I get several questions each week from readers and listeners and spend some of my weekend providing the best answers I can. Back in June I got such a question from reader/listener Steve, but this one had a twist. In a nutshell, Steve had a friend give him some older wines from his cellar to make room for new wines. There were some old Napa Valley and Sonoma Cabs from Martini, Beringer and Simi. Some Bordeaux from Chateau Des Tuileries and Chateau Haut Bailly. But his real question came from a bottle of white burgundy from the great 1966 vintage, a Maison Leroy Montrachet. Yep, that’s right, from one of the most sought after vineyards, well stored in what he described as pristine condition (judging by the picture, it appears so). Steve asked for some help in finding out more about this wine, but being a wine geek, I had to offer my suggestion for what I’d do with this bottle.
The first thing I did was to check the auction results from the Wine Spectator website (subscription required). This turned up an average price between $1,566 and $2,065 for a bottle. My advice was to drink it if he had the nerve, but did also point out he could buy a lot of nice wines with the profits if he sold it. Steve decided to do the latter and ended up with a nice profit of $1,252 (single bottles sell for less at auction; he put the bottle on consignment at an LA wine store). If I was in the same position, I’d probably do the same thing as $1,252 buys 50 bottles of $25 wine. Even if I spent it all on Pax Syrah, I’d still have about two cases of wine to enjoy. I think that’s a fair trade for what is probably an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime wine experience.
So what would you do given this opportunity; drink or sell?
Did the friend know that this wine was so valuable?
I’d sell also.
No, Steve really didn’t know the bottle was quite as valuable as it was… he only had some sense that is might be worth something more than the other bottles given to him. What makes this an interesting dilemma is that if you don’t pay for a pricey bottle, would you be inclined to drink it when caught up in the moment? Or would you do the sensible thing and sell? It’s easy from our detached perspective, but not Steve’s. I know that if I received 2 of such bottles, one of them would be drunk for sure 😉
The only dilemma I would have would be whitch of my friends would I share the bottle of wine with.
I hear ya Brewbrothr, but this was only a single bottle. Had there been 2 or more, I would have followed your advice as this bottle certainly would be a once-in-a-lifetime, mythical bottle to savor with wine geeky friends.