No worries Greg. It not an argument and didn’t mean to be “snarky”. I love tasting blind. I’m just doubtful that regions and vineyards can be pinned blind in champagne. I’m open to the possibilities though and certainly there may be tasters out there that can ultimately make my statement look foolish (it certainly not me).
I think regions (e.g., Cote des Bar v Cote des Blancs) are guessable. Village and vineyard are much harder but doable (e.g., if you can pin down Marguet, you may be able to differentiate between Ambonnay and Ay). But if you took a bunch of growers that people haven’t ever heard of and tried to guess village/vineyard, I doubt even the most experienced MS is going to be able to get it right.
With Champagne I’m just happy to usually get varietal right. I can usually pick out a couple of producers but that’s about it. Picking out villages I"d have no hope.
On the subject of buying if starting out:
Producer over fancy appellation name just about always. The one regret I have about my Burgundy buying is occasionally purchasing certain bottles when I started drinking it because it said “Chambertin” or “Grand Rue” on it. That’s how you end up with Lamarche or Damoy in your cellar. I’d much rather drink village burgundy from great producers than grand cru from middling/bad producers. With the latter, you often end up paying for the rising tide of great producers lifting all the other boats. I’d rather pay for the better captains, to torture the metaphor further. In other places this can apply to vintages, too. I’d much rather have a Pichon Lalande from a great vintage than a Latour from a bad one.
Sometimes there aren’t replacements for things*. There has been some advice here that most grower champagne is similar, so buying midrange bottlings of grower producers generally is fine since they’re mostly interchangeable. I don’t agree with this - wines aren’t interchangeable. I think the Boloree is Bouchard’s best wine, but I can’t replace it with two bottles of Marguet or Laherte. Obviously I have to make a decision whether or not I want to keep buying Boloree at its higher price, but buying two bottles of Marguet’s Bermonts wouldn’t be a solution (and I like the Bermonts). There is no amount of Beaucastel that will replace a bottle of Rayas - they’re just different experiences.
The more I drink the more I agree with Robert and others - more high end wines and fewer daily drinkers. I don’t agree that the grand crus/1er crus/village converge in time - I actually think they generally diverge more over time; wines are often more similar on release when oak and primary fruit are more prominent. The more I drink, the more i want one great glass of wine rather than 3 I’m less excited about. I guess I’m getting old
Bordeaux en primeur is overrated unless you want specific sizes. The appreciation is mostly priced in on release, Bordeaux survives questionable storage much better than most other wines, and there is so much of it made. And you have to pay to store it. Whereas if you want Burgundy or Champagne…
I agree with this, but given that much of champagne is blended as it is, guessing the village isn’t what I’m focusing on. Producer, vintage/age, grapes are all much more doable. I’m not pretending I have friends who can regularly pick out Suenen’s Cocluette or Bereche’s Rilly blind. But could I call a wine as a 2017 base pinot meunier grower bottling? Maybe. Maybe not
One of my (in retrospect) fondest memories of this year was nearly getting kicked* out of a very stuffy restaurant in Champagne after we ordered an undrinkable bottle of 1999 Mailly made by the the coop. One of our friends wanted to order it because no one other than Bereche makes a Mailly, and we were curious. It was undrinkable, but just goes to show how hard it is to call individual villages when sometimes no one else there makes wine! If only de Vogue made Musigny, we might put its quality down to bad terroir.
*For the high crime of trying to pour our own wine. I don’t think we were actually going to get kicked out, but I’ve never seen a French waiter move faster.
I agree, the ones that quadruple in price overnight because of Instagram or whatever are not generally superior to the best of those that have not. Just let those go and move on.
Sorry to hear it, thanks for sharing, I am your age.
Best wishes for a solid recovery.
You’re still young.
It isn’t a question want to drink more, it’s a question of shouldn’t drink more, at least for some of us aged ones.
Or there is a vintage that has tariffs, COVID and an absence of critics. Personally, I would prefer to pay more, and not have these.
My guess is that as interest rates begin to rise, we may see consumer reluctance to pay up front, and lesser prices, but not much less.
So interestingly, I posted my own “I’m done now” threads closing down both my wine and spirits purchases. And then the worldwide issue hit us. And there was nothing to do. And I taught myself to become a craft cocktail mixologist. And it opened back up again due to the unusual circumstances. And now I’m right back there with you. I looked over my wine purchases for all of 2022 so far and was shocked to find that I’ve purchased all of 4 bottles of Champagne and 2 bottles of Kracher. There’s a couple of other bottles Kracher coming for the last LCBO release in December and that’s it.
And you know, it’s time. I’m going to have a cellar depressurization event next summer and what’s going out will not be replenished. It’s time to enjoy actually consuming the stuff.
I’m with you there Sarah. I turned 75 this year and am still holding 40 cases of wines with vintages over 30 years. I can’t see myself buying any but a few daily drinkers either.
I told myself I was done years ago, but that has not stopped me from buying. My theory (learned this from Ray) is you buy blue chip stuff in case quantities and keep everything in the original packaging and you will be fine, whether you drink it or sell it. It is the daily drinkers you have to drink or you may have to sell at a loss.
I don’t think the Place reacts fast enough to these things….
The futures campaign has already started. Plenty of producer hype already hitting the net. It will go into high gear end of February as inventory levels are looked at, and discussions with customers begin.
Things have changed. The negociants may be entrusted with selling wines, but the chateaux know most, if not all the importers and distributors. So moving fast is not an issue.
However the dance of who releases first and at what price sets the tone. From that you will see each chateau owner looking around and wondering what his neighbor is doing.
The dance is elaborate and fun to watch, particularly as in the case of this vintage, I have nothing to gain or lose, as I will be buying a case or two of favorites, no more.
with you 1000%. The problem is I enjoy buying wine. The possibility of tasting something great I have not tasted before. Or tasting something great again that I just ran out of. I have cut back significantly tho. And no new Bordeaux.
I’m with Sarah on this. My wine purchases in 2020 and 2021 were ~60 bottles each year. This year > 10 (and 2 of those were low price 375’s.
Dan (69) with roughly 200 bottles (don’t laugh) down from a high of 250.
I am sorry to hear this, but very happy to hear the tumor is in stasis. GBM took my step father at the age of 55. Prayers for your continued recovery. GBM is a bitch.
I think I am in a different position to many in this thread. We have just retired and whilst our pensions are good, we have to adjust to living on around a third of our previous salaries. I bet my stash is smaller than many. If we set out to drink it at our normal rate it would take about 5 years to get through it. We have wines with up to 30 years ahead of them though by which time we will be 90. So arguably we have a third of what we could drink if life and livers hold out. I plan to keep buying, but have no younger family members who are that bothered about wine, so I have no intention of leaving a stash. The plan as far as it goes is to buy more short term wines and pick from the stash as they mature. And definitely more 375s in case one of us goes off the stuff.
Best thing that every happened to me on wine berserkers is the monthly inventory reduction thread.
At almost 64, I am down to less than 325 bottles and will backfill as needed only.
What was the maximum size of your cellar before you started reducing it?