By Connie Swaim
I''m always becoming intrigued by our page one stories. There are so many interesting things to collect or at least sample. I remembered as I read the story on vintage wines this week, that I do have another small collection: corkscrews and other wine paraphernalia.
I only became a wine lover within the last decade. I can''t even say how it started, but somewhere along the line I developed a taste for dry red wine. I always look at the wine auction catalogs that cross my desk. But, reading them is like watching a foreign language film without the subtitles. I can figure some things out, but much of what I see is a mystery.
Take this description from a Bonhams & Butterfields wine catalog description for example, "The 1990 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina exhibits a mature ruby/garnet color and a remarkably open, sexy, lush and opulent personality. Sweet, jammy aromas of red fruits, smoked nuts, roasted herbs and spice soar from the glass of this expressive Brunello. Soft, expansive and silky, this full-bodied wine reveals no hard edges and tastes great, but seemingly is close to full maturity. There is no denying the seductive power and allure this Brunello possesses." The six magnums were estimated at $1,000-1,400 at the March 31 auction.
I have been to a number of wine tastings and I still don''t think I could ever describe a wine as sexy. The above description sounds more like a pot roast to me. This is probably why I drink wine, but collect vintage corkscrews. They are easier for me to understand. When I go to a wine-tasting I have two comments, "I like it" or "I don''t care for it." All around me people are sniffing, tasting, commenting on the oak this or the fruit that. I also never care what I''m eating, to me everything tastes good with a nice red wine.
So, I don''t think I am going to be a wine connoisseur. For one thing, I like to surround myself with my collections, not keep them in a climate-controlled room and I''m just not sure I could ever enjoy a glass of wine enough to make it worth $1,000. I once had a glass of $100 wine and I felt positively decadent, but could not really say I tasted a huge difference between it and my favorite $15-a-bottle red.
Also, once you drink the wine, it''s gone. No more investment. Although, considering some of the things I''ve collected and then sold, they didn''t really have much investment power either, so I guess it''s all relevant. Probably a person who often buys wine based on the name or the graphics on the label is not going to be much of a wine investor either, although I have to tell you, I''ve picked some nice wines by the graphics.
I do wonder how you get to be the person who writes the blurbs for the wine catalogs though. In the intro to the March 31 Bonhams & Butterfields wine auction it says, "We tasted a number of flawless samples from the cellar during the days of inventory which, though young, showed exceptionally well for their age." I guess they probably won''t hire someone who can only say, "It tastes good" or "it tastes awful."
As I glanced at the three wine catalogs in my office I decided to see if I could get some bottles of wine from my birth year and keep them to toast my 50th birthday in a few years, but I guess 1960 was not a good year for wine. I couldn''t find a single 1960 vintage in any of the catalogs, although there were several from 1961.
I guess I''ll content myself with wine I plan to drink soon and collect the corkscrews. I keep the corkscrews in a pottery bowl on the counter near the wine rack. I also have some decorative stoppers and some beer bottle openers. Although now that some of the nicer wines are going to screw tops, it makes me wonder about the future of the corkscrew. I can also say with confidence that you should always check whether you are opening a cork or a screw top BEFORE you insert the corkscrew. A few weeks ago I tried to remove a screw-top lid with a corkscrew. It didn''t work very well. This is probably another reason why I won''t be called in to help catalog any wine auctions.
But, at least I sip my wine while sitting in a vintage wooden bench on my porch looking over my flower gardens full of vintage garden items.