As long as I can remember, my daughter has called “dibs” on a piece of art work, which I bought when I was first started to learn about some of the fine arts. As I was learning about wines, in those early years, I also started to appreciate art perhaps that is from the odd occasion when I would play “hooky” and spend a day at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Back in the day, one of the few places that I was able to buy wine, when I was in High School was at the old J.L. Hudson department store in downtown Detroit, and I would then take my purchases and go and catch a city bus to go back home with a student fare. Oh the ironies of the moment, as I look back on those days. Now this particular department store, was a museum of sorts for me; because I could look at all of the items that were out of my realm of knowledge, and they were all for sale. Not only was there wine, but fine furniture, oriental rugs, framed and loose art work, a book store as well as a book shop for the classics with limited editions and fine bindings. Items that I had seen in movies, but had never encountered in my neighborhood growing up.
One day as I was strolling through the art galleries and print shop, I saw a framed picture that caught my eye, and to this day, it would still catch my eye; a framed Life magazine with a stylized picture of a “Flapper Girl” of the “Roaring Twenties” super-imposed on a butterfly. Though I have never done any serious studying of this picture, I would presume that it was one of the first depictions of a “Flapper” for national distribution. I had to own this piece, and I remember putting it in layaway and making payments on it, and then later I hung it proudly in my flat in Detroit. Later when I married, this picture was proudly hung in my first home, and I never really thought about it again, except to admire it on occasions as I would walk by it. All of this changed, when there was a television program, and it could have been new or in syndication as the years blur somewhat, but my daughter recognized this same picture hanging in the apartment living room of a show called “Three’s Company.”
All of this exposition is to explain that I had caught the desire to collect finer things around the same time. As I taught myself about art, to a degree, I also had a thirst for wine studies as well. One of the earliest bottles of wine that I bought was a Grand Cru from the Cotes de Blaye, which is a cousin of the Bordeaux Region. It was a bottle of Chateau L’Escadre Grand Cru Cotes de Blaye 1966. I remember buying this bottle because it said Gironde on the label, and from talking and listening I had discovered that Gironde was a department or a state of France and that Bordeaux was the principal city of it. I was trying to learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could. At that time my brain was a sponge soaking up all the knowledge that I could acquire, though it would take years for my palette to catch up.