Good Wines, Good Neighbors

Attention all wine lovers: Here’s a genuine “insider tip” about two fabulous wine collections soon to be available. Why am I alerting others? Well, stupid me, I truly believe that wine is something meant to be shared.

And maybe I’m hoping to be invited to share a bottle by the new owners.

So hoarders, brand collectors who never enjoy the wine in their cellars but display them on tours, and hedonists who babble on about how great a wine was that they drank last night, and tell you about its point scores… this tip isn’t for you.

But back to my insider tips. The first collection is a 24-bottle vertical of Chateau de Beaucastel featuring the best vintages from 1978 to 2010. Yes, the great Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Collection #2 is another 24 bottle vertical, this time of the Joseph Phelps Insignia, 1990-2013.

While both verticals contain the best vintages what brings us to the “insider tip” is the provenance of these wines. They have been cellared under truly ideal conditions and the older vintages have been babied over all the years.

The labels are all in excellent conditions and the level of fill is high on all bottle, confirming the perfect cellaring.

I know these things because the owners are my neighbors, and like the best of neighbors, they share fine wines. Yes, the 78 Beaucastel is alive and well, and you can enjoy the other great like the 83, 89, 90, 95, 97, 2001 and on and on.

As a longtime Chateauneuf-du-Pape fan who visited Beaucastel and other estates, I’ve tasted and enjoyed an ungodly number of CNP and can verify that the finest vintages are included in this collection.

Not to be overshadowed, only the finest vintages are included in the Insignias. I’m not teasing…it too has all of the great, long-lasting vintages of Insignia from 90, 94, 95, 97,2000, 02, and on and on. The just released 2013 Insignia is a perfect finale.

So now you are asking, “Where are these too-good-to-be-true wine collections available?” The answer is they will be headliners at a charity wine auction on September 10th. Winesong is the auction held on the Mendocino Coast town of Ft. Bragg. You don’t have to be present to bid.

Check out

And yes, full disclosure, I was closely involved in this auction, but have not been since 2010.

Winesong benefits the Mendocino Coast District Hospital.

Author: robywine, norm roby

My career as a wine journalist/critic began in 1975 when my article about California Petite Sirah was published. My focus remained on California as I edited a monthly wine magazine and then moved on to The Wine Spectator in 1981. Over the following years, my column appeared under the banner of “Stormin’ Norman, and I also wrote articles about wine collectors and wine auctions. Without getting into a year by year bio, let me try to summarize here. During my time with The Spectator which I enjoyed immensely, I taught wine classes at a culinary school and at other venues in San Francisco. Before venturing into wine, teaching was my thing, English Lit and Rhetoric. After The Spectator I was the U.S. Contributor to Decanter Magazine, writing mostly about California, but also expanding into Washington State and Oregon. My Decanter years began in 1992 and after buying a summer home in France in 2000, I traveled throughout France and eventually published articles about St. Emilion, Castillon, Bergerac, Minervois, Roussillon, Luberon, Provence, and Alsace. Also, around 2000, my wife began working for Cousino-Macul in Chile, so we tasted and traveled our way through Chile and, of course, managed to fly over the Andes and explore and taste our way through Argentina. As travel lovers, we have also spent many interesting days visiting the wine regions of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sicily, Greece, and New Zealand. And to come to a close, I was Director of a Charity Wine Auction for 20 years, 1992-2000 that benefitted a local hospital. That brought me in contact with wine collectors and to the auction scene. And finally, I co-authored a book, The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine published by Alfred A. Knopf. It went through 4 editions and sold over 500.000 copies.

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