of their cost.

The list above could expanded by a couple pages if we do not consider “aging” a requirement for this exercise.

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12 Responses to “Which reds would you cellar beyond Bordeaux?”

  1. Klaus Peter Keller’s Spatburgunder!

  2. Lets get a list of similar wines that are ready to drink now but that can also be aged.

  3. Will try to look for these wines in London and pay the extra VAT!!!

  4. Tyler:

    Excellent post – we all need to let people know how many wonderful values there are in the market, whether from California, Italy, France or Spain.

    Two first-rate choices on your part for Italy. The ’06 from Produttori del Barbaresco is an especially ageworthy wine, as the wine contains the best fruit from their growers that would have normally been bottled as cru wines. 2006 was an excellent vintage for Barbaresco- the only reason why the winery didn’t bottle the cru wines from that year was they believed they had too many of these wines on the market in a short time. So the ’06 Barbaresco from Produttori is a real bonus!

    The Cepparello is always an excellent wine- 2006 is especially notable. Another brilliant Sangiovese is the Flaccianello from Fontodi. The 2007 is especially well-structured for a good 12-15 years of cellaring. It’s pricier than the Cepparello (about $70), but it’s a gorgeous wine.

  5. Chateau Pradeaux – Bandol!
    around $40 and will last for years. Fantastic delicious value.

  6. G’day Tyler.

    Just wanted to follow-up on the topic. Although Australia is better known for making early-drinking fruit-bombs, reds from the Clare Valley have an excellent pedigree. Wendouree Shiraz blends are legendary for their longevity, and a bottle of Tim Adams’ 94 Shiraz still looks stunning. His premium wine, the Aberfeldy will no doubt go longer still… This is the region of Jeffrey Grosset, Mitchell and Leasingham, so there’s evidence that goes back decades… Frankly, I struggle to find reasons these days to drink Bordeaux at all!

  7. Almost any California syrah or Rhone blend that is more or less traditionally made and seriously intended. Tablas Creek’s syrah and mourvedre are notably cheaper than their Esprit de Beaucastel (which is even more ageable) and can be put into one’s cellar without concern that they’ll go over the hill anytime soon.

  8. Three off the top of my head:

    Elena Fucci “Titolo” Aglianico del Vulture

    Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese

    Jean Louis Chave Hermitage

    I don’t know what the current vintages are, but based on past performance, all three of these wines have potential cellar lives measured in decades.

    Hey, throw in a Domaine Huet demi-sec Vouvray, too.

  9. WineBusProf. How about suggesting wines people can actually get. I love Wendouree, but its nearly impossible to get outside of Oz, and very expensive when you. Unless of course you are on the list.

  10. Thanks to Barnaby for the comment on availability.

    Given that Tyler’s blog is one of the best read wine blogs in the world, I’m going to suggest that no matter what recommendations are posted here, many readers are going to be disappointed that such wines will be unavailable in their region (or to them as clients. Wendouree has a mailing list that’s difficult to get onto. An even more challenging example would be Aubert, where you need to be invited to buy their wines). However, I’m also going to add that Tyler’s blog is not exclusively designed for posting buying recommendations.

    I’ve only ever tasted a Wendouree wine once, and the experience was memorable because someone passionate conveyed to me how difficult this wine is to get hold of. Without his recommendation, I’d have just thought that Wendouree was a well priced, and powerful wine. However, the passion and enthusiasm of a knowledgable wine lover was instrumental in committing the desirability of Wendouree into my (at the time, young and impressionable) mind.

    Although Wendouree is all but unavailable for most wine-drinking mortals, it’s my hope that if even one person sees the comment and wants to try the wine, then when the opportunity presents itself, that same person may be so compelled to do so.

    In the meantime, the other suggestions of wines from Tim Adams, Jeffrey Grosset, Mitchell, or even Taylor’s (NB. Wine branded as Wakefield in export markets due to Taylor’s being an existing port brand) represent wines from the same region with much better availability.

    In any event, consumers sourcing wines from any of these producers can confidently cellar a number of their reds for many years.

    If anyone else feels as similarly inspired as Barnaby to go out and search for any of these wines, feel free to contact me through Tyler’s blog and I’ll be happy to help out!


  11. I’d definitely second the Tim Adams recommendation. Shameless plug, I do have some Wendouree for very special occasions. I’m as likely to open that as a Leoville las cases.

    Interestingly enough Clare doesn’t get the press that Barossa (all boobs no ass) and McLaren get. Yet one of my favorite reds comes from there.

    As far as value and excellent wine from Oz, I think you’d be hard pressed to beat Kay Brothers. As a plus you can get that in SoCal pretty easily.

  12. […] “Traditional Rioja, the anti-en primeurs wine” “Which reds would you cellar beyond Bordeaux?” Permalink | Comments (1) | | Bordeaux This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 4th, […]


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