Consider yourself lucky in the wine world if you happen to be friends with a certain breed of wine enthusiast, a character that truely loves wine (not a show-off or financial speculator), and experiences joy in sharing his wine with others who appreciate it. Yes, there are many such people around. But the unique nature of this rare find in a wine-friend is more uncommon. He has to be someone with a large collection, say, over 1000 bottles. Come on! There are more and more of those too.
O.K. Here’s the truely unusual feature: a genuine, generous collector, who has come to an authentic realization that he has collected more wine than he can ever possibly consume, and many in his collection are poised to slide downhill faster than those athletes in the Winter Olympics. Now that is a good friend to have. At some phase of their lives they will begin opening their bottles at a feverish pace, and will need others to share them with. The irony of the situation is that they will consider you a good friend if you are there to receive their largesse and show genuine appreciation, when you think they are the ones acting friendly. The favor works both ways.
I have several such friends. I lost one recently. Mere “thank you” ‘s do not suffice for the amazing wines these friends bestow upon you. And how do you repay their generosity? The same way you should with your parents: become such a person yourself and pass it on to another generation of wine lovers, as you would thank your parents by passing their legacy on to your children. When I begin my own panic opening of my collection (not any time soon), you may want to poise yourselves as my friends. But beware: I can spot fake wine-lovers a mile away. Only the genuine enthusiasts are entitled to such largesse.