Stocking a cellar shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Each year, the editors at Wine Enthusiast put together the Top 100 Cellar Selections list to help guide you to the best bottles on the market today that will stand the test of time.
Our 2019 list boasts more than 80 selections for $100 or under. However, both wine novices and budget-conscious drinkers might like to start their collection with more affordable options before spending the big bucks. So here’s a roster of cellar-worthy wines from this year’s Cellar Selection list that come in at less than $50.
Castello di Neive 2016 Barbaresco; $40, 96 points. Rose, violet, just-tilled vineyard soil and perfumed berry are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this dazzling, fragrant red. The elegant, delicious palate is chock-full of elegance and flavor, delivering juicy Morello cherry, raspberry compote, cake spice and a balsamic note. It boasts fantastic tension and finesse, and will be even better with more bottle age. Gorgeous. Drink 2026–2036. LLS–Winebow. –Kerin O’Keefe
Éric & Jöel Durand 2016 Empreintes (Cornas); $39, 96 points. Aromas of baked plum and cherry mingle into leather, sun-baked earth and sage in this intensely perfumed Syrah. Bright, bristling black-fruit flavors and firm tannins pierce through the palate, extending into a smoky, mineral finish. It’s stunning already but will gain even greater complexity and nuance through 2035. Fruit of the Vines, Inc. Cellar Selection. –Anna Lee C. Iijima
Selvapiana 2015 Vigneto Bucerchiale Riserva (Chianti Rufina); $36, 96 points. Combining an irresistible pairing of earthy elegance and ageworthy structure, this fragrant, focused red boasts heady scents of smoke, wild berry, pipe tobacco, sunbaked earth and rose petal. The taut linear palate shows lovely tension, delivering juicy Morello cherry, crushed raspberry, baking spice and licorice framed in youthfully firm but refined tannins. Fresh acidity lends balance and energy. Drink 2022–2035. Dalla Terra Winery Direct. Cellar Selection. –K.O.
Joh. Jos. Prüm 2017 Graacher Himmelreich Auslese Riesling (Mosel); $32, 95 points. Spicy, smoky earth tones and shards of slate juxtapose decadent sweet grapefruit and yellow cherry in this complex auslese. It’s light as a feather yet unctuously ripe and rich, with a reverberating fringe of bitter chestnut skin. A bit tight now, but it should reveal stunning layers of fruit and earth from now–2040. Valckenberg International, Inc. Cellar Selection. –A.I.
Lavinea 2016 Lazy River Vineyard Chardonnay (Yamhill-Carlton); $45, 94 points. This wine was barrel fermented in 20% new French oak. It’s racy, inviting and aromatic, with sharp flavors of lemon, gooseberry, lime and cantaloupe. Tart and stylish, it’s built for aging. Drink through 2028. Cellar Selection. –Paul Gregutt
Obsidian Ridge 2016 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Hills); $32, 94 points. A deep, dark color and generous black-fruit aromas lead to well-extracted flavors of blackberry, blueberry and black currant on the palate, while a thick blanket of fine-grained tannins wraps it all in. It is huge in structure but matched by luxurious, layered fruit and spice flavors. Best 2023–2033. Cellar Selection. –Jim Gordon
Bodegas Riojanas 2011 Monte Real Gran Reserva (Rioja); $47, 93 points. Blackberry, prune, raisin, leather and tar aromas are full but refined on the nose. On the palate, this is tight and finely focused. Flavors of blackberry, vanilla and coffee finish steady, with calm, complex notes of tobacco and marzipan rising to the fore of a steady finish. Drink this excellent gran reserva through 2030. Bodegas Riojanas. Cellar Selection. –Michael Schachner
Stéphane Aladame 2016 Les Vignes Derrière Premier Cru (Montagny); $42, 93 points. From a small premier cru in the south of the appellation, this wine has a taut texture and bright minerality. It has a tight structure that is crisp in a citrus fruit flavor. The wine needs time, and should not be opened before 2021. Becky Wasserman Selections. Cellar Selection. –Roger Voss
Niner 2017 Pinot Noir (Edna Valley); $35, 92 points. Plush aromas of strawberry and cherry meet with subtle accents of clove, gingerbread, cinnamon and flowers on the nose of this bottling from Jespersen Ranch. A strawberry flavor dominates the palate, with touches of pepper and tobacco leaf, all framed by full tannins that hold firm into the finish. Drink through 2032. Cellar Selection. –Matt Kettmann
Lamadrid 2017 Single Vineyard Reserva Cabernet Franc (Agrelo); $20, 92 points. Aromas of blueberry and black currant are focused yet intense on the nose. The saturated palate brings dark plum and light herbal flavors that only improve with airing before finishing on a lingering note of mint. Drink through 2030. Vino Del Sol. Cellar Selection. –M.S.