Don’t pay big for celebrity wines; stick with the classics

December 24, 2022

It is likely that by the time you get around to reading this, your holidays will have wound down. In any event, you have my best wishes that yours were excellent and are followed by a wonderful 2023.

Following is a link that all who enjoy French Burgundy should read. Acker Wines, the world's best auction house, is sponsoring La Paulée – The World’s Greatest Burgundy Event. La Paulée week is an incredible celebration of wine. Burgundy lovers gather in New York or for a simulcast bidding party. The wine market continues to perform well, and Burgundy prices are still up significantly over the past few years. Those with cellared great Burgundy who wish to do a little thinning and grab some cash should contact Samantha at while there is still space in the March 3 auction. The property deadline is Jan. 27, still plenty of time to work out the logistics and appraisal as your schedule allows. Reserving space before the book gets filled is the concern. So, let Samantha know if you have any interest sooner rather than later. Those wishing to bid, watch and learn, or who just want info, go to

A Chardonnay Christmas gift for big, oaky, buttery lovers would be Patz and Hall Hyde Vineyard, any year from 2016-19; the 2018 is excellent. All four vintages are 92 McD. Shoppers can find some under $60. Their Sonoma Coast 2019 Chard is their best recent rendition, 93 McD and under $40. Will appeal to those who prefer cool-climate, crisp Chardonnay. Opens to apple, lemon and pear supported by vibrant acidity with a bit of nutmeg in its long, clean finish. If you see any of their Bootlegger Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2018, 95 McD, or the 2019, 93 McD, snap it up under $80. Jeff asked about The Pinot Project, a No. 40, top 100, best buy 2022, 91 from WE. Another fruity Nouveau Beaujolais type. But it is under $13, a weak 87 due to 2 price points McD. In this market, Cline or Bogle is the way to go.

Dom Perignon x Lady Gaga 2008 Brut Rosé reminds me of the celebrities who supported Sammy Crypto. I love Gaga’s music and DP, but on sale at $500, no way. The good friar is rolling in his grave at the ripping sound from the wine store shelves. They have attached the name of renowned celebs who want to drink “the new stuff, no more of that old wine” and tacked on a few $100. How about a 1975 Dom P P3 Plenitude for only $15,635? For a comparative, 1975 Dom P. Brut is $1,038; 2012 at $265. Best buy in category, Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Millesime 2008, 95 McD, $150. With 66% Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, copper salmon-colored, it opens to a gorgeous bouquet of raspberry, orange, orchids, toasted pistachio and barrel spices. Although the palate had an excellent body, the mousse kept it light and let some cherry and toast flavors linger through a long, clean finish supported by saline acidity. Still youthful but coming together beautifully.

An iconic label from Spain was originally CVNE (the company’s initials, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) but a labeling spelling error prompted the iconic Cune. Cune Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva 2015 is wonderful, 95 McD under $60. Approachable now and will cellar through 2030. As an advantage for those who don’t cellar, there is inventory in the $80 range of the 2012. It will take a bit of work for your wine store pal, but well worth the candle. The 2012 is dark cherry-colored, opens to cherry, cassis, vanilla and cocoa aromas. On a dry palate, zesty mineral acidity supports cherry, plum, hints of mocha, vanilla and a spice sachet. Very long finish filled with fruit sweetness (not sugar), well-integrated tannins and floral hints.

May the blessings of the season bring all peace.


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