There are a lot of overpriced wines out there. Especially coming from hotbeds like Bordeaux & Burgundy. We would all love to have a few of those trophy bottles in our cellars, and occasionally we might splurge to ensure we have at least some of the benchmarks to visit at a later date. Building a cellar completely out of the rarest treasures seems like a bit of a boring proposition anyways. There needs to be a little bit of spice, wines that don’t just add geographical variety but also have a bit of a story to tell. One way to approach this is to focus on bottles that represent persistent value and still age quite well. Often by the time these bottles are opened they have become more iconic and the prices have risen. I wouldn’t doubt if many of the wines below eventually fall into that category; in fact the Clos de la Roilette has already become very difficult to find based on a stellar rating in the Wine Spectator. The reality is that despite our perceived awe over the high priced Bordeaux and Burgundies, price is simply not a qualitative measure of a wines worth. Eighty years ago top Chinons were worth more than first growth Bordeaux anyways. Here are a few of my own favourite alternatives to the classics.
- Charles Joguet Chinon – Perhaps more representative of traditional Bordeaux flavours than many current Cabernet Franc based wines from Bordeaux itself.
- Bernard Baudy Chinon – These two producers are 1 and 1A for characterful, terroir driven expressions of ageable red wine. Remember that Chinon can be a little hard to drink in its youth.
- Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon – Finding more traditionally styled Cabernets in the new world is no easy chore, but lets face it – there is much modern wine coming from Bordeaux today anyways.
- Chateau d’Aydie Madiran – Often comes across blowsy and deceptively easy drinking in its youth, the micro-oxygenation makes this wine friendly but make no mistake, this wine has the guts to age gracefully for the very patient.
- Selvapiana Chiantis – A different flavour profile here than the wines above, obviously, but the structure in particular of the Bucerchiale reserve is very reminiscent of tight young Bordeaux and there are parallels in the way it ages.
- Clos de la Roilette Fleurie – Especially the Vendage Tardive, if you can find it these days it is a sure Burgundy cru lookalike for around $30. Of course the regular bottling is good too, even in the non-2009 vintages.
- Marcel Lapierre Morgon – An unbelievable mouthful of silky delicious berries, with a zippy spine underneath. The wax dipped bottle adds some class and the wine certainly has the pedigree to back it up.
- Produttori del Barbaresco – With a string of good vintages from 04-06 this is readily available and the 1978 is still drinking well. Proof that not all Nebbiolo is just a tannic mouthful in its youth, this is very drinkable young too, a mouthful of strawberry fruit.
- Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du Pape – Often misrepresented as a light quaffing C-d-P and therefore still retains a fair price, this is an elegant example that softens beautifully over time.
- Boutari Grand Reserve Naoussa – Perhaps the most unique earthy perfume at maturity of all the wines here, Naoussa can be a little chewy and rough in its youth, but is always a good excuse to cook Greek. And yes it is still around $20 and can last the same number of years.