We tend to think of the best wines in the world as rarities—in fact, the current term for super-sought-after, once-in-a-lifetime bottles amidst the sommelier crowd is “unicorn wines.” But the truth is that there are some great wines out there that are also produced in surprisingly large quantities; and, many winemakers will tell you, it’s actually easier to make a few hundred amazing bottles from a single tiny vineyard than it is to maintain that quality over 20 or 30 thousand cases, for instance. Here are five that manage to be both mind-blowing and findable (though, unfortunately, not cheap—that goal has yet to be attained).
2011 Château Lagrange ($75). Only 61 properties are on the list of Bordeaux’s classified growths; taken together, it’s the most famous group of wineries in the world. Of them, Lagrange has the largest single vineyard, 280 acres, which yields over 23,000 cases per year of this classically cassis-scented, elegant red.
2011 Graham's Vintage Port ($95). Want a wine that can age for twenty or thirty years, no question, for less than $100? Vintage port is the answer, and the Graham's 2011, from an extraordinary year in the Douro Valley, is one of the best choices around. Layered, complex, with luscious plum, black cherry and dark chocolate notes followed by plush tannins, it's gorgeous now and will be even better in a couple of decades. And 7,000 cases of it were produced.