Fortune USA 201906

(Chris Devlin) #1





ers from France, Italy, California, and 200
wine connoisseurs for four days that might
best be described as oenophiles gone wild.
By the adults-only pool, there’s a “glass-
ology” class taught by a Riedel representative
who decries the ubiquitous balloon-shaped
glass as “the enemy of all red wine.” (He
instructs note-taking attendees to pour a New
Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from a narrow glass
into a paper cup, asks his co-instructor what
it smells like in that lesser vessel, and nods

gravely at her response: “tragedy.”) On a lawn
overlooking the ocean, the “Discovery of Pinot
Noir” seminar devolves into a debate about
the merits of making Pinot in California vs.
France. (“They can have hail in July,” says a
Napa loyalist. “We have an embarrassment
of sunshine.”) On the balcony of a penthouse
suite, it’s time to saber a magnum of vin-
tage Billecart-Salmon Champagne, but the
sharpest tool in the room is a butter knife.
No matter! An assistant rushes down to the

Say I’m a casual wine
drinker, and I want
to invest in a cellar.
Where should I start?
Buy wines that have
ageability: good
quality Cabernet
Sauvignon, Pinot
Noir. Something with
stamina. You don’t
want to take a Chenin
Blanc from Santa Bar-
bara, put it in a wine
cellar, and three years
later think it’s going to
be better. That gener-
ally doesn’t happen.

Are there particular
vintages that are a
good value right now?
Get in on inexpensive
Bordeaux and really
nice California Cabs.
I’d recommend the
2015 Château Gis-
cours (about $65), the
2014 Jonata Todos
($50), and 2014 Daou
Reserve Cabernet
Sauvignon ($60).

guide to


a cellar

Is there a wine region
that hasn’t quite
peaked yet, where it
would be good to start
buying from?
The central coast of
California is probably
the most under-the-
radar area in the
world right now, from
Santa Barbara to San
Luis Obispo and Paso
Robles. Those wines
have very good qual-
ity, very high value,
and they’re waiting to
be discovered.

Do you recommend
any apps for manag-
ing a wine collection?
CellarTracker is great.
You can see what
your peers are think-
ing about a product
and get a communal
rating, instead of
some dusty old guy
south of London de-
termining when you
open something.

Is it true that if you’re
planning to cellar a
particular wine, you
should buy multiple
bottles of it?
Absolutely. Here’s
what happens: You

buy wine, you put it in
your cellar, you take
it out, you discover,
“This is amazing.
It just needs two
more years.” Two
years later, you have
another bottle set
aside. It’s the journey
you take with the
wines, that’s the fun.

Where should I get
the wine that’s
going in my cellar?
A vineyard, an auc-
tion, a website, my
local wine store?
First, discover what
you like, and then
you should probably
have a relationship
with all of the above.
It’s crucial to develop
a relationship with a
merchant to find
out what the best
varietals are for you,
how long you want to
age them, and what
you’re looking for as
far as taste profile.
A good merchant
will have a lot of
selection. Wally’s has
8,000 unique bottles.
I guarantee we have
500 items in your
price range. —S.M.

Navarro’s picks
for star ting
your cellar:
robust reds from
California and





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