Pillow Talk

Expensive Wine

He said: 95% of the wine that I have had retails for under $30 a bottle. Most of the time that I buy expensive wine ($100+) it is as a gift for someone else. For whatever reason, I have trepidation about opening/drinking expensive bottles. I always think that it should saved for a special occasion; but just what is that occasion? Even the $100 bottle of Williams Selyem that I bought for Her (and We were supposed to drink on my birthday) is still cellared. When I go to Her house I marvel at the amount of Sine Qua Non (and many other expensive bottles) that she has. And more SQN seems to arrive frequently. How many bottles of SQN do you have? 50?

She said: No, no. Way more than that.

He said: Yeah, I know it’s a lot. But really, I’m not even remotely tempted to drink it, even though I know how good it is. The fact that it is rare and expensive is truly intriguing, but I would have a fair amount of anxiety opening any of the bottles. Which is weird. It’s like people who bought Star Wars action figures and didn’t take them out of the package because they knew they would increase in value; something that was meant to be played with can’t even be touched. I feel the same way about expensive wine, it’s not meant to be drunk. When our friend Harrison opened a bottle of SQN recently at a dinner party, my first thought was, “are you sure?” I was, of course, happy she did open it and it was the best wine I’ve ever tasted, but, that’s a lot of $$$, and one less bottle of something rare that is meant to be collected. I guess it makes Her collection worth more.

She said: It really was a treat when Harrison opened the “Just for the Love of It.” But then again, why should We consider it such a sacred thing? Wine is for drinking, and what better way to enjoy a bottle (whether it be expensive or not) with dear friends over an amazing meal? That said, the wine was totally spectacular and I felt serious and contemplative over the first few sips, knowing that it was a rarity to taste the wine. (Which I have before, by the way. And still own bottles of.)

I have to say that there are moments when I feel embarrassed about having a wine collection…especially one with so much of Manfred’s wine in it. It feels overly-extravagant. Then again, the wines are truly outstanding. And my love of the wines vintage after vintage is very much tied up in my relationship with Manfred. When I first started getting SQN (his first vintages) I popped open the bottles all the time. And probably at the wrong time–like at 1:30 a.m. when the house party was going strong and empty bottles were piling up. Makes me shake my head at myself. Then again, those were great moments.

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  1. Joe says:

    That trepidation is shared by many. I have about 30 bottles right now, but I might as well have none, because I don’t dare drink any of them (and I’m scared to drink a $50 bottle).

  2. Ed Thralls says:

    I have those very same thoughts on many occasion. Each time the “good stuff” is pulled from the rack, you think is this a $50-70 type of evening? It sucks to think that way, but we can’t help it sometimes. But, we have been working hard on building a cellar that allows us to do that more often. I mean, we aren’t saving that wine for retirement for crying out loud. So, we now have many more days where we don’t feel too bad about pulling one “for the hell of it”. That’s what we bought it for.. enjoy it… Cheers!

  3. Joe says:

    good point, Ed. I think a lot of the trepidation comes from only owning 1 bottle of something special. Once you can start acquiring 2, 6, or a full case, it’s easier to part with the bottles and experience them at different stages of development.

  4. Amy says:

    That trepidation is shared by many. I have about 30 bottles right now, but I might as well have none, because I don’t dare drink any of them (and I’m scared to drink a $50 bottle).

  5. I know this is an old post, but I just read it. I was speaking with a winemaker Friday who is also a friend of Manfred’s. He told me his wife recently asked him why they had all of this Sine Qua Non just sitting around waiting to be drunk? So they cracked some open. The occasion doesn’t make the bottle, the bottle makes the occasion. I don’t know Manfred (yet) like Her does, but something tells me he put much effort into something he feels will be outstanding to drink. Drink em’, enjoy em’, put the empty bottle on a shelf so you can tell people, “I remember when we drank that.” Makes me eyeball my Harlan, which I have been doing more and more.

    It could also be pointed out that some of these very expensive California wines aren’t exactly built to age forever like others are.

  6. Her says:

    Yes–drink! And save the empties. The SQN’s are works of art.

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