The who, what, where, how and why of this magnificent obsession … Bordeaux wine collection…
How to start and start harvesting Bordeaux wine…
You have been bitten by the wine virus and you want to start setting up a cellar and collecting Bordeaux wine. What do you do first? The prices are going up quickly and you want to enter the ground floor. Do you instantly rush to use your credit card, hoping to valiantly fill your empty cellar and start collecting wine as quickly as possible? No! Why not? This is the most important question the new collector should ask.
It’s easy to go to a store to start collecting wine and buy endless amounts of wine. But it’s the worst decision a novice collector can make. The best thing that any new person wishing to collect Bordeaux wine can do is to become an informed consumer. It is imperative in your informative years to taste as many different wines as possible. There’s no point in having a cellar full of famous names and high scores that you don’t like. High score wines denote quality. But that has nothing to do with personal taste. Although you will likely enjoy the highest rated wines most of the time, the high scores do not guarantee that the wine is produced in a style that you will love. There are thousands of great wines produced in a myriad of styles and the only way for anyone to decide what they like is to taste as many different wines as possible. This is the key for anyone who wants to collect wine.
It is easy for novice and seasoned collectors to taste a wide variety of wines and styles. Traders often organize tastings. There are courses organized by wine merchants, auction houses, colleges, restaurants and even private individuals welcome them. You can join or form a group. It is easy to meet other wine lovers. Ask your local dealer to introduce you to the collectors. Or join a wine website and meet other dedicated wine lovers who live near you. The most popular and active wine website for people wishing to collect Bordeaux wine around the world is hosted by renowned wine writer and critic Robert Parker.
Whichever way you decide where to taste the wines, before you start collecting wine, you need to learn what you like. You can very well taste wines recommended by friends, critics or oenologists. But you may also discover that these wines are not for you. Your palate may prefer different styles of Bordeaux wines. Wine, like life, is a matter of personal taste.
What do you buy when you decide to collect Bordeaux wine?
Once you have an idea of the type of wine you want to collect, what do you do next with your passion for collecting wine? Deciding what to buy depends on your age, what is already in your cellar and the level of maturity at which you want to drink your wines and, above all, your disposable income. How do these factors determine the type of wine you buy for your cellar?
Age is important. Young collectors can buy wines at term or at the exit because they have time to wait for the wines to evolve. Older buyers should buy wines that are ripe or at least almost ready. For example, for most people over the age of 60, it makes little sense to collect wine like the first vintages of 2005, as these wines could take 30 years to develop fully. The wines you already own will also shape your buying habits. For example, if you have a collection of young wines that require years, focus on buying wines that drink well today, allowing you to patiently wait for your wines to mature.
Do you like wines with the freshness and exuberance of youth, or do you prefer the more earthy, tobacco and spicy tones of ripe wines? This is a key factor and there is no right or wrong answer because not everyone agrees on this point. But it is important to know what you are when you start collecting Bordeaux wine.
Finally, the level of disposable income is of course the key factor in determining how you will collect the wine, which wines and how much of these wines you should buy. Today is the best time in history to be a wine lover. There are great wines at every price allowing anyone to build a cellar. While wine prices have gone up in recent years, the truth is that there are more great wines at lower prices offering immense pleasure than ever. In fact, there are countesses of smaller wines from many terroirs who make better wine than many of the most enthusiastic names in the world bought in the 70s! If you are keen to be adventurous and explore a little, you can build a large cellar for not a lot of money that will pay dividends for years!
Earlier in this article on how to collect Bordeaux wine, I mentioned the need to taste a myriad of wines to determine your likes and dislikes. This is another reason why it is so important to taste as many wines as possible before buying. For ideas on the wine you want to taste, read as many books and publications as possible. A good starting point is to subscribe to publications like or « The Wine Advocate » by Robert Parker, www.erobertparker.com.
Many other sources of information are available to collectors from all countries. In Finland, which places its magazines and books in countless countries, Fine Wine offers many publications and books to choose from. In England you can read the magazine World of Fine Wine plus, the purple pages of Jancis Robison, Germany offers fine Scandinavian unopened wine services in Northern Europe, Fallstaf is published in Austria, France of course has many choices including La Revue du Vin and the new guide by Michel Bettane & Thierry Desseauve. Gamberro Rossi is from Italy. Wine Estate is published in Australia and Spain is not forgotten with Revista del Vino. America offers a myriad of publications with; The Struk Vins and Steve Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar as well as other choices are also available. As you can see, no matter where you live or which wines you prefer, there are many publications all over the world to meet your needs and offer advice to people who wish to collect wine.
If you are like me and Bordeaux is your passion, the most important book that any Bordeaux lover who wants to collect wine cannot do without. This is Robert Parker’s book, « Bordeaux: a consumer guide to the best wines in the world », or for more general suggestions on a wide range of wines, « Wine Buyer’s Guide », 7e The edition also written by Robert Parker will be available soon.
Why do you have to set up a cellar if you want to harvest Bordeaux wine…
A well-appointed wine cellar is a fantastic asset, both literally and figuratively. This is what will happen if you collect Bordeaux wine. It can pay dividends unprecedented for decades, even generations. A first advantage of cellars is an investment in pleasure. Putting down a wine you like, allowing it to rest for a decade or more until it has finished going through its evolution if necessary is the reason for keeping wine. All the great wines of the world need to be aged. It is only when these wines have reached maturity that they begin to offer the incredible tastes, smells, textures and sensations that wine lovers have rhapsodized for centuries. There are many other reasons why people assemble wineries and collect wine. For example: for-profit investment or, gifts for your children and grandchildren. And there are even simpler reasons. It’s fun to collect Bordeaux wine!
Who do you need to buy your wine when you decide to collect Bordeaux wine?
Once you’ve determined the age and types of wine you want to put in your cellar, you’re on the right track. But who do you buy from? Young wines can be purchased from several different sources depending on the regions you want to focus on. Get to know your local merchant. To ask questions. Taste with them and try some recommendations so that they know your palate. If you don’t have quality stores in your area, use the Internet. www.Wine-Searcher.com is the best wine search engine in the world. Subscribe to the Pro version. For the minimal amount of money it costs you to subscribe, you have easy access to a world of wine at competitive prices. Even if you have great stores in your area, no merchant can carry all the wines you want. This is another reason to use the Internet. Discover some stores offering you a good relationship. The insider secret is, don’t try to buy from too many different merchants. The best thing any collector can do is buy from several different stores over and over again. This allows you and the merchant to know each other and when you need a favor, the stores you have bought multiple times will be ready to help you when you need it. This will become important if you want to harvest Bordeaux wine.
If you want to add older vintages to your cellar, there are many options. Most major auction companies hold several wine sales a year, including Christies and Sotheby’s. Some wine merchants also offer older wines for sale. But buying older wine is not without pitfalls. The most important factor in buying ripe vintages once you decide to collect Bordeaux wine is, have the wines been stored properly? A wine in poor condition will offer a bad tasting experience.
Where do you start when you really start collecting Bordeaux wine?
You have tasted enough Bordeaux wine and you are ready to start buying. The point in the previous paragraph on the correct storage of wines cannot be emphasized enough. There is only one way to get the most out of your ripe wines and that is to store them properly. Wine is a living entity. Like us, wine goes through several stages before reaching maturity. Like us too, in order for your wine to age and mature to the best of its ability, you must take care of it. This means that no matter where you store your wines, they must be in an appropriate environment. Wine is not intended to be stored in the back of your closet, under your bed or behind the stairs. Your wine prefers cool, dark, humid spaces, without vibration and odor.
There are two types of cellars, passive or active. You are going to need something or a place to store your bottles if you want to collect wine. Active cellars have regulated climates that keep the cellar cool. 55 to 57 ° F (13 to 14 ° C) is optimal. Combined with 70% humidity, your wine will be very happy to offer you a perfect evolution. More than 70% moisture could rot your labels and much less moisture could dry out your corks. Passive cellars are generally underground with naturally cool and humid climatic conditions. Temperatures could rise in summer and cool in winter. The problems associated with rising and falling temperatures are significant. However, the key point is how quickly have temperatures changed? Wine and corks are not fond of rapid temperature changes as this could damage the cork seal. If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t have a deep cellar or basement. So what are you doing There are many choices. The cellars can be built in spaces ranging from small to large to massive! The average cost of building an active cellar is around $ 10 per bottle. If you don’t have the spare, it’s easy to buy units specifically designed to store wine in a myriad of sizes from 6 bottles to several hundred bottles. The internet is the perfect place to watch. If none of these options meet your needs, most major cities have companies that rent wine storage in temperature-controlled environments. Ask your local wine merchant.
A wine cellar is an investment in time and money. Do people make money by investing in wine? Yes. If you buy the best wines from the best years, your wine will likely increase in value. But even buying the most requested wines is not a guarantee of return on investment. While great wine has a history of price increases for hundreds of years, most wines will not offer safe yields. It is better to buy the wines you like. Look like this, if the global economy goes to hell in a hand basket, at least you will have good wine to drink!
Cellar management is the key to maintaining balance with your collection. To make sure you don’t have to open too many wines before they’re ready, if you have the funds, it’s best to have a variety of wines at different ripeness levels. This is done by buying bottled age wines as well as vintages that are good for early consumption. For example, several 01 Bordeaux already offer a lot of fun today. Aside from the wines that have to open now, having bottles that need to age before they ripen is the heart and soul of a large cellar. Young powerful vintages fit perfectly with this bill.