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james laube's wine flights

Chances to Taste Older Wines

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Nov 24, 2006 1:18pm ET

Since I get many queries about tasting older wines, a couple of items that were brought to my attention this week are worth mentioning and passing along.

Beaulieu Vineyard is hosting a tasting of its library wines on Dec. 2 at the winery in Rutherford. It’s an opportunity to taste wines from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, as well as to buy some of those bottles, some of which are being offered in larger formats such as magnums.

It costs $30 and you need to make a reservation by calling the winery.

Another far more expensive way to sample older wines would be to buy some of the old Inglenook Cabernets, from the 1940s to 1960s, which are being auctioned on Dec. 9 in Los Angeles by Bonhams & Butterfields.

These wines won’t be cheap. Expect to pay a couple grand or more per bottle. But if you’re a serious connoisseur who has a few gaps in your tasting experiences, and money is no object, you might either take a run at some of these classics or pool your resources with friends and make a group buy.

Finally, the auction house is holding a pre-auction wine tasting on Thursday, Dec. 7, also in Los Angeles. You need to make reservations to attend that as well and you can find details, as well as an auction catalog, at Bonhams’ Web site.

I know many wineries host open houses and tastings of older wines (some of which you can find on our Web site in our Marketplace section), providing opportunities to taste what you might or might not be missing by not having older wines.

Mr Ed Fehring
Dublin,CA —  November 24, 2006 5:31pm ET
This Blog is in reference to the "Cover Story" of the November 30, 2006 issue of the Wine Spectator written by Mr. Marvin R. Shanken and Thomas Matthews.If you look at the Cover of the Magazine one can denote that the bottle of wine centered in the photo as a bottle of "Charles Shaw Merlot". I thought this article was about collecting wines for a wine cellar of presumefully "fine wines" or wines that that are notable to be collected...that is what the pedigree of the Wine Spectator magazine is all about (I thought)...And as pictured in this "Cover Wine Cellar" Photo adorning the Wine Spectator Magazine is this bottle of $2 Buck Chuck!!!It sicken me to know that this wine would adorn anyone's wine cellar as a notable find unless the wine cellar was a case of $2 Buck Chuck kept under one's bed!!!And considering that the other bottles of wines pictured in the photo express fine wines and wines that are several hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars worth is an absolutely insult to anyone collecting wines unless one was going to mock that wine ($2 Buck Chuck) and have a bottle in their cellar as a novelty joke wine....it was even rated in the same issue as a "77" point score!!!I thought the Wine Spectator Magazine was a classic wine journal that afforded respectable insights into the wine industry as a whole....I do acknowledge that $2 Buck Chuck made Charles Shaw millions of dollars from his novel approach to making wine and selling it to the public but to be the center trademark wine on the Cover Story of the November 30, 2006 Issue about "Wine Collecting" to me suggests a mockery to all the prestigic wine collectors in the world...Maybe it was a "GAG PHOTO" insert of that bottle of wine ($2 Buck Chuck Merlot..a.k.a.Charles Shaw Merlot) in the Cover Story Photo and specifically placed as the center bottle of wine in the photo for a JOKE. Whatever the reason I find the inclusion of that specific wine illustration as BAD TASTE!!!
James Laube
Napa, CA —  November 24, 2006 5:59pm ET
Ed, you're not the only one who wondered and here's our reply that has run for the past two weeks or so:"The wine cellar featured on the cover of the Nov. 30 issue belongs to Julien LeCraw of Atlanta, Ga. Mr. LeCraw and his 25,000-bottle collection were featured in a profile in the Dec. 31, 2005, issue of Wine Spectator. Mr. LeCraw has all the trophy wines you might imagine; he also has a sense of humor, which leads him to spotlight not only Cristal and Yquem, but also "Two-Buck Chuck" and Marilyn Merlot in his "wall of fame." We applaud wine lovers who combine passion for great wine with the understanding that wine collecting doesn't have to be too serious or solemn."
Mr Ed Fehring
Dublin,CA —  November 24, 2006 8:43pm ET
Well the Marilyn Monroe wines i have enjoyed many years...especially their Merlots produced in Oakville,CA...the bottle pictured on the cover for the "wine Collecting" article is a Marilyn Monroe Cabernet Saugvinon....where the magnum bottle has a special sleeve that can be removed revealing Marilyn in a nude layout....it is a very pricey wine too...I have been into wines over 35 years and most of my friends are owners of very respectable restaurants in the SF bay area....Thanks for the insight about the humorous "$2 Buck Chuck Merlot" displayed as part of that 25,000 bottle wine cellar....definitely a wine oddity sort of like the "Pet Rock" Fad....

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