Wine Cellar Philosophy
A few weekends ago, we cleaned the display area between our kitchen cupboards and our kitchen ceiling. It houses a collection of kitchen antiques (mostly from France) including: an old galvanized metal milk can, a few antique enamel pitchers, and some vintage cookie tins. We also have lots of empty wine bottles, including a few magnums. These empty wine bottles are some of Pascal's best-loved treasures. They come from Chateau Latour, one of the best vineyards in France. There are vintages ranging from 1901 to 1994. The older bottles are amazing; they're about twice as heavy as today's wine bottle and have a slightly different form. Many of the bottles are considered rare collector's items. For example, a magnum of 1870 Chateau Latour sells for about $27,125 (that's with the wine included and the cork intact). We have no idea what one of our empty bottles is worth, but I'm sure the value must decrease by about $27K once the wine is gone! A regular-sized bottle from the 1900 vintage can be purchased for just $6,125, a nice boon for Pascal's empty bottle dating back to 1901.
Pascal dreams of having a "cave" (pronounced cahv) one day, his own personal wine cellar with (full) bottles of exceptional wines. He has started building his collection slowly with a couple of dozen good wines that we're not allowed to open, the best bottle is worth about $800. None of this "instant wine cellar" stuff for him. While Pascal dreams of his own cave, we enjoy the charm that our empty bottle collection gives to our French country kitchen. After all, I think it's not a half-bad philosophy to live by: An empty bottle of red on the table is better than a hundred uncorked wines in the cellar.