Thieving bastard

The Editor and I had a bit of bad news on Monday morning. I got a call from the host of our cellar in France and he told us it had been broken into and a large proportion of our wine had been stolen.

I was a shade distraught at this news. Our wine collections were the only things of real value we have ever owned. Not only were they an epic investment in amazing times with our friends, but also, since The Editor is self-employed and I am disabled, they provided an enormous safety net. Whilst my friend was on the phone all I could ask him was whether the bottle I had planned to pop with a few enlightened friends on my 50th birthday, a jeroboam of Pommard Premier Cru Clos des Epeneaux 1999, had been taken. He said it had, and I had to say goodbye I was so upset.

Bastard thiefIt is not just that some scumbag had a rummage in our family jewels and removed tens of thousands of pounds worth of wine (it seems we have bugger all red Burgundy left, and that was the majority of our collections – by arse there were some stars in that lot), but it is also deeply upsetting that all the time, effort and money that went into building those collections, has been pissed away.

There were bottles I bought in place of a week’s food in that lot; because I needed that bottle, more than I needed food, even if I had to import it from Switzerland and run the risk of a courier deciding he fancied a drink more than he fancied doing his job honestly. Couriers have disposed of boxes that appeared to have dangerous contents on multiple occasions, the thieving shits, but I never expected a hidden, locked door in a sleepy French village to be breached and our glorious wine collections nabbed.

I had asked around a few places in the UK if they could insure my wine and the answer was always, “Not if it is in another person’s property abroad”. I did not fancy trying to get insurance in France because I knew the endless amount of paperwork I would have to fill in to satisfy the endless functionaries present in the French bureaucracy would add further levels to my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Luckily, our cellar hosts are some of the nicest people on Earth. They will be reporting a complete list of what has been taken to the police, and trying to claim replacement price for the wines from their insurance company. I am not sure how much hope I hold out on the last bit, insurance companies are not known for their overwhelming generosity, but it is extremely good of our friends to go through our wine to see what has gone and at least try to get it replaced. Thank you, chaps, we really appreciate your efforts.

I wrote this in order to take a break from going through the list of my wines that had been taken; I found that rather upsetting. I am still rather upset. So I shall finish on a totally unrelated note:

Keen-eyed readers may have noticed that Elitistreview was getting fantastically less popular in recent times, based on the visitor counter I have at the bottom of each page. This was confusing me too but I did not look into it in much detail, because I have been ill for months, until about ten days ago. It seems, that for reasons I cannot fathom, Google stopped getting visitor counts from all the sites we run at the start of September. So the visitor count below does not include six and a half months’ of visitors to Elitistreview. There is no way of getting that data back, so ER will just have to look fabulously unpopular until that period drops out of the visitor count window.

Now I shall wipe the tears and snot from my face, and go back to looking at what the thieving bastard(s) took from me. The heartless shits.

  • Charles Mutter

    Dear David, so sorry to hear that. Fervently hoping that the insurance company behaves as it should.

  • Our friend sent us a list of what remains and what has been half-inched. We lost 233 bottles at an absolute minimum repurchase price of £29k or $43.3k or €41k. That is based on the lowest prices on and it doesn’t include tax. I’m horrified, it was mostly ‘my’ red Burgundy that went (what’s mine is The Editor’s, and what’s The Editor’s is mine).

  • Keith Prothero

    So sorry to learn this Davy. Just hope that the police will successfully recover the wine.
    All the best Keith

  • Thank you, Mr P. It would be good if they could find at least some of it. It’s largely extremely flash red Burgundy they took, and you know all too well that older vintages of things like Roulot Bonnes-Mare are simply impossible to source. We’ve lost so much, I hope the rozzers nab them asap!

  • Just a thought, if anyone were to be very kind and want to help me reclaim my reward for beating the doctors and living until I’m 50 – namely a jero of Clos des Epeneaux 1999 – there’s a PayPal donate button down there. The average price on wine-searcher is £130 per bottle, so I’d guess, if I could find one, that a jeroboam would cost around £600. It would be lovely to have a 50th jero. I’ll come clean and say I’ve been taking extra care with my diabetes and trying not to get too unfit just so I can have the pleasure of supping on C des E 1999 when I make it to 50. I hate to ask all eight of my readers if they will pay something toward my 50th celebration drink, but when the hell am I have six hundred notes to blow on a big beautiful bottle? Unless I turn to crime, of course, but that does not suit my honest nature.

    So go on, hit that PayPal donate button! I’ll mention everyone who does (but not if they don’t want me to and not how much they’ve enriched my big one fund by) in these comments and thank them profusely!

  • Richard Brooks

    Dear David, I’m terribly sorry to hear your news. There is an absolute plague of this kind of thing now in France. It is just despicable, but frankly thieves are thieves, and if they could steal babies for better profits that’s what they would do. I’ve had a few precious things stolen from me – precious because of their associations – and it takes a while to get over it.

    My crumb of consolation is this: you and Dani are, and always will be, fundamentally good people. You don’t carry the burden of crime and deceit. You will always have friends who want to share their bottles and their time with you. You appreciate and enjoy life in a way few people can imagine: you know how to touch the stars. ‘Living well is the best revenge’, and you will live immeasurably better, in all the most important ways, than your pitiable burglar.

    With very best wishes


  • Tom G

    David – I am so sorry to hear this.

    Just a thought: given that some of your rarer bottles (not least the precious jero) will be extremely unusual, is it worth listing some of them here so that any eagle-eyed readers might be able to spot them if they suddenly pop up on Winesearcher? A long shot I know, but given that there is only one magnum (never mind jero) of Epeneaux 1999 advertised at the moment, it’s not impossible that it might help.

    All best wishes