The best wines are the ones we drink with friends, and with husbands too, sometimes.
I’ve always enjoyed a good glass of wine but over the years I’ve developed a new appreciation and have learned selection is everything. Now while Michael and I might not always agree, he is a bit more technical than I am. I tend to go strictly by taste. However, we can agree – along with many of our friends who defer to him at a dinner party or when we’re out – he does know how to find the best wine at the best value. So, why not a Wine Wednesday series?
I’ve asked Michael to introduce himself below and share a little bit about his passion for wine and I’ve included a few pictures from our trip to Italy a few years back where we sampled quite a few bottles.
Michael: Like many (most?) Europeans, I was raised with wine. Not in quantity, but enough to make alcohol a non-event, as well as to instill in me a lasting love for wine.
In my adult years I studied wine. I read about it insatiably. At one point I had more wine books than bottles. And then, around 1982, I decided to start building a collection. The house I had just moved into had an underground cellar with a capacity of over 3,000 bottles. Filling it would be a challenge and a pleasure.
But what to buy? All the books I owned were written by English wine experts (Johnson, Broadbent, Penning-Rowsell, Robinson etc). These experts all wrote the same words, used the same descriptions, bowed their heads before the same grand French chateaux. They were all so formulaic. I drank the wines they recommended, and some were as good as they said, but their adjectives did not resonate with what I was tasting.
And then a friend told me about a young lawyer from Maryland who had recently started publishing a newsletter about wine. This friend thought I would find him far more congenial. And so I was introduced to Robert Parker. Today, of course, Parker is the most dominant figure in the world of wine, but then he was relatively unknown. And my friend was right. For the first time, I read words that meant something, descriptions that reflected what I was experiencing in the glass, and opinions that were not dictated by the reputations of the growers he was writing about.
Over the next two or three years, I filled that cellar with Parker’s recommendations. As his own reputation grew, so did the value of the wines he had recommended, and when I moved over to the US, and was unable to take the collection with me, I found myself the owner of some very valuable bottles, none of which I had bought with the intention of selling. The auction at Christies at which they were sold was a bittersweet event for me.
Having owned some of the grandest bottles in the world (many of which I never even tasted), I have no interest in spending large amounts of money on wine. And I am no longer at an age where I can lay down cases to be drunk in a quarter of a century’s time. So, I have spent the last twenty years focusing on younger wines with more immediate drinkability. I look forward to sharing with you some of the wines that Sherri and I enjoy (and even some that I enjoy and she doesn’t).
I leave you today with a photo of three unopened remnants of my collection, brought over from London by hand. Between them, they have an age of 129 years.
Sherri again: So, if you have a moment, please follow along on Wednesdays, when we will feature one bottle a week and give you our honest and different opinions. As I said, he will get a bit more technical than I will (I tend to keep it a bit simpler) but, either way, let’s have some fun!.