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Down in the Cellar with Bob

A Vero Beach connoisseur offers a few tips on how to best enjoy your vino.

Precious few people truly know their grapes like wine connoisseur Bob Roth. His show, Seller to Cellar, has been a staple on local cable channel WWCI 10 for a decade now. And what some of his devout fans may already know, the rest of us could stand to learn – especially if a candlelight dinner is part of our Valentine’s Day plans.

It’s easy to go wrong. Even the highbrow Wine Spectator magazine and professional wine tasters like Robert Parker can lead our lowly palates astray, says Roth, who by day specializes in draperies and window treatments. What makes a wine good or bad is wholly a matter of taste. If you happen to like Oak Leaf Merlot, at $2.97 a bottle, hooray. “Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that,” Roth says. “Trust your own taste buds.” A dependency on published wine ratings could cost you some spectacular finds.

Roth, more wine collector than drinker, has accrued his encyclopedic knowledge of vino only since his 30s when he proudly purchased his first case of the stuff. After a year, with just a few bottles left, he naively sought to restock. It turned out that the wine, 1982 Inglenook Reserve Cask, was no longer available. “I thought it was like Bud and would be there forever,” Roth says. In desperation, he called the winery. When Inglenook found out he still had four remaining bottles, it quickly offered to buy them back. It was then that Roth realized that wine is a collectible commodity, raising his interest to a whole new level.
Coincidentally, Americans soon thereafter turned from their whiskey- and beer-imbibing heritage to become a nation of devout wine drinkers.

Read the entire article in the February 2012 issue