If you happened to observe Norm Brodsky--founder of CitiStorage in Brooklyn, New York, and longtime Inc. columnist--out to dinner with his wife, Elaine, the two of them sharing a single glass of wine, you might not suspect he has an appreciation for the stuff. But really, he just hates paying restaurant markups. For 25 years, collecting wine has been a passion for Brodsky, who now has about 200 bottles in his personal stash, all ready to drink.
In the early days, he says, his strategy was to buy a few of the most expensive newly bottled wines he could afford and cellar them for a decade. Later, when Brodsky popped the corks, he found some of the bottles to be superb, others disappointing. Now that he can afford to buy older vintages, occasionally splurging on a $400 bottle, "I no longer buy on speculation," Brodsky says. "At my age, you don't want to wait."
At the request of Inc., Brodsky assembled a case of his favorite vintages in a wide price range. You can find stores that carry these bottles on WineAccess.com.
- Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2003, $23
"This Pinot Grigio is a little too light for my taste, but it's very popular with guests. People love light wines."
- J. Lohr Chardonnay Arroyo Vista Vineyard 2002, $14
"This white is a little heavier than the Pinot Grigio. I'd serve it with food at a dinner, especially with chicken."
- Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Rouge "La Moussière" 2004, $25
"A good friend of mine has a house in Sancerre, which is part of what drew me to this red. I find it goes well with fish. It's feels a little tingly in your mouth and has a mineral taste."
- Alphonse Mellot Sancerre "Cuvée Edmond" 2001, $50
"Wine has to do with your palate and also with your memories. We went through the caves to get to the tasting room at the winery. When I drink it, I get transported. This is a wine I would serve only to people I know can appreciate it."
- Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet Clos de la Maltroie 2002, $80
"Chassagne-Montrachet is Elaine's and my favorite. It's what we drink when the two of us are eating together at home. We go through two cases a year."
- Domaine Darnat Meursault Clos Richemont Premier Cru Les Cras 2002, $80
"This is our Burgundy du jour, although I never met a good Burgundy I didn't like. It is slightly drier than the Chassagne-Montrachet."
- Schneider Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2004, $20
"Long Island wines are up-and-coming, and this one has a cult following. It has an unusual taste that's very earthy and really good."
- Chateau Haut-Brion Bordeaux 1978, $300
"This is one of the greatest wines. When I served a bottle the other night at a tasting, I said to the sommelier, 'Taste a little less.' It's rich, smooth, and complex."
- Twomey Merlot 2002, $62
"The Twomey is a good, fruity Napa Valley wine. I found it through a wine store recommendation. If I have several dinner guests over, I might open a few bottles. People are conditioned to ask for a Merlot or a Shiraz. This is an answer to that request."
- W. & J. Graham's Vintage Port 1970, $180
"It's pricey and hard to get, but this is my favorite port. It goes down like velvet, and you can taste the fruit."
- Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1994, $200
"I love to drink this port with a cigar. The 1970 is richer and more full-bodied, but '94 was also a great year. That's what I drink all the time."
- Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes 1988, $450
"Chateau d'Yquem [pictured] is my favorite dessert wine of all time. The first time I had it was on the Concorde in '84. The '88 is a great year. This is one of the four to six really expensive bottles I buy a year. It's for special occasions."