Provence WineZine lost an important voice this week and I, along with many readers, lost a very dear friend: Jerry Clark, aka “The Wine Maven,” passed away on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. He was 79 years young.
Jerry loved wine, he loved France -- especially Provence -- and he loved to write. He embodied the requisite qualities of the quintessential writer at Provence WineZine.
Anyone remotely acquainted with Jerry knew that, aside from his beloved family whom his world truly revolved around, few subjects captured his passions more than wine. As he wrote in a PWZ article about creating one’s own wine cellar, he began collecting fine wine in the late sixties when “… [A]ll Bordeaux classed growths (save the handful of first growths) could be had for less than $10 a bottle.” He started off with “a nine-bottle wooden rack” that he kept in the back of a clothes closet in his seventh-floor, air-conditioned apartment in New York City. From that point, his collection grew to an impressive and well-organized cellar in his home in Mystic, Connecticut where he and his beloved wife, Benedicte, and family moved in 1994. He also still has wine stashed in several wine caves in France, where he and his family lived early on and where, I suspect, he and his wife, who I would often hear him call “mon chérie,” longed to return.
Jerry collected not just wine, but wine-related paraphernalia such as wine bottle labels, posters, books, articles, movies, and rubber stamps. I believe he even referred to himself as a bit of a pack rat, by way of explanation, when he showed me a stack of yellowed but chronologically-ordered newspaper ads from The New York Times, each in plastic sleeves. They dated back to the early 1970s and confirmed the remarkably low prices for bottles, like a 1966 Château Lafite Rothschild for $18. It was exactly what was needed for his PWZ article. Another time, he surfaced with a significant number of old catalogues and brochures featuring international and domestic wines, also used in a PWZ article. His rubber stamp collection must have been expansive (in the category of wine alone) as a different image created from one or two or three stamps seemed to surface on each piece of US Postal Service correspondence from Jerry... [...]