5 Wines Worth Cellaring

Surprisingly affordable additions for your collection

 


Building a cellar isn’t always about laying down the most expensive wines on earth. It should also be about laying down wines that will improve with age, developing nuanced complexity that they simply can’t reveal in the flush of their youth.

There are plenty of wines from around the world that really change over the course of time yet don’t cost and arm and a leg (yet!). This is a short list of some of the great, affordable wines that  cellar.you can cellar.

Tannat

Though it is now associated primarily with Uruguay, Tannat is another French expat, having been cultivated in the Madiran region for centuries. As the name implies, Tannat is well known for producing, well, really tannic wine. In Uruguay, the wines tend to be a bit more forgiving, but there is no escaping the grape's innate structure, except through time in the cellar. Tannat has yet to catch on, so the wines remain quite affordable, but expect that to change as people start experiencing well-aged versions over the coming years and realize what a rich, blackberry-filled aged Tannat can do.

Petit Sirah

The Duriff grape of France was renamed Petit Sirah somewhere along its voyage to California. Note: There’s nothing petite about Petit Sirah, and it deserves to move out of Syrah’s shadow. What most Petite Sirahs lack in elegance, they make up for it with bold, gutsy fruit. With age, the wines gain an expansive softness that really shows how cellaring can enhance the texture of a wine. Never the most complex wine, aged Petit Sirah nonetheless continues to deliver bold flavors.

Chinon

This village from France’s Loire Valley produces benchmark Cabernet Franc at very friendly prices. It’s surprising that these wines haven’t received more attention, but that’s why you can still buy remarkably age-worthy wines for such reasonable prices. With time in the cellar, many Chinon lose some of their nervous energy and settle down nicely, revealing a core of sweet red fruit accented with a dash of sweet ripe herbs.

Mencia

Many people have compared Spain’s Mencia grape to Cabernet Franc, and for the purpose of this discussion that comparison is pretty fair. A lot of Mencia is made in a very approachable style, so when cellaring it I look to specific appellations where the wines tend to have a leaner, more focused nature that allows them to age well. These tend to be tense, nervous wines in their youth, but do become more expansive with time in the bottle. Try Ribera Sacra and Valdeorras.

Lagrein

The iconic red grape of Italy’s Alto Adige produces wines that blend ripe dark fruits with spice and mineral notes in a well-balanced, medium-bodied package. Similar in some ways to Syrah, though with a perhaps more obvious appeal, these wines can age effortlessly for a decade or more, becoming softer and more complex and aromatic.

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