The article also reminded me of some advice that an estate lawyer once told me years ago: The best estate plan is one where the last bank check you write on Earth bounces for lack of funds!
The Best Reason to Collect Wine: To Drink It
Remember the days when people actually drank their fine wine? Before the days of wine funds and Bordeaux Indexes and show cellars and sales pitches about Montrachet being the next noncorrelated asset?
Those days of wine enjoyment may have passed, along with one of its great proponents, the collector Lloyd Flatt. But the world will get a chance to buy some of Mr. Flatt’s legendary collection during a Sotheby’s auction in March.
The auction house is selling about 1,500 bottles from Mr. Flatt’s cellar and expects to pull in more than $600,000. Some large format bottles, like a Jeroboam of 1959 Lafite Rothschild, could go for as much as $30,000.
But price wasn’t the point for Mr. Flatt, who died in January 2008 at age 71. He was all about what is inside the bottle. “Unlike an art collection, which is permanent, wine must ultimately be consumed,” he once told Wine Spectator. “You should never contemplate a cellar if you cannot accept that fact.”
A Tennessee native with an eye patch and southern twang, Mr. Flatt was an aerospace consultant who started collecting in the 1960s after a visit to London. He was fond of top hats, jazz and walking in his garden in his pajamas. He was known for his biting humor and generosity in opening pricey bottles of wine to serve to friends and even strangers.
Mr. Flatt loved the hunt for great wine and and preferred drinking it with fine food–or any food really. He often said “if the wine is good enough the food will follow,” which is why he often sometimes paired a bottle of Dom Perignon with a Dominos Pizza or a Lafite Rothschild with a burger.
He often recited a quote from his grandmother, “Granny Flatt,” who said “the only difference between a “wino” and a “wine connoisseur” is money.
“Lloyd was always fun and entertaining,” Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s head of North American wine chief told me. “He knew the market pretty well and he sometimes enjoyed under-bidding to drive the prices up for others. But he never minded pulling a cork out of a bottle because to him, that was the real value.”
So top hats off to Mr. Flatt–and let’s hope that in his honor, some of the people who buy his wines in March actually drink them.
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