What Makes a Cult Wine?
Cult wines are wines that dedicated enthusiasts pay large sums of money for. These wines are often collected as a status symbol – or an investment. To some only an intimate selection of fine Bordeaux wines and certain Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the Napa valley are considered as cult wines. Although it is true that the majority of cult wines do originate from these areas, the industry is not that limited. Wines that fall under the title can be from other regions, like Rhône, Italy, or Burgundy. Whether it is a subtle, brilliant Pinot Noir or a sophisticated Cabernet Sauvignon, some wines have that extra edge that turns them into a cult wine
A single quality makes a cult wine: high demand, and this is usually amplified by scarcity. A wine that comes into record-breaking popularity is nearly always created by a famous winemaker, and then authenticated by high ratings and reviews. When only a few hundred cases are produced at a time, cult wines become even more sought after. Although this may sound fairly straightforward, it is not that simple. In industries like motoring or music a clever ad campaign can shoot a new car range or song into instant stardom. In the wine industry advertising is entirely irrelevant without first producing a vastly superior product. How this is achieved only elite wine making companies know.
The Winemaker’s Secret
According to winemaker Michael G. Etzel from Beaux Frères Winery, the philosophy of wine that can achieve cult status is in the process. He believes in minimal intervention, and in using indigenous yeast. According to Etzel wine should be stored only in French Oak for between 10 months and a year while adjusting the percentage of new oak. At Beaux Frères the strict process also includes not racking the wine until it is ready to be bottled, and not fining or filtrating the wine. Known as making some of the most exquisite Pinot Noir outside of Burguny, and part owned by famous wine critic Robert Parker, Beaux Frères Winery is certainly a trusted source.