When we talk about wine investment we seldom mention white wines, and least of all dry whites – it is true that dessert wines can age majestically but their dry counterparts are not known to age particularly well. This is largely due to the fact that red wines are high in tannins, which help them to age, and white wines have significantly less tannin. However there are a few exceptions among dry whites that deserve a bit of time in the cellar in order to fully reach their potential.
The best white Burgundy
The best Chardonnay in the world comes from Burgundy and while the grape is not known for wines destined for the cellar, the sheer complexity of the top white Burgundies can take a few years to emerge. The best wines from top producers will benefit from cellaring in order to become rich, deep, and complex.
Riesling from Germany
Germany’s flagship grape Riesling is known to make great sweet dessert wines that can age for decades, but even drier wines from Riesling can benefit from cellaring. Riesling, unlike Chardonnay, does not take well to oak ageing, so its flavours are quite floral and fruity, and there is a backbone of racy acidity in the dry whites. As a rule, the better the wine, the longer it will age, and in maturity Riesling takes on a honeyed petrol-like characteristic.
Wine from Alsace
Riesling from just over the border in Alsace is similarly built to last, but you can also find fantastic examples of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer from this region. Known for its aromatic whites, Alsace boasts some of the most interesting aromatic whites in the world.
Investors are increasingly looking at Champagne as an investable wine. In particular, vintage Champagnes are made with ageing in mind and as they mature they will develop great complexity, a wonderful toasty rich flavor and a straw-like color. The bubbles will become less prominent and devotees of older champagnes are often drawn to the delicate mousse that an older wine develops.
This list isn’t exhaustive though – there are many other examples emerging from different parts of the world like the fantastic Semillon-based wines from parts of Australia. Riesling from New Zealand is proving to be age-worthy, demonstrating that if you are looking for a white for the cellar, a good Riesling is probably your safest bet.