I had a full blown case of wine envy this past weekend. How could I not? There I was within finger tip reach of the rare and vintage wines that make a wine collector's heart beat faster. The occasion-- the 25th annual WGBH wine auction, a yearly fund raiser which supports the operations and programs of the Boston based station. The event featured wines donated by serious oenophiles who must have cellars stocked with multiples of the wines they donated. How else could they give away these rare vintage wines?
By my haphazard count, two couples donated about 20 bottles each! Mind boggling. Next year I think the auction organizers should talk them into donating a tour of their cellars. I know I'd pay for the chance to take a peek.
Some of the wines offered actually had a fine sheen of what I presume was antique dust.
This was my first wine auction, and I worried it might be awfully stuffy. So,I invited one of my best girlfriends to join me. She,too, was curious since she'd also never been to a wine auction. Both of us are wine enthusiasts,but we mostly consume what we buy. Yes, I've got some stuff I've been saving, and some old (for me) bottles. But,no I do not have a 1961 Chateau Mouton Rothschild--estimated value $2000--for ONE bottle. And by the way, that bottle ended up being something of a bargain for the lucky bidder--it sold for a mere $1200.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Before the bidding got underway, attendees got a chance to get a good look at the rare bottles arranged in lots as small as 1 and as large as 5 bottles. I learned that, if this crowd was a true reflection, pricey white wine is not as highly regarded as red. That is, except for Champagne, of which there were several bottles, even a couple of magnums. There were also several vintage ports, one that dated back to 1908.
Of course, the reds were some of the finest, mostly from France's Bordeaux region( Chateau Margaux,Chateau Haut Brion), as well as from some of California's top and trendy vineyards (Caymus, Stag's Leap). Many of the reds from France were from the 1982 vintage, reportedly one of the best years ever for this wine. Fun fact: last year Oprah blogged about her love for the 82' vintage.
I love live auctions of any kind because I enjoy watching the interplay between the audience and the auctioneer. Marie Keep, Director of Fine Wines at Boston's Skinner Auction and Appraisers did not disappoint. Her deep knowledge of wine was evident, and she was compelling to watch. Alternately cajoling, charming, or coquettish, she made the sale of these expensive wines a spectator sport. I know the high bidders couldn't help themselves, and in truth, if I had had a few thousand with which to bid, I have no doubt she would have gotten it.