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The holidays are around the corner. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or something else, there’s a good chance you’ll gift or serve a bottle or two. But what wines from which regions makes the best stocking stuffers?
Behold our handy holiday guide to wine investing. In it, we examine the three factors that separate gift-worthy wines from the lumps of coal. Let’s dive in.
1) It Should Be Age-Worthy
Wine investing is a long-term proposition. (Think years). That’s because investment-grade wine gets better with age. Wine has astringent compounds called tannins that are found in grape stems, skins, and leaves. Over time, wine tannins become mellower and smoother.
Here’s the catch. Not all wines age at the same rate. As a rule of thumb, red wines tend to age longer than white wines because they ferment on their grapes skins. This technique increases the number of tannins in red wine and its age-worthiness.
Red wine is a sound choice if you want a gift that keeps on giving. Top-shelf Burgundy and California Cabs can take 10, 20, or even 30+ years to reach maturity. Don’t sleep on white wine, though. The right bottle from Krug, Salon or Château d’Yquem will flirt with immortality.
2) It Should Be Scarce
The last thing you want is to give the same gift as everyone else. (One year, I received four pairs of boat shoes because of poor communication at Santa’s workshop. Never again!) The solution: seek out wine made in small batches.
Not only will your gift be rare, but it will be unique. After a winery harvests and vinifies the fruit, that’s it. That wine can never be reproduced. If Screaming Eagle releases 700 cases of its flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, that number will only drop as people drink (or accidentally break) the bottles over time.
Arguably no place in the world produces more rare and highly sought-after wines than Burgundy. The region has an idiosyncratic climate that can lead to small harvests. Second, French law requires an even distribution of inherited property and land. As a result, Burgundy is a patchwork of small wineries, with some growers having no more than a row of vines. It’s why collectors pay astronomical sums for names like Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Domaine Leroy, and Domaine Leflaive.
3) It Should Have Strong Historical Returns
Perhaps the most important factor when investing is the historical returns. According to Liv-ex, fine wine has delivered 10.6% annualized returns over the last 30 years. And if your wine fails to live up to expectations, you can always drink it. Sounds like a win-win.
Historically, Bordeaux has been widely considered the most investment-worthy wine region. That perspective has shifted recently as consumer tastes broaden. Over the last five years, Burgundy and Champagne have separated themselves from the pack.
- Burgundy: +115.1%
- Champagne: +109.7%
- California: +51.1%
- Italy: +47.8%
- The Rhône: 35.7%
- Rest of the World: +30.4%
- Bordeaux: +20.8%
These rankings will look similar whether you zoom in or out. Champagne and Burgundy are the top two performing regions over the last year. They’re also the top two performing regions over the previous 20 years. Talk about consistency.
5 Investment-Worthy Wines for the Holidays
If you want the ultimate combination of taste and performance, it’s hard to go wrong with Champagne and Burgundy. But what if you can only pick one? Have no fear. We selected five winning wines that your special someone is sure to love.
Domaine Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches Rouge, $123
Joseph Drouhin has earned a reputation for capturing the essence of the terroir and vintage. It’s a balanced cuvée with a swirling blend of red fruits, freshly cut flowers, orange zest, and loam. This red wine also has a proven track record of appreciation. As wine critic James Suckling wrote of the 2020 vintage, “This is exactly what Burgundy and Pinot Noir freaks around Planet Wine are looking for.”
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, $217
For the best that Taittinger has to offer, look no further than this blanc de blancs. The house Champagne is a vintage cuvée made of 100% Chardonnay. Three years ago, the 2008 vintage received a perfect score from James Suckling, who called it “the greatest Comte ever.” Now, that’s worthy of a little holiday cheer.
Dom Pérignon, $287
The Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon didn’t invent Champagne. That said, no one has done more to popularize the famous fizz. Today, Dom Pérignon can be found everywhere, from 50 Cent songs to the 2,500-year celebration of the Persian Empire. That’s not all. The 2006 vintage has appreciated 110% over the last five years, adding more sparkle to portfolios than tinsel ever could.
Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, $590
Brunello di Montalcino is exclusively produced in Montalcino, Tuscany. Few do it better than Biondi Santi. The seventh-generation estate only produces this red wine in the finest vintages and even snagged a perfect score from Wine Enthusiast in 2020. Any oenophile who finds this gem under the Christmas tree is sure to love it.
Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru, $4,344
Go big or go home. If that’s your attitude, save a spot on your shopping list for Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru. The legendary Burgundy producer is responsible for some of the priciest pinot noirs in the world, with wine critic Allen Meadows calling one vintage, “In a word, ‘wow’.” Of course, securing a case might be a miracle only surpassed by keeping the menorah lit for eight days.
The Bottom Line
Great wine is complex. Investing in it shouldn’t be. If you need a hand sourcing and storing investment-worthy wine, Vinovest can help. More than 150,000 registered users trust Vinovest to build their wine portfolio. Give the gift of fine wine or open an account by visiting Vinovest today.