Grapes, Wines and Bottles is one of the chapter headings , in which I describe some personal experiences of wine collecting, in my new book, “It’s Not About The Wine “. In a way the whole book was inspired by three questions I was asked by two close friends who were on holiday with us in Burgundy in 2018. These questions were:
1. How many different grapes have you tasted?
2. How many different countries have you visited and wines tasted?
3. How many different bottles in your collection?
In the book I answer each question separately, but it was difficult because they are interrelated, though I tried quite hard to give an explanation of how and why some grapes and wines were tasted and collected rather than just giving a numerical answer. Over 50 years there has been a great deal of swirling sniffing and slurping and therefore it is only the third question I can give a definitive answer to, and that is 191 bottles stored in separate temperature controlled wine chillers in my wine room in our home. The answer to the first question currently is 118 different grapes but changing, and I know that because I had to identify them all in my submission to become a member of The Wine Century Club. The certificate hangs on the wall of the wine room between the chillers.
The country we have most visited for wine related holidays has been France, but we have travelled the world on planes, trains and automobiles as well as cruise liners, with the occasional vineyard visit and rather more wine bars frequented too! Although narrowly defined geographically, a Mediterranean cruise is a stunning way to have the “Its Not About The Wine” experience for example. Imagine starting in Cadiz, Spain, and ending in Madeira, with Alicante, Barcelona, Toulon, Sardinia, Malta, Sicily and Naples in between. Wine with Archimedes at Syracuse, with Pliny the Elder at Herculaneum, with The Duke of Clarence at Funchal! This is wine with history, with culture, with philosophy which are central themes of the book which has triggered many memories of cruising the Mediterranean:
Returning to the theme of this post however, why not have a go at adding up the answers to the three questions too? Start with the countries whose wines you have tasted, whatever the grape. Get your list of countries, then think about grape varieties and you might surprise yourself with a very LOW number, say, less than six! Finally, the easy one, how many bottles stored in your home ….. enough or too many, bargain buys or long keepers? I’d be very interested to know your answers, maybe I should do a poll?