When buying wine, the following are the 5 rules that I try to follow as much as possible:
- Wine varietal is particular to the region.
- Vineyards are worked by the wine-maker (either by owning or long term leasing)
- Vineyards are sustained by organic or a bio-dynamic practices
- Single varietal, single vineyard where feasible unless blending is the historical method (ex: Barolo or Cote Rotie)
- Wines follow the principal of balance
The goal with my cellar has been to collect wines from winemakers who work the land; make wine that represents a certain styles that espouses their concept of wine and something that speaks to the area that they produce wine from.
The above is easy in the old world but due to the prices in the USA; the choices are very limited. My USA strategy has been to stick to winemakers who make an effort to grow or influence vineyard work and do remain true to the region they grow in. I do try to taste every wine I buy & I do decide based on the entry level cuvee that he/she makes. I will not hide the fact that wine currently is an investment vehicle for me but I hope I will atleast drink through half of my cellar over my lifetime.
My current grape varietals of collection are: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Syrah. One other rule I follow is for every variety, I try to collect both the grape’s native home & a US representation. As much as the purists can say wine cannot be grown on volcanic soils (which basically wipes out California); I believe in the phenomenal work that is being done in my state. Plus they are more easier to procure & visit.