By and large, American culture is obsessed with the present, often favoring instant gratification over distant pleasure. But there’s a real beauty and deeper sense of appreciation to purchasing a wine upon release and properly storing it until just the right moment in time. It’s an experience that requires patience, but one that should not be overlooked or underestimated. Although most wine lovers are aware of the potential benefits of aging certain special bottles, more than 80% of wines are consumed within 48 hours of being purchased, and over 95% are consumed within the next six months. Overall, consumers seem to have a hard time playing the waiting game.
That’s where we at Wine Enthusiast hope to help. We know it’s not easy—or cheap—to keep a cellar stocked with selections worthy of future enjoyment. But we also know that some of the best wines in the world deserve a little love in the cellar. With that in mind, our editors have culled through the wines designated as “Cellar Selections” in the magazine this year, and have chosen the 100 finest candidates to lay down.
In the interest of diversity, we chose bottlings that span many countries and varieties, though it’s no surprise that many of the best cellaring wines come from established regions and top vintages. Many of these wines are of limited production, and just like wines on our other Top 100 lists, some may have sold out or increased in price since our initial reviews were published.
Let’s talk about price. This list emphasizes quality over value, including many reputable, top-dollar selections with price tags that should not surprise serious collectors and aficionados. But in the spirit of Wine Enthusiast, we still considered price and availability. Regardless of your location or wallet, these are wines that you can collect and enjoy.
See the full list of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2012 in PDF form, or view the list in our Buying Guide.
To see the Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2011, click here.