Hitting Stride: Age-Worthy Wines Outside the Norm
One of the most amazing things about the wine world in the last two decades is the sheer number of new regions producing wine. Many of these emerging places were backwaters just one generation ago. With infusions of new technology, talent, and money, many of these regions are producing world class wines that are worthy of our attention and provide tremendous value.
When it comes to aging, these are wines that have the raw material to improve in bottle: acidity, tannin, and balance. For example, Priorat was virtually unknown until the early 1990s, but now wines like Clos Mogador and L’Ermita can sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle or more. The wines are built to age and improve in bottle, and offer intriguing flavors.
Burgundy, Bordeaux, Piedmont and top-flight Rhône wines remain some of the best investments, but it’s worth having some of these unique wines in your cellar. Some of the greatest winemaking talent in the world is laboring in obscurity in order to tell the story of their unique terroirs and grape varieties. Here’s a few to consider seeking out, drinking, and cellaring
If You Like Bordeaux...
Look to non-traditional French regions. For the last thirty-plus years, the Languedoc and other regions have seen significant investment. Wineries like Mas de Daumas Gassac paved the way, planting Cabernet grapes in the Languedoc’s Herault départment, a region with no tradition of growing the grape. The famous Bordeaux consultant Émile Peynaud helped them to set up their vineyards and winery, and the rest is history.
If you appreciate riper styles of Cabernet, Australia has some great options to explore. Margaret River has been producing absolutely excellent Cabernet Sauvignon for decades now. Wines like Moss Wood are standard bearers. Don’t forget about the extremely age-worthy Penfold’s Grange either. These wines can lay down and improve for decades.
If You Like Aged Reds That Aren’t Bordeaux…
Tempranillo falls somewhere in between the weight of Bordeaux and Burgundy, but really it’s a unique beast. There’s a great deal of incredible Rioja out there. These wines that drinks well when young, but can also age for decades. Benjamin Romeo’s Contador is a fantastic example of a powerful, modern Rioja. Also consider the classic, earthy wines of La Rioja Alta. The La Rioja Alta Reserva 904 is one of the greatest expressions of aged Tempranillo produced today, and is worth a look. They’re released only after extended cellar and bottle aging, and are great for lovers of aged Burgundy and Piedmont lovers looking for new flavors.
In the mountainous region of Cataluña, to the southwest of Rioja, the wines of Priorat are absolute stunners. There’s often a mix of Garnacha (Grenache), Syrah, and Cabernet in these powerful, age-worthy wines. Start with Àlvaro Palacios Finca Dofí for a rich, easy-drinking Priorat, or drink one of Spain’s greatest reds, made by the same winemaker: L’Ermita, a single-vineyard Priorat, is a revelation.
Keep checking in with us as we showcase these excellent wines from emerging regions!