When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do on the weekends was to go to garage sales. I liked looking at all the stuff that other people had (which I didn't) but perhaps more importantly, I loved that I could buy it for a nickel. Or something like that. I'm sure my mother did, too, since we couldn't exactly afford shopping sprees at ToysRUs.
I don't know when was the last garage sale I visited, but I'm pretty sure there wasn't anything there for a nickel. It's easy to get nostalgic about what amazing things we used to be able to buy for ridiculously little money. Perhaps for this reason I still really enjoy an occasional flip through reproductions of the old Sears Roebuck catalog where you could get an entire bureau of drawers for a bit more than a dollar.
So it probably comes as no surprise that I'm fascinated by the 1909 inventory list from UK wine merchant Berry Brothers and Rudd that Jamie Goode just posted on his blog. It's quite a treat to look through this little catalog it and see what was available before the first World War in England, and how things were priced. Jamie points out one of the most interesting facts -- that German Riesling was either popular enough or hard enough to get that it was priced comparable to many of the top Bordeaux wines of the time.
It's pleasantly comforting to see familiar names on this wine list, and mouthwatering to contemplate buying a case of Domaine Romanee Conti for less than $150. In these tough economic times, when many wine lovers, myself included, have cut back on wine expenditures, this list is almost cruel.
I was particularly intrigued by the category in one of the margins labeled as "Sparkling White Medoc." Did Bordeaux make sparkling white wines as recently as the turn of the century? That was news to me.
In any case, the list is an interesting little diversion if you care to take a few minutes to check it out.
Thanks to Jack at Fork & Bottle for the tip.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune