A wine company according to the heart of Roger Scruton

“Dore” is often used to describe the tint of certain wines in the glass. But there is another resemblance. Gold is a beautiful metal as well as a store of value. Wine, coveted for its taste, can also be a store of value, at least for many years. It therefore inevitably attracts the attention of investors, the best of whom want to deploy expertise in part to finance their consumption.

The late Roger Scruton, just that, once wrote an article explaining how it was possible to drink Château Lafite for free. You estimate your future needs and then buy double the amount. Within a few years, you should be able to sell half of your bottles for the price of the whole thing. I never asked him if he had tried that. But there is a London-based company that is run on Scrutonian principles.

A guy called Philip Gearing had a successful career in the city. But wine was his true calling. Every vacation, he took his family to France: to taste, buy – and dream. His son Tom remembers visiting Musigny when he was only 11 years old. His father tasted their rare and precious white. The guy watching the barrels offered Tom a small amount in the bottom of a glass. The boy looked at Dad, who said, ‘OK. Try it. But don’t tell your mother. Tom doesn’t know if he became addicted to wine at this time, but if not, it was soon after.

At the end of the 1990s, at the age of 40, Phil decided not to leave City anymore and to devote himself to wine. At school and university, Tom takes every opportunity to expand his wine knowledge and experience. In 2007, father and son joined forces to form Cult Wine Investment. They now operate globally, handling around £265m worth of wine and catering to a range of clients.

Some want a stock of wine as part of an investment portfolio. Others want to keep their options open and sell or drink depending on the circumstances. Tuition fees can be a factor. Mom cries as Christopher Robin leaves for prep school. Dad feels like crying as some of his precious crates leave for the auction house.

Cult Wines buys, sells, stores and advises. Hammersmith headquarters has a club atmosphere. Customers are encouraged to come, taste and chat. Cult also organizes meals and tastings. Tom and his team seem just as dedicated to their wines as they are to their customers.

If you want them to buy premier crus and DRC treasures, they will oblige. But they love meeting new producers and new names, and on a recent fall afternoon, I had the pleasure of drinking some.

We started with a Meursault de Heitz-Lochardet 2018; balanced, harmonious, accessible now, but it will keep easily for another decade. A California Chardonnay from Arnot–Roberts’s Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, 2020, might well have caused confusion at a tasting. It was more sophisticated than most Californians: a classy bottle, also made to last.

At Georges Noellat, Vosne–Romanée 2016 won the gold medal. Noellat is a great Burgundian name, and the young people who run this estate are worthy of their heritage. This is an excellent wine that will improve. Finally, another Californian in the form of a 2015 Sandhi Pinot Noir from Santa Rita. Sea breezes and cooler temperatures make it easier for winemakers to stay in control.

Four really thoughtful bottles; Cult is a company that knows what it likes and likes what it knows. Worth the visit; In effect, worth the trip.

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