Wine Collecting Fundamentals

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The SF Wine Center took a little twist at this Tuesday’s class on wine collecting fundamentals.  Wine Gavel’s Auction Director Gence Alton joined the SF Wine Center staff as we explored the ins and outs of the world of wine auctions and collecting.  What made this evening’s class so special, besides the extraordinary list of wines tasted, was that this session was less of a lecture and more of a discussion.  Students were able to express their thoughts on collecting and share their personal tips on buying and selling wine.

Gence started the class by providing some basic information not only about Wine Gavel, but also how wine auctioning came about in the world.  These topics lead to discussions about excellent wine buying tools and references like and  It was so great to have industry veterans lead the conversations, but for the students to be equally involved in the dialog.

We then moved on to talk about the wines themselves and what to do with them.  Between understanding the influence of premox, understanding how to determine a wine’s aging ability, and proper storage of wine, the students were given a helpful crash course to get them in the right direction with their wine collecting.  With a stunning list of wines to pair with all of that valuable information, how could this class be anything but amazing?

My Top Pick for the Night?

Hundred Acre Ark Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: 96-99 pts

This wine was a jaw dropper, even after my 4th tasting of it.  Beautifully perfumed with aromas of fresh black plum, lavender, and savory notes, this wine was a favorite in the class well before it was even tasted.  On the palate this wine delivered even more than expected with its black plum, cinnamon, cloves, and the sensational characteristics of Pâtéwith peppercorns.  With its remarkable fruit and brilliant acidity, this wine will be well worth the wait in many years to come.

Wine List:

  1. Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon 2007: 92 pts (6 btls- $125)
  2. Kistler Hyde Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay 2008: 96 pts ($120)
  3. Chateau Leoville Las Cases 1989 – Saint Julien, Bordeaux: 96 pts ($225)
  4. Château Pape Clement Rouge 2005 – Pessac-Léognan; 98 pts (15 btls, 375ml- $150)
  5. Antinori Tignanello 2007 – Toscana red (Super Tuscan): 95 pts (48 btls – $75)
  6. Colgin Cariad Red 2000 – Napa Valley: 95 pts  ($225)
  7. Verite La Muse 2007: 100 pts (24 btls – $300)
  8. Hundred Acre Ark Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: 96-99 pts (30 btls – $275)

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