40+ YEARS AS A WINE AMATEUR
Welcome to my wine web site. I am Lonnie Williams, a wine amateur in the French sense of the word. I am in love with all things having to do with wine even though I have never been involved in the world of wine in a professional sense. Everything I have placed on this site is based on my personal experiences with specific wines and with wine in general. I welcome any feedback you may have, even if your experiences with a specific wine are different from mine - I am sure I am not too old to learn from others.
This web site is a testimonial to the concept that compulsive behavior sometimes can be a good thing. I started my journey into the complex world of wine back in 1965. Whenever I bought a bottle of wine, no matter how grand or trivial it was, I would note in a three-ring binder the wine's identity, its purchase price and date. After I drank the wine, I would soak the label off the bottle, dry it and glue it to its appropriate page. Below the label I would write my tasting impressions. Thanks to this compulsive behavior, I ended up accumulating over the years several thick binders filled with these wine memories. I have placed these labels and notes in Old Tastes.
The photo to the left is the label on a bottle of 1947 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. This is the bottle of wine that started my long wine journey. In May of 1965 I was a first lieutenant in the Air Force, stationed at a SAC base in Glasgow, Montana. I managed to scrounge a ride on a KC-135 refueling tanker to Seville, Spain for a short vacation. At that time, my interest in and knowledge about wine was about as close to zero as you could get. The day before my return to Glasgow, I wandered into a small liquor store in Seville with the intent of purchasing and taking home a bottle of hard liquor and perhaps a few bottles of Mateus, the wine of choice for any self-respecting Air Force type. I remember to this day glancing up on the top shelf and spotting this bottle of wine. I bought it even though I had absolutely no idea what it was, other than wine. And it was pretty pricey wine at that - at the current exchange rate I had to fork over $3.30! After my return to Glasgow, I managed to purchase a copy (a first edition!) of Frank Schoonmaker's Encyclopedia of Wine, which was one of only a few books about wine in existence at that time. Well, reading this fine book from cover to cover really set the hook.
I held on to this old bottle of wine for a very long time, more out of a sense of nostalgia than any hope that the wine would be drinkable. I knew 1947 had been an excellent vintage in Bordeaux, but I also realized this particular bottle had been baking away on the upper shelf of this non-air conditioned liquor shop in Seville for about 15 years. I finally opened it on Christmas day in 2004, in the company of my wife and son, and we were surprised that it had some life remaining, just barely hanging on by its fingertips.