One of our main missions at iDealwine is to help you create the cellar of your dreams, whatever your budget. To this end, we have created a selection of Must-Have wines – those that you should try at least once, preferably with some bottles to put aside! Today, we’re putting the spotlight on this selection of wines that have superb ageing potential whilst remaining at reasonable prices.
What’s the difference between a drinking wine, made to be enjoyed young, and an ageing or cellaring wine that will improve over time?
The price? There is that, but it isn’t the only difference! What makes a wine suitable for ageing is its body and its balance. It should have a certain mouthfeel, with rich tannins in a red, for example, or notable acidity in a white. During vinification, these features are developed through the selection of healthy grapes, sometimes intense extraction and longer maturation.
This way we can know if a wine is apt to be aged or not without even tasting it first. However, since we didn’t want to take any risks, we’ve tasted them for you anyway…
We’ll start off strong with Domaine Gauby’s 2016 cuvée vieilles vignes (€32). A genius wine producer, Gérard Gauby has managed to reach the gold standard of receiving 3 stars from RVF (La Revue du vin de France), a rare accolade for a producer in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The secret to his success? A close-to-perfect equilibrium in his wines, alcohol levels that are never excessive, and tannins that are abundant without being at all unpleasant. A bit forceful in its youth, it deserves to be left to mature in order to reveal its full potential.
You might have expected to see only red bottles in this selection, but there are actually many white wines that amply reward ageing for a few years. Sancerre wines are a very good example of this. Take Domaine Vacheron, for example, with almost 50 hectares converted to biodynamic growth since 2004 – there isn’t one of their cuvées that doesn’t attract the attention of wine enthusiasts. If you give the 2018 cuvée (€21) some time, it will evolve with subtle notes of honey whilst retaining a certain freshness that places it far above others of the same region.
Let’s stay in the Loire for now, a land of fine wines that are more accessible in terms of their price. A little trip to Chinon is called for, where Cabernet Franc reigns supreme. If there’s one thing to know about this grape variety, it’s that it likes to take its time. It doesn’t like to be rushed and certainly doesn’t react well to being harvested too soon. And Philippe Alliet knows this grape like the back of his hand. With his 2017 Coteaux de Noiré (€28), he justly translates the expression of the ‘Cab Franc’ variety. Planted on a steep, clay-chalk slope, this plot benefits from an ideal exposure to the south, allowing its fruit to reach optimal maturity. Whilst it can turn out to be a little austere in its youth, time will soften its tannins, encouraging the development of delicate oak and candied fruit aromas.
The emblematic region for cellaring wines is undoubtedly Bordeaux. In their early years, the tannins in these wines are often strong and difficult to appreciate, though in time they become much more enjoyable, letting the wine fully express itself. This is the case for the Clos Puy Arnaud 2017 (€29). We noted this wine as having excellent potential, and it will eventually be a perfect accompaniment for a dish of slow-cooked lamb or a duck confit, for example.
We can’t talk about fine, cellaring whites without mentioning Burgundy. Uncontested masters of Chardonnay, some Burgundians have no qualms in including significant interventions in their vinfication. Stirring is often involved in order to extract as much as possible, and the grapes can be matured for long months in containers like 228-litre oak barrels. Far from the freshness and vivacity of a Sauvignon Blanc, these wines are more unctuous and opulent. This is certainly the case for Henri Darnat in Meursault. If you’re not yet aware of this domain, the 2018 Clos du Domaine is a superb introduction at just €35.
Since we’re choosing wines to be aged, we can’t forget the Rhône, especially the north of the region with its Syrah vines. One of the team’s favourites, Brise Cailloux (€35) from Matthieu Barret in Cornas is a gem. Give it time to soften and you’ll be rewarded with elegant notes of spices and violet that will pair nicely with any dish.
In our Must-Have selection, you mustn’t miss out on the cuvée des Dames Hospitalières 2017 (€69) from the famous Hospices de Beaune charity auction. This Pinot Noir will delight you after a few years with interesting notes of leather and earth.
Champagnes can also be aged! Take the Latitude Extra Brut cuvée (€38) by Larmand-Bernier, for example. At iDealwine, we adore the finesse of this cuvée, and it can be opened for special occasions and little celebrations alike.
Have you heard of Coulée de Serrant? This mythical Loire domain in Savennières tells the story of one man, Nicolas Joly. A pioneer in biodynamics, his wines are like no other. His 2018 Clos de la Bergerie cuvée (€44) is exuberant, with an irresistible freshness in its youth. It will develop delicate aromas of nuts and dried fruit after a few years.
And finally, what could be better than a fine, Burgundian wine enjoyed in its maturity? This 2017 Pernand-Vergelesses (€62) from Domaine Chandon de Briailles is a beauty. From the exceptional clay-chalk terroirs of the Ile de Vergelesses premier cru, these vines produce sumptuous Pinot Noir cuvées.
Thirsty for more? Take a look at our Must-Have selection here – cellaring wines or bottles to enjoy right now, we have something for every occasion!