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A wine sampler

In my Cambridge days I was a wine snob from the late 60’s to the late 70’s. After I started the company my wine drinking dried up, along with almost every thing else except work. Here are a few anecdotes and such about wine.

Chilean Reds

Once I acquired a bottle of a particularly vile Chilean red (it is my firm conviction that there is no other kind). I sampled a glass of it and threw out the contents of the glass (better that than consuming it and throwing up the contents of the glass). By chance however I did not discard the bottle. A bit later on, being both brave and forgetful, I essayed another trial, this time using a plastic tumbler. It was much improved. Mind you it was not good but it was potable. At first I thought that it was simply a matter of a good airing. Not so. I undertook a scientific experiment, alternately tasting from a glass tumbler and from a plastic tumbler. It definitely tasted better in plastic. Truly a wine for our times.

Algerian Reds

The potability of inexpensive Algerian Red wines may be understood when you realize that the bottle is more expensive than the contents.

Fine Dining, ala Richard

Marsha Elkin Jones is fond of relating the tale of a dinner I once prepared and served. The main course was hamburgers, peppers, and onions sauted in butter, served with a Lafitte Rothschild. Dessert was strawberries served Chateau d’Yquem. Let it never be said that I stint on the wine.

Inexpensive wine

Never be afraid to open an expensive bottle of wine. You have already paid for it; drinking it costs nothing.

Wine prices

It was a good time to be a wine snob. Prices of good wine were modest; a bottle of a premier Chateau would be under twenty dollars a bottle. I recently opened my last bottle of 1967 Chateau d’Yquem; the price tag was $19.95. Eat your hearts out, you wine freaks. You could get a very nice wine for 3-4 dollars. Nowadays wine prices are intimidating.

I was particularly fond of German dessert wines which were pricey even in those days. More than once I paid over $100 a bottle for a trockenbeerenauslese. These were in pre Nixon/Carter dollars; definitely expensive. But, as I say, it cost nothing to drink them.

Birthday Port

Tony Lewis and company chipped in together to get me an eighty year old port for my fortieth birthday. Let me say this about eighty year old port; Port that good is a positive sin. I still remember the taste of it.

A bottle of port his old requires special treatment. You have this encrusted old bottle of wine thick with sediment. You decant it very carefully into a decanter. Decant is wine-snob for pour; a decanter is the thing you pour it into. The game is to get the wine out of the bottle without the sediment. One decanted you drink it very slowly, savoring every mouthful.

Thanks for the memories, guys.

This page was last updated February 17, 1998.