In the music industry, we call it G.A.S. As in, Gear Acquisition Syndrome – a desire to acquire more basses, guitars, whatever, usually brought on by exposure to an awesome instrument pick up made by an acquaintance. In my “spare time” I run a social network for bass guitarists, so I have a lot of opportunity for G.A.S.-inducing exposure. I mean, if you’re a bass player and you don’t instantly get G.A.S. looking at photos like this, then you probably don’t really have a pulse.
Envy or jealousy do not accurately describe G.A.S.; they have far too negative connotations, and G.A.S. isn’t negative – if anything, you’re happy for your friend who has picked up that awesome new instrument – it’s more like a form of addiction that plagues those who find themselves simultaneously straddling the roles of collector and experiencer.
Which is, of course, a scenario which wine lovers can easily appreciate, especially when visiting one of those enormous, kick-ass wine cellars full of potentially-amazing juice.
Which is why you probably shouldn’t even so much as look at the upcoming book The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World by Astrid Fobelets, Jurgen Lijcops (about $60 from VdH Books, available in May 2010 – I received a preview copy). It will very likely give you a serious case of wine G.A.S. …
I suppose that you’d be forgiven for being cautious about The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World, especially when you read that it includes private wine cellars – the title just screams for a byline like “A Pretentious Rich White Guy Circle Jerk.”
Fortunately, The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World is far from being a collection of fluff pieces about collections housed by billionaires with hyphenated last names. In fact, private collections make up the minority of the book’s contents, and very little exposition is provided in terms of the cellars themselves in favor of maximizing the space for the gorgeous photos of the cellars themselves, many of which would fire the imagination of even the most jaded of wine geeks. In fact, I found myself wishing that the book had spent more space on explaining the history of some of the cellars, many of which predate the foundation of the U.S. as a country and some of which house nearly 1 million bottles.
The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World takes a cosmopolitan approach, beginning with the dungeon-esque cellar under Spain’s Marques de Riscal, and ending with a computer model of a virtual cellar designed by Danny Venlet (which looks more like a mausoleum for an advanced race of space aliens). In between, wine cellars from Portugal, Italy, the U.S., the U.K., Monaco, Lebanon, Hungary, Sweden, Canada, China, and other locales are featured, none of them alike and each speaking to some aspect of our collective love affair (obsession?) with wine collecting.
Like most wine books, this one is big and too heavy, but offers up the wine-lifestyle-coffee-table-book charm in spades, and you’ll probably find yourself ogling for several minutes over photos of bottles form Belgium’s Comme chez Soi, or saying “dude, check this out” to your friends when you get to the section on on Weingut Brundlmayer’s ancient cellar in Austria.
The book is worth a look, provided that you can control yourself, that is – just make sure you have antacids handy for all the wine G.A.S. you’ll experience afterwards…