Confession: I am Guilty of a Heinous Wine Crime

Good wines gone bad.

Forgive me Master Sommeliers and wine collectors around the world, I have sinned. I am here to confess my deepest darkest wine secret: I improperly stored four bottles of fabulous wine. For nearly 35 years.

Look at the photos and weep with (for?) me. I recently uncovered these bottles in a box buried beneath a pile of old Christmas decorations in my garage. Yes, my garage, where it sat for close to 35 summers, winters, springs, and falls. I am a human species of Phylloxera.

I could have pulled another Billionaire’s Vinegar and called Sotheby’s and claimed the wine was given to me by Richard Nixon and I’ve kept it hidden in a bricked-up Paris cellar. Instead I’m posting pictures of my crime. Perhaps there are others who have committed the same dirty deed.

Full confession below.

Yes, $19.79 before my employee discount.
Self portrait.

I used to collect wine, especially French wine. Specifically those of Bordeaux. I worked at a wine bar in Dallas called La Cave and spent my off time learning about French wine. My former boss, François Chandou, still runs La Cave Warehouse.  He is my witness. I bought hundreds of bottles of French Bordeaux. I wore a laminated vintage chart around my neck and scoured wine shops and wine lists looking for the best.

Eventually, I drank it all. Well, except for these four bottles. Is there anything I can do? Do I even attempt to drink them? (Does anyone want to buy them?)

I would like to take this moment to apologize to Bacchus, Dionysos, the early colonists of Southern Gaul, the concept of terroir, Baron Philippe de Rothschild (and subsequent Barons), James Tidwell, and Drew Hendricks. My deepest regrets to the chateaus: Latour, Mouton-Rothchild, Margaux (oh, sweet Margaux), Haut-Brion, Petrus, Pomerol, St. Emilion, and d’Yquem. Sorrows to you dear Cabernet Savignon, Merlot, and Cab Franc grapes. You gave your lives only to sit in a bottle in a box underneath a pile of old Christmas decorations in my garage. I am unworthy of your grace.

There is about a half inch of sediment in the neck of this bottle.
Sorry lion-guarded fortresses of France.
This wine was my first true love. We sold it for $4 a glass at La Cave. At one point I owned two cases.
Heinous. Painful. Wrong.


  • Andrew Chalk

    It’s OK, they are weak years. Go out and buy some 2009s and you will feel better.

  • Jasper Russo

    I can’t even look at you right now!

  • I feel your pain… here is the 1966 Haut-Brion that was stored in a cabinet above my parents fridge for 25 years before I took it 10 years ago… a conversation piece at this point:

  • Amy S

    1985 San Saba Cabernet. Leaky.

  • Jasper, please don’t tell John Rector.

  • Critic

    These bottles will not even be good for cooking wine

  • Heartbreaking….

  • Not to worry, I am sure you have got some other vintages to drink. Great story.

  • Oh. My. God. Nancy…. WTF ? Flogging and hanging by toenails…
    Haut Brion…my fav…. oh, poor sweet bottle… the shame. Save them as trophies and reminders of your trespasses.

    Come get some recent vintages: Lagrange 1998, still reasonable.

  • Stepanie

    They would probably make nice vintage decor!

  • Hospitality Instructor

    Kudos for having the stones to admit to this. Not to mention blogging about it. Sad story.

  • David McMillan

    A great friend in LA that works for Southern Wine & Spirits, David Schniederman, started the “Festival of Bad Wines” for this very reason. Collectors, F&B people, friends etc.. bring in wines they’ve kept for too long or abused along the way.
    Too many wines open to try or feel obligated to drinking your damaged wines, a few will have survived and too many people going through the same thing to cry over spilled milk (or spoiled wine)!

  • David, what a festive idea. Perhaps we should found the Dallas event.

    Hi, Anne!

  • ChuckW

    Ya’ know what ? I say…’WTF ?’. Throw some good porterhouse’ on the grill (pls don’t marinate them – sea salt , pepper & a splash of olive oil) , have some back up reds , decant those pups ( have a taste immediately) & see what they’re like. Granted , low fills , but the capsule’ look okay. If 1 out of 4 is good , then your a winner !!!!

  • Jean

    Nancy you are hilarious. Very clever write up of an embarrassing situation. I’d like to know how professionals would tell you what to do. I dont know much about wine but this sounds like you said heinous. Drink beer!

  • Pingback: Confession: I am Guilty of a Heinous Wine Crime | NIGHTLIFE GUIDE()

  • cbs

    egregious. the 67 Latour is the only one I have tasted. It was incredible. An understandable (slightly) shame. You now have some interesting conversation pieces/bookends.

  • primi timpano

    Shamefully I have had the same experience twice, both times involving good bottles and years. I have given up collecting and just buy what I drink. You may still be able to find some 2005 petite bordeauxs that will be better than what you lost, even if the lost bottles were properly cellared.

  • primi timpano

    Oh, and St Emillion is not a chateau, and apologies are not due St Emillion as none of the four bottles came from there. You sure had good taste in wine.

  • The Janitor

    Carefully uncork ’em, re-fill ’em with some of the current wines listed above, re-cork and impress some yahoos with your generous pours some evening. Then tell us all about their response….

  • Jimmy Contreras

    Great read Nancy,
    I’ve lost a few btls to the wine gods as well.

  • Primi,none of the wine came from d’Yquem either. Thank you for pointing out that St. E isn’t a chateau. You have a strange sense of humor. I hope.