The Three Keys to Savvy
by Brian Freedman
Becoming a savvy wine collector isn’t nearly as difficult as it might initially seem. Sure, the world of wine is huge—it’s called the world of wine for a reason—but that doesn’t mean you should get overwhelmed with the prospect of starting to put together a collection that reflects every ounce of its diversity and excitement.
A full accounting of how to accomplish this goal could fill a 1,000-page book, but these simple tips will ensure that your cellar or wine rack is always full of wines you can enjoy at every occasion.
The most famous regions and appellations are well-known and respected for a reason; Bordeaux’s Médoc and the best villages of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits are benchmarks because, in general, the wines really do set a standard that others often try to emulate. But there are also other sources of fantastic wine worth seeking out. Remain open to them—the high-altitude and deeply mineral Cabs from Argentina and the lush, generous, structured Pinots from Sonoma Coast come to mind—and snap them up when you see them. They often represent some of the best value on the market.
Collecting broadly also prepares you for any wine emergency, whether it’s an impromptu dinner party or a meal at the new BYOB with your boss. A savvy collector will always have options. So buy broadly, across the continuum of price points, and include wines that not only require short- to medium-term aging, but also some that you can put away and forget about for a decade.
Look Outside of Marquee Regions
The best values in wine are often found outside the 100-point-scoring regions and most famous appellations. When it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, look outside of Napa to Paso Robles and Mendocino, and places like the Australia's Coonawarra, Washington State, South Africa’s Western Cape, and more internationally. For incredible white wines, Australia, Austria, and Greece offer surprising values ideal for the cellar. The wine world is gloriously big; the savviest collectors are open to it all.
Don't Assume Price Equals Quality
Great wine rings in at a huge range of price points, and more affordable bottles aren’t in any way inferior. What should land in the cellar is a combination of bottles reflective of your budget and what you value in a wine (flavor, longevity, and more). Great collections come in all styles and sizes; just because you don’t have display racks of Pétrus and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti doesn’t mean your collection isn’t thoughtful and worthy of pride.
Originally published on Wine Access