Wine for Laying Down

Grapeguru sometimes buys wine in bond and keeps it in his cellar until ready to drink. That’s a good way of getting better wines at good prices. But you do need a proper cellar – cool, dark, even a bit damp – otherwise don’t try.

You also need a good source. It isn’t inevitable that wine will be at its cheapest en primeur, some vintages and individual wines are initially overpriced and you will be able to buy them cheaper, later. Since most of us can’t buy in Bordeaux or Beaune, we have to rely on our wine merchant having both the judgement to choose a good wine and the integrity to turn down wines that are overpriced. Fortunately we are well served in the UK with independent wine dealers. I buy en primeur mostly from The Wine Society but Tanners, Lay & Wheeler, Berry Bros & Rudd, and several others do a very good job, though some assume very well-heeled customers.

Steadily buying a few cases in good vintages allows you to build up a cellar of really interesting wines for special occasions.  Today you will have to spend at least £10 a bottle for wine that is worth laying down for more than a few years, but there is a lot of really good wine in the £10 to £20 region – you don’t have to buy Grand Crus at eye-watering prices. There are even some Bordeaux and Rhone reds from around £8 that are worth cellaring for three to five years.

Buying wine as an investment just wouldn’t occur; it’s for drinking not selling on.


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