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Revisiting Old FriendsAn important wine critic/novelist visited the office yesterday. This was the perfect occassion to bring out a bottle of Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet 1995. This wine seems to get fuller as the years go by. People often think I'm nuts for keeping old vintages of Muscadet but what a pleasure these wines, when they come from good producers, can be. My cellar might be weak in old Bordeaux, but along with Canadian Vintner Jeff Connell, I no doubt have one of the largest private collections of Muscadet outside the Loire Valley. Furthermore, after 34 years of experience in the wine business, I am convinced that the wine geek world is divided into those that love old Muscadet and those that don't (the latter category includes the indifferent).
Last Saturday night I was invited for dinner at Doug Polaner and Tina Fischer's home. They, along with Mike Wheeler, run a distributorship in New York that carries most of our wine. Doug had salvaged a 1996 Pierre Breton Chinon Picasses, a 1996 Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Vieilles Vignes and a 1995 Bernard Baudry Signature (which now goes by the name of Croix Boisée). The Baudry still needed time, but the 96 Breton was absolutely radioactive. A great vintage done in micro-yields that was as great a bottle of Cabernet Franc as I've ever consumed. The Sancerre Vieilles Vignes (which now goes by the name of Cuvée Buster) was just incredibly rich and toned.
I'm convinced that my company has to start putting aside a case from every vintage of every decent wine we import. Doug was lucky to be able to scrounge up these wines, but as the importers, we are obligated to make sure that we keep some stock of the wine. Of course this is expensive, but we can amortize keeping old stock by raising the prices for our wholesale customers. We need more living reminders of how our wines evolve.
Most importantly, Tina Fischer will be checking into a hospital this morning and giving birth to a baby. As the father of two children, Chipster and Malmolleux, I wish her all the best. There is wine and there are the real things that make life important.