People quite reasonably ask what can possibly justify spending two hundred euro, say, on a bottle of wine, when a truly magnificent bottle can be had for much, much less than that amount. I had a bottle only last month
, they say, can't remember the name of it, just brilliant, and it only cost
. What greater pleasure could I possibly get from a wine that costs ten times as much?
Well, maybe not much more. Or maybe a whole lot. It depends.
I've just had to take my 1993-vintage car to the scrapyard. I bought it in the first place because I needed to move things and people (me, to work, mostly) around, and it did a thoroughly good job of that. I once replaced the radio with a fancier one, and that made it 110% of a car as far as I was concerned. I'm really not very interested in cars, so long as the one I use starts and stops &c. as requested.
Some people, on the other hand, get enormous satisfaction from owning the RSX version, or having self-cleaning ashtrays with geo-dimmable xenon lamps in them, or whatever it might be. They enjoy the details, the statistics, the ownership, all of it. They don't mind spending what it takes to enjoy as many creature comforts and technical and aesthetic refinements behind the wheel as possible. I wouldn't have enough understanding or interest to appreciate what makes a 'special' car special to that extent.
In the same way, some people make a lifelong hobby out of becoming as knowledgeable and discriminating about wine as they possibly can, to the point of obsession. If all the cooing and poetry about wine in this column and elsewhere leaves you cold, I think you might make a better investment than one of those super-costly bottles.
But don't be too hasty in rolling your eyes to heaven if you hear of a wine buff spending the price of a tank of petrol or more on a bottle of wine. Chances are she really will get her money's worth, even if it seems folly to you. Ask someone with an expensive car - he'll understand.