2017 vintage 20+ year cellaring suggestions?

I’m putting together a mini-cellar for my son based on his birth year. For obvious reasons it is unclear what kind of wine he likes - though grandma did sneak him a sip when she was babysitting [cheers.gif].

I’m looking to put away around two cases that meet the following criteria:

  1. Will age well for at least 20 years
  2. Cost less than ~$20/bottle
  3. Say “2017” somewhere on the bottle

Not knowing what he’ll like I’m aiming for variety. My palette goes pretty broad so anything he doesn’t like I’ll happily drink when the day comes :slight_smile:

From my own research I’ve been looking at half bottle sauternes and German rieslings. I will probably also have to spring for a Graham’s vintage port as well, given that my son’s name is Graham…

I’m generally well out of my depth here though - is it a bad idea to just be grabbing 90+ rated bottles in those categories? Other categories I should be considering? Any specific bottle suggestions?

From the storage side, my plan is just to passive store in my pacific northwest basement (dark, ~55-70F). I’ve read Question about wine storage - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers and it seems like this might prevent the bottles from reaching their full potential, but won’t ruin them. The alternative would be getting a small wine fridge and running it for 20 years, which would more than triple the cost of the project.

Thanks for your help!

Quick suggestions: Port and Sauternes followed by champagne. Those have better staying power and due to their individual nuances can better withstand changes or less than ideal conditions than more delicate wines. Not sure if that is what you were looking for but it is what/how I started. Cheers

I’m having a tough time thinking of 20+ year agers for under $20. German Riesling is the closest I can come, maybe kabinetts from A.J. Adam, Max Ferdinand Richter, or Monchhof? For reds, maybe Lanessan or Haut Bergey from Bordeaux. Perhaps some Côtes du Rhônes but those in the $20 range may not go 20 years.

It might be worth considering fewer bottles for more $$$. Also, vintage port isn’t going to be under 20. If you were thinking of 2 cases, why not one case?

Also, consider Madeira. Dont know much about it except its generally a decent value. Tomas Costa (think i got that right) may be worth tracking down and shooting a message. He may be able to point you toward some Portuguese wines (bairrada, for example).

Lastly, how do you plan to store this?

Yeah, I was looking at Kabinetts as a good bet. It seems like some sauternes can hit close to that price point, or lower on half bottles. e.g. Chateau Suduiraut Lions De Suduiraut seems just north of $20 for a full bottle, and halves are more like $12. Anything to be afraid of there?

Under $20 will be tough. Maybe rather than a bunch of $20 bottles you get a handful of nicer bottles?

And if going the passive storage route I wouldn’t be too concerned with Port, Sauternes or German Riesling; would Champagne though.

Sauternes are long-lived and relatively affordable. I have to plead ignorance on second wines.

I could definitely trim to one case. My initial thinking was that while I hope to give my son’s palate a decent education, he’s unlikely to be a connoisseur by the time he’s enjoying these bottles. So better to give him more range/tries than a few stellar things that he might not fully appreciate.

Huh, Madeira is a great bet. I always have a 10 year bual in the house, but didn’t realize it develops in the bottle.

I mentioned my storage plan above. 55-70F basement, or possibly could be talked into getting a wine fridge. Main concern is that over 20 years it’s probably an extra ~$800 to run the thing, and again, he’s unlikely to be a connoisseur at tasting time. But obviously I don’t want to ruin the product to save a few bucks.

Sorry I was suggesting the three as there are 375 and 750 options. For sure agree to have less bottles and buy better. Use non 2017 wines to train the palate and save the better 2017s for special occasions. Good luck.

German riesling

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Do this. Under $20 is very difficult. Even wines that can last that long mostly won’t age well for that long in your price range.

Another option would be to buy 2017 vintage wine in a few years time, when your budget might be a bit more expansive tbh. If you’re wanting something that’ll definitely be good in a few years time, you’re gonna be dropping bit higher on the pricing - but you can get some amazing wines in 2017 that arent TOO badly priced tbh. Canon, for example, has come down nicely since its release.

Without a solid setup you’re really rolling the dice. Even with a wine fridge, over 20 years a lot can go wrong. If you want to do it in your basement, try and make sure it doesn’t get above 65 and there are no extreme temp fluctuations. Also, it needs appropriate humidity. If you’re in Denver like me, you would need a humidifier to try and keep the corks from drying out and leaking.

I’d say focus on fewer but better bottles of wine. Most sub 20s aren’t meant to be aged for 20 years. As others said, German riesling is your best bet. If you up it to $40 and halbe your purchasing, you’re in the range of wines like Huet (chenin Blanc from Loire), Produttori Barbaresco normale, some Barolos, some Bordeaux, some very nice German riesling, etc.

Another vote for riesling if there’s a hard $20 cap. Also another vote for get fewer bottles at a slightly higher price point. Even at 30-40 bucks, you’ll have some options for wine that can age 20 years. Bordeaux, Tuscany, maybe Piedmont (price might be more like 40-50) are good bets. I’d try and find a local wine shop with a knowledgeable staff who knows about the producers they carry AND one who offers a mixed case discount. Usually a full case discount (same wine) will be slightly higher than a mixed case discount (12 bottles of any wine) at many smaller shops. However if you tell them what the project is for, you might pull some heartstrings enough to get the case discount on a mixed case…

How about 1/2 bottles of a Sauternes or Barsac like Doisy Daene. Are there still 1/2 bottles around $20?

I agree with the thought that you would be better off buying less wine.

I’ll join the chorus to stretch the budget per bottle and drop it to a single case.

If you go with some vintage port, your best value is the 2017 Quinta Do Seixo from Sandeman. Its quality is on par with the big names, but Sandeman is a second tier house plus they chose to do a single quinta bottling versus their flagship label, so they’re available at a big discount to Taylor’s, Dow’s, etc. Playing the coupon and shopping portal games with wine.com, I’ve been able to pick up a few at ~$50/btl.

Have fun with your search!


My understanding is that it basically doesn’t. Maybe over a very long time it does a bit, but I don’t think much would happen in 20 years. Madeira development is all about time in barrel.

Indeed. It doesn’t spoil either, though. A couple friend of mine kept a bottle open for over 20 years (from their wedding) and the remainder was still fine after that time.

If you’re saving it for birthdays 21+ years down the road, you want it to be special, and not a dud, right?

The odds of a <$20 bottles that will be cherished and special on his 21st birthday is pretty low. Even a $20 riesling or a half bottle of Sauternes (Coutet or Guiraud maybe - although that’s closer to $30 than $20) is likely to be tasty and pleasant at best. If your budget is $480, why not spring for 5-8 bottles of $60-100 wine - you’ll be able to get best-in-class Riesling (eg, JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese/Auslese Goldkapsel), Port (Fonseca or Taylor-Fladgate), Sauternes (Suduiraut, Rieussec), or even some very tasty Bordeaux (Calon-Segur or Rauzan-Segla) if you want a red.