Category Archive 'The High Life'

15 Feb 2021

Excessive Watches


Some people think they prove both superior taste and financial acumen by modestly wearing only Timex watches. Other people look suspiciously at a man’s wrist and conclude that he never had any serious money if they don’t see a big name wristwatch Rolex or better. Younger people these days commonly don’t even wear watches. They get the time from their smartphones.

Then, there is also out there a small, very rich element that is fascinated by horology and that collects watches costing more than most people’s houses.

Crown and Caliber discusses some of the over-the-top timepieces built specifically to appeal to that rechercher market. I think it’s worth watching because it makes you feel good to see hideously expensive objects you couldn’t possibly afford that you actually don’t want.

22 Mar 2019

There’s the Life!

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Elin McCoy, of Bloomberg, reports on her six-course dinner with lots of vintages tasted at Chateau Lafte-Rothschild.

The intimacy of the evening was reflected in the cuisine familiale menu. We took our seats and soupe VGE arrived—individual tureens filled with delicate broth, winter vegetable, and truffles covered in puff pastry—the first of six courses. To accompany it, Eric picked an intense, truffle-scented 2005 Château L’Evangile from the Rothschilds’ Pomerol estate. Also poured was a smooth, seductive, and rich 1989 Château Duhart-Milon, the neighboring fourth growth that the family purchased in 1962; it was astonishing how well it aged. If anything at the upcoming auction could be considered a bargain, this is it, with an estimate of $1,000 to $1,500 for a case of 12 bottles.

The main course was a simple boeuf a la ficelle—beef filet with a tangy, minty green sauce, surrounded by tender leeks, scallions, carrots, and turnips—and with it, Lafites from both 1989 (estimate: $4,000 to $6,000 for 6 bottles) and 1959 (estimate: $3,000 to $4,600 for one bottle). The former was gulp-able and voluptuous, with layers of spice, cassis, and cedar. And the latter? Deep-colored and concentrated, with notes of mint, cedar, truffle, and tobacco, the 1959 is the greatest Lafite I have ever drunk; the epitome of harmony and velvety elegance. This is its moment, but it seems like it could live on this plateau for decades. Wais Jalali, the CEO and Chairman of private equity firm Cerebrus LLC and whose cellar includes 48,000 bottles, declared it “the wine of the night.”

Cheese appeared, and with it came the biggest surprise of the evening: the delicate 1905 Lafite (estimate: $3,000 to $4,800 for one bottle). At 114 years, it showed the kind of longevity Lafite is known for, demonstrating why perfect storage conditions are so important when buying old wines. With its silky texture, ethereal scents of plums and currants, and a long finish, it suggested to me a long-ago world.

The meal ended with a creamy lemon mousse, paired with an apricot-scented, opulent 1989 Château Rieussec, which unfortunately will not be available at the upcoming auction.

Afterward, we settled into the small, cozy, adjoining salon, where several guests puffed on Cuban cigars and we sipped an old Mirabelle and Lafite’s private label of Tres Vieille Reserve Cognac. I reflected on the pleasure of decades-old wines.

“Every wine has its moment, but you have to choose the right moment,” the baron had explained on the cellar tour. Each of the wines poured demonstrated that perfectly. Most of these vintages are available in the upcoming auction, but only the single bottle of 1868 (estimate: $13,000 to $20,000) includes dinner at the château. I’d happily pay that much for dinner alone.


It’s a rough life being a wine journalist, but Elin is clearly bearing up bravely.

HT: Bird Dog.

19 Jan 2017

Own Your Own Air Force

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Task and Purpose:

An outfit called Raptor Aviation based in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is unloading 20 light-strike aircraft, upgraded French Fouga CM.170 Magisters, custom built in the 1950s for the Israeli Air Force. Known as the Tzukit, this is the jet fighter the IAF trained its pilots on until 2010, and the model even played a role as close support aircraft in the Six-Day War. The plane has a “single midwing, two cockpits in tandem, three-point landing gear, and V-shaped tail assembly,” according to the listing. It also comes equipped with a liquid oxygen system and an anti-collision feature, which could really come in handy since you probably have no idea how to fly one.

But really, how hard can it be?

The whole lot can be yours for just $200,000.

Admittedly, these planes have seen better days. But the lot comes with a ton of spare parts. A little tune up and you’re good to go.

Think about it. No more sitting in traffic, dreaming of running down protesters. No more flying commercial with all those crying babies, obese seatmates, shoe bombers, crazy-flight attendants, and all the other rabble. Need a little vacay? Pop over to the Vineyard or the British Virgin Islands, and bring a friend (there’s two cockpits!). And for anyone thinking of seceding from the United States, a fleet of fighter jets is sort of a must.

So forget the fishing boat. This is your destiny. They call you “Maverick” — wild, dangerous, unpredictable, arrogant. You fly by the seat of your pants. There’s a bandit on your tail. You’re on a highway to the danger zone, and Kelly Mcgillis won’t leave you alone. As long as your ego isn’t writing checks your body can’t cash, you’ll have nothing but clear skies ahead.

Read the whole thing.

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