American screen actor Burgess Meredith once said: “Wine, it’s in my veins and I can’t get it out.” This sums up my thoughts and relationship with the king of all drinks — and it is a concept I am sure anyone who loves really good wine understands perfectly.
Although I have appreciated wine from a relatively young age, I can still remember the moment my love affair with the best wines started. On a visit to my local wine store I found a bottle of 1990 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne. What an eye opener! It was delicious, with an absolutely perfect balance, which was reminiscent of vintage white wine. This one bottle was such a memorable experience that it sparked my interest in collecting fine wines — and in particular the very finest and rarest Champagnes.
Over the past ten years my collection has grown hand-in-hand with my own personal knowledge and expertise of wines. Now, while some people may view wine as an investment, this was not really my intention. Sure, when carefully selected, sourced from reputable suppliers and with a proven provenance, the right vintages have certainly seen considerable growth in values, but my interest has always been first and foremost the wine itself.
The word passion is perhaps overused, but I can think of no better way to describe my relationship with wine. England’s King Edward VII summed up why I feel this way when he said: “One not only drinks the wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it and — one talks about it.” In other words wine is to be savoured to the fullest and time given to fully appreciating it. And of course it is meant to be drunk!
For this reason every vintage in my collection has been tasted and approved by me personally to ensure its quality. The result is a selection of rare wines that have been chosen for their quality, have impeccable provenance and been cosseted in state-of-the art controlled cellar conditions.
I am very proud of my personal collection and it is a difficult decision to offer it for sale. However, I am a firm believer that one of the greatest delights of collecting wines is not just sampling the products but sharing them with like-minded connoisseurs. Indeed, I heartily endorse American intellectual, author and TV personality Clifton ‘Kip’ Fadimang’s comment: “A bottle of wine begs to be shared; I have never met a miserly wine lover.”