some trends in my way of consuming wine in the last 16 years

As I had decided to write on all what I drink since end of 2000, I have data that I can analyze as I wish. It concerns nearly 15,000 wines on which I have notes.

I know that my trip in the world of wine does not represent the normal trip which is generally followed, but it could be interesting to give you some remarks on the way I have drunk wine on the last 16 years. I have divided the 16 years in periods of 4 years and I have tried to see if there are evolutions or tendencies.

There is no pretention, no will to show, just the will to give a testimony.

I drink old wines since 1970 but seriously since 1975. As my first notes were made end of 2000, there are 25 years of great wines for which I have no notes, and it makes me sad. My fault.

In the first period analyzed, 2002 – 2005, I was not very well known so the events that I could create to drink wines were less numerous as in the three periods of 4 years which follow.

The period when I have drunk the greatest number of wines is 2006-2009 with 4,159 wines. This represents 20 wines per week, nearly 3 per day. Said like that, one could think that I drink much too much but I have two remarks : when there is an official tasting in fairs or in a Domain, I drink only a sip of each wine. The second remark is that except for champagnes, I spit nearly every wine that I drink, in any circumstance, family, winery, restaurant and so on. All the restaurants where I go know that I will use my silver timbale.

The first thing which appears is that my consumption of Bordeaux (including red, white and liquorous) has been divided by two on this period. Bordeaux was 32% of what I drink and now is 15,7% on the last 4 years. The reasons could be that I have a greater interest in Champagne which represented less than 20% and is now at 33,6%.

There could be some other reasons : in restaurants, it is no more possible to order the greatest Bordeaux because the prices are crazy. Another reason is that I have discovered the world of old champagnes to which I allow significant budgets. The number of champagnes drunk has exploded and the age of the champagne that I drink come from 16 years to attain 23 years now.

More and more I consider that for each penny that I put in buying wines, the pennies put on old champagnes give me a greater pleasure when I drink them.

The Bordeaux that I still drink are older and older because I take them from my cellar and less from restaurants.

The fact that I open generally on 16 years more than 2 sweet wines per week, mainly Sauternes, is significant, because in the general trend of ignoring sweet wines, I continue to open these wines. It is due to my love for very old sauternes.

I have calculated the average age of wat I drink. If I drink a 1990 in 2005 it has 15 years and if I drink it in 2015 it has 25 years. Globally The average of what I drink has 30 years, among which the sweet wines have more than 50 years.

I wanted to go deeper in the analysis in keeping only wines having 20 years or more. Approximately I drink 50% of wines above 19 years and 50% of less than 20 years. For someone who is considered as drinking only old wines the young wines that I drink are very significant. This is due to what I drink in restaurants, in Domaines and in wine fairs.

If the wines have 20 years or more, their average age is 50 years and it has not changed on the 16 years. For Rhône and Champagne, my interest for old wines has extremely expanded in terms of age. As it can be imagined, old wines (20 years or more) represent nearly 80% of what I drink in liquorous because I do not see the interest in drinking young sweet wines. Same is for Bordeaux with 77% of wines having 20 years or more because for me a Bordeaux of less than 20 years does not provide what I expect.

I drink more than 8 old wines per week, so, more than one per day. This could mean that I have a certain passion for old wines! [cheers.gif]

There is a factor that I have not considered up to now, it is my age. As I grow older, white wines, even if I spit, represent a heavier weight on my body. Champagne is what I can drink more easily, even I do not spit. In summer, heavy wines are difficult to drink, when champagne is easily consumed.

So, my testimony would be as following :

  • The craziness of prices for Bordeaux has pushed me to abandon buys of Bordeaux and to avoid Bordeaux on the wine list of restaurants

  • I have discovered old Rhône and I try to drink them
  • My love for old champagnes has transformed my life of wine lover.

  • I continue to love old wines and even if the wines available on the market have not the same quality as what I used to buy 40 years ago, because of too many moves from one buyer to another, I continue to buy and drink these wines which give me unparalleled pleasure.

I hope that this text was not too boring to read and that my sheets can be understood. I do not pretend to represent the world of wine which has so much changed in the last 20 years (problem of fakes and too early consumption of wines which are not ready to be drunk), but I thought that my testimony could be of interest even if tiny.

“I know that my trip in the world of wine does not represent the normal trip which is generally followed, but it could be interesting to give you some remarks on the way I have drunk wine on the last 16 years. I have divided the 16 years in periods of 4 years and I have tried to see if there are evolutions or tendencies.”

Your posts are priceless…I aspire someday to attend one of your tastings. Keep you comments coming as I find they are the threads here that always make me smile…


Interesting data, esp. with regard to Champagne. Are you drinking more Champagne at the expense of Bordeaux, as the data might suggest, or instead of other whites?

Do you drink mostly the grand houses of Champagne or are there small growers whose Champagnes you like? If so, which ones.

I know for myself I drink more Champagne these days from growers such as Cedric Bouchard or Bereche, but for more expensive wines I am still going back to the grand names, lately particularly Taittinger Comte de Champagne, although last week I had a wonderful Clos des Goisses

This is a really interesting post. Thank you.

One of the things I noticed is that the average age of certain regional wines you drank aged with you: Bordeaux, Rhône, (roughly) Champagne. Do you think this was primarily because your core cellar as of 2002 was aging or that you bought in the interim wine from the same older vintages in 2002 as in 2017 or the combination?

Also regarding the 20-, 19+ analysis, I imagine this was also affected by the aging of your cellar as wines that were in the young category shifted to the older from 2002 to 2017. It might be interesting for you (and us!) to see if and how histograms of the vintages you drank by region over this period of analysis changed.

Again just a fascinating look back. And a testament to the meticulousness of your records.

The increase of champagne is related to my love for champagne and not to the decrease of Bordeaux. I have kept for Bordeaux a rather constant consumption of the old ones.

Concerning Champagnes, but also for other wines, there is no strategy of “discovery”. If a wine comes under my radar, I will drink it, but with no necessity to explore everything. It is through encounters that I have been interested in Selosse, Diebolt-Valois, Egly Ouriet, Agrapart, Philipponnat, but never because I had to explore them. I follow my path, taking advantage of opportunities and not with a constructed plan. Of course the big names are the most explored : Salon / Krug / Dom Pérignon / the old Moët which are fantastic

There are some years that I cherish and that I have bought in big quantities, like 1928, 1929, 1945, 1947. When I open them 10 years later, they are 10 years older and influence the statistics.
I will try to make a study about what you say.

How do you organize your 15,000 tasting notes, especially from the older pre-CT days? Do you have a spreadsheet or some other electronic document?

I have tried to see what is the evolution of consumption for the most drunk vintages which are before 1991.

I have tried to see if there is a tendency. To my surprise I see that on the last 4 years I have drunk less wines from these cherished vintages. But to see a tendency is very difficult

Since december 2000 I write a bulletin that I send to people who asked to receive my bulletin. This bulletin has 4 pages. I have pubklished this week the issue 761.

On my Excel sheet, for every wine there is the number of the bulletin.
recently there was a discussion about 1984 in Burgundy. On my sheet I selected Burgundy, then red, and 1984 and I had all the wines corresponding and the number of the bulletin was given. It helped me to find immediately the comments that I made.

it must be said that my comments are not as structured as what can be found in CT.

All the texts of my bulletins are also on my blog, and on the blog I can put as many pictures as I want. I have more than 25,000 pictures for around 15,000 wines, which makes a very consistant data base.

Thank you.