Interview with a Vintner

Christie's Michael Broadbent

As the head of Christie's wine department for more than 30 years, Michael Broadbent pioneered international fine-wine auctions. Author of the newly published Vintage Wine (Harcourt, $50), Broadbent, 75, remains a leading figure at auctions, now acting as a consultant to Christie's and traveling widely to advise clients about what to look for. He's done the same for us.

What to Drink Now

A young red Rhône wine. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château La Nerthe 1999 is drinking delightfully. It is not one of these blockbuster wines or a 100 percent big black cult wine. But it's fragrant and charming, and it's what I would buy ($35).

A Strong Investment

I'd really only consider investing in well-established, first growth Bordeaux. I'd suggest a Château Lafite Rothschild 1989 (starting at $170 at auction). A proviso: Pétrus is very well-known, but it's such a high price to begin with that, unless it's a rare vintage, it's not a great investment.

If Money Were No Object

A Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945 is one of the greatest wines of all time, and costs about $1,200 per bottle. After that, I would buy a La Tâche Burgundy 1962, which is the quintessence of fragrance. I don't think any other Burgundy can achieve this flavor and finesse (around $3,000).

The Best Deal on the Market

Vintage ports are expensive and hard to find. But the 1983, 1985, and even the 1970s vintages are really undervalued at auction. My favorite port is Graham Port 1985 ($57), and after that, Fonseca 1970 ($90). They are both a very good value.