A Passion for Perfection
One way to know Michael M. Taylor is to consider the eight-inch stack of index cards he dutifully prepared after deciding to get serious about wine. On the cards he recorded his impression of every bottle he tasted. As his pursuit of fine wines advanced, Mr. Taylor started his own collection. It now numbers more than 600 bottles. "Michael had a passion for perfecting anything he set out to do," said his sister Mary Kaye Crenshaw.
Mr. Taylor, 42, was a high-yield bond broker with Cantor Fitzgerald. In a highly competitive business, he helped others get established. "People in the business tend to chase after people who are already good," said Jerry Bias, a friend. "I was just getting started and he encouraged me."
From his Manhattan apartment to the Porsche 911 he drove, Mr. Taylor enjoyed the benefits of a successful Wall Street career. But recently he had started thinking about a more tranquil life, especially after he became engaged to Natalia Telyupa.
To that end, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Bias were starting a vineyard and winery in Virginia. They planned to create a cult wine — hand- picked grapes, low yields — just the kind of wine Mr. Taylor savored. The first bottles will be shipped in about 18 months. They will be labeled Taylor-made vintage.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 31, 2001.