What wine should I put away for my child’s 21st birthday?

A customer asked me the other night what wine they should “put away” for their kids until they reach at least 21 years of age.  Yes, I get asked this question quite frequently and the answer usually differs some based upon how many years of cellaring that means and more importantly, what kind of wine they generaly like & the budget per bottle they are looking to spend.

If it were, though, totally up to me, in almost all cases, I would mentioned top quality German white wines, not only for potential longevity, but also keeping in mind nobility and TOP quality, especially for the dollar spent.  Fritz Haag

Roughly 4 or 5 years ago, for instance, I had the fortunate pleasure to savor a 1976 Fritz Haag Gold Kapsule Auslese “Brauneberger Juffer”, which has to be one of the VERY best wines I have ever had, even at 30 or so years old!

Furthermore, 10 or so years ago, Fritz & Agnes Hasselbach of Weingut Gunderloch was kind enough to open and share a 1926 Spätlese Nackenheimer Rothenberg, which again clearly reminded me of their top wines’ aging potential.

Although many wines may age well, one has to be selective in finding the wines which get better with age, such as the 2 wines above.

In short, glorious.  From my humble experience, besides producers Fritz Haag and Gunderloch, I would also suggest— Reinhold Haart, Donnhoff,  Egon Müller, Joh. Jos. Prüm, Dr. F. Weins-Prüm & Zilliken just to name a few other standouts.  I would also recommend at least Auslese quality and most importantly they be stored at the right temperature & humidity.

Just know that, with considerable bottle age, the once apparent sweetness will change into more of a tactile creaminess/viscosity and will therefore appear much drier on the palate then you will remember what the wine tasted like in its youth.  Also, more pronounced fusel smell/lead pencil nuances will step forward & be much more pronounced than any fruit qualities, each qualities I look forward to and relish.

Potential buyers are really lucky, as there is still availability of the superb 2012’s.  My wife, Cheryle and I were there at harvest, in the vineyards, tasting grapes alongside many of the top winemakers.  2012 was truly something worth cellaring, at least from those listed above.

Furthermore, there are still a number of 2013’s still available here, which is yet another vintage worth cellaring.  Although things started out challenging earlier in the year, many of the top estates, such as those recommended, produced some truly superb wine.

I also hope that when you see the prices and compare them to top echelon Bordeaux, Burgundy or the Napa Valley, you will better appreciate the supreme quality for the dollar these wines truly offer.

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