Reviews & Articles
Build a great wine collection for £500, Vicky Williams29-Jan-2008
Be suave on a budget
Let's be honest, we'd all love to be wine connoisseurs. We'd love to be able to whip out a cheeky Bordeaux at dinner and wow our guests with tales of how the subtle hint of gooseberry is due to quicklime mixing with snail tears in the local soil.
The truth is, though, most of us have a vague idea of what grapes we like and then reckon as long as we spend a few quid on it, it'll be okay. That or it's got a nice label.
In an effort to give you a head-start in the world of wine appreciation and collection, we spoke to Vicky Williams from wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd to ask her how we could get a good collection together for £500.
"First up, if you're looking to buy wine as an investment, you need to spend upwards of £5,000. However, if you just want a good selection that you can drink with guests, and maybe age, then you can do pretty well with £500."
"If you are looking to start a wine collection, it's good to have a selection. By not confining your choices to red or white, or to a particular region, you will have a diverse collection that will mean there is always something to drink for any occasion.
"It's also important to buy what you like, rather than what is fashionable. If you have a penchant for rosé, then there is a wide range to choose from. Similarly, though New Zealand has a number of trendy wines, if your tastes lean more towards the traditional Europe vineyards then indulge them. There is no point having a wine collection just for show."
"It is not always true that you get what you pay for, but to some extent you will receive a better quality wine by paying more for it. A balance of moderately-priced wines and more expensive ones mean your wine collection can be enjoyed with friends at dinner and for special occasions."
"Some wines benefit from ageing and will improve in taste (and sometimes increase in value). Your best bet for this is to stick to the classic regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone."
"As far as grapes go, for a well-rounded selection, include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. As well as the classic regions don't forget the best of Italy, Germany and California or regions like Argentina."
"Once you have purchased your wine collection, store it by keeping bottles lying down on their side, at a steady temperature between 8 - 13°, in the dark and away from vibrations. Alternatively, you can store your wine in the ideal conditions, with Berry Bros. & Rudd providing storage in temperature-controlled cellars for £9 per case per annum."
"Then, if you develop a taste for wine-collecting, you might want to get a little more serious and look to invest in fine wines. For those who want to create a wine collection for future drinking or sale, a cellar plan is ideal. From £100 per month, you can develop your collection in the Berrys' cellars and see young wines improve in taste and value over time."
Vicky has suggested an excellent 'all-round' collection that will set you back about £500. All of the wines are available from www.bbr.com.
Berrys' own Good Ordinary Claret - 6 bottles @ £7.20 per bottle
2000 Vina Alberdi, Reserva La Rioja Alta - 3 @ £11.95 per bottle
2004 Ch. de Fonbel, St. Emilion - 6 @ £14.95 per bottle
2005 Bourgogne Rouge, Fichet - 6 @ £12.95 per bottle
2005 Macon La Roche Vineuse, Olivier Merlin - 6 @ £13.95 per bottle
New World White
2006 Pulenta Estate, Chardonnay, Argentina - 6 @ £7.95 per bottle
New World Red
Hewitson Old Garden Mourvedre, Australia - 6 @ £18.50 per bottle
Berrys' Chilean Merlot - 2 @ £6.45 per bottle