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 ?
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
Viña Real Gran 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
Marqués De Riscal Gran Reserva
Remírez De Ganuza
López De Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco
López De Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva
López De Heredia Bosconia Gran Reserva
Imperial Gran Reserva
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)
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.