Beginning the Perfect Wine Cellar, Price is No Object

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If a friend asked you to fill his or her new wine cellar, which will begin with only 36 bottles, no price restrictions, what would you recommend?

Honestly, I’d go back to the 80-20 sales rules: 20 percent would be high end collectibles, and 80 percent would be more moderately priced wines. I wouldn’t fill a cellar with everyday wines… That’s what my refrigerator and quick wine rack is for.

Here are are my top collectibles (eight of them will represent the 20 percent rule of scarcity and high price):

  1. I once read that a 1945 Chateau Margaux was “the” perfect wine, so I’d start there. I looked up what it would cost, and the price today is about $3,745.  I think I’m off to a good start, and still have 35 bottles to go.
  2. Next I’d move into Burgundy… It would be a 2005 Leroy (Domaine) – Chambertin France – Burgundy – Cote de Nuits – Gevrey Chambertin Pinot Noir,  Grand Cru ~ $1,595.00
  3. 1990 Petrus France – Bordeaux – Pomerol ~ $3,600.00 (Good Merlot… Everybody’s got to have at least one.)
  4. 2005 Ermitage l’Ermite Rouge. This one’s considered a 100 year wine, and is from the very dome of the granite hill of Ermitage. Sounds yummy! This one’s more affordable, as it’s much younger than the other two at $304.72.
  5. How about a little Champagne? 2000 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé $505.00. (They’ll save this one for the birth of a baby)
  6. Off to Italy… 2003 Sandrone, Luciano – Barolo Cannubi Boschis, Piedmont – Barolo Nebbiol. A mere $559.00
  7. Help me with these next two… Napa Valleyish, so it’s not so Euro centric?)
  8. How about something from the new world that will blow your socks off besides the USA?

Now, off to the moderately priced wines; although some of them still hit the pocketbook a bit hard. I’m reluctant to fill the next 28 bottles with lots of whites, because they’re so easy to pick up for a quick, refreshing wine, but none-the-less, we still have to have something in that wine cellar that’s white and worthy, so here we go. Some of them will have two bottles, because they’re somewhat more affordable, although I’ve got a few higher end and they’ll be just one bottle, I’m indicating accordingly:

  1. Two (2) ~ 2007 Cakebread – Sauvignon Blanc, Valley ~ $25.00/each
  2. Two (2) ~ 2006 Meuliere – Chablis Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Fleur de Chen, France – Burgundy – Chablis~ $25.00/each
  3. Two (2) ~ 2007 Wegeler – Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Germany – Mosel Saar Ruwer~ $22.00/each
  4. One (1) ~ 2005 Cuilleron, Yves – Condrieu Les Chaillets Vieilles Vignes, France – Northern Rhone – Condrieu ~ $45.00
  5. Two (2) ~ 2006 Fortia – Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Baron, France – Southern Rhone ~ $21.00/each
  6. Two (2) ~ 2005 Herdade do Esporao – Red Reserva, Portugal ~ $25.00/each
  7. Two (2) ~ 2004 David Bruce Pinot Noir – Santa Cruz Mountains Estate ~ $75.00/each
  8. Two (2) ~ 2005 Groth – Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – Oakville USA ~ $52.00/each
  9. One  (1) ~ 1998 Beaucastel – Chateauneuf du Pape, France – Southern Rhone ~ $109.00
  10. One (1) ~ 2006 Craig, Robert – Zinfandel Howell Mountain USA – California – Napa – USA ~ $50
  11. One (1) ~ 2006 Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Syrah, USA ~ $36.00
  12. 10 to go… I’ll give you credit on this list as it grows. If you don’t jump in, I’ll finish by Thursday morning.

I’ve already spent $11,038.72, BTW. Let’s see what you can bring to the plate. I’m already wishing this were my own cellar!

Please help finalize this list.


Okay, no takers on this one, so I finalized myself, because I can’t leave the friend hanging. This list evolved into only one bottle of each wine… A walk in this cellar would be a total trip:

1. 1988 Krug Champagne from Reims
2. 1985 Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” rosé from Reims
3. 1995 Duval-Leroy ‘Cuvée Femme’
4. 2000 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé
5. 2007 Cakebread – Sauvignon Blanc, Napa
6. 1999 Francois Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur
7. 2006 Meuliere – Chablis Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Fleur de Chen
8. 1966 Domaine Leroy Meursault “Poruzots” from Burgundy
9. 1993 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Spätlese
10. 1996 Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune Riesling from Alsace
11. 2006 Zind Humbrecht Riesling Alsace
12. 2005 Leroy (Domaine) Grand Cru
13. 2005 Ermitage l’Ermite Rouge.
14. 2003 Sandrone, Luciano
15. 2005 Cuilleron, Yves – Condrieu Les Chaillets Vieilles Vignes, France
16. 1995 Mommessin “Clos de Tart” Monopole Grand Cru, Morey Saint-Denis
17. 2004 David Bruce Pinot Noir Estate
18. 1999 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru
19. 1990 Domaine de la Romanée Conti “La Tâche” Grand Cru
20. 1994 Muga “Prado Enea” Gran Reserva from Rioja
21. 2000 Thierry Allemand Cornas “Chaillot”
22. 1998 Beaucastel – Chateauneuf du Pape
23. 2006 Fortia – Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Baron
24. 2005 Herdade do Esporao – Red Reserva, Portugal
25. 1989 Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva “Gran Bussia” from Piedmont
26. 1990 Giacomo Conterno “Monfortino” Riserva Barolo
27. 2004 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino
28. 2006 Katogi Averoff Traminer
29. 2006 Robert Craig – Zinfandel, Howell Mountain
30. 2003 EE Black Pepper Shiraz, Barossa Valley
31. 2006 Stags’ Leap Petite Syrah, Napa Valley
32. 2005 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
33. 1990 Petrus
34. 1945 Chateau Margaux
35. 2005 Chateau La Tour Blanche Sauternes
36. 2003 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port

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5 Responses to “Beginning the Perfect Wine Cellar, Price is No Object”

  1. I must say you’ve picked a number of excellent wines and it’s a nicely rounded out lot of 36. It’s an interesting question. Was this an excerise or is your friend actually looking to buy the list you’re suggesting? It appears as if you’ve not taken the “price is not a factor” literally. For example, why not a nice vintage of Yquem rather than the La Tour Blanche? In any case, in a cellar of great wines I’ll bring a nice 6 pack to the table for consideration. I will show restraint here and not pick crazy priced wines like 1921 Petrus or great DRC’s… just a few favorites that are still within reach for well healed collectors, but are fabulous…

    > 1990 Chave “Cuvee Cathelin” Hermitage
    > 1989 Haut Brion
    > 1985 Henri Jayer Richebourg
    > 2003 Chateau Lafite
    > 1990 Guigal “La Mouline” Cote Rotie
    > 1988 Guigal “La Landonne” Cote Rotie

  2. Jo says:


    Thanks for broadening my, and anyone else reading this story’s, horizons.

    This was an exercise, because I’ve been pre-qualified for the Third Annual International Women Wine Awards. One of the questions was to come up with a list of 36 wines to fill the cellar. (It was a great research project.)

    The announcements with awards will be given to those who win in Paris… Wouldn’t that be lovely!

    It looks like you’ve got a great business advising people about wine, so anyone out there trying to find some of these great wines, Steven’s a resource at http://www.wineag.com!

  3. Mike Duffy says:

    Fun exercise, Jo. Thanks for a great post, and best of luck with the award!


  4. Jo says:

    Thanks, Mike.

    We’ll see where that one goes; hopefully to Paris (just for the fun of it)!


  5. It is important to make sure that wine is stored correctly and you are on the right track here. I have been adding to my wine collection and needed to expand my storage space. Ideally I would love to have a proper wine cellar and will be looking into that later. I found this great company that can customize storage spaces to meet your every need. My living room gets quite a lot of sun so even though storing wine here may look good, it is not the greatest for keeping wine. Closet & Storage Concepts developed a great solution to store my ever expanding wine collection in the pantry. They completely transformed the limited space in my pantry to store all the food stuffs and also the wine. They had many great ideas that you will be able to take advantage of to meet all you storage needs. I recommend you visit their website, at http://www.closetandstorageconcepts.com

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