Ok, so I'm a contrarian this a.m. - and instead of giving you some picks for your budget, I'm going to encouraging you to think about starting to put some gems in your cellar.
The timing has never been better for getting some great wines into your cellar - whether it's one a month or on a budget of as little as $200. Prices of "collectibles" - or wines that typically appealed to wine afficianados because they not only are distinctive for their taste and winemaking capabilities, but because they are in limited suppy and in contiunous demand by people whose passion (and pocketbooks) has allowed them to stock their cellars with these gems.
Additionally, these wines have continually appreciated over the past few years.
Now, I'm writing this story making the assumption that you're interested in collecting wine as an opportunity to have some bottles that you can try "on a rainy day". After all, wine is for drinking whether it's $10 a bottle or $100. It was put into the bottle to be opened one day and shared - and that's really what should motivate you. That you can have some bottles of those hard to find and special selections that won't cost you an arm and a leg and that you don't have to pay double for on a wine list.
If you're buying for appreciation - I'm not making any predictions on what the future will hold. I only know that there will always be a limited number of bottles of any one wine and that there has been a long history of rising prices in the past 20 years that has motivated collectors to by as an investment.
This story really isn't about that aspect of collecting. It's about having a moment in time when you can seek out your 'Picasso', call it your own, and decide when you want to drink it (or look at it if that's what gives you pleasure).
In a time of uncertainty, at least one thing is sure. You'll enjoy what you purchased, you will have no regrets and you'll say that even in a recession you were able to capitalize on an opportunity that wasn't previously available.