Wines to keep for 18 years

I'm thinking of buying a box of wine from 2009, 2010 and 2012 - I like a good Burgundy. These years are the birth years of my kids and I'd love to lay down a box of something special to bring out at their 18th birthday celebrations. Can anyone recommend a good red that will easily last 18 years? All suggestions appreciated - ignore price for now as I'd like recommendations across all price bands before worrying about the price tag. I'm not limited to Burgundy but I am a fan.

My job is fantastic and best of all, I do it for myself.

Know what you mean about travelling, we tend to go for the Ibis and sneak the second child in - the one who is terribly travel sick. Joy rides and travel bands are the way forward.

Please do call if you are ever in the area - however, we are travelling in the opposite direction this year and going to spend our first family Christmas in the UK. Th last time we were there for Christmas was the year we got engaged - ten years ago! Should be interesting!

Tracy - your job looks fantastic! Before we had the kids we would always drive through your way and stop off for a couple of nights - we enjoyed staying in Beaune and we also found a little treat of a place in St Amour Bellevue. Nowadays we end up having to stop over in the All Seasons as they give us a family room at a reasonable price. Travelling is not the same pleasure it used to be!

We tend to come down the A71 Millau route now and drive through the night to get home as quick as we can whilst the nippers nap (especially with the 3 of them not being good travellers).

I would love to come through Burgundy - I'm watching the weather forecast for December - we're next coming down on the 15th Dec - if it snows on the Millau route we might come by your way instead. We won't drop in near Christmas though don't worry - but perhaps next year we could come by and place our pre-order for a 2012 for Maisy :)

Thanks Tracy - I did wonder if the 2010 had bottled yet. I'll keep looking.

Thanks Ben - my cave pretty much meets all the above. I am now swaying towards a St Emilion....

Tracy - we watched it, was really interesting. We never knew the bibs were created in Aus!

I agree Anthony there are some fantastic Aus wines - my friend brought us back an amazing bottle (can't remember the domaine but it's in my tastings book back in Herault) - we enjoyed it with a friend who is a vigneron in Aspiran - Languedoc and he loved it, in fact he nearly drank the whole bottle! The next year - inspired by this he created a similar style of wine and it sold out before we could buy any!

Ideally though I'm looking for a French wine - I'm with Tracy about ensuring a Burgundy is Grand Cru & I understand it needs to be looked after. My concern with a Bordeaux is I just don't know enough about the area. I like St Emilion but haven't tried many others (except Haut Brion on a tasting event).

Ooh I do like a Cote Rotie and Hermitage.

@ Anthony: not all cavistes are alike and neither are the WSET-qualified people ;-) When I suggested a caviste i didn't mean to have her go to a fancy wine-boutique.....

but "on-topic" and according to Gault-Millau

Grape varieties (cepages) that produce in general good wines for keeping over more then 10 years:

Malbec (Cahors), Tannat (Madiran), Syrah (Northern part of the Rhone valley), Semillon-Sauvignon (Le Bordelais), the blend of Mourvèdre/Syrah and Grenache (southern part of the Rhone valley), Pinot Noir (Bourgogne). Specific for white wines: Pinot Gris, Gewûrztraminer, Riesling and Muscat (Alsace) and don't forget le Savignin that gives the famous "vin jaune" from the Jura.

But this is only true if the year has been a good to exceptional one, in the case of white wines things get even more complicated (see my earlier comment on quality factors)

General indications for number of year for maturing and max number of years to keep.

Bordeaux: a minimum of 5 years is required (some grand crus will even have 15 years to reach their optimum). The Pomerol and St-Emillion wines can be kept at least 20 years (red, 10 years for the white wines) . Sauternes doesn't have a limit.

Bourgognes: 5 years minimum, 15 years is attainable (Not the appellations "Villages", they will keep up to 10 years max.)

Rhône vally: Hermitage white and red, Cote-rôtie: max 20 years. Chateauneuf-du-Pape 15 years.

Madiran and Cahors: 5 years minimum, 15-20 years max. idem for the Jurançon

The Languedoc, Provence and Roussillon max 8 years.

Champagne, with the exception of a Milésimée or a Grand Cru is not a wine to keep in your celler for a long time.

Sweet wines (Banyul, Maury (red), Rivesaltes can be kept for well over 20-25 years

How to stock?

-Lying down

- in the dark

-absence of air currents

- do not stock with other products, over the years these may affect the taste of the wine

- a constant temperature. This doesn't have to be exactly 12 degrees C. Relatively rapid changes in temperature do more harm then a constant temperature a few degrees over the optimal one. Higher temperatures however will speed up the aging process, thus reducing the max period you can keep a wine drinkable.

- a humidity of 70-75%

And Suzanne, after all this, I'd be curious to know what you have chosen LOL

I would also suggest that you may be optimistic in thinking Burgundies are designed to last that long. The talk is of 18 years, but you may not want your children to drink it all at once! I was brought up to believe burgundies were beefy long lasting wines but in fact they used to have Algerian wine added to give that effect. Now they are pure Pinot Noir and tend not to last so long. They are delicious but variable so great care or a good wine merchant is useful. You might get the best advice from a UK merchant specialising in Burgundy (e.g. Haynes Hanson and Clark) or The Wine Society. The latter do sell wines in France so free of UK import duty.

Good Bordeaux may be a better choice but again care needed as much excellent wine is produced now for drinking younger, not least to help the cash flow of the producers.

Hey Anthony, did you watch Chateau Chunder this week, about the rise/fall/rise of Australian wines, it was very good? I really enjoyed it.

Good point about the cavistes but not everyone knows the difference between a caviste and a domaine. Personal recommendations are the way forward, however although not all Pinot Noirs will last 15 years, Grand Crus (depending on the vintage) from the Cote de Nuits, generally will - although be careful how they are stored.

You said you are not limited to Burgundy. Well I would head for Bordeaux or Northern Rhone (or Australia).

Bordeaux: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Pauillac, Margaux, St. Estèphe. These are the wines that have a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon (whereas Pomerol and St. Emilion are about 80% Merlot).

The Northern Rhône is almost 100% Syrah (or you may know it as Shiraz). Again like Cab Sauv, Syrah lasts. I would head for a Cote Rotie, even a well known 'dynasty' producer like Guigal or Jaboulet Aine will do well. Other N. Rhone wines are St. Joseph, Hermitage. Avoid Crozes Hermitage if it is not for keeping (although it is a fab wine and I love it).

Did someone mention Cab Sauv and Shiraz??? Don't forget Australia!!! Aus now makes excellent Cab Sauv and Shiraz to keep too. Producers like 'Two Hands' are excellent. An Old Vine Shiraz from the Barossa or a Cab Sauv from Coonawarra will be excellent!

Personally speaking, I am NOT convinced that Pinot Noir (red Burg) will last 15 to 18 years. When you open it, it will have lost all its fruit and will be brown in colour.

My vote goes to a classed growth Pauillac, a Côte Rotie, a Barossa Old Vine Shiraz or a Coonawarra Cab Sauv, or Shiraz.

(Anthony Murphy is qualified with the Wines & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Higher Certificate in England, and used to work in the UK and French wine trade).

Oh, and don't trust a CAVISTE! they are just salesmen, like market-traders ... they know that you will be gone next week, or they will be. Do not trust the local caviste!

Shirley has a very good point but with my experience as a professional 'conseillere de vins' and wine tour guide, living in Burgundy, I do consider I was giving 'expert' advice.

Obviously I can't publicise my business but those of you who may be interested can find out what I do listed on my personal page. Also, if anyone else is interested in purchasing a drop of wine on their way through Burgundy please do not hesitate to contact me for free advice on where to taste (not from me as I no longer sell wine, I just work with numerous vignerons).

Yes there is, thy have Clos de Vougeot, Bonnes Mares, Mazoyeres Chambertin and Musigny (one of my favourites although just gulped at the price). Some of the 2010 won't have been bottled yet as well. BBR is the site that many of my clients use and I don''t really know any others as I just go direct to the cellar.

Ben gives sound advice. Next time you drive down south (as you're not flying EasyJet anymore) stop in Burgundy overnight - the A6 takes you right through it and I can recommend a few places for you to visit. Maybe meet up and say hello if it's not a busy period. No idea about websites, as I live right in the middle of the vineyards so only ever buy direct from the cellar - not that my budget is up to Grand Cru but I do taste them all the time with my clients. In fact I'm doing a Grand Cru tasting in Morey St Denis on Monday, mmm Latricieres Chambertin, Clos de la Roche and Bonnes Mares are all on the list. The clients are then having lunch in La Lameloise - 3* Michelin restaurant but unfortunately I wont be joining them :-(.

When in France I'd suggest you go to your local "caviste", the caveman that sells wines. Normally they're good experts and will give a sound advice what to buy based on your preferences. The year is only a small indication of the wine's potential to keep them over a long period, it's the general expression of mostly favorable or unfavorable climatic conditions). It's more the craftsmanship of the vinyard-owner, the way he works his vines over the year, a reduced yield etc. and of course the "terroire"....

try this for Cote de nuits hope it works

I can't find any Burgundy Cote de Nuits Grand Cru for 2010 :( I'm looking on - can you recommend any good websites?

Thanks Tracy - I'll look out then for Cotes de Nuit Grand Cru Magnums- sounds like a much better idea. Thank you xxx

P.S. will be stored in our garage which has a good humidity, temperature etc. we've an old stone house and have been keeping wine down there ok for a few years now. Dusty but cool & steady. I do love a good burgundy - lucky you tasting a Pommard :)

You're a lucky lady Suzanne, 2009 and 2010 are excellent years for keeping in Burgundy, 2012 is still a little early to tell but even though it has been a tough year in Burgundy and the harvest is small, 2012 seems to be of very good quality. If you want to keep a wine for 18 years plus then you need to be looking at a Grand Cru at least, however all Grand Cru's are not the same. I'm not saying village or premier Cru wines wont last that long, I tasted an excellent 1962 Pommard just last week, it's just that to be sure, Grand Cru is the way to go.

If you are looking at red then go for a Cote de Nuits red, not a Cote de Beaune, although it may keep long enough the Cote de Nuits Grand Crus last better.

The other thing you need to bear in mind is where you are going to keep these wines, the wine I tasted was lovely but it had sat in the winemakers own cellar since 1962 and had never moved. You need to be sure that your wine will be kept in optimum conditions, stable temperature, constant humidity and away from the light. Also, for storing a length of time, magnums are better than standard bottles.

Apart from that, you need to decide what type of wine you actually like, although bear in mind most 2009s from the Burgundy cellars are in very short supply as it was an exceptional year so you need to sort it out soon, have fun.