Favorite "second" wine

I briefly searched through the threads, but could not find this topic.

What is your favorite "second" wine, from any country?

I haven't had a ton of luck with second labels, but two standouts that I never hesitate to reach for are:

- La Dame de Montrose: (Obviously, the little sister of Chateau Montrose. Every vintage that I have had, including the "off" years are excellent buys, including the '07 that I opened last night.)

- Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana IGT: (The little sister to Sassacaia. At a 1/4 of the price, IMO, it's hard to beat this second wine. Tasted side-by-side on more than one occasion, the Guidalberto is simply an earlier drinking "Sass.")
Original Post
What is a second wine? Most wineries produce more than one wine, but they are not necessarily "second wines" related to a specific "first wine". Is Le Volte a second wine from Ornellaia? Is one producers Rosso di Montalcino the second wine to its Brunello di Montalcino? Is Alion second wine from Vega Sicilia? Not really. The The terminology is correct in Bordeaux and maybe in wineries that produce only one well known wine (Dominus), my favourite is Fiefs de Lagrange.

Outside of Bordeaux i'd rather speak of different labels or series, eg consider the different labels from Penfold's.
quote:
What is a second wine? Most wineries produce more than one wine, but they are not necessarily "second wines" related to a specific "first wine". Is Le Volte a second wine from Ornellaia? Is one producers Rosso di Montalcino the second wine to its Brunello di Montalcino? Is Alion second wine from Vega Sicilia? Not really.




Many wineries outside of Bordeaux openly produce "second" wines, which is exactly why posed the question. A "second" wine might be defined as being produced from younger vines and/ or a barrel that didn't make the cut...

And correction, the terminology far proceeds that of Bordeaux. Case in point: "Second Flight," from Screagle, "Altagracia," from Araujo, "DB4" from Bryant Family, "The Maiden," from Harlan...among MANY others.

So, back to the OP...any favorites?
Ok, there are producers that openly call one wine their second wine. Apart from those, things become a little more difficult. There can be many reasons for grapes not belonging to the producers top wine. As you point out, some producers make a "second wine" out of the younger vines from top Crus. Eg. Roulot makes an understated Bourgogne blanc from its young Meursault grapes. Some producers produce second wines with grapes of lesser quality. However, there can be Geographical reasons as well, simply because the vineyard lies outside of the top appellation. In that case a Bougogne blanc can be made with the best old vines from the region.
Both are sold as Bourgogne blanc, are both second wines?

The term "second wine" is arbitrarily given to some of their cuvées by the producers. It is absolutely not a clearly defined category of wine, there are no national or international standards defining what a "second wine" is. It says absolutely nothing about the quality of the wine, the method of production, the age of the vines. It is used arbitrarily, one producer uses young vines, others use crap grapes, others use grapes from geographically different vineyards. The terms only purpose is helping the producer selling a wine. Ornellaias second wine, sounds like buying a little bit of the great Ornellaia. Les Forts de Latour sounds better than "an overpriced Médoc". Great reason for selling it above the price of equally good competitors.
Good post. Just to be clear, I have tried second wines that, depending on the vintage, have been at least equally on par with producers' first wines. Generally speaking, if you do a little homework, you can find some truly great wines at the fraction of the cost. My list:

1. Pavillon Rouge (most recently, the 2005: https://truebottle.com/index.h...rame=6&excludeterms=

2. Forts de Latour

3. Croix de Beaucaillou (the first wine here is Ducru Beaucillou)
quote:
Originally posted by dzitt:
If I'm not wrong, Le Volte is the third wine of Ornellaia, Serre Nuove being the second...

dzitt


Correct. From the Ornellaia website

"A true ‘Second vin’ of Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia was first introduced with vintage 1997, resulting from the decision to carry out an even more rigid selection during the blending phase of the base wines which give life to Ornellaia."
quote:
Originally posted by steve8:
quote:
Originally posted by dzitt:
If I'm not wrong, Le Volte is the third wine of Ornellaia, Serre Nuove being the second...

dzitt


Correct. From the Ornellaia website

"A true ‘Second vin’ of Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia was first introduced with vintage 1997, resulting from the decision to carry out an even more rigid selection during the blending phase of the base wines which give life to Ornellaia."


Tasted both and Le Volte is not worth the price and the hype, the Serre Nuove being muche better (even if twice the price). Only have the Serre Nuove in the cellar...

dzitt
Hauts de Pontet and Pagodes de Cos stand out.

Only had the Guidalberto once, and it didn't make enough of an impression to go back (maybe too young or not a good vintage).

Don't know if it qualifies as a second but the Morellino di Scansano Riserva Poggio Valente from Le Pupille was best QPR at $30 I've seen for a while and very very good.
I've been disappointed by a number of BDX seconds. I've had mediocre bottles of Carruades and Pavillon Rouge, as well as others. I once had a decent Pagodes de cos, though at the time it cost about $20 and could be considered a decent value. All in all I'd much rather have the first wines of lesser houses.

However, from other regions the second wine, or the regional wine behind a bigger name, may often prove to be both excellent and great value. For instance, some Loire CF producers have single vineyard wines and then one (or more) regional or house bottlings. In that regard Baudry's Domaine is an excellent bottle.

From Napa I think the Ridge SCM is pretty good, but I'd probably take Montelena's napa first, and the regular Heitz is consistently good as well. We don't drink a ton of CA cab but if I want one I know that these are reliably very good.
Shane - Moselle had a good point. I assume you are interested in "second" wines that are called second wines by the producers. The problem there is that you get into the definition, etc., but I guess it's fair if the winery is calling it a second.

Other than that, there are many wines that might be considered seconds, but they aren't. The Finca Dofi mentioned is an excellent example and in fact, I've even heard people refer to it as a "second" wine. But it's from a different vineyard than l'Ermita and the producer actually owned that vineyard before he bought the more famous one. Ditto the Alion and Unico.

So if you're looking at a line-up of wines from a producer, and you're asking which one the producer thinks is his "best", and it's usually the most expensive, that's one way to define the term. But some of those "seconds" are based on barrels or lots rejected from the first wine, and some of the seconds are simply from different places or made of different blends or from younger vineyards or from sourced fruit and it's more arbitrary to call them seconds because there's no commonality.

Even more interesting is Aldo Conterno - his most expensive wine is a blend of his single vineyards, which he also bottles and sells. Hard to say which is the second wine there but it's not the way they usually do it in the Rhone or Burgundy.

BTW, if you haven't tried it, you should try the Dofi. It's a great wine.
My experience with Bdx second wines is very limited, and more disappointing than I would like. For the most part, I would try to stay away from seconds in all but the very best vintages.

Probably my favorite "second" wine has been Shafer's "One Point Five" cabernet, or the precursers variously labeled simply "Napa Valley" or "Stags Leap District".

Do NV Champagnes count as "Second Wines"? If so, I have a few more ideas for this thread. Wink
All this talk about second wines compelled me to pop a 2005 Blason d'Issan tonight. The palate is a bit hollow and puckery, but what a nose! Mainly red berry fruit on the nose along with cedar, vanilla, a hint of leather, and a fantastic floral perfume that pervades all that. Rather smell this than drink, but that's okay.
My favorite is Seavey's Caravina Cab. It's a little more fruit-forward and approachable when young than their primary cab, but both still improve with age.
I have found that most of the other Napa "2nd labels" cabs are a far cry from their counterpart, although my experience is limited.
when i was a cigar smoker a million years ago "second labels" were often distanced from there bigger and more recognized "primary label". I used to think napanook was a 2nd wine to dominus until I was put in my place when I meet Christian Moueix (sorry if I misspelled his name, did not look it up going off of memory) a million years ago.

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