I remember many years ago, wandering through an amazing and ancient warehouse (indeed it had Roman origins) and enjoying the fabulous cornucopia of wines cluttering its arches. So many wines, more than anybody could ever get to know in a lifetime, and that is so much of the pleasure of a subject that seems to be inexhaustible in its breadth. But when I commented on the breadth of the stock, my host sighed: “he’s so much better at buying than selling”. 

My cellar (I am fortunate to have such a thing) is tiny by comparison, but still an Aladin’s cave. I sometimes despair that the right time will never come for some bottles, not because they aren’t ready to drink, but because I’m not ready to drink them. There are a few mistakes in there, a bit of buyer's regret, but mostly it is sound and interesting stuff. I’ve taken to the habit of pouring guests only wines they have never tried before, which is much more fun than bringing out tried and trusted familiar bottles.  I do have guests tonight, who will get some Silvaner from Franconia (Horst Sauer), a Rabigato from Portugal (Muxagat), and South African Pinot Noir (Storm).  But what is increasingly missing from the cellar is famous names. There was a time when the great producers were few and far between and their produce was relatively affordable. But today, the reverse is the case. “Fine" wine costs silly money, but we live in an age where there is more top quality wine being made than ever before. It isn’t a changing of the guard: replacing one set of old timers with a new set of youngbloods, it is something much better: a bewildering array of wines of the highest standards from every corner of the world, mostly not extortionate in price, with the only challenge being one of keeping up with what to try. 

I urge everybody out there to buy less of what you know and explore the things you don’t. Maybe that is a dangerous thing to post in a place where many of the readers will be our loyal customers. But there’s more to life than Felton Road. 

Cheers, Nigel