7 Luxury Wines
By Laura Fagan Published August 2022
What’s the point of life if not to splurge on spectacular things occasionally? We are all about leveling up every once in a while. Luxury wines are fantastic to open - or pop - when celebrating, to create unforgettable moments or to elevate any experience. Sipping and savoring luxury wines is absolutely worth the extra spending. These bottles are a nice change from the standard glass of table wine and they add a touch of class to any occasion.
And listen, we get it - you don't need a wine that costs $100 to be satisfied. There are plenty of great wines out there for under $30. But sometimes you just want something extravagant. Maybe you have guests coming over and you want to impress them, or you are searching for an exquisite label for a little self-care.
Whatever the occasion may be, join our wine experts, Nathan Dale and Paul Quaglini, as they take you on an armchair tour of some of the world’s most premier wine producing regions to discover seven high-end wines that are worth the price.
Luxury Wines Worth Splurging On
As with most premium products, the cost of luxury wine is largely due to rarity, Paul explains. Beyond limited supply, most luxury wines share other common characteristics. High-end wines are generally produced in the most esteemed regions in small quantities and use only the highest quality fruit from the most productive growing years. Also, they are often cellared in ideal conditions to mature for extended periods. These resulting wines have unmatched integrity and character. These bottles have earned awards and recognition from quality panels, but, more importantly, they offer an unmatched drinking experience for true wine lovers.
Although Napa Valley is California’s premier wine growing region, it is actually quite small, Paul shares. The growing region rests on California’s northern coast and includes over a dozen American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) with diverse soil types, climates, rainfall and elevation.
“Only four percent of all the wine produced in California comes out of Napa Valley,” Paul says. “This, in turn, is why the price is very expensive.”
Because land and resources are extremely expensive in Napa, that cost is reflected in the wines - but so is the quality of the region’s grapes and the skill of the winemakers.
Caymus is going to be at the top of any search for high-end Napa wines; however, Nathan shares that Pestoni Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is his luxury Napa pick.
“It’s a beautiful family-owned, sustainable, organic, hand-harvested operation that makes killer, killer cabernet,” he says. The wine takes hold of you with complex flavors of ripe blackberries, purple fruit and vanilla oak. Nathan also adds that this wine is great for pairing with heavy food because it is powerfully tannic and wonderfully ageable.
Paul recommends another wine from Howell Mountain as a premium Napa selection. Bravante Vinyards is a small, family-owned winery that makes one of Paul’s favorite Napa cabernets, Bravante Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.
Paul elaborates that the wines from this mountain fruit are more structured and tannic. They express with richer flavors than cabernet vinified on the valley floor. This wine will give you a wonderful representation of the region’s range with bold flavors balanced with a delightful spice.
Everyone loves bubbles, and Champagne is the region to taste through if you are searching for something high-end and effervescent. Champagne is a historical growing region in northeastern France as well as the style of sparkling wine which is exclusively made there.
Nathan, who is a sparkling wine enthusiast, shares that Extra Haton Brut Champagne 2008 is one of his personal favorites. He explains that vintage Champagne spends at least 36 months on the lees, the dead yeast cells present in second fermentation, which creates these big, yeasty, bready, beautifully unctuous, powerful Champagnes. The additional aging time gives the wine its effervescence and also matures it, adding nutty lactic flavors.
Paul adds that you will absolutely enjoy wines made by the prestigious Champagne Houses in this region, but there are several alternatives outside of those which produce fantastic wines as well. One such label is Moutard Cuvee Des 6 Cépages, which Paul boasts is unique because it actually has six different grape varieties that give this Champagne another level of complexity compared to others vinified from only two or three varieties.
Staying in France, but moving south - Burgundy is another fine wine producing region. This industry-admired region is best known for producing dry, red wines made from pinot noir grapes and white wines, from chardonnay grapes, called Burgundies. Nate points out that Burgundy is also considered the ancestorial home of chardonnay and encourages you to try a white Burgundy from Puligny-Montrachet for luxury sipping. His pick from this Burgundy sub-region is Chapelle Blagny Puligny Montrachet from the Hameau de Blagny Premier Cru vineyard, which produces wine that is very distinct and of a higher quality in comparison to neighboring wineries. The wine earned a rating of 93 in 2016 from Wine Spectator and is a wonderful Burgandy to pour if you are in search of something special.
Let’s move on to the boot! Barolo is a wine-making region in the northwest of Italy as well as the name of the wine produced in this area of Piedmont. This full-bodied, tannic and acidic red wine is made from nebbiolo grapes and expresses with flavors of licorice, raspberry and rose. To give you an indication of its quality, Barolo is Paul's favorite wine at the moment and he has sampled an extensive range of wines throughout his career. La Spinona Barolo Bergera is Paul’s top Barolo buy and he shares that the wine is appealing for many reasons. The distinct label features the profile of a shaggy Spinona dog. Legend has it that Pietro Berutti, La Spinona’s founder, named his estate and designed his labels featuring the dog’s image to honor Baica, his own Spinona who had saved his son from drowning.
Montalcino is the last luxury stop and one of Nathan’s favorite premier wine regions in Italy. Nathan explains that Brunello is one of the exceptional wines made in Montalcino and that these wines have beautiful acidity - they are bright and vibrant, and they are fabulous with food. In this hilltop appellation, La Gerla is the winery that produces Nathan’s top Brunello recommendation. Their La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino consistently earns top ratings and is a wine that is beautifully elegant with notes of cherry, cranberry, raspberry and cedar.
Ready to taste these luxury wines for yourself? Stop by your local ABC store to shop all seven or browse our full selection of high-end wines online.
Pricing, selection and vintages may vary by location.