On The Square

3 Quick Sips with Marie Keep at Skinner!

By Jessica Helen Weinberg

Jun 25,2018 | 09:00 EDT

We don't normally suggest that our audience booze and bid at the same time, but in this instance, we think it might go rather well.

Our newfound thirst is a delightful side effect after browsing Skinner Auctions, Fine Wines & Rare Spirits sale coming up on June 26th. With First Growth Bordeaux, including a case of 1990 Margaux, two bottles of  Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee Conti 2010 and the Rhone, Piedmont, Tuscany and California vintages fully outfitted, the only thing that seems to be missing is a plate of rosemary crackers and stinky cheese.


Lot 137, Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache 1985, 3 bottles; Estimate $11,000 - $15,000

Here to give us three quick tips while we sip and search this upcoming catalog is Marie Keep, the founder and Director of the Fine Wines department at Skinner:

BSQ: What advice would you offer to someone looking to start their first fine wine collection?

MK: First and foremost, consider the wines you currently enjoy and break down the components of why you enjoy them and use that as your jumping off point. Secondly, plan the storage space. If you have made the decision to start a fine wine collection, you need to have a place to store the wine properly. If you are renting a storage locker at a professional storage facility, you can always start small and increase your space when necessary. If you have a at home cooler, just be aware of how many bottles it can accommodate. People always think they will only hold on to a few special bottles but then they catch the bug and the collection never stops growing! Thirdly, if you are still learning about wine, befriend a local wine shop or ask advice from someone you trust for recommendations. They are incredible guides when it comes to molding a collection. And lastly, for our sake and yours, keep tabs on your bottles! A simple Excel spreadsheet or CellarTracker are both great ways to monitor your growing collection.

Lot 249, Chateau Margaux 1990, 12 bottles (owc); Estimate $10,000 - $15,000

BSQ: Could someone with a less developed palette enjoy sophisticated wines?

MK: Of course. Tasting wine is like learning a new language; it’s the amount you immerse yourself in it that you receive back. To expand the analogy, if you take the time to go to class, practices verbs and nouns and saturate yourself, you’ll develop the tools and comfort to talk with locals. The same goes for tasting wine. Anyone can develop the tools to interpret the wine;  careful, disciplined tasting experiences and conversing with like minded people will take you far down the road to accessing and understanding the nuances of wine.

Lot 140, Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache 2009, 2 magnums; Estimate $15,000 - $20,000

BSQ: What’s the 411 on screw off wine caps opposed to old fashioned corked bottles? Does that ultimately affect the taste?

MK: Having worked with wines of age for so long, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the latest studies that screw caps are as effective as corks when aging a wine. My general rule is that I would happily buy wine with a screw cap to enjoy young; crisp whites, roses and lighter bodied reds for a backyard party or to bring to see friends. Many of my current favorite producers use screw caps. But for wines that are intended to age, the symbiotic relationship between the wine, the cork, and the gentle maturation of the wine in its cool, dark environment is key.

Click here to browse the full Skinner Auctions, Fine Wines & Rare Spirits sale coming up on June 26th. 

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Marie Keep, Senior Vice President, Director of Fine Wines

Marie Keep is the founder and Director of the Fine Wines department at Skinner. In spearheading this strategic business effort, Marie was instrumental in establishing Skinner as the only major auction house in New England to offer fine wines at auction. Her personal knowledge and passionate appreciation for the finest producers and vintages have quickly made Skinner a viable venue for the consignment and purchase of fine wines.