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Laying down cheap(er) wine

This may have been discussed elsewhere on the forums (and may well be a silly question in any case) but what do other members think of cellaring more “modestly” priced bottles, around the £10-15 mark? I put quote marks as obviously everyone has different budgets. I’ve only recently got more seriously into wine and whilst I think that my tastes do tend towards more aged wines I certainly don’t have the budget to get in on the EP game. However, there are plenty of bottles on the list in the aforementioned price bracket with drinking dates out to the mid-late 2020s. A couple of examples below.

https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/cotes-du-rhone-rouge-guigal-2017

https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/lirac-rouge-la-fermade-domaine-maby-2019

I don’t have a great amount of storage space so if storing in members reserves the storage cost as a percentage of the total cost will be higher than a more expensive bottle. Does this turn people off the idea or is it just generally not done or is it in fact something you’d recommend?

Thanks in advance for any feedback

Dave

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The Rhône is your friend. Plenty of cheap bottles, including many EP, that fit your ageing and price requirements

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This thread should give you some good inspiration!

Also I wouldn’t necessarily discount EP, like @Rio_Jano said Rhone is good but you’ll also get some Burgundy and Bordeaux (and other miscellaneous offerings too) in the £15 DP range, though not a huge degree of choice admittedly.

And of course, it probably won’t take too long before your idea of a ‘modestly priced’ wine might end up with a higher ceiling (not that I’m speaking from bank account beating personal experience…).

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EP isn’t always extortionate - you can get very good options around £60 per six IB which would come in under £15 duty paid. But the challenge with EP (for people like us who like more mature wines) is sitting on it for long enough - it costs money in reserves or takes up precious space at home. Personally I have no qualms in paying TWS storage costs for cheaper wines but I tend to leave them (mainly Rhone reds) for 3-4 years at most. I don’t have the patience or money to sit on Bordeaux for a decade or more.

One of the best things about TWS is the frequency at which wines come up on the main list with a few years’ ageing, often at a similar - or even lower - price to what you’d have paid EP plus tax plus storage.

If you do want to try some more affordable, age-worthy EP purchases, I know that Marcel has recommended Domaine St Anne wines in the rhone offer (I bought les Rouvieres for £55/6 this year) or Ollieux Romanis Corbieres (Atal Sia or Cuvée d’Or - these two maybe closer to £20 DP to be fair).

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I think the higher % cost of storage per bottle is probably the most significant factor against doing this. However, if having a bit more maturity is how you most enjoy wine and you’re comfortable to add 90-odd pence per bottle per year to get it to the stage where you take most pleasure then it’s a brilliant way to enjoy your best wine.

Agree with @Rio_Jano, the Rhone is definitely your friend. I would also advise you have a good look at Greece for reds and Germany for whites.

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Agree with the above, the Rhone is always a good place to look for less expensive, somewhat ageable wines. However, do choose carefully as some Wines are made for earlier consumption and will lose fruit as age as they don’t have the structure for longevity.
I always think Muga réserve is a good one to put away for a few years and it sits on the top end of your budget but if you like Rioja it’s a winner with some age .
https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/muga-reserva-rioja-2017

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TWS generally start listing/selling a wine pretty much as soon as it enters it’s drinking window. I say generally because sometimes they sell fine wines before they’re even in their window (ignoring EP) and sometimes they dig up fully mature wines requiring drinking fairly quickly, but most are just into their windows when listed.

If you like your wines fruity that’s probably the best time to drink many/most of the ‘modest’ priced wines. If, like me, you like them a bit more mature then, depending on how many bottles of that particular wine I have, I will usually wait until they are around the middle of the drinking window.

That strategy seems to work for me except when I realise I’ve bought far too many wines that have approximately the same window and then it becomes… more problematic! :crazy_face: :smiley:

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I store quite a few relatively cheap & cheerful bottles with the WS, off the standard list / EP, and it works for me; my motivation is as much to keep a guaranteed stock of my favourite wines, as many tend to suddenly disappear. But they’ll usually improve further too with a few years under their belt. The cost of storage is good, and is often no more than what the same wines would / have cost elsewhere [if elsewhere has them, that is].

My go-to usually-a-good-bet VfM wines for longer term storage, often here at home due to where I get them from, are Xinomavros from Greece, Aglianicos from S.Italy, and Semillons [multiple places]. You can pick up all of them at relatively low prices if you’ve got the time & inclination to search hard / wait for bargains [and for high prices too if you want of course!], and they each tend to age well IMO. Also Furmints from Hungary too, and of course Grüner Veltliners.

I’ve also got a fair few bottles from Domaine Maby, mentioned above, tucked away, as they tend to be great VfM wines and very lovely with it too, and can - I hope! - get even better with some age.

I’ve dabbled in a few wine auctions too in search of bargains, and they can certainly be had; there’s always the issue of provenance though, which can sometimes be a bit “muddy”! And it’s very usually - always I think probably - Caveat Emptor, so no get-outs if you land yourself with a bust flush!

I pick up a lot of ideas for my potential purchases from the Midweek / Weekend Drinking threads on here - there are many very knowledgeable drinkers on here, and plenty of reviews on modestly-priced but high-quality goodies. But beware this place - you can end up with a wish-list to last for eternity and then some :~}

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@DrDave

The Cazaux Sarrasine is an inexpensive candidate.
Also Ogier La Rosine.
And Fabien Roche do a Chardonnay, well worth looking at.
And the Bellene CdN V/V which is on the top end but with extended cellarage WILL put a big smile on your face.
Of late the Guigal CdR red 2016 has been fantastic, I still have around 50 halves in Reserves.
Also the Society White Burgundy 2017 in halves has been a revelation. :wink: :dragon:

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There’s quite a few Rhone and lesser clarets that will be fine, particularly from vintages like 2010, 2015 and possibly 2019.

@Taffy-on-Tour mentions the Clos des Cazaux and I would second that. I think that some of the wines from higher altitude in the Rhone will have the stuffing to be aged too. I’m also just starting to drink some 2010 clarets that didn’t cost a lot. I’m thinking Ch Beaumont, Belgrave and Charmail.

Don’t overlook some of the newer Greek wines, and some Italian. TWS Sicilian red benefits from some bottle age if you can hold it back, and I’m sure the wines a notch above it in price/quality will be even more amenable.

On whites, the Tahbilk Marsanne is well worth ageing as @Leah will testify, and it’s not that expensive. Not sure when it will be in stock again…

EDIT: to second the Domaine Maby Rhone wines mentioned above, including their Tavel rose, which will definitely benefit from a couple of years in bottle.

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Agree. My love-in with Domaine Maby this week can continue. The winery said this one would keep well for 10 years

https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/lirac-rouge-la-fermade-domaine-maby-2019

I also agree with @Leah on Muga and also Rioja wider. You can get some great Riojas from a variety of merchants and they will keep for a while or perhaps have been released after considerable storage by the winery already.

The other thing to consider is how are you storing/cellaring the wine? Need ideal conditions if you want to build a cellar at home or need to pay for storage elsewhere.

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Depends on variety, appellation and producer. And also depends on what you want to achieve from keeping wines so long. Whilst there’s generally a correlation between price and agebility, there is also an awful lot of overpricing (supply, demand, manipulation, hype, whatever) associated with ageworthy wines.

Just as a for example, Clos de Gamot in Cahors generic bottling will probably cellar for 20 -30 years. It’s about €10 direct or £15 internet. There are plenty of others that TWS stock too - most of Cauhapé’s sweet wines will see over 20 years (and at the higher end the Noblesse du temps comfortably 30+. ISTR TWS knocking it out for £24). I haven’t a great deal of knowledge of Loire sweet wines, but I’m certain they are similarly ageworthy.

And many wines from the SW, beyond really cheap plonk, will last for years, far longer than most either presume or give credit for (and of course TWS always understate drink dates).

And finally, any remotely-traditional Rioja is probably one of the best places to start building a cellar for the future from. TWS generally have, from time-to-time (and in no particular order) CVNE, Contino, La Rioja Alta, Muga, Lopez de Heredia. All represent incredible bang fro buck.

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A couple more suggestions to add to the above, which are all good -

  • any southern French mourvedre based wine, which of course includes Bandol (£££) and Languedoc/Roussillon (value)

  • any wines based on Touriga Nacional, esp Portuguese examples. They become more accessible surprisingly quickly. You could probably extend that to most Portugese reds, though my experience is more limited.

  • nearly all shiraz/cabernet sauvignon red blends improve from several years in bottle. They change from something that tastes like two wines in the same bottle to a unified whole. True for both old and new world versions.

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Where is this blend produced in the ‘old world’? I don’t think I’ve (knowingly) come across it and would be keen to try.

SW/Languedoc produces quite a few I think.

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It’s been a staple of SE France, though admittedly more popular (by repute) before phylloxera.

Here’s a Society example -

https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/coteaux-daix-en-provence-chateau-vignelaure-2014

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Domaine Richeaume is a favourite of mine which contains both. Their tradition bottling is 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Syrah, 12% Merlot, 15% Grenache and 13% Tempranillo. Columelle is 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 35% Syrah.

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Anyone tried the 2008 of this? There are - or were - some magnums of same in the Aladdin’s Cave room at the WS earlier this week; one of my nephews is 2008, and I’m wondering about a magnum for Xmas en famille. I find there’s something very communal & festive about a magnum, I must say.

Pass. But I imagine it would be a safe bet. The few Vignelaure’s I have tried have all been worthwhile (bearing in mind the price of course).

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Beaujolais cru. ALWAYS sold too early & too cheap - unless you like you BJL fruit forward which let’s face it is a very fine thing. Given another 5 to 7 years and it’s complex fine wine, if you have chosen well than a dozen years is incomparable.

Burgaud, Aviron, never fail. Just avoid anything claiming to be ‘Burgundian’ in style from Jadot etc.

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