BOTTLE SHOTS: Four prime wines to add to your cellar right now

Last week, I talked about the reasoning behind collecting wines, and this week, I’m getting into the details of exactly what you should put in your cellar. My go-to buying rule is that I always buy wines in groups of four for two reasons. First, having four bottles allows me to drink one bottle early while still having three in the cellar (and I’ll stagger how quickly I drink the next three based on how the first one tastes). Also, almost every wine shop in America will give you some kind of discount for buying 9L (12 standard 750mL bottles) at once. Yes, I could also buy three bottles of four different wines, but that just doesn’t seem as fun to me.

Now, I will always be the first to tell you that the wines you should buy are the wines you like to drink, but here are four wines that I would be looking for right now to add to my cellar.

Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs ($48)

I’m already an admitted zinfandel queen, but this zin-based blend from Ridge, California’s be-all and end-all producer of the grape, is the wine that will win you over if you’re still on the fence about it. Year after year, this wine balances rich and dark fruit with a savoriness that only gets better with age. A few bottles of the 1996 vintage are among the most precious wines in my cellar.

Vietti Barolo Castiglione ($50)

Last week, I mentioned that Italy’s nebbiolo was one of my favorite grapes to collect, and this is a perfect introduction to everything that makes it so special. With its pinot-like light body and cabernet-like bitterness, nebbiolo embodies the “float like a butterfly, sting like bee” mentality in the wine world. And best of all? It’s incredibly long-lived. The 2015 and 2016 vintages of this wine are readily available and will live well into the 2030s.

Chateau Belles-Graves Lalande de Pomerol ($38)

What would a wine collection be without Bordeaux? Sure, you can drop a few mortgage payments on some of the region’s best bottles, but this is a budget-friendly option that proves why cabernet sauvignon and merlot truly are the Han Solo and Chewbacca of the wine world. The 2015 vintage is in stores now and should be starting to peak around its tenth birthday.

Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut Rosé ($120)

If there’s one thing you should take away from this or any of my other columns, it’s that you’re not drinking enough Champagne, and you’re certainly not collecting enough of it. Vintage bottling like this can go the distance, and this one is a particular favorite. Look for the 2008 and 2012 vintage in stores now.

Tag me in the photos of your collection on Instagram at @sethebarlow and feel free to email your wine questions and conundrums to [email protected].

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