How to Start a Wine Collection…and Still Have Money for Glasses

You don’t have to win the lottery, travel the wine regions of the world—although, wouldn’t that be fantastic?—or be a wine snob to create a diverse and delicious wine collection. Assembling an affordable selection of wines to enjoy now or in the future. You just need to explore some emerging regions or choose alternative wines from already established areas known for producing age-worthy wines.

Find “New” Old World Wines

We refer to wines from Europe as “Old World,” while wines from every other region, including the United States, are called “New World.” The Old World is the birthplace of wine and where wines are produced according to strict regulations stemming from thousands of years of tradition. When starting a collection, try searching for wines from lesser-known appellations within, or still attached to, regions with quality wine-making legacies. Wines such as Entre-Deux-Mers (between “Left Bank” and “Right Bank” Bordeaux), Bouzeron (just South of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or), or Gattinara (from Italy’s Piedmont). These wines won’t be as extravagantly-priced but will still have similar quality, style, and potential for aging as its more famous compatriots.

Find “Newer” New World Wines

New World wines also offer start-up aficionados wonderful opportunities to build a collection. With less restrictions on wine production, New World winemakers can be more innovative and experimental, allowing for more diversity in styles and varietals used. Seek out wines from “emerging” regions of the New World, but avoid brand- name pricing or pedestrian mass-produced wines. Cabernets from Washington State, Zinfandels from Napa, or Chenin Blanc (nicknamed, “Steen”) from Stellenbosch, South Africa will add quality and complexity to your collection without the cult-winemaker price tag.

Forget “New” Trends

Wine, like most things, can be trendy. And trends come and go. While White Zinfandel may never regain its popularity, most wines have a cyclical resurgence and deserve revisiting every few years. Moreover, it’s during down years that most wines seem to improve as producers focus on addressing quality issues. New collectors should focus on Chiantis from Tuscany, Merlot from California, and Riesling from Germany. Some wines never lost their quality, but for some reason or another acquired a misconstrued reputation. Unfortunately, dry sherries from Spain, fell into that category, and because of their versality, structure, and age-ability should be a key component of new wine collection.

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