It appears that super-premium/higher-priced/allocated wines are making a comeback
Happily, there are signs that ‘super-premium’ priced wines are staging a comeback. Perhaps not to the level of those halcyon days of 2000 to 2007, but way more interest than last year. It makes sense too: once one has tasted the good stuff, it’s hard to go back to ‘ordinary’ wines. The wineries are making it easier to come back—either maintaining or even reducing prices on some of their top wines. And wines that three years ago you had to say ‘pretty please’ to get, there is now usually availability.
Case in point, the iconic Joseph Phelps ‘Insignia’: for the past several vintages, we’ve not taken our entire allocation (like you, we do not want to buy wines we’re not sure we can sell). But with the recent release of the 07, we had our largest ‘allocation’ in forever, and we not only took it all—we sold it all in less than 2 weeks. Sure the whole ’07 Napa thing is part of it but there are signs of high-end wine in all categories rearing its head again.
To that end, we’ve asked our able staff to pick out their favorite wines with price as no object—well, we actually said up to $100 of ‘your own money’. These folks taste wines everyday and know where the values are—in all price ranges. So if you want to jump in to the fine wine pool again, you couldn’t get better advice!
My choice would be Quintessa. I realize that it is at the top end of the price category but compared with other great wines of the the world, still well priced. Since the introduction of the 1994 vintage it has been consistent highly rated and well made by various talented winemakers, a proof of the high quality fruit produced at the estate as a result of the attentiveness to all aspects of detail by the proprietors, Agustin and Valeria Huneeus. The 2007 vintage is now available
Penner – Ash Pinot Noir – “not to heavy, not too light, it is just right” I loved the 2007 and now the 2008 is even better!
2006 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet “Marquis de Laguiche” – this white Burgundy from the Morgeot region is my favorite wine of all time. 2006 is a great vintage for white Burgundy.
My favorite single bottle to drink is Simi Reserve. This is a wine with the unquestioned ability to just get better and better over time. Upon release it is multi-layered showing powerful fruit and velvety tannins. As it ages, it just becomes lusher in the mouth with the fruit staying opulent and rich for two decades, at least. If one wanted the next best thing for a lot less money, try aging a bottle of Simi Landslide for 10 or 15 years. It will absolutely blow your mind!!
2007 Tenute Sette Ponte Oreno – This super Tuscan has been a great value year after year, being about $50 less than others of its caliber. Always one of my favorites: lush and structured.
2007 Shafer “One Pointe Five” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa – Shafer is so consistent year to year, and this is no exception. Power with elegance all built in one, great fruit and balance with the tannins make this wine my everyday red if I could afford to. $50 wholesale. This would also be the winery that if I were only able to buy one winery’s wine; this would be it. Across the board, worldclass in every category.
I choose Darioush Signature Cabernet, at $55.00 bottle. It is the best wine for the money and I could get two bottles for just over $100.00: more is always better
Although it is rather impossible to select one wine within our portfolio, I chose the Nardi “Manachiara” Brunello di Montalcino for its elegance, concentration and formidable quality. This particular vineyard boasts of older vines, and a unique micro climate and soil type that contribute to the style of Brunello Emilia Nardi is known to produce. The wine is produced from 100% Sangiovese Grosso, and is incredibly rich, and intense with ripe red cherry fruit, lovely acidity, with refined, elegant tannins.
I would have to choose a bottle of Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame”. I might have chosen one of our fantastic Cabernets but my wife does not drink red wine and I like to share. Her favorite drink is Champagne and it is always a great way to start a party. After all – Happy Wife = Happy Life.
Darioush Caravan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Very lush ripe fruit with elegant finish
Antinori Guado al Tasso
After falling in love with some of the much more expensive and famous Supper Tuscan Red Blends, the Guado al Tasso for me offers all of the old world complexity and character, big structure, balance and backbone at a fraction of the cost. This is old world wine making at its best in a very affordable package. Just like with its renowned big brothers don’t let the IGT designation scare you; this wine is made with the utmost attention to detail and quality. And finally the fact that many of my ancestors came from this area and very likely farmed some of the dam soil makes it very near and dear to my heart.
If I have to pick just one wine it would be Pahlmeyer 2006 Proprietary Red… Last three vintage have scored 95+ points with Robert Parker, just a fantastic Meritage (81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec) and the 07 vintage looks like it is going to be even better when it is released!
The wine I would pick would be any vintage of the Heitz Cellars “Martha’s Vineyard” Cabernet. Best high end Cabernet I have ever tried.
Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon – Although this wine is well less than $100. I feel that at $297 per case, this wine is the best buy in our book. You can have 4 bottles of fantastic Cab for $100.
I’m a big fan of the Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto 2007. Only $37 right now, made by winemakers of Sassicaia (I think they even use some of their grapes). Over delivers and always scores well. Super smooth, good dark berry flavors.
Veuve Clicquot Rosé NV – Just a beautiful thing.
Il Poggione’s 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. It would be
easy to be tempted by one of the great champagne values (La Grande Dame, Bollinger…), or seduced by some of the new world cabs, pinot noirs or chardonnays in our book. But a Brunello from a great producer like Il Poggione, particularly from a terrific vintage, reminds me why I became interested in wine so many years ago.
I would have to say Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame”. My wife is pregnant and she loves champagne. She cannot drink at the moment but I know no better wine for celebrating the birth of our child. At the moment it is posted to $100. The split case charge does place it over the $100 limit but what the heck!
Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Chardonnay – I have over 15 years experience with this wine and I feel it is the most consistent Chardonnay in our portfolio vintage to vintage. The Vineyard was planted by Martin Ray and Paul Mason with “suitcase clippings” from Louis Latour…er uh Davis.