Wine On Our Minds
We recently invited From the Vine to Wine's Anne Richter Arnold to facilitate a blind wine tasting for our team. Such fun! She selected six unique wines from Portsmouth's South Street & Vine (all concealed via paper bag), provided a list of possible wines and flavor profiles, and asked us to match them up. Here are the bottles we tasted:
Domaine Paul Cherrier, Sancerre, France 2019
Domaine Pichot Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette 2019, Touraine, Loire, France
Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2019
Tenuta di Arceno Chianto Classico 2019
Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône Rouge Cypress Cuvée 2019
Banshee Mordecai Proprietary Red 2018
One of our colleagues correctly matched all six and received a bottle of her favorite (the Sancerre)!
We enjoyed each wine with a charcuterie pairing curated by South Street & Vine's Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf. Cheeses included Fromager d'Affinois (double-cream French brie), Humboldt Fog (layered California goat cheese), Comté (French Alpine cheese) and Red Gouda (Dutch cow's milk cheese)...complemented with Rustic Tuscan Salami, Iberico Chorizo, Castelvetrano olives, Marcona almonds and Firehook baked crackers. Absolutely delicious!
The tasting left us craving a better understanding of buying vs. collecting, types of collections, storage options, you name it. Here's what we learned...
Buying vs. Collecting Wine
It is said that 98% of wines are intended for consumption within five years. Those would be your everyday and special occasion wines. While 'buying' wine is based more on personal preference in the moment, 'collecting' is a longer-term commitment that requires vision and direction.
One goal of collecting is often investment-oriented: creating something more valuable than the sum of its parts. Did you know there are wine stock exchanges and wine-specific investment funds? Sotheby's even has its own interactive Wine Indices tool to track the market performance of fine wines from different regions. Click here to check out upcoming Sotheby's Wine & Spirits Auctions.
Types of Wine Collections
All of the wines we sampled at our tasting are great for the casual collector...that is, those of us who purchase wines to pair with specific meals and personal sipping. The typical bottle in a casual collection isn't meant to stay there for long. Here are a few of our favorites...
Napa Valley's Cakebread's Sauvignon Blanc is another essential. The 2020 vintage "opens with aromas of pink grapefruit, ripe melon, sweet citrus and appealing notes of hay. The citrus and melon characters carry over onto a bright fruit palate, supported by crisp acidity and elevated by a hint of mineral citrus on the finish." It pairs well with salads, seafood, poultry and veggie dishes.
French Chardonnay! If you prefer fresh minerality over toasty oak, pick up a bottle of Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chablis at a nearby NH Liquor & Wine Outlet. The Premier Cru Fourchaume is "rich and elegant, offering a perfect balance of finesse, minerality, mellowness and vivacity with a full spectrum of aromas. The finish goes on and on." A sensational Burgundy to pair with seafood, especially shellfish.
Flowers Sonoma Coast
If you enjoy Pinot Noir, you'll love Flowers Sonoma Coast. This wine offers a "wildly floral perfume shot with fresh and dried fruits, petals and herbs. The palate is embroidered with spiced botanicals: raspberry, dried strawberry, rose petals, cherries steeped in tea. The tannins are vanishing, while a note of woodsy sous-bois grounds the finish." Best paired with aged cow’s milk cheeses, pork, duck, game birds and any roast dressed with fruit compote.
The connection between art and wine is ancient. As long as humankind has sipped from goblets and glasses, we’ve painted caves and canvas to pay homage to this coveted pastime. A stunning label won't make a mediocre wine taste better, but when the collaboration is extra special, it’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate...and worthy of display in our homes! Here's a list of some of the most beautiful wine labels ever made. And following, a few tried-and-true wines that have graced our dinner tables...
The Prisoner Wine Company's brand name and namesake wine were inspired by the classic sketch Le Petit Prisonier by 19th century Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Part of Goya's series entitled, “The Disasters of War," it is a visual protest against the brutality of the Spanish War of Independence in 1808. The wine itself is a complex blend of some of California’s best and most unusual grape varieties. Based in Napa Valley, the company offers a range of rule-bending blends with provocative labels that have earned cult wine status. It's one of our favorites at South Street & Vine!
A red blend that "makes a hero of Petite Sirah from Northern California, with supporting roles from Syrah and Grenache." Orin Swift's Machete has a variety of labels with artwork curated by winemaker Dave Phinney...interestingly, he also created The Prisoner (which he sold in 2008)! Each label displays Calistoga’s moon-like landscape as a backdrop, with an old Cadillac Eldorado and a machete-wielding female model in a position of power. The wine's name is a play on grapes making the cut to qualify for inclusion in the blend, which comes under cork in a wax-topped, super heavy wine bottle...it's stunning and, yes, delicious!
Chateau Mouton Rothschild
The pièce de résistance, marrying art and wine: Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Technically, this is a serious wine, but no winemaker can outdo Rothschild when it comes to museum-quality labels! In 1945, the Baron Philippe de Rothschild established a tradition of commissioning a painting for the label of every vintage. Over the years, the likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring have created one-of-a-kind artwork for the bottles. This Premier Cru Classé from France's Bordeaux region is considered one of the world's greatest wines, described as having "opulent textures, an exotic personality and the ability to age and evolve for decades." Purchase a bottle of the legendary 2005 vintage from Sotheby's Wine!
For the most earnest of collectors and investors, Sotheby's Wine Advisory provides extraordinary expertise and white-glove service. While the price for a rare, limited edition wine can run upwards of $100,000, the following recommendations are on the modest end of the spectrum...
Named for the Welsh word for ‘love’, Colgin Cariad is a red that's sure to make you swoon. A deliciously complex experience with a long finish, it presents a real challenge to investors because it's a wine you’ll want to drink now. If you're disciplined enough to keep it, history has proved its value likely to appreciate. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate praised the 2016 vintage for its "wonderful purity of black fruits with nuances of iron ore, crushed rocks, fertile loam, cedar chest and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied, concentrated, muscular and built like a brick house."
Iconic ‘cult wine’ Opus One is the product of a marriage between Bordeaux aristocracy (yes, Baron Philippe de Rothschild!) and New World talent (Robert Mondavi). The name itself sets a high expectation, with its meaning attributed to a music composer’s first masterpiece. Its flagship red wine is a Cabernet-dominant Bordeaux blend. The 2015 vintage has been exalted for its "decadent, voluptuous flavors...juicy, with flavors of currant, plum, and blackberries...plenty of spice and even some floral notes."
We'd be remiss to recommend investment-quality wines without including Bordeaux, France's infamous Margaux. Portsmouth resident and wine enthusiast Kristen Freer (who drew inspiration for her daughter's name—Margaux, of course—while visiting the region) shared:
"Everyone should have at least one Margaux in their collection. Though more than one might get costly, especially from the prestigious estate Chateau Margaux itself! 2020 Margaux is the best vintage since 2015...not for the faint of heart, these wines display a beautiful depth of color and soaring aromatics, including strong floral characteristics."
Mention a "wine cellar" to anyone and they'll likely envision a stone vault under a castle, dimly lit and filled with dust-covered bottles. The truth about storing wine is that you don't need a cellar, but you do need a cool, constant temperature (55 to 60 degrees). Here, we share more insight re: wine storage options...
A chilly basement is fine for storing your everyday wine...but a wine refrigerator is even better, as it maintains proper temperature and humidity levels. Freestanding units are generally affordable, easy to install and come in a variety of styles to suit the surrounding décor. Here are some of The Best Wine Coolers and Fridges, According to Sommeliers and Winemakers. In the Seacoast area, SubZero wine refrigeration units are very popular in new construction (and newly renovated) condos and single-family homes...from 46-bottle undercabinet styles to 147-bottle built-in systems, buyers are loving them.
Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty Sales Associate Katie Fontana (the winner of our blind tasting!) shared:
"While our collection is mainly for pleasure, proper storage helps keep the quality of the wine maintained, bottles organized, and means we'll always have a perfect bottle handy for any occasion!"
This lovely wine bar is tucked inside a sprawling, yet cozy Vermont ski country log home...and, yes, it's for sale. Check it out here.
Transparent wine storage systems allow homeowners to showcase wine without compromise, fusing modern design and wine cellar technology, easily integrating into any space. We're seeing more of them being incorporated into the interior design of Seacoast luxury residences...a trend that has carried over from the West Coast. From climate-controlled wine walls in downtown Portsmouth's modern condos to seamless glass wine rooms in sprawling high-end homes, these appeal to buyers who wish to display their special wines amongst their broader collections of art.
Wouldn't you love to have this chic space for sipping and entertaining? Well, this Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California gem is For Sale! Check it out here.
Wine enthusiasts with collections exceeding a few hundred bottles of rare, limited edition and valuable vintages should invest in a custom wine cellar and tasting room. The optimal conditions include low, constant temperature, with high humidity and no vibration, odors or harmful light. Click here to explore the design and construction process for a custom wine cellar and tasting room in a high-end Boston residence.
We've toured the wine cellar and tasting room at 2 Dancer's Image Lane, North Hampton NH (shown here) in person and it's one of the most impressive we've seen! This extraordinary estate is currently For Sale and exclusively marketed by our team.
Explore this wine aficionado's dream virtually by (1) clicking the play button, (2) selecting the 'View Floor Plan' icon, (2) choosing 'Floor 1' with the Floor Selector tool and (3) clicking anywhere on the the left half of the image...enjoy!
Many sophisticated oenophiles store their wine in remote warehouses where cataloguing and delivery services are available. For the most discerning investors, there is Sotheby's Wine Storage, offering secure, temperature-controlled, fully-insured, professional storage in New York, London and Hong Kong. Their virtual cellar platform allows seamless access to and integration of your accounts at all of these warehouses, plus wine held in your home cellars.
Real Estate Trends
Over the last two years, we've all spent more time in our homes. It's natural that we'd look for ways to make them better. Luxury goods, in general, have been in high demand. In a 2017 article for Realtor.com (long before Covid entered our daily lives), a Toll Brothers Senior VP noted:
“With wine consumption and appreciation on the upswing, in-home wine rooms will become an increasingly popular trend."
Well, here we are! According to a 2021 Forbes magazine article, wine sales have increased by 66% since the pandemic began. Interior designers are reporting more clients requesting wine features that serve as both storage and art. A wine amenity is a great way to add value...the key is to add the storage type most appropriate for your home. The average property is well suited to a 'casual' storage option, while higher-end homes can support built-in and custom-designed amenities.
In 2021, 2.5% of all greater Seacoast area condos and single-family homes that sold included a wine storage amenity. The average sales price of these properties was $1,216,679 (vs. $511,733 for those without wine storage).
After you've outfitted your home with a fabulous wine storage system, we suggest jumping on the 'wine travel' bandwagon to visit your favorite wine region and start collecting! Before you do, you must read Sleep in Style Among the Vines, recently featured in Sotheby's International Realty's RESIDE magazine.
And don't forget to check out the Winter Wine Festival at Wentworth by the Sea Hotel...from multi-course Grand Vintner’s Dinners to Big Tastings of Flight Nights to Bubbles & Jazz Brunches, you're sure to have a wonderful time.
Like to know more about Seacoast homes with wine amenities that are currently For Sale? Please Contact a member of our real estate sales team. At Tate & Foss Sotheby's International Realty, we pride ourselves on having in-depth knowledge of our market area. We'd like to share that knowledge with you.