Collecting wine and investing in wine are two entirely different processes. Both options are attractive to true oenophiles. The problem is when it comes to planning for a future sale or enjoying it with a special dinner or on a special occasion. Keeping nice bottles of wine in perfect condition for years in a cellar to make a profit down the road is hard when you can almost hear a bottle beckoning you to open it up for just one sip.
Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. Wine can easily fit into this category with the costs running easily into the thousands of dollars per bottle.
One wine source that can offer a marriage of investing wine while also still enjoying wine is Wine Enthusiast. Each year the magazine releases its Top 100 Cellar Selections list, and the list for 2021 is as impressive as any other year. With 100 top wines, the list offers a large enough choice of wine selections that buyers with adequate cash and capital can both enjoy some great wines while also being given a list of wines that be sent into the cellar for future sale.
Here is how the 2021 Top 100 Cellar Selections is described — a ranking of the best wines tasted throughout the year that exhibit pedigree, structure and staying power—the hallmarks of ageworthy wines. All these bottles will stand the test of time, of course to varying degrees depending on region, variety, vintage and style, yet look to the reviews from our expert tasting panel for insight on when best to pop the cork.
The keys to this effort is that they are all “ageworthy” along with suggestions about when these wines will peak (a sell-by or consume-by date). The 2021 list includes 9 different wines that are 100-point wines. And for that investment versus consumption price tag and pedigree, over half of the 100 wines are $70 or less per bottle. One-third of the wines only cost between $20 and $50 per bottle.
And for those who want diversity in taste, prices and vintage for consumption or investing, there is a very wide selection here. The bottles include classic bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolo and Napa. There are also choices like Syrah from New Zealand, Cabernet Sauvignon from Northeast Spain, and Mataro (Mourvedre) from Central California’s Central. There are even white and sparkling wines in this mix, and the top pick for 2021 is a Napa Chardonnay that may as well be confused for a white Burgundy.
We have added in the top 10 wine selections here from the list, but the reality is that any of these 100 wines are likely to please oenophiles who like these varietals. The full top 100-wine list is here, and we have shown the top 10 below without the descriptions of each.
- #10 Taylor Fladgate 2018 Vintage Port (Portugal) (98 points) for $120/bottle.
- #9 Maximin Grunhauser 2019 Abtsberg Riesling GG (Mosel) (97 points) for $70/bottle.
- #8 Famiglia Anselma 2016 del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba (Barolo) (97 points) for $54/bottle.
- #7 DuMOL 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) (98 points) $119/bottle.
- #6 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 2018 Saint-Julien (100 points) for $200/bottle.
- #5 Quinta do Vale Meao 2018 Red (Douro, Portugal) (99 points) for $100/bottle.
- #4 Billecart-Salmon 2007 Cuvée Nicolas François Brut (Champagne) (97 points) for $150/bottle.
- #3 Brewer-Clifton 2019 3D Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) (98 points) for $65/bottle.
- #2 Le Chiuse 2016 Brunello di Montalcino (100 points) for $99/bottle.
- #1 Ramey 2018 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay (Carneros) (100 points) for $70/bottle.
There is one thing that oenophiles and more casual wine buyers should all be prepared for. When these lists are released, it just so happens that many wine buyers have complained over time that the cost of a bottle automatically rises after being featured front and center in this manner. After all, if it is a “Top 100” then maybe the market (demand) will pay more as the quantities (supply) are going to be limited. And to make matters even more complex, some of these wines are going to be listed as “sold out!” on the websites.
Many of the wines on this list are even under $30 per bottle, or at least they were before the top 100 list was released. And for the high-end oenophiles that can afford the best of the best, there are selections above the $500/bottle price points (including a 2018 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac from Bordeaux at 100-points for $780/bottle).
Other top wine lists also have great wines that go far beyond the traditional great wines of France, Italy and California.
Categories: Wine & Whiskey