We asked the wine critic Rod Phillips to take a look at our current roster of wine on auction and there were more than a few that caught his eye.

Rod Phillips is a wine writer, wine historian and wine judge based in Ottawa, where he teaches in the Department of History at Carleton University, offering courses on European history and the history of alcohol and food. He has written for Vines (Canada’s main wine magazine), a weekly wine column for the Ottawa Citizen, and wine features for NUVO Magazine. He also contributes to The World of Fine Wine (U.K.) and GuildSomm.com, the Guild of Sommeliers’ website. His book, The 500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO, is an annual best-seller. Follow him on Twitter: @rodphillipswine


It’s tempting at auctions like this to go for the iconic wines: the First Growths of Bordeaux and the big names of Bourgogne and elsewhere. But often the best buys are from reputable names in the less-known regions.  These half-dozen caught my eye. Some are well-known, others not so much.

RH 012 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2003

I’ve long been a fan of the Old Telegraph, not only because it’s so often delicious, but also because the label shows the signal tower built in 1793 as part of the preparations as the French Revolutionary government went to war with the rest of Europe (and mostly won until Napoleon ruined things). I was in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the summer of 2003, and experienced the killer heat that led to grapes being picked weeks earlier than usual throughout France. Not all wines came through well, but Châteauneuf-du-Pape did better than many regions.

RH 016-020 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2005

If you don’t want to take your chances with the 2003, you can’t go wrong with one (or more) of these from 2005. That was an excellent growing season and these wines should be just right for drinking now and over the next ten years.

AU 001 Penfolds Grange 2002

Grange is Australia’s iconic wine, and you’ll pay for the pleasure of drinking it. Is it worth it? That depends on your wallet and your palate. 2002 was an exceptional vintage and I’d say it’s just opening its drinking window. You could hold it another ten, twenty years, easily. But if I had this bottle, I’d be drinking it in the next five years, as I like these wines at the younger end of their evolutionary spectrum.

CT 011 Louis Jadot Clos de la Roche 2005

This is Grand Cru from Morey-Saint-Denis and 2005 was an excellent vintage. It’s a pretty wine but it has a certain concentrated solidity to it. It should be drinking very well now and over the next five years. Again, I prefer to drink younger than older.

SP 003-007 Muga ‘Torre-Muga’ Rioja 2004

2004 was very good vintage in Rioja and this wine has only recently reached its wide drinking window. I suggest drinking it in the next 5-10 years and sooner rather than later so that you catch the freshness of the fruit. There are five bottles of this on offer, so your chances are good.

VO 001 Domaine Huet Vouvray le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 1976

It’s 40 years old but these wines have staying power. I’ve tasted them 50 years older than this in the past ten years. If you can snag this bottle you might be in for a real treat of fresh deliciousness.


Rod Phillips