How And Where To Sell Your Rare Vintage Wine
Wine has long been considered a fine drink for people from all walks of life from the common man to the noble classes. People have been consuming wine since ancient times and it has been an important part of many different cultures. It is no wonder that there are many connoisseurs of fine wines who love discovering and tasting new wines, and even collecting them in their own cellars. Allowing a fine wine to age properly in a cellar will improve its taste, quality, and value over time.
Many people start collecting wine because they are hobbyists or connoisseurs who love the idea of having a cellar stocked with the finest wines. Like with any collection, many wine collectors will eventually reach a point in which they wish to sell some or all of their wine collection, ideally for a profit. Collecting the right types of wines and allowing them to age properly in a cellar can greatly increase their value so that they earn a profit when sold. However, selling rare and vintage wines that you have collected over the years is not a simple process.
If you have decided to sell all or some of your wine collection, the following guide will help you determine the best time to sell your wine, the value of your wine, and the best buyer for your wine so you can get the most profit for your collection.
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Where Can I Buy Old Wine Ask Decanter
The hunt to buy old wine can be fascinating in itself, and the capacity for mature and rare vintages to surprise in the glass often impresses even the best reviewers.
The 1934 could have been a good 50 years younger, said Jane Anson, at a Lafite Rothschild anniversary tasting in 2018.
Okay, so you might not be uncorking a bottle of 80-year-old Lafite direct from the first growths cellars anytime soon.
But the extraordinary ability of fine wine to age means that you do have several options across different budgets.
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Whats So Special About Vintage Wine
Well-aged wines reveal layers of taste and vision that are not only delicious but fascinating, say Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, the wife-and-husband writing team who wrote about wine for the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade. Its similar to a person. The 16-year-old version and the 40-year-old version are the same person. The older one should display well-earned wisdom in its maturity while allowing you to sense extra soul that had been underneath the youthful vigor. Well-aged wines show you more of who they really are.
Okay, but theres also some science to this. As a beverage, wine is second only to coffee in terms of chemical intricacy. There are a lot of complex chemical changes that occur in a wine as it ages, involving phenols, alcohol, esters and other volatile compounds, says the wine writer and author Peter Liem, an expert who specializes in sherry and Champagne. In terms of what that means for us, this affects color, aroma, and flavor as the wine moves from fresh, primary fruit to a quieter and more secondary evolution that develops with age. It doesnt always mean that the wine is necessarily better, writes Liem, adding: Whether a wine is at its best when its young, old, or somewhere in between is often very much a matter of personal preference. But if you do appreciate the character and complexity of mature wine, the only way to achieve that is through time.
The vast majority of wines are meant to be drunk right away.
What Does Vintage Wine Taste Like
Theres no single answer to this, because the aging process does not override the bedrock characteristics of a wine rather, aging can make wine morph and change in interesting ways. Nor is aging a guaranteed way to improve any and every wine some wines actually lose their appeal with age.
But there are some commonalities among aged wines. Something you can generally count on is that as a wine gets older, the fruit flavors in the wine are going to drop, says Gibbs. The big fruit flavors you might notice right away in a young wine become secondary, tertiary, and other flavors will come forward, especially more earthy, savory flavors.
How this plays out in a specific bottle goes back to the endless variables and choices made by the winemaker. A bottle of white Burgundy from the Meursault , for example, will age differently than a California chardonnay, but both might lose a bit of their lemon chardonnay-like tartness across the decades, replaced by flavors of honey and yellow plum. A pinot noir from Oregon or New Zealand might start with young, brash notes of raspberry and cherry before decaying into something more like violets, cassis, and the water at the bottom of a flower vase.
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Taylor Fladgate Single Harvest 1961 Port
We always look forward to the annual release of 50 year old Taylor Fladgate Single Harvest Tawny Port, now they’ve added a 60 year old!
Producer Tasting Note
“Core of walnut brown surrounded by a broad rim of pale gold with olive highlights. Powerful nose of extraordinary complexity and opulence, revealing multiple nuances and dimensions of aroma.
“First to emerge is a mellow redolence of molasses, dried fig and sultana, mingling with nutty marzipan aromas. As the wine opens up, scents of cedarwood and dried tobacco leaf appear, together with subtle spicy notes of black pepper and cardamom and a fleeting fresh hint of citrus.
“All this is enveloped in an powerful aura of oaky vanilla aroma, the legacy of decades of ageing in cask. In the mouth the wine is dense, round and concentrated, with a thick velvety texture, quite rich and sweet on the mid palate but then lifted by a burst of fresh acidity on the finish, which is crammed with lingering flavours of butterscotch, almond, orange marmalade and dried fruit. A beautifully balanced wine, still clean and fresh in spite of its many years of maturing in wood.”
From the Producer
“Taylor Fladgate has very substantial stocks of aging tawny Ports that were put down by previous generations and are ready to be offered. The latest of these gems is the Single Harvest 1961. The 1961 has been quietly ageing in the Taylor Fladgate cellars and is now ready for anyone looking to celebrate 1961.
Taylor Fladgate Single Harvest 1970 Port
Taylor Fladgate holds one of the most extensive reserves of very old cask aged Port of any producer. They include a collection of rare Single Harvest Ports. These are Ports from a single year which age to full maturity in seasoned oak casks and display the year of harvest on the label. Taylor Fladgate has decided to make a limited release, each year, of a Single Harvest Port made 50 years previously. The seventh in the series is the 1970 Single Harvest.
Pale mahogany core surrounded by a broad pale gold rim with subtle olive highlights. On first impression, the wine is lifted and ethereal but soon begins to unfurl layer after layer of multi-dimensional aroma. First to emerge are notes of sawn wood and cigar leaf, against a background of cedar, balsam and citrus. These are followed by a warmer, mellow redolence of marzipan, walnut and coffee, notes of sultana and plum and spicy hints of black pepper and cardamom. Finally, the nose opens up a discreet savoury dimension, with hints of toast and wild herbs. On the palate, the wine has a smooth, velvety texture. Rich, dense and sumptuous, it coats the tongue with opulent mellow flavour, coffee and butterscotch with hints of walnut and candied orange peel, but with a remarkable freshness from the current of lively acidity which runs through the palate into the extraordinary long finish. A wonderfully elegant, finely constituted and beautifully matured port delivering a surge of rich flavour with every sip.
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A User’s Guide To Buying Fantastic Affordable Old Wines
For some people, being a wine-lover is all about bagging the big beastsPetrus, the worlds finest expression of Merlot Screaming Eagle, the cult Napa Cabernet to which Robert Parker gave the first vintage 99 points or, the rarest of all, anything made by Domaine de la Romanee Conti in Burgundy. Others take the opposite approach, seeking out the obscure that Vin Jaune from a producer that nobody has heard of. For me, however, the greatest thrill is serendipity. I had a remarkable case of this last month. My father had been to his local auction house, a place that specializes in house clearances, and he bought a lot of wine, unseen, for about $100. Among the filthy bottles of sweet sherry and Chilean merlot was a 1975 Rioja Reserva from Berberana. First signs looked good, the level was high, the cork came out cleanly and the wine… well, it was undoubtedly one of the finest riojas Ive ever had. The fruit was so pure and vibrant, bolstered by layers of tobacco and cedar with just a little tannin.
He opened a bottle of 1985 Château Dutruch Grand Poujeaux, which he sells for £55 . Its a good vintage but from an often neglected part of the Medoc, Moulis. There was a scent of tobacco and a good vein of ripeness running through the wine. Age means that you can see the soul of the wine, Compas told me, sounding extremely French.
Where To Find Them
Its never been easier to look up fine wine reviews, or compare prices, in the internet age.
However, if that dusty-looking bottle of Petrus 1959 for £25 looks too good to be true, thats because it is. Check the source of the wine carefully, and stick to reputable merchants, retailers and auction houses as far as possible.
Once youve checked for recent reviews of wines, or looked at vintage charts, tools like Wine-Searcher and Vivino can help with an initial look at prices and availability.
Check pricing directly with specific merchants and retailers, though, and make sure you know if the wine is available in bond or with duty and sales tax already included in the price tag.
There are also several fine wine trading exchanges that allow collectors to buy and sell wine, including Berry Bros BBX, BI Fine Wine Spirits LiveTrade and Wine Owners, among others. BBX, for example, allows you to buy wine from private collectors who are storing their bottles with Berry Bros.
Sign up to email alerts with the major merchants and auction houses, where you can often track specific wines or vintages.
If youve got a favourite winery, why not join its mailing list, too? Some also have membership schemes, and thats where youre most likely to find library vintage releases coming direct from the estate.
Sometimes, the old methods are also the best, so think about picking up the phone.
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Your Specialist In Old And Young Exclusive Wines
Belgium Wine Watchers is your ultimate wine specialist when it comes to fine wines. We always have over 1,500 different products in stock to suit everyone’s budget – Bordeaux wines – Burgundy wine – Rhone and many other fine wines.
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Paying The Price For Aged Wines
There is one final challenge in buying aged wines, and that is, of course, their price point. Once a region or producer gains a reputation for offering age-worthy wines, it typically adds a premium to bottle prices. Many of the regions listed above, particularly Barolo and Burgundy, are no longer an option for the majority of wine consumers because of huge price inflations in recent decades.
But both Tornabene and Torrence agree that unheralded regions and grapes are out there. Each points to regions like Corsica and Languedoc in southern France, and Valtellina, Alto Piemonte, Sicily, and Chianti in Italy as affordable alternatives.
Nobody really thinks you can age $20 Chianti but you can, Torrence says.
While its impossible to say exactly how much one can expect to pay for aged wines from these regions the many factors to consider span age to producer to bottle condition Tornabene says $25 to $30 is a realistic starting point. At Chapter 4, meanwhile, Torrence offers dozens of aged bottles in the $15 to $20 range.
Ultimately, just like cellaring bottles, buying aged wine is accompanied by inherent risks. If you dont want to get burned, only take a risk on something you can afford, Torrence says.
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Grapes And Regions To Look Out For
If a bottle ticks all the above boxes, theres a good chance the wine inside has been aged in optimal conditions. But this doesnt ensure the wine inside was capable of aging in the first place. Next up is assessing the wine itself.
Levels of acidity, sugar for white wines, and tannins for red wines are among the most important factors influencing whether a wine can age or not. Certain grape varieties are better suited to aging. For white wines, these include Riesling and Chardonnay and ageable reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.
The likeliness of improving with age further increases when the grapes are grown and vinified in the regions theyre traditionally associated with. That means Riesling from multiple German regions and Alsace, and Chardonnay from Burgundy and Napa. For reds, look for Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Bordeaux, Nebbiolo from Piedmont , Tempranillo from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, and Pinot Noir from Burgundy.
Even if a wine is made using these varieties and in these regions, theres still no guarantee it will be capable of aging. To provide further assurances, Torrence recommends targeting bottles from reputable producers. If theyre producing high-quality wines now, he says, theres a high chance they were also doing so 15 or 20 years ago.
Wine Access The Insiders Wine Store
Wine Access is a special kind of online wine store. They procure limited amounts of special and hard-to-find wines and sell them as a limited time offer or until they sell through their inventory.
Whats really different about Wine Access is that their team writes all of their own tasting notes. Thats because their team is led by a Master of Wine but includes several other top-ranking sommeliers and Master of Wine candidates.
This extra level of detail is super critical if youre looking at purchasing aged wine. Relying on the tasting notes provided by the winemaker at the time of release is a gamble, but relying on professional tasting notes written when youre going to buy and drink the wine is just plain smart.
Heres a great example of how tasting notes can change over time using the 2010 Larkmead Vineyards Solari Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa which you can purchase at Wine Access for $250.
2010 Larkmead Vineyards Solari Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
My favorite part of this comparison? The original drinking window according to the winemaker was 12-18 years, Antonio Galloni suggested 10-30 years, but Wine Accesss 10-year check-in pinpoints the range to 23 years.
Browse the Aged Wine selection at Wine Access:
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The Very Best Of Burgundy
Welcome to the Best Of Burgundy wine, the finest selection of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay across Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais. From the best cellars across North America, choose from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Armand Rousseau, Comte Liger-Belair, Coche-Dury, Bonneau du Martray and more great Burgundy wine!
How To Determine The Value Of Your Vintage Wine
Once you have decided which of your wine bottles you want to sell, you must then determine the value of each bottle. There are two types of values attributed to vintage wines, inherent value and real value. The inherent value of a bottle of wine is determined by how it was produced, where the grapes were grown, its classification, and the reputation and techniques of the maker. The real value is determined by its life after bottling, including how it has been stored and the number of different owners it has had. Wine bottles high in both inherent and real value bring the best prices.
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How To Buy Aged Wines
Aging wine, according to New York Times critic Eric Asimov, is an act of hope and optimism, laced with fear and dread. Even for those with the space and patience to lay down a few cases from their favorite Chianti or Bordeaux producer, theres no guarantee the wine will evolve elegantly over time.
For most American wine drinkers, however, this is a worry far removed from the realities of modern-day wine consumption. The typical drinker does not have access to spacious wine cellars, and unlike many European nations, cellaring wine at home is simply not built into our drinking culture.
However, this does not mean that we cant enjoy aged wines on a regular basis. In fact, the most convenient, reliable, and often cheapest option for enjoying aged wines is to buy bottles that have already been cellared by retailers and private collectors.