Restarting your cellar from scratch

Agreed. As long as it’s accompanied by open-mindedness and not chauvinistic behavior and isolationism.

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If I could start from scratch I would buy the same…except I would buy fewer bottles from better vintages.

Instead of ending up with nearly 4000 bottles mostly from vintages like 2006, 2008, 2012 or 2014 (I am talking Bordeaux, here) I would now have around 1500 bottles of 2005, 2009 or 2016.

Much better, but I am afraid I can’t go back in time. So I will try to drink up what I have…with lots of friends!


My tastes have evolved over nearly 30 years so I have remnants I now would not have bought or not bought so much of (e.g., Aussie wines, cali syrah, petite sirah, which had high “expert scores” relative to conservative scoring for like-priced Burgs). I have a good number of 95+ point Aussies that’d I’d like to go back in the time machine and trade for similarly priced Burgs. If I could do that for those wines I bought at Bassins only, I’d be a happy guy today.

But hey, it’s all about the journey and there’s a lot of good wine out there in the world, many still at fair or cheap relative prices. I have a lot of aged “winners” along with these semi-clunkers. It’s kind of like life; you win some, you lose some, but it’s all about how you play the game and find happiness in what you have. Other than my wishful time machine trades, which won’t happen, I wouldn’t change much in what I have, enjoy and can share with others.


Phil, I’m really interested in this part of your post. How much “older” are we talking - 3 - 5 vintages back, or 10 - 20 or more? I haven’t heard before that local sellers in France have access to lots of older vintages (at reasonable prices?). Is this a hidden part of the market there? I don’t spend much time in France (how lovely it would be to fix that), so am not exposed to the wine retail trade there.


Quite older. But it’s mostly through auction a just a little from retailers (library releases). For example, today I got a few bottles of Lanessan 1995 at 17 euros a bottle.

Most of the older wines (1980s, 1990s and 2000s) I got through 3 different online auction sites and others I got from individuals directly. The ones I got from retailers were from 2009 onwards only. Some were available to all customers but most were because I befriended the store owner around here and got to taste and meet some of his distributors (commerciaux) and representatives from the domaines.

In Quebec, there is a single auction site that is mandated by the provincial Monopoly who can resale bottles. You can’t even buy (legitimately) from other individuals. So auctions are scarce and the prices are prohibitive.

So to me, finding decent older wines at decent prices at auction (like these Lanessan today) is a great change of pace.


I was going through the CellarTracker inventory of my Montreal cellar and I realize what I do differently now when acquiring wines. It seems that early on, I bought some wines and decided to cellar them without trying them first. I wonder if it’s an approach that other people did when starting out?

I now have cellared bottles bought on recommendations or reviews that sit in my cellar and I don’t know if I like them or when the approximate drinking window should be.

Stuff like:
Tenuta Argentiera
Château Canon
Bodegas Caro
Le Chiuse
Claude Dugat
Fattoria Le Pupille
Domaine de Nalys Blanc
La Pousse d’Or

I’ve learned to always drink first rather than base my judgment on others reviews as to when I should crack them open.

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To finance my switch to selling and drinking Champagne, I had to sell off my Burgundies. I did so heavy-heartedly, but now I find that I enjoy Champagne more than Burgundy in general. The action proved to give me a freedom I had not anticipated.

In the summer after the COVID crisis, a three-star Michelin-starred restaurant sent their sommelier on a discovery trip to the lesser-explored regions of France. He gave us quite a few names, and the recommendations from the Savoie, especially, were fantastic. These wines do not sell, nor is there any real point in posting them on forums, as they acquire little attention. Yet, they cost next to nothing and age beautifully. Also, the alcohol is low, and the acidity is quite pronounced.

This year, we tasted wines from the Jurancon, Domaine Castera, in particular, really impressed me. It probably sounds clichéd to say they are a Meursault ersatz, but despite the different grapes, they tick a lot of the boxes I would be looking for in white Burgundy.

The same with Domaine de Muzy. In the past, I would have been too snobbish to try them ,but the whole selection is incredible. Last night the new Terre Amoureuse 2022 Rosé Gris was at a level like Tempier or Abbatucci.

The good thing very few wine drinkers believe this so prices remain good.


A naïve question for you: did you decide to restart your cellar from scratch because bringing your wines into France was legally/ logistically impossible?

I ask because I am not that far from retiring and US, Canada, and France are all destination possibilities

Financially painful :grin:.

And I’m waiting to see if we’re gonna stay here for a while. If we decide to really base ourselves in France, I’ll bring it through Switzerland. But if the French experience is a no-go, I’ll keep them in Canada for now.

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Thanks for the reply! I should think of Switzerland as well. Thanks for the tip!

Fantastic wines that cost next to nothing and age beautifully sound like exactly the kinds of wines you should be posting about on this forum. You should start a new thread so we can learn more about them!


Pousse d’Or is one of types of wineries that is pretty tough unless you follow things really closely. Their wines were great - as good as any in Volnay - until Gerard Potel died after the 1996 harvest. Within a couple of years or so the winery was sold to a guy making wine a very different way, but the label did not change, etc. No hint that things have changed