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The Times They Are a-Changin – (repeat)

alw-1997http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-02/don-stott-burgundy-collection

It’s a sign of the times. Today there’s an apparent lauding of ‘flash wealth’ and narey a critical word over such things. Certainly the linked article seems a celebration of what Stott has, and is, doing. There are, of-course, multiple perspectives to this:

Now if Don Stott had been publicly selling these (link above) bottles for charitable ends (maybe he anyway IS!), i.e. doing a Bill and Melinda, or (this week) a Mark and Priscilla, I would have simply applauded. But that’s not the case. It seems to me that this is just the next installment of the mad rush to elevate the pricing of what, for some – and I assume I’m not alone – was a daily staple, to something approaching a Louis Vuitton accessory for ever-fewer people. Sad to say, some wines have been in this bracket for some time.

There are many producers that are also uncomfortable with the back story of people who, over years, they sold lots of wine to (let’s not, however, forget the word ‘sold’), but who didn’t drink it and later went on to make large profits from it. And that will make it harder for everyone hoping to build relationships in the future. Still, Stott bought more wine than he could ever drink, so what did the producers think that he could do with all that?

If we go back almost 20 years (actually 1997), Andrew Lloyd Weber hit the headlines for doing exactly what Don Stott is doing today. The reaction was very different – and of-course the wines were mainly ‘affordable’ at that time – at least in the context of current pricing. Still, there was plenty of DRC (et-cetera) but there was a more overt negative reaction at that time. Even wine professionals were rather stuffy about it (paraphrasing) ‘It’s just the usual list of labels from the typical sources’ – at least judging by the publicity for the sale at that time.

It’s really not the same now – eh? I’m sure it will, first get worse, and then get painful, before it ever gets better, if it ever gets better…

14 responses to “The Times They Are a-Changin – (repeat)”

  1. jonwyand

    Bill, money talks, but its language is just getting rather obscene.

  2. phil eaves

    This guy has 120,000 bottles, at one a day that’s the thick end of 329 years to run out, I doubt he ever intended anything other than selling them on or he got very carried away with himself and his collection.

  3. Mark in Pernand

    Not read the Stott link piece yet but can imagine the content. I have a copy of that Lloyd-Webber Sotheby catalogue though which I was given, not long after it was published, by the then wine buyer, now CEO, of a small family owned North of England supermarket/grocery chain who thought I might find it interesting. Might dig it out and reprise 😉 . I do though attach more importance to the Hillsborough, Sheffield (UK) FA Cup semi final match program in the same book shelving which I’ve kept, as I bought on the day, at the ground, with no inkling of what was to occur. A much more important matter than Mr Stott’s collection (for me anyway).

    Phil, that’s a ridiculous number of bottles isn’t it ? Verging on the obscene, greedy or whatever or perhaps Mr Stott was looking ahead and envisaging that one day scientific advances might bring immortality or a vastly enhanced life span for which he needed to be prepared 🙂 .

  4. Gary Paluba

    Just another example of wine being a commodity. Perhaps it began with Parker’s trumpeting of the 1982 Bordeaux. Unfortunately the process has led to escalating prices for great (highest rated?) wine and made it more difficult for wine-lovers to afford many wines. It has become a rich-man’s “game.” Even if some of their wine may be enjoyed, frequently purchasing is for selling eventually.

  5. phil eaves

    Gary you are not wrong, its just when I see my passion of the last quarter of a century turned into an investment opportunity for the very wealthy, well you know. Its a good job my priorities are with 1er but that now results in more expenditure than I can truly afford.

    Today I received an offer that captures it all 1 case 1999 Rousseau Chambertin 14,500 GBP in bond! I must rush out and sell the kids inheritance not to miss the chance.

    Mind you it will be probably do better than most other things I invest in and there’s the rub.

    1. Gary Paluba

      Phil we clearly are in agreement! I have been enjoying wine almost 40 years, first “collectible” being a case of 1975 Figeac in 1978. Oh those days re:price! At the time Burgundy was unfortunately not my interest/passion as it is now. Hey, maybe we can share the Rousseau!!!

  6. Mark C Johnson

    I’m glad I don’t strive for the trophies that populate these catalogs. I’m just as happy with my regional & village bottles that provide me with great pleasure and the occasional 1ers & GC I might find along the way. I don’t need the top drawer producers and their overpriced village & premier crus. No, there are many up and comers with reasonably priced wines and thanks to the Burgundy Report I learn about more off-the-beaten path producers all the time.

  7. bmcq

    To go and critique the Silver Spoon
    Is much like shooting at the moon.
    I feel your pain and share disdain
    But lamentations have little to gain.
    Now splurgings on for the best bottle
    Have had to consider the financial throttle
    Of kids and retirements and medical need
    To those things wine buying must cede
    To search for dignity in the plutarchy
    Is to wallow in some deep malarkey.

  8. jonwyand

    In 95 I had to shoot a Wine Spectator cover of Lloyd Webber in his cellar in Berkshire. Hassleblad, tripod, flash, the lot. Barely room to work between shoulder high free standing racks. One thoughtless turn and bang goes quite a few Petrus in magnum. I got off 24 shots before he said thank you,goodbye, turned carefully and walked off.
    I’ve always preferred working with winemakers rather than wine drinkers….. If you don’t understand everything that has gone into the bottle, how can you enjoy everything that comes out of it?

  9. danp

    Bill, I think you politely alluded to what’s at the bottom of collections like Stott’s, Webber’s, or perhaps the most obnoxious one, Roy Welland’s, a veritable horde of commercial quantities stored in Beaune warehouses. Only the winegrowers themselves should be held accountable. The farmers’ adage ‘not all my eggs in one basket’ used to justify different prices to different clients and cash ex-cellar sales to the whales, all stopped being relevant to the ‘names’ decades ago as demand clearly outstrips supply. There is little real feeling for the consumer.

  10. phil eaves

    bmcq nice reply

    Anybody got any thoughts on the offer of the day DRC Romanee Conti 2005 3 bottle case 45,000 GBP , IB!

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