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On Sommeliers, Wine Humor and Wine Hubris

Posted on June 25, 2016 by BHW Sales Staff | 0 Comments

An Interview with The HoseMaster of Wine ™

It is difficult not to write satire.
-Juvenal, 1st Century Rome
Originally Published Here by Geoff Kruth, MS

When I see a social media link to a new post from the HoseMaster of Wine—the alter ego of former sommelier Ron Washam—I always click. That's more than I can say for most wine blogs. My feelings on his writing are complicated: sometimes I think it merely fuels the fire of the disgruntled, but I also know it fills a critical void. As a profession, we have to be able to reflect on ourselves, admit our imperfections, and see our jobs in a comprehensive context.

Recently, I've personally been a target—ego bruised, hair complimented—but I keep coming back for more of his wit. We thought it would be entertaining and enlightening to interview Señor Hose and pose the question “whither the sommelier?”

-Geoff Kruth, MS

Nightmarish Creatures

My favorite German filmmaker once said, "Look into the eyes of a chicken and you will see real stupidity. It is a kind of bottomless stupidity, a fiendish stupidity. They are the most horrifying, cannibalistic, and nightmarish creatures in the world." Is this how you feel about sommeliers?

-Geoff

No, that's not how I feel about sommeliers. However, it is how I feel about German filmmakers. Who else would look a chicken in the eye and expect to see intelligence? You must be talking about the legendary auteur Kolonel Harlan Sanders. Not my favorite German director, though I did like his wonderful film Das Bucket.

I'm a recovering sommelier. We're always the severest critics. To be truthful, I can't remember the last time I ran into a sommelier in a restaurant. That might be because I use the drive-thru window and the sommelier only asks, "Do you want fries with that?" My first impression of a sommelier isn't in their eyes, or their person at all; it's the impression I get from their wine list. Even before a sommelier approaches the table, their wine list makes an impression on me. I might glance through a wine list and already hate the sommelier. On more than one occasion in recent years, I've opened a wine list in a trendy restaurant and been a bit stumped. A lot of choices, but on the entire list, I may recognize about half the wines. I cannot imagine how a customer with less knowledge about wine than I, if such a person exists, feels reading an obscure wine list like that. Except intimidated. Which is not normally why a human goes to a restaurant. That's why you go to church.

I do think that the wine list itself, how it's presented, what it says about the sommelier and the restaurant, how the wines are listed, how it makes the average guest feel when he thumbs through it, is an overlooked but important part of the job. A well-chosen wine list isn't about the sommelier exclusively; it's about the diner's experience as well. I don't want to read the menu and have no idea what the food is. Who likes to ask for a translation of the food? It makes you feel like the Republican nominee, an idiot. I don't want to feel that way about the wine list either. Sure, have wines that you love on the list regardless of whether they're familiar to people, but try to see the list as welcoming to the guest, too, and provide for that.

Did I answer the question? No. Sommeliers are not “the most horrifying, cannibalistic, and nightmarish creatures in the world." Wine writers are.

-Ron Washam, HMW

Formal Education

I think your point on the wine list as a welcoming feature to a restaurant is really important. We've all seen wine lists that look like they’re meant to impress other sommeliers and not the clientele. Pushing customers a bit out of their comfort zone is not inherently a bad thing, but it’s a balance. On the other hand, we don’t want restaurants just selling chicken fingers and pepperoni pizza; exploration is part of the dining experience.

I've always felt that education is key to this. Granted, a little bit of education or a shiny new pin often makes people dangerous—but a broad understanding of the wine world gives you perspective. It seems like you’ve been extremely critical of formal education. Could you expand on your thoughts here?

-Geoff

I once received a particularly unpleasant letter (and I've received many unpleasant letters) from a guy lashing out at me for making fun of all the various wine degrees. I don't mind hate mail; it's part of the territory. When I Googled this particular moron, he had more letters after his name than there were letters in his actual last name. I think it was eleven letters attached to his surname signifying his various "accomplishments" in wine. It was self-parody. Long ago, I attached "HMW" to my name as part of my comic persona. I confess, however, that there's something satisfying about having letters after your name. It sets you apart, like having a forked tongue or a third nipple. So, yeah, I kind of see MSs and MWs a bit like that.

I certainly do not have any objection to formal education. What I object to is the glorification and misrepresentation of that formal education. If one were to list, in order of importance to humanity, all the occupations and avocations in the world, sommelier would not be in the top 500. It's a glorious job, and I loved every minute of it. So study it all you like, pass all the formal exams and tests, blind taste until you can spot a Xinomavro across a crowded refugee camp, get your lapel pin like you did when you became a Webelos, but at least have the proper perspective on your so-called achievement. How many other professions, the 499 listed before sommelier, professions that require lots and lots of formal education, are there that post letters after their names? Doctors, nurses, dentists, sequels to "Rocky"...and WSET, and CSW, and CWE, and MS, and MW. Call it what you like, but it's hubris, plain and simple. Study wine, study its history and meaning, polish your hospitality skills, enjoy the unbelievable fun the job can be, but, for God's sake, do not succumb to the temptation to think you're someone extraordinary because you know a lot about wine. I assure you, you are not. I hold myself to the same standard.

I do not care in the slightest that my sommelier is an MS or an MW. Now, thanks to the kind of ludicrous publicity that a film like SOMM has given to the profession (in my mind, that film is almost a Christopher Guest parody—I kept expecting Fred Willard to appear instead of Fred Dame) (Oh, I forgot. Fred Dame, MS), when I mention to people I was a sommelier for 19 years they almost always ask me, "What level?" I usually respond, "I parked on the third level most of the time." They want to know how hard it is to "pass the test." Really hard, I tell them, especially the evening gown competition. I want my heart surgeon to have an MD, but all I want when I go out to dinner is a great, interesting, well-chosen bottle of wine with my dinner. One does not need a formal education to do that. Ask Raj Parr. He's no longer in pursuit of balance, I hear, which explains why he falls down so much.

-Ron Washam, HMW

Defining a Great Sommelier

From your perspective, what qualities make for a great sommelier—and conversely, a bad sommelier?

-Geoff

"What qualities make a great sommelier?" is more a question you should answer, Geoff. But I'll give it a shot. First of all, it's a service position. It's far more about hospitality than it is about wine knowledge. You can teach just about anyone wine knowledge, but hospitality is a much harder talent to teach. Beyond that, the sommelier is a part of the restaurant team. A "great" sommelier, however you define that, is, on his own, as worthless as a great pitcher out there alone on the mound. I suspect if you surveyed restaurant patrons as to whether they'd rather have a great chef, a great waiter, or a great sommelier, sommelier would come in fourth. So a great sommelier has to have more to offer than just wine knowledge and the ability to open a bottle of wine. Above all, a sommelier has to learn to listen. I think that's a trait that is uncommon among sommeliers, and not just when they're at work. In my experience, they like to preach more than Judge Judy having a hot flash. Listening is also about the suspension of judgment, and understanding that your first and only responsibility is to make the customer's experience richer. Educating them is an option only when they want to be educated. Save the preaching for when you judge wine competitions. Other judges are imbeciles.

And let's not forget integrity. Too often a restaurant wants to unload wines as wine by the glass, or as part of a wine and food pairing, simply because they aren't selling. You don't have to go to that many restaurants to sniff out this kind of behavior. Granted, it may be under duress from ownership. But you can't, on the one hand, claim to be featuring great wines by the glass when you're, on the other hand, actually dumping slow-moving wines, or putting wines on the list to pour because you think the salesperson is cute. Or because the wine region sent you on an expensive junket. Or because they have a cool guest house you can crash the next time you're in Napa. There's way too much of that pay for play in the wine business. A sommelier needs to have authority and integrity. I borrowed mine.

I've said many times that there are no great palates for wine. There are only experienced palates. People who have more taste buds per square tongue, so-called Super Tasters, hate wine. Wine, to them, is far too bitter and nasty to enjoy. Consequently, the people we look up to as having great palates really only have experienced palates. A sommelier comes to my table and she's only about 28, I tend to take her advice with a large grain of sulfites. Though I believe she knows her own list, that's not to say she has a great palate. I understand that, but she needs to also. So let's add humility to the list. After all, the one thing everyone who has ever learned about wine eventually understands is that wine outclasses us. It humbles our meager human ability to smell and taste. It befuddles our miserable vocabulary when we attempt to describe it. We may be a little better than the average person at understanding and describing wine, but deep down we know we're vastly under-equipped to do wine justice. So be humble. You passed a hard test and learned a party trick. Get over it. Feel honored to have wine as a passion, not entitled.

A lousy sommelier is one who fails on several of the above counts.

-Ron Washam, HMW

The Role of Satire

I don’t disagree in general, but I do take issue with viewing blind tasting as a party trick—assuming that’s what you are referring to. The point of blind tasting is not to impress people but to accurately identify dozens of objective factors that are common in wine so that you have a better understanding of what you are describing and selling, instead of relying on superlatives. If my car salesman can’t tell the difference between a Honda and VW, I’d opt for a new car salesman.

Moving on… I think humor and self-deprecation are really key in our field, and you are one of the few people filling that gap. Like you said, we should keep our profession in perspective. Sometimes, I feel your writing goes beyond this and seems an expression of personal bitterness above satire. Is this a fair critique?

-Geoff

I was certainly being glib when I refer to blind tasting as a party trick. Almost everyone I know learned about wine by tasting wines blind and trying to guess as much about the wine as you could. I think that's a very useful tool. Vision is our most powerful sense, and we automatically defer to it, whether we're conscious of doing so or not. Taking sight out of the equation—that is, eliminating the visual clues a label provides—forces us to use our other senses in order to make sense of a wine. Above all, and I think this might be its most important contribution to a budding wine expert, it's incredibly humbling.

"Personal bitterness" is an interesting phrase, Geoff. I wonder what you think I might have to be bitter about. Perhaps you think I wish I were Robert Parker, or Matt Kramer, or Fred Dame, MS? I might wish I had the talent of Hugh Johnson, but that's not bitterness, that's envy. I have no negligible bitterness when it comes to my wine career. But I write wine satire, which, as you say, is precariously rare in such a pretentious and ultimately trivial business. Satire does not allow for nuance. Satire stakes a position of cynicism, or truth-telling, from a very exaggerated position in order to reveal folly, foible, and hubris. It cannot be about bitterness because readers sense that and then don't laugh as much or hear what you're saying as clearly. Nor can it be simple bullying, because people are usually repulsed by that. The first rule is, it has to be funny. Comedy is about anger, always has been. Laughter is a way of blowing off steam that doesn't involve an assault rifle. In that way, satire is cleansing. Laughter has always been the best medicine, aside from NyQuil, which makes a mean Grasshopper. Aside from that, the HoseMaster is a character I write. I am not the HoseMaster, praise the Lord. I'm just a guy who writes for the creative outlet it provides. I would do it if no one read it. Indeed, I did that for decades. That I've attracted any sort of minuscule audience is bewildering. Truly, I'm just having fun hurling brickbats at the pretenders, the pompous, and the pious, and they are legion in the wine business. Really, what could be more fun? To your question, though, any critique of what I do is fair. There are many who are offended by what I write. Or who find me bitter. Maybe one should read what I write blind, and judge me that way. However, I'm glad you find what I do "key." Though that's not why I do it.

-Ron Washam, HMW

The Future of the Sommelier

I'd be curious to get your take on the future of the sommelier, but I guess we should first both define what we mean by the term. To me, a sommelier is a professional with training and experience in the sales and service of wine. Whether you saunter around a fifteen-table dining room selling Côte Rôtie, manage a retail store, or sell wine by twelves instead of ones is irrelevant. Most restaurants don't—nor am I convinced a majority should—have a person solely dedicated to wine service.

It seems from reading your articles that your opinion is that the sommelier is a peaking trend with a nigh apocalypse; I feel it is a career beginning to establish itself. It has growing pains—and requires a leisure class to indulge in double- or triple-digit bottles of fermented grape juice—but I see it growing and maturing. How do you see the future?

-Geoff

As to the future of sommeliers, well, I think the word "sommelier" itself, with its air of superiority and snobbishness, is part of the problem. And when people write about sommeliers, or interview sommeliers, almost every time it's a person working in a restaurant, not someone working for Constellation. Will "sommelier" evolve into meaning simply someone whose life revolves around wine? Maybe. But that feels a long way off. Poll a thousand folks about the word "sommelier" and what one does, and restaurant, I'd venture to guess, will appear almost every time.

As a profession, it has to mature or the growing number of young people pursuing it as a vocation will find very little work. In that regard, image is the key. I fought the stereotype of a sommelier my entire career. When customers liked me, they'd flatter me by telling me I wasn't like other sommeliers. Whatever that means. For the most part, they only knew one or two. But is shows that sommeliers spend far too much time espousing their skills and wisdom about wine, and not enough time spreading the gospel of wine. Too much time announcing their credentials, and not enough time asking other people what they thought about wine, how wine fit into their lives, or their budgets. Far too much time spewing marketing truths about wine instead of speaking the simple truths about wine—its history, its resonance with the human spirit, its simple joys, not the least of which is altering our state of consciousness. Who really cares if you can tell an Hermitage from a Cornas? People sense wisdom and passion. They don't care so much about wine babble or elitism. One always teaches by example. Humility is always a great example in any profession. As are listening and caring.

The more people who learn the history and tradition and pleasures of wine, the better. If you can make a living at it, more power to us. Wine reflects society. It always has. We live in that fractured world now between the crazy wealthy, and the rest of us. Wine prices are out of balance because our culture is out of balance. When that changes, and it must, so will the profession of sommelier. Those who will succeed are those who learn about wine, and then forge their own paths. I don't think it's ever been easy. Or in huge demand. And yet it endures. I don't see why that will change.

-Ron Washam, HMW

Washington Post Article

Posted on May 13, 2016 by BHW Sales Staff | 0 Comments

The wine tasting that shocked the world - and forever changed what we drink

Source: Washington Post
By Dave McIntyre
May 7 

 

Forty years ago, a publicity stunt for a small wine school in Paris changed the world of wine forever. The scene would look unremarkable today: Nine wine professionals swirling, sniffing, sipping, spitting and scoring their way through 20 wines in a "blind tasting," meaning the wines were not identified until after the scores were tallied. Yet the Paris Tasting, also known as the Judgment of Paris, became famous because of its quirky cast of characters, a bit of luck and, most of all, the results: California wines beat the best of France.

The story is well known among wine lovers. Steven Spurrier, a young British expat who owned the Académie du Vin and an adjacent store, Caves de la Madeleine, in central Paris, and his American associate, Patricia Gallagher, held the tasting of Californian and French wines in honor of that year's American Bicentennial. They wanted to draw attention to the revolutionary new wines of California. The judging panel included some of France's wine and culinary elite. And while the organizers implored several journalists to cover the event, only one came: George M. Taber, a young correspondent for Time magazine who had taken a class at Spurrier's school and who had nothing else to cover. To this day, the California wine industry is grateful that May 24, 1976, was a slow news day in Paris.

Taber's short article deep in the June 7, 1976, edition of Time trumpeted the surprising news that "California defeats all Gaul" as the Chateau Montelena 1973 Chardonnay and the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon were the top wines. He described how the judges could not always distinguish California wines from French, and he ended with a classic reaction from Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena: "Not bad for kids from the sticks." Within days, demand for the winning wines soared in retail shops across the country.

Winemakers around the world were inspired, and the French realized California's potential. "It's no coincidence the first vintage of Opus One was in 1979," Spurrier says now, referring to the joint venture in Napa Valley between Bordeaux's Château Mouton-Rothschild and California's Robert Mondavi Winery, launched a few years after the tasting. Spurrier, now a consultant editor at Britain's Decanter magazine, said in an email that the tasting "opened up the wine world." Before then, "the New World simply did not exist as a wine producer in the mind of the public."

An 'underdog story'

The Paris Tasting still captures our imagination. Wine enthusiasts enjoy brown-bagging bottles and conducting their own blind tastings. New wine regions pit their products against the world's best, hoping to show they belong in the ranks of quality wine. It's great marketing, and great fun.

The story also embodies the American dream. Miljenko "Mike" Grgich, a Croatian immigrant who fled communism to come to Napa Valley to make wine, crafted the winning chardonnay at Chateau Montelena. Barrett, Montelena's principal owner, was transitioning from a successful law practice to a second career to be close to the land. About 25 miles to the south, Warren Winiarski, the son of Polish immigrants, had founded Stag's Leap Wine Cellars after abandoning a promising future in academia and moving his family west.

Taber told the story of the Paris Tasting and its impact in his 2005 book, "Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine" (Scribner). A highly fictionalized movie, "Bottle Shock," was released in 2008, with Alan Rickman sneering his way through Napa Valley more like Severus Snape than Steven Spurrier.

Why has this wine tasting captivated us so?

"It's a wonderful underdog story with a great narrative arc, pitting upstart Americans against centuries of Old World tradition," says Paula Johnson, curator and project director for food and wine history at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Her team's ongoing exhibit, "Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000," includes bottles of the winning wines. The museum will mark the tasting's 40th anniversary next week at two events, both of which sold out within days of being announced in January.

Warren Winiarski, the son of Polish immigrants, founded Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley and created the red wine that won the 1976 Paris Tasting. (1969 photo from National Museum of American History) 

 

"People who take it for granted that we have a wide choice of wine today don't realize what it was like before the Paris Tasting, when France really ruled the world," Johnson says. "Fine dining back then still meant French, but the undercurrents of change from California with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse were already beginning. It was also inspiration for other people across the country who were already making good wine."

Winiarski, now 87, looks back on the tasting as a "Copernican moment" that changed the way people look at wine. "It's getting more grand, larger in scope than ever before," he told me in a recent interview. There may have been a twinkle in his eye, since he has been a leading promoter of Paris Tasting commemorations over the years. 

 

Winiarski sold his winery in 2007 to a partnership of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, based in Washington state, and Italy's Marchese Antinori. The winery's new tasting room, opened last year, features a small exhibit about the Paris Tasting. Winiarski still lives in a house overlooking the vineyards and the basalt outcropping known as Stags Leap, and he tends a small vineyard of his own in southern Napa Valley. The tasting "gave an enlarged vision to others who might have sold their fruit short" and settled for making less than world-class wine, Winiarski says.

Bo Barrett, Jim's son who now runs Chateau Montelena, expressed the same sentiment but with a little more American bravado. "It let us walk on the same playing field and play with the big guys," he told me in a small kitchen next to Montelena's tasting room. "We became a meritocracy, with the French no longer considered superior."

A tasting's echoes 

 

The Paris Tasting helped make Napa Valley's reputation, but Spurrier and Gallagher had included wines from the Chalone, David Bruce and Ridge wineries in California's Central Coast as well. And although Chateau Montelena is in Napa Valley, its winning chardonnay was made primarily with Sonoma County fruit.

 On a cool April Sunday, I visited Bacigalupi Vineyards in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, where Pam Bacigalupi showed me the family's "Paris Tasting Block." Her in-laws, Charles and Helen, sold Montelena 14 tons of the 40 tons of grapes that made the winning chardonnay. The Bacigalupis, grape growers for 60 years, have been marketing their own wines only since 2011, but they have the original receipt for the 1973 grapes framed in their modest tasting room. From an era when labeling laws were less precise, the label credited only the Napa and Alexander valleys as sources of the fruit.

"These vines only produce three tons a year today, but we don't have the heart to rip them out and replant," Bacigalupi said.

The previous day, I met Mike Grgich at his old home in Yountville to discuss his memories of those early days at Chateau Montelena. The Paris Tasting, he said, convinced winemakers in California and around the world that they could match the French for quality. 

 

"The French always claimed that only French soil could make world-class wine," he said. "But then California cabernet and chardonnay went to Paris. After that, Australia, Chile and other countries started thinking their soil is as good as French."

We sipped an exquisite 2013 Paris Tasting Commemorative Chardonnay, with an image on the label of a younger Grgich wearing his trademark beret. Unlike the victor 40 years ago, this wine's grapes came from Napa Valley, from the Carneros region. "Sonoma chardonnay has such elegance, while Napa has more power," he said.

Now 93 and slowed by spinal stenosis, Grgich smiled as he recalled the winning wine. 

 

"The 1973 chardonnay that won the Paris Tasting started with my mother's bevanda" - wine cut with water, which he drank as a child in Croatia - "then my viticulture studies at the University of Zagreb, followed by my work with Lee Stewart, Christian Brothers, André Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi. Then I arrived at Chateau Montelena. I was fortunate I could absorb the knowledge of others. They had their own knowledge, but I had knowledge of all of them."

Perhaps his greatest achievement came after the 1976 Paris Tasting. As he spoke, I detected in his voice both a hint of the idealism of that year's American Bicentennial and an echo of politics today. 

 

"I am very happy that as an immigrant, I found a job for myself and created jobs for 60 others," he said. "I have had so many miracles in my life, because I had opportunities to have miracles."

 

2015 Bordeaux Futures Roundup

Posted on April 25, 2016 by BHW Sales Staff | 0 Comments

After a lovely trip to Bordeaux this month, we wanted to share some insights after tasting over 300 wines. Our trip involved guided tours by negociants and importers, as well as some self-directed time to UGC tastings. 2015 is a very good to possibly great vintage. There are lots of comparisons swirling already to 2005, 2009, and possibly 2010. It's more important to focus on the fact that 2011-2014 were vintages most lovers of Bordeaux just assume forget. Sure, there were some well made wines, but the rising tide lifts all boats. And, in 2015, the repeated refrain from most of the folks we talked to was this: Hot July, cooling begin in August with warming toward the end of August. Some scattered rains which brought relief to the vines, but dried out nicely. Warm days and cool nights proceeded into September with most of harvesting finished by the first week in October. A remarkable vintage because there were no remarkable weather threats.  

The key findings when describing the wines of 2015 en primeur, and indeed, the descriptors most often repeated in our notes were: ripe, soft, integrated, ready, fresh, charming, fruity, precocious, elegant, refined, supple tannins, YUM, outstanding, and delicious.

Many of the critics and experts are especially excited about Pomerol, St. Emilion, Pessac-Leognan, and spots throughout the left bank, especially in Pauillac, St. Julien and St. Estephe. It's clear that the overall impression is very good. Wineries that may be borderline and satellite communities of greater Bordeaux will be markedly improved and savvy shoppers will want to look out for buying opportunities in the $20-35 price range for wines that over-deliver for near term pleasure and potential near term aging.

For us, some of the standout wines of the vintage include:
2015 Ch. Angelus St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe A 99pts
2015 Ch. Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 99 pts
2015 Ch. L'Evangile Pomerol 98-99 pts
2015 Ch. Pavie St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe A 98-99 pts
2015 Ch. Mouton Rothschild 98 pts
2015 Ch. Margaux 98 pts
2015 Ch. Cheval Blanc St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe A 97 pts
2015 Ch. d'Yquem Sauternes 97 pts
2015 Ch. Haut Brion 97 pts
2015 Ch. Cos d'Estournel St. Estephe 96-98 pts
2015 Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac 96 pts
2015 Ch. Montrose St. Estephe 96 pts
2015 Ch. Calon Segur St. Estephe 
2015 Ch. Latour Pauillac 96 pts
2015 Ch. Monbousquet St. Emilion 96 pts
2015 Ch. Canon St. Emilion Grand Cru 95-96 pts
2015 Ch. La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan 95-96
2015 Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou St. Julien 95 pts
2015 Ch. Tropolong-Mondot St. Emilion 1er Grand Cru 95 pts
2015 Ch. Fleur-Cardinale St. Emilion 95 pts
2015 Ch. Pape-Clement Blanc Pessac-Leognan 95 pts
2015 Ch. Duhart-Milon Pauillac 95 pts
2015 Ch. Doisy-Daene Barsac 95 pts
2015 Ch. Monbousquet Blanc 95 pts
2015 Ch. Margaux Pavillon Blanc 94 pts
2015 Ch. Palmer Margaux 94 pts
2015 Ch. Fombrauge St. Emilion Grand Cru 94 pts
2015 Ch. Clerc-Milon Pauillac 94 pts
2015 Ch. Malescot St. Exupery 94 pts

 

 

 

Posted in Bordeaux 2015 Futures

The Roaring Teens by the Ounce

Posted on January 22, 2014 by Greg Martellotto | 0 Comments

BHW maintains a private client list and offers up fine, rare and impossible to find wines to our faithful followers. If the results of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 from 2013, combined with a return to growth in building and real estate values point to a bullish economy, let me offer another indication. Last month, we sold the most expensive single bottle of wine we've sold in our short history. The wine was a six liter bottle of Lafite Rothschild from 2000. Lafite has been the runaway favorite for newly initiated drinkers, particularly from BRIC countries and investors over the last decade. Lafite sets its own course and the rest of bordeaux orbits its trajectory. Lafite suffered a severe downturn since 2010 combined with the change over in administration in China's government and the stated claims to install austerity measures, elsewhere known as being practical. All of Bordeaux has been dealt a sobering hand by mother nature with successive vintages in 2011, 2012, and 2013 generally being relegated to forgotten vintages. Somehow, this just makes karmic sense given the succession of "vintages of the century" in 2000, 2005, 2009, and 2010. I'm a student of history and I've always considered the Roaring Twenties (1920's that is) to be a halcyon period, about which I'll occasionally daydream. This may be the result of having a infectious and dramatic nine grade English teacher who made the Great Gatsby come alive. Perhaps and hopefully, the US and the world economy will enter a new era we'll come to call the twenty-first century roaring teens. I can tell you that the fine wine market is very fine indeed, and ticking onward and upward.

 

6L = 8 750ml bottles

750 ml = 25.3 ounces

25.3 ounces = 5 glasses of wine

1 glass of wine = 5 oz

203 oz in 1 6 Liter bottle

1 oz of Evian water = $.13

1 oz. of premium gasoline = $.04

1 oz. of gold = $1240

1 oz. high quality bud in CO = $300

1 oz of Lafite 2000 = $98.52

1 6L bottle Lafite 2000 sold for $20,000

On Selling Wine and Apples

Posted on January 08, 2014 by BHW Sales Staff | 0 Comments

This is it.

This is what matters.
The experience of a product.

How it makes someone feel.

Will it make life better?

Does it deserve to exist?

If you are busy making everything,

How can you perfect anything?

We spend a lot of time

On a few great things.

Until every idea we touch

Enhances each life it touches.

- seen in an ad for Apple.

We love Apple and have been an all Apple office for over 10 years. What struck me is not only the elegant if elliptical wording in this ad, but how appropriate it is to our wine business. Reread the above substituting "Wine" and consider the best wineries striving for perfection as they produce their respective cuvees. This is why Big Hammer Wines focuses on only the best. Herein, you'll find the results of our hard work and commitment to sourcing and selling the best wines at the best prices. Thanks for joining us.

 

Posted in Best Wines

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