Modern Living: In Vino Paupertas

"Never think of leaving perfume or wine to your heir," advised the Roman epigrammatist Martial. "Administer these to yourself, and let him have the money." The flaw in Martial's dictum, if applied today, is that anyone who enjoys the better known wines, particularly French imports, is unlikely to have much cash left for himself or his survivors. Prices have spiraled upwards cruelly and there is no end in sight.

Even the most devoted wine drinker may pale on finding that his favorite 1962 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, which just a year ago cost $5.95, is...

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