Wine After Wine

NEW YORK — In a tony private club on the Upper East Side, Michael Broadbent, at 75 perhaps the most venerable figure in the wine world (an industry full of venerable types), leans against an end table and offers a broad toothy smile toward the...

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"I went down to the cellar and there was a terrible smell of vinegar," he says. "The cork had lost its elasticity." Still, Broadbent saved the day, infusing the moment with a little romance.

"I stood in front of the long table and nodded sagely as the owner had the first sip," Broadbent says, savoring the memory. "Then I told the group, ‘This is a very old wine, and you’re tasting history. The grapes for this wine in 1864 were being picked at almost the very moment that General Sherman was marching across Georgia towards Memphis.’"

Unlike many in the wine industry, who are taken with New World wines — from Australia, New Zealand, California — Broadbent champions the classics, Bordeaux and Burgundy. He includes California wines in the book, a couple of pages on the rest, but it’s not where his heart is.

"I know I’m going against the tide," he says. "But this is not a book about wines that you grab off the shelf to drink tonight. I’m writing about wines that have a past and a present and a future."
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