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pride and sometimes bravado. If you ask a wine collector if you can see the wine
cellar be prepared! You’re bound to get a grand tour and a lecture about the cedar
The Improper Vinophile
walls and the brick fl oor.
Adventures in Wine
In addition to storing wine for proper aging there are other, more insidious
Anthony Frasca
reasons to have a wine cellar.
Long ago I used a spare room in my house to set up a home offi ce with a desk
and a computer and paintings of fi sh. It was a place of quiet and comfort. It wasn’t
long before my wife and children discovered the handiness of a home offi ce and
Adventures in Wine
they invaded in droves. I did get to keep the paintings of fi sh.
How do you know you have entered the home of a wine enthusiast? Well, the
I also had a little cubby area above the garage where I set up a desk to tie fl ies
tell tale signs are usually evident. A simple scan will reveal any number of clues.
for one of my other passions, fl y fi shing. Well, that area is now a fl y tying/seam-
From artwork to empty wine bottles to decanters and other wine paraphernalia,
stress area with a sewing machine and various other accoutrements to trip over.
wine lovers will have their passion on display.
But, the wine cellar. Ah, the wine cellar, the last bastion of solitude. And, the
Empty wine bottles are a must. Why we save empty wine bottles is a question
only real reason why no one has dared invade that space is that they can’t handle
with many answers. I have the empty bottle that my wife and I shared on our wed-
the temperature. The beauty of having to keep your wines at fi fty-fi ve degrees is
ding night. It was defi nitely a memorable event, although the wine, a 1982 Lafi te
also the reason why visitors will not stay for long. I’m beginning to think that a long
Rothschild, was way too young. We enjoyed it nonetheless and looking at the empty
forgotten soul invented that temperature to fi nd peace tranquility amidst the aging
bottle from time to time brings back good memories.
wines.
Then there is the 1967 Lodali Barolo that my
And there are fringe benefi ts. I can hang the most hid-
friends and I shared in the late 1980’s. I found the wine
eous artwork. No one cares. I have the plate with a picture
In addition to storing wine for proper
while mindlessly shopping at a wine shop in a strip
of Spock from Star Trek on display. My mother gave it
mall. I still have the notes that gushed about the wine’s
aging there are other, more insidious to me and that’s the only place I can keep it with nary a
latent fruitiness and character and we lamented that it
reasons to have a wine cellar.
whisper. And then there is the mini eighteen-wheel truck
would be nearly impossible to fi nd more. I saved that
with the Yankees logo.
bottle not because of the quality of its contents but for
The cigar humidor occupies a prominent place on a con-
the unique font on the label and what now seems like a ridiculously low price. The
venient table. But, if you have a look in there you’ll only fi nd a few loose inexpen-
sticker reads $15.99.
sive cigars. The Cubans are tucked away in a nondescript Tupperware container on
In addition to empty wine bottles there are the corkscrews. One friend of mine
a high shelf.
has an elegant display of scores of antique corkscrews that he has collected over
And so, on occasion when I have to “organize” the wine cellar I don a fl eece
time. But, corkscrews are like socks and box cutters, they tend to disappear into
and bring my lighter and open the Tupperware container and a Cohiba Robusto adds
thin air only to turn up in the most unusual places and never when you need them. A
a hint of tobacco to the aroma of my wines.
decent wine collector probably has at least ten corkscrews and maybe could tell you
where two of them are. I keep one in the center console of my car at all times, along
Anthony Frasca is a freelance writer and photographer. He lives in Setauket with
with a box cutter.
his wife and three children. Comments to the wine editor can be made at mn-
Of course the wine cellar is the sine qua non for an enthusiast. It is an area of
kymn1956@gmail.com

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Improper Northshoerian April 2008 8 4/2/2009 10:19:27 AM
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