Collecting Wine- Tips by Michael Madrigale, Head Sommelier at Bar Boulud
Collecting wine, how to collect wine, what to do, where to look…. These are such vast topics, they each deserve a blog post (and more) on their own. However, it is my mission to make things simpler and a bit more accessible than what they seem to be. So I went after Michael Madrigale, Head Sommelier at Bar Boulud http://www.danielnyc.com/barboulud.html, social media master (follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/BARBOULUD) and overall, a really cool and down to earth guy who absolutely loves what he does. Despite the long hours managing the cellar, buying, budgeting and running the floor, talking to diners, tasting wine….
Every night, based upon his weekly discussions with the chef, Michael selects a Magnum (1.5 liter bottle for all regions) or Jeroboam (3 liter bottle of Bordeaux) or Methuselah (6 liter bottle of Burgundy) or Imperial (6 liter bottle of Bordeaux) to be poured and sold by the glass. He also Tweets his choices. The selection is always distinctive, including fabulous vintages, Grand Crus, and more. And no glass of wine is ever more expensive than $25. Michael’s Twitter followers don’t walk, they RUN to Bar Boulud to drink from the coveted bottle and everybody has a blast. As a bonus (and what a bonus), the art that is hanging on the walls of the restaurant is a whole series of wine stains made especially by Vik Muniz for Daniel. Here, Vik explores the duality that exists between something as divine as wine and something as despicable as the stains they leave behind. Brilliant.
So I asked Michael to give me his tips on how to collect wine. He feels the most important thing that collectors or aspiring collectors should do is read a lot: understand the wines, the production, the philosophy behind each vineyard and the passion of a winemaker. It also helps to understand the nuances of the wine market without jumping to buy whatever is being offered on the internet or at auctions (which are often priced higher than the wine is actually worth). My own favorite references in this area are “The Wine Advocate” (Robert Parker’s famed bimonthly super-specialized magazine) and Wine Spectator, which is fun, colorful and filled with excellent advice and information. On the blog side, I like Dr. Vino http://www.drvino.com/ and of course, Gary Vainerchuck’s Wine Library TV http://tv.winelibrary.com/
One other thing that Michael mentioned a lot is how the crazy wine market can make affluent people spend inordinate amounts of money for cases of wine that aren’t really worth that much. As an example, he mentions the Californian wines of 1999 and 2000 , describing the frenzy they provoked but the ultimately disappointing quality of the wines. Michael also advises to be very careful at wine auctions: prices will always be increased due to premiums and other fees and most of the time, for the really good wines, there will be other guys pushing very hard to get a case of that fabulous (and hard to find) Burgundy or Bordeaux.