A dangerous obsession

IMG_1828 Twenty years ago, having six bottles in my posession was a thing of wonder and joy. Twenty years later my dangerously expanding cellar is a source of inspiration and joy.

I am constantly tempted to buy more bottles, the world of wine just has so much to offer, so many tastes, so many nuances.

But this nagging danger remains, will I ever drink it all? Or is this becoming a a dangerous (and futile) obsession. And there are holes, so many holes to fill…

To keep bottles for twenty five years (à la Chasse Spleen 1986) is something I would have been incapable of twenty years ago (sic). And to look at all those bottles,  living and evolving entities, is inspiring and exciting.

Ah for the joys of the vine.

"Looking good, Sam!" "Feeling good, Tod!"

“Looking good, Sam!”
“Feeling good, Tod!”

About matthewhayesbrognon

Wine Merchant
This entry was posted in VF - Pour encourager les autres. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A dangerous obsession

  1. Recently, the “collector” Don Stott sold a monsterous cache of high-end wine, mostly burgundy, at auction. Actually, what Stott did was suck up multiple cases of small-production wines in the way that commercial ocean trawlers with vast nets suck up everything on the ocean floor. So long as you can identify in your wine-lover’s heart why you bought each of 20 or 200 or 2,000 bottles, it’s not dangerous. Probably, it’s a good idea to designate a person who gets the leftovers, when the time comes.

    • Peter,
      I tired to reply earlier but I think it was lost. The reference to Don Stott is amusing, for like Yorick, I knew him well. One former infamous client, Chrish Peel of Carolina Wine Comapnay said he was “richer than God”. My previous employer, Caveau de la la Tour, sold him, ersonally, more than 2 million euros of winein 2007. I repeat 2 million euros!
      Madness, but that was what was going on then. Rudy Kurniawan etc. it was all madness. ANd although I can’t make affirmations, for many a sale was more important than provenance.
      In his defence, Don did drink the stuff – and offered it generously; at his home in New jersey, Musigny 45 from de Vogue or DRC were common currency. I never attended. I fear generous as he was, he was much abused. And much as I liked him personally, his employing an agent to buy indescrimaintely showed an attitude of more money than sense.
      For my own part, my “collectiuon” is for personal fulfillment and occasional nirvana, and as you write, come the hour it will be destined to a definite few with direct but heartfelt instructions!
      Thanks for the comment.


      • phellman@rcn.com says:

        Matthew, In November 1978, in a Nicolas shop in Paris, just before returning to NYC, I splurged on a Vogue Musigny ’61. It was priced at around $45 in old francs, I believe, and was the most expensive wine I ever bought. But when to drink such a treasure? The answer came suddenly on my birthday when my bride of three months, Susan, was baking my dish of choice, brandade de morue, in an old oval Provencal porcelain dish. I was in the living room reading when I heard a crash from the kitchen. Ran in and discovered the dish and its contents in shards all over the kitchen floor. And Susan, of course, in tears. I took in the situation in silence for a moment, then said, “Well, this calls for the best bottle in the house!” We savored it with salad, cheese, and bread. Perfect! This ’61 VV, as I remember it 36 yrs later, was not quite as silky feminine as other vintages, perhaps. Not that I’ve had them. BTW, the circular red Nicolas stamp, “Ce vin doit etre decantee,” and “Nicolas Reserve” stickers, so well utilized by Rudy Kurniawan, are all on this bottle. At his trial, the custom-made stamps and stickers in abundance were offered in evidence.

      • As it happens, my most memorable bottle was one of the last I shared with my mother at Christmas 2000. It was a bottle of Lafite 1953 that my father had bought, along with a ’55 and a ’53 La Tâche, when he became a consultant surgeon. It cost the princely sum of 26 shillings (about four dollars!). What I remember most though is the brilliance of the wine; it could have been made five years before, not forty seven. It was magnificent and if ever there was a testimony to the truth of terroir, this was it.
        I don’t think he’ll ever drink the ’55, but I suggested at his last supper – but I guess that’s hard to predict! Is Susan still making you Brandade de Morue?

      • phellman@rcn.com says:

        The thing about Bdx is that it never cleaves to terroir as the Burgundians do. I seem to recall that Lafite added some vineyard land not contiguous to the chateau a few years ago. You can do that in Bdx, and still call it Lafite, so long as the outlying parcel is within the appellation. Even though the same standards of wine making obviously apply, this business of satellite parcels puts me off a bit. Meawnhile, may that ’55 La Tache be poured sooner rather than later….

        In response to your question about the brandade de morue, I just went to the fridge and took out a wooden box of salt cod that’s been in the rear for months and started soaking it out. Susan is visiting her 91 yr-old dad in Northampton MA this weekend. The dish (unbroken, I hope) will be available for her return Sunday evening).


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