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Feb 9, 2012 08:58 PM

Birth Year Wines

My daughter was born in 2009 and I'm looking to lay down a few bottles of wine for her 21st birthday (March 2030). Looking for recommendations not costing more than $100/btl.. I'm thinking a Bordeaux, a German Riesling, a Nebbiolo from Piedmont and/or a vintage port. Any thoughts?

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  1. Do you have good storing conditions ?

    You could go for a wine that will last forever like a Vin Jaune;
    or go sweet-ish like a Coteaux du Layon or a Sauternes.


    1. I am no expert in aging wine 20 years, and you may already be. But some experiences I've had even aging bottles 5 years that I can share:

      1. I'd get more than one bottle if possible. There are possibilities of cork taint or other issues with any one bottle. It would be sad to lie all ones hopes on that one bottle.
      2. I'd talk to someone who would be familiar with the particular vintage for the particular producer before selecting. Both factors can really affect how they age.

      You may want to look into champagne ( a fun way to celebrate)! Or other bubbles. Though that may blow the budget.

      1. I was just in Burgundy in December, and the winemakers there are singing the praises of their 2009's for aging. Even the village wines from Gevrey Chambertin and Vosne Romanee should go the distance for you, but for $100 a bottle, I'm thinking you will manage some Premier Crus.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          I'd just add to this that with a vintage like 2009 in Burgundy, it's VERY important to taste before laying the wines down for 20 years. I was there right before you were and most of the winemakers we visited opened a range of 2009s after showing their 2010s. Some will definitely be classic wines to put away, but many (even from top producers) were overripe and may fall apart in the way so many 1990s did.

          1. re: craig_g

            +1. Agreed. Aging wine is more of an art than a science and is somewhat analogous to trying to predict the weather. If you have the resources to research and taste, and you have experts to help you, than something like Burgandies, Bordeauxs, Champagnes will work.

            If you are going to have to walk into a wine store and blindly pick, unless it's a wine store that gets such requests a lot, - I would stick with something with a higher alcohol content like port.

          2. re: ChefJune

            Totally agree on this. I stayed a week in Pernand-Vergelesses and got to sample quite a few of the local wares. There's a chap there named Vincent Rapet at Domaine Rapet who is selling a genuinely excellent 2009 Corton-Pougets Grand Cru for around $50 (maybe around $60 landed cost if you import directly, I'm not sure if he has a distributor in the US). I know Corton reds often get a bad rap for not being true grands crus but this is an enchanting wine. He told us not to open it for another 10 years! I just tasted his 1976 Corton and it is drinking beautifully at the moment.

            Another alternative would be a Selection de Grains Nobles from Alsace, which seem to go on forever. Hugel regards 2009 as an excellent vintage for their late-harvest wines.

          3. We did this when we visited Napa Valley several years ago. My daughter was born in 2002, so we bought a couple of cabs from that year to serve on her 21st or graduation from college. We bought directly from the wineries and they recommended large bottles would age better. We bought double magnums. One winery (ZD) had a service where they sent the bottle out and had it engraved with her name and birthdate. They shipped it back to us and it is really beautiful.

            It's a lovely idea - good luck.

            1. You want to invest a few hundred dollars on a heat- and light-sensitive perishable, with the intention of drinking it two decades after it was bottled.

              The algorithm has a pivotal branch point:

              1. You do not have climate controlled storage: This is simple. The year was declared a vintage year by most port houses. Buy several bottles and lay them down the coolest, darkest place in your house, e.g. basement, crawl space, or interior closet. Port is the most durable and forgiving wine when it comes to storage. Sure, you could lay down claret, but what if you ended up with nothing but brown swill on that magic birthday in 2020?

              2. You have climate controlled storage: So many choices! Large format ages better than 750 mL bottles. Do not buy 1/2 bottles (375 mL); they will age faster (though exception could be made for Sauternes and TBA/ausleses). Then buy one from each of the above you listed. And then we can give specific label suggestions.