Wine collecting can be serious fun

It opens up a whole new world - one of wineries, vineyards and gourmet societies, says NK YONG

Published Thu, Mar 13, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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WINE collecting is one of those pastimes which can be serious as well as fun. The serious part should never be so serious that it overshadows the fun. I "collect" because I enjoy wine. I know of no other reason better than that. I bought more than immediately needed in order to store up for personal enjoyment and for sharing with friends. And like most collectors, I often bought on impulse, or just because I saw the bottle, or perhaps it was the last bottle, or perhaps it was on my list of "must haves". It was my good fortune that the 1982 Bordeaux en primeur campaign was announced early in 1983, in the highly respected Decanter, then the only wine magazine available. Further details about the en primeur campaign, in May-June 1983, made it clear that this was a "must-buy" period, a "no-brainer". You "ordered" the cases of wines you wanted, paid for them by the end of the same year (1983), and took delivery in two years' time, ie in spring of 1985.

In spring of 1983, the wines would have just been put into barrels to mature and you knew that they would spend close to 18-24 months in barrel. I also knew (1) that you should only buy from trustworthy merchants, and (2) you should buy the best.

I also came across The Wine Advocate at the same time - it was then very new, a bi-monthly publication whose first issue was in August 1978. Its May 1983 issue contained a comprehensive review of barrel-samples of the 1982 Bordeaux. I was hooked. Sadly, I did not buy enough. The Firsts were going at £240 per case, Petrus at £500 per case. I bought too little. Two reasons - both beginning with "C" - caution and cash!

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