Musings on Allocations, Going Broke

For those of you not in the know, once you get bit hard by the wine bug you start doing stupid things. Things like buy a wine fridge. Then another wine fridge. Then another. Eventually you decide that the closet in your bedroom isn’t keeping those 07 montelena estate cabs in good working order, so you move the heft of your collection into wine jail (storage). You also read about a zillion great wines, wines that you can only get through limited allocation after waiting years on a list. You tell yourself “Well by the time I’m on these lists I’ll be rolling in dough!” Yeah, not so much.

So far I’ve been ‘allowed’ to buy wines from Bond (i didn’t), Aubert (nope), Blankiet (uh-uh), Spottswoode (no), Harlan (no way), Rivers-Marie, Abeja, Betz, Williams-Selyem, Justin, and Turley (note I didn’t say I didn’t on all those last ones). God help me when I get accepted to Hillside Select or Screaming Eagle. When I first got into wine (and thus cabs) I signed up for all the rockstars. I’m willing to concede these 500 dollar bottles to CEOs and moviestars. I’ll muscle into their territory when I win the lottery.

Last fall was like xmas, as I got accepted to all of the above aside from Abeja and Justin (been on Justin for years, Abeja a year). I buckled down and ordered a bottle or two of most wines offered from each (Turley I grabbed pretty much every bottle I could, I think they and Ridge are both worth cellaring). Now the spring allocations are showing up and it’s gnawing at me. So much good wine, some of it completely unattainable by any other means. So regretfully, I find myself picking through them and ordering a few special bottles with money I really shouldn’t spend.

Maybe It’s a sickness. It must be, I’ve always been pretty damn buttoned down with cash, but when it comes to wine I lose my morals. She’s like a springy Q-tip of love. I know I’ll go deaf cramming her into every deep crevace in my ear, but it just feels so damn good.

From Betz I grabbed the one bottle I was allowed to purchase of Chapitre 3, a 4 barrel Syrah blend they’ve only made once before. Purists might say to hell with blending, Syrah should sing the praises of the dirt it’s grown in! To that I say, hell if I know. I’ll tell you in 10 years when I actually open the bottle and see.

Rivers-Marie has super awesome graphic design, and while I know that’s a terrible reason to buy wine, it’s scores are fantastic as well. I also wanted to round out their staple of wines so I can try them for myself (those cabs I bought in the fall aren’t drinking any year soon). I grabbed six different bottles of pinot noir and one bottle of chardonnay. Can drink ‘em younger and figure out if I should keep buying their juice. I haven’t been convinced of paying this much for a chardonnay before ($45), but I’ll take the leap and see what it reveals.

Hopefully I’ll work my ass off soon and start piling up cash. I vaguely remember drunken nights sipping wine and reading about glorious bottles of wine, signing up for mailing list after mailing list. It makes me feel special to have access to some of these great bottles, and I tend to only grab the ones I can’t get in a store or order online. Though for the foreseeable future I’m going to have to try to cull down what I’m buying, because man cannot live on wine alone.




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