In the heady world of Colgin Cellars, there are two types of people: the Haves and the Have-Nots. It's easy to distinguish one from the other. The Have-Nots are long faced and desperate, willing to pay up to $35,000 for a bottle of Ann Colgin's much-praised, impossible-to-find Herb Lamb Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. They've also sent Colgin expensive jewelry (though this ploy never works). One frantic gentleman even offered Colgin a new Mercedes sports-utility vehicle in exchange for a single case. He was serious. Colgin said no.
The Haves are a different breed altogether. Mostly, they're friends of Colgin's or people fortunate enough to be at the top of her waiting list, which numbers almost 5,000 right now. For the Haves, opening a bottle of Colgin Cabernet is an act of celebration. And when three bottles are uncorked, as was the case at a recent dinner at the Bel Air home Colgin shares with beau Joe Wender, it's a party. The evening began in Colgin's kitchen, with some of her Hollywood friends--actors Kyle MacLachlan, of Twin Peaks fame, and Dana Delany, best known for her role in the TV series China Beach. They talked about "Ann's miraculous wine," as MacLachlan calls it. Acclaimed Brazilian jazz pianist Sergio Mendes and his wife, Graciña Leporace-Mendes, were also in attendance, singing standards like "The Girl From Ipanema" at the Steinway, while Josiah Citrin, chef and owner of Mélisse, a new Santa Monica hot spot, turned out one sumptuous dish after another. The meal began with crispy rock shrimp cakes topped with lemony whipped cream--a marvelous combination of succulent and sweet--and cool cucumber velouté served in small glasses. These hors d'oeuvres were followed by a playful salad of roasted beets, dates and caramelized endive, then by a hearty roast rack of lamb with Cabernet sauce. Individual flourless chocolate-almond cakes served as the grand finale.
At get-togethers such as these, Colgin (pronounced call-gin), 41, is usually at the center of it all, laughing and pouring her wines. Colgin, who grew up in Waco, Texas, and Nashville, was until recently the director of Sotheby's West Coast wine department. She's now a consultant and highly sought-after wine auctioneer, as well as a Napa Valley vintner.