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With direct access to legendary wineries, My French Cellar finds the finest wines at the very best price. The list below shows few examples from our lists of hundreds rare wines and vintage.
1. Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes - This sweet golden nectar is made in almost every vintage. It tops the list because it is an amazing wine. It is rare, but available.
2. Chateau Lafite Rothschild – A First growth Bordeaux may be the most respected red wine in the world. It has been at the top of the charts hundreds of years. An amazing wine, the winery keeps improving.
3. Domaine Romanée Conti – The pinnacle of red wine from Burgundy. More than Pinot Noir, it is a wine that stands on its own as a great wine. At loftier pricing than I can contemplate, if you ever get a chance, don’t pass it up.
4. Chateau Latour – Another first growth from Bordeaux. A Cabernet Sauvignon based wine. In good vintages it will last decades; most people consume these too young. Find the patience or find an older vintage. These are the wines that made the reputation of Bordeaux.
5. Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs – Everyone has their favorite Champagne and this is mine. Not cheap, but a thrilling ride! There are rarer Champagnes out there, but in a great vintage, I don’t think there is any better. Look for the 1996 if you can.
6. Krug Champagne Clos du Mesnil – A great Champagne as well and for some, the pinnacle. Part of the pricing here is the rarity. From a tiny parcel of land in Champagne.
7. Chateau Haut Brion – Another first growth Bordeaux. Although Cabernet Sauvignon based, there is a higher percentage of other grapes. The terroir of Graves (Pessac Leognan) gives it accessibility and an earthiness that makes it truly special. My personal favorite from Bordeaux.
8. JL Chave Hermitage – A wine from the Northern Rhone. Elegant, complex and age worthy. This is a wine that needs time in the cellar to justify its price. One of the ultimate expressions of Syrah.
9. Domaine Romanée Conti La Tache – The other truly great red wine from this producer. Not a substitute, rather a different expression of wine that also transcends the grape (Pinot Noir). Rare and expensive, but possible to find and maybe even taste.
10. Moet et Chandon Dom Perignon – It’s ubiquitous - on TV, in the movies, everywhere. Millions of bottles produced and always a great Champagne. How do they do that so consistently? If you have not tried it, you should. At least once.
11. Domaine Raveneau Chablis les Clos – This wine has gotten expensive, but if you love Chardonnay (and especially if you think you don’t), taste this wine. Crisp and clean with fruit and minerals. Everything you could want in a white wine. Great with food. For my taste Chablis gets no better.
12. Krug – Perhaps the best non-vintage Champagne available. Smooth as silk. Great depth. Easily available if not inexpensive. No Champagne lover should miss trying this one.
13. Chateau Cheval Blanc – Famous for being drunk out of a paper cup in the movie Sideways. That would be reason enough, but this blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot is one of the best wines being made in Bordeaux. Wildly expensive, sometimes an older vintage can still be found at a more reasonable price. A unique wine in the wine world.
14. Haut Brion Blanc – Who says white wines can’t age? This one will. It’s a love it or hate it experience which can be problematic for a wine this expensive. Still, the Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend can be ethereal, especially if it does have a few years on it. There are lots of great white Bordeaux wines, but this is the best one.
15. Comte Vogue Musigny Vielle Vignes – Another red Burgundy. This is a wine that may not have quite as famous a name as DRC, but tell a Burgundy geek you tasted it, and they will drool on your shoes or wax poetically for hours about how lucky you are. It needs time in a cellar, but a properly aged bottle has that transcendent quality that gives Burgundy its reputation.
16. Guigal La La’s – These are actually three wines, but I include them as one. La Landonne, La Mouline and La Turque. They are Syrahs from the Northern Rhone made in a modern and unique style. The wines are VERY oaky if consumed furing the first few years, but eventually (maybe ten years) they absorb the oak and have enough fruit to provide spectacular drinking. The difference among them is both the location where the grapes were grown and the small amounts of Viognier that may be in them.
17. Chateau Petrus – One of the most expensive wines in the world. This is a Merlot from the right bank of Bordeaux.It is a magnificent wine showing just how good Merlot can be.
18. Domaine Romanée Conti Montrachet – I have never even seen a bottle of this Burgundy, although I have been told by friends who have tasted it that it is the best white wine from France. Made in incredibly miniscule quantities, this is undoubtedly one of the best Chardonnays in the world.
19. Domaine Leroy Corton Charlemagne – This wine is Chardonnay that needs a decade at least to develop and show the true complexity and elegance that Chardonnay can reach when it is from the right vineyards and made by the right people.
by Loren Sonkin