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$5,000 Wine Budget ...How would YOU spend ?

If you had $5,000 to spend on wine, what would you buy. A single trophy wine ? 500 three liter boxes of Peter Vella ?

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  1. Probably exactly how I spend now . . . although that's actually changed a bit of late.

    Typically I have always bought 3-4 bottles each of the expensive stuff -- by which, for me, I mean wines in the $30-50 price tag (excluding Champagne and Porto) -- for my cellar, and between 4-6 bottles each of wines in the $10-30, as they are typically fall into both the everyday drinking *and* cellar categories. Lately I've found some real steals in the under $10 range, and so have purchased full cases (or two or three).

    Knowing what it costs to produce, I have a really hard time spending $50-60 for table wine. But that's me. YMMV . . .

    2 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      So what are the "steals" you have found. I love a bargain.

      I would probably buy one very expensive bottle (for me), maybe $500 or so just to see if there is a diffrence. A couple of bottles of good Champagne. Then the rest in wine that is above my normal price range, and worthy of keeping for a few years. That way I could open a special bottle when I had a whim.

      1. re: WyCo

        Why would you spend "$500 or so just to see if there is a diffrence"?

        Of course there would be, and the odds are you would be saying, "I spent $500 for *this*?!?!? What a waste!" It would be a waste, too, because at that price, you're paying for either a) the name, b) the hype, or c) the age of the bottle. And at that price, the name is rarely worth it; the hype is usually excessive; and unless you enjoy older wines, you may be left scratching your head and questioning your taste buds . . . .

        With "a" and "b," you can experience much the same (or better) wine for $100 or so, and spend the other $400 on more Champagne.

        As far as "c" is concerned, older wines are often someting of an acquired taste, as the lush, vibrant fruit of, say, a young Napa Cabernet is replaced by secondary and tertiary flavors, qualities and characteristics that can only develop with time. Many people -- warning, broad generalization ahead! -- who prefer the lush, ripe fruit of today's "modern" wines do not necessarily enjoy mature wines from the "traditional" school.

        All this is, of course, merely my opinion. YMMV , , , ,

        * * * * *

        As far as the bargains I've purchased lately, one of the wines I've purchased by the case is described at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367585 -- the wine generally sells for around $20; I paid $8 for this last month.

        Another is described at http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/s... -- Kermit Lynch is offerring the 2005 vintage for around $20 (+/- $2). I picked this vintage up a couple of months ago for $7.

    2. What do YOU like?
      (I love to answer questions with questions.)

      1. For a $5,000 wine selection you should definitely spend a bit of that on optimizing your storage area... doesn't have to be fancy, but just creating a decent space wrt temperature, humidity, ventilation/ air quality, and light....

        But after that, figure you have $4,000 to spend on 25 varietals, that's an average of $160 per varietal... You'll spend a bit more on some varietals, a bit less on others, but you will have an EXTREMELY well-stocked cellar with something for almost any occasion imagineable.

        What you buy will be influenced by: 1) What you want to do with the wine 2) If this is going to be your only purchase or if you intend to add to it regularly, and if so how much 3) What period of time you want this purchase to "last" for.

        1. My wine cellar (erm, pile o' wine in the closet) only holds 24 bottles, and it's currently got only one open slot. Sadly, there's just no more room in my one bedroom apartment. So, I'd blow it all on 10 spectacular grand cru burgundies and invite some friends and family over. I've never had Romanee-Conti, but I'm pretty sure I'd like it!

          zin1953, I'm so very jealous of your ability to store entire cases of wine at a time...

          6 Replies
          1. re: oolah

            I started out "building" my cellar -- something I *never* did intentionally -- by purchasing 4-6 bottles of wine I liked. Drinking one or two, saving the other 3-4; buying 4-6 of something else; etc., etc., etc. For a long time, I stored wines in an interior closet (be it bedroom, hallway, whatever -- *interior* is the key) of my apartment until I had too much to fit, and started off-site storage. When I lived in LA, it was a temperature-controlled locker at the wine shop in which I worked. But since 1976, when I moved to Northern California, it's been passive, underground storage . . .

            It doesn't take much -- just buy a couple of extra bottles at a time and sock 'em away . . . ;^)

            1. re: zin1953

              That's what I'm afraid of! There was definitely a time when a bottle purchased at the store was consumed that same evening, but as I learn and enjoy wine more, I find that I acquire more of it. One day I realized I had the beginnings of a cellar, completely accidentally. I try to limit my purchases at this point, but there are just so many wonderful things to drink that I can totally see myself with a bathtub full of burgundy within a few years.

              Did that happen to others here? Or did you purposefully build your cellars?

                1. re: zin1953

                  Just afraid that my appetite for wine exceeds my paltry square footage!

                  1. re: oolah

                    It's a great reason to get a bigger house! ;^)

                2. re: oolah

                  Started with a few mixed cases of 1-2 bottles of many wines, that I wanted to store well, though was not then buying for long term. Soon, I realized that I had purchased some really good wines, and wished that I had acquired 6 of many, and not 1-2. Started doing half and full-cases of ones that really impressed me. Added some, that should benefit from aging. Bought more shelving. Added a room to the basement with insulation, though passive, it was in Colorado and against the N & E walls. Moved it to storage in AZ. Built an active cellar. Placed my wine in it, and began filling it. Started buying full-cases in many instances. Started picking up older reds and some older whites. Unfortunately, my purchases have exceeded my consumption, so I have had to slow down a bit. Also, as I have aged, I have re-evaluated my purchase of current releases of 1er Cru Bdx, and Vintage Port, as I am likely not to live long enough to do them justice and do not plan on leaving any wine for my legacy, except for one bottle, so my wife, and rowdy friends, can toast my demise. Maybe I'll make that a magnum!


            2. Further to the point that the first question should be: What do you want to do with the wine?? And further to that, what kind of cuisine(s) are your favorites ??

              It doesn't make much sense for someone who's favorite cuisine is Prime Rib to stock up on Chenin Blanc...

              Doesn't make much sense for someone who loves seafood to stock up on alot of Cabernet...

              Doesn't make much sense for someone who loves spicy Thai food to stock up on alot of Pinot Noir...

              Example: Which of the following is a better experience:

              1) A $500 bottle of Chateau Petrus and Thai Basil Chicken


              2) An $8.00 California Riesling and Thai Basil Chicken...

              Ask yourself first what the PURPOSE of the wine is, specifically what kind of cuisine you want to serve it with, and that will direct you as to how you can best spend your $5,000 wine budget.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chicago Mike

                Chicago Mike,

                If you are picking up the tab, I'll go with the Petrus and take the Thai Basil Chicken home for pairing with my "house" Conundrum... Hey, at least we'll both enjoy the Petrus! (Grin)


                My joke aside, a good analogy.

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  Hmmm... for me, I have the $5000 for the wine, not the food. I'd buy wines that sound intriguing and eat whatever food pairs well with it. (Assuming I'm not allergic to it and it's not gross!)

                  I'm pragmatic, but $5000... I'd one obscenely expensive something or other (asking for guidance, since I'm a pleb); wine storage; and then a wild assortment of 1 or 2 bottles of all sorts of varietals, producers, and vintages.

                2. Here is my $5,000:

                  2 Cases John Anthony Cabernet: $1,200 ($3,800 left)
                  2 Cases Owen Roe Dubrul Cabernet: $1,500 ($2,300 left)
                  1 Case St. Hof Spatlese Riesling : $250 ($2,050 left)
                  1 Case Domaine Ostertag Rielsing: $400
                  1 Case Segehesio Sonoma Zin : $200 ($1,850 left)
                  1 Case Keenan Cab Franc : $600 ($1,250 left)
                  1 Case Gevrey Chambertin, 1er Cru, "Clos Prieur": $1,250 (all gone)

                  Fortunately when we bought our home 5 years ago, the former owners had installed a temp controlled wine cellar which we can only dream about filling. Unfortunately, they took the wine with them !

                  Cheers !

                  1. If I had an extra $5000 a year to spend on wine, I'd get a few cases of top-quality Rhones for cellaring (which I gave up a few years back when they went over $25 a bottle), and a few more cases of good Champagne.

                    1. If I had an extra $5000, I'd probably stock up on some Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Barolo from good producers for my cellar. I'd definitely buy things that I didn't want to touch for at least 10 years. I'd also buy a few cases of Rieslings and maybe some Champagne.

                      1. Since my wine cellar is filled to almost overflowing, the question might be a tad rhetorical, but, for the sake of an answer:

                        10% on older Bdx./Cal-Cabs/GR Rieslings
                        10% on younger Cal-Cabs/GR Rieslings
                        20% on big Zins (Turley, Biale, etc.)
                        10% on other Zins
                        20% on older Vintage Ports/Madeiras/ Sauternes
                        20% on wines that I have never tried
                        10% on Northern Rhônes


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I was going to say I'd buy a case of DRC, but $5000 wouldn't come close to covering that.

                          1. re: dinwiddie

                            Yes, that is the shame of it all. One would think that US$5K would do a lot, until they get to the DRC's. Oh well, maybe one could take the $, get a ticket to Hong Kong and visit a friend, who owns a cellar of DRCs! Anyway, we can always dream, eh? Besides, I do not recall anyone offering to hand over the $5K, to see how I'd spend it. If so, we'll do a major CH event - PARTY!


                        2. I assume that you're a wine newbie buying for consumption and not for investment, and you're not spending the entire $5000 at once. That being the case, your best bet is to ignore what anyone else tells you and trust your own palate and experiment with different varietals from different wineries from different regions because only you know what you like.

                          As reference, use tasting notes and scores from recognized professionals such as Robert Parker or the Wine Spectator reviewers and try to calibrate your palate against these professionals. This will narrow down your sample size for experimentation. Then buy a few of those that you like and for those really special ones, continue to buy subsequent vintages so you have a 'vertical'.

                          HOWEVER, if you were just asking hypothetically on what others would buy if they all of a sudden had $5000 to spend, I would spend it all on selected 2005 bordeaux futures.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: syoung

                            Since the OP asked about "How would YOU spend it?" I assumed that he/she wanted to know how others would divide up the $ for wine. Maybe I missed something in translation.

                            If one asked me what THEY should do with the $, I'd give the same answer as you, though maybe with a few recs. after I got more info on THEIR palates.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Right on Hunt. Not looking for advice, just thought it would be interesting to see how other CH'ers would respond.

                          2. Me, I'd fly to Spain and spend a week tasting the best Spanish rose. Then I'd buy as much as I could with the remainder of my $5,000. I'd probably die fairly quickly of liver failure, because I travel quite cheaply, and rose doesn't last that long. So I'd have to drink about $3,500 of Spanish rose in a year or two.

                            Perhaps it's best that I don't have $5,000 to spend on wine! But I do wish that I could find some really great Spanish rose in the Twin Cities.