Drinking wine is the greatest! It brings people together around the dinner table, injects a lighter mood to the proceedings and tastes complex enough to make each bottle an experience.
What could be better than that? A bottle you have kept and nursed through its adolescence until it has reached perfection.
Rather than straight investment, I’m going to talk about planning for the great bottle of wine to have with your friends on that special occasion in the distant future.
Mature wine is a great thing! Having tried Ports from over 100 years old through to 30+ year Australian Rieslings, I can tell you that no matter how prestigious the liquid it always tastes better if it’s from your own cellar.
Here are some tips:
- Pick a wine that will age: although you don’t have to stick to the usual Bordeaux, Port or classic ageing wine, there is no point in holding on to a wine that will not stand up to the test of time. No one wants an old Beaujolais Nouveau or Pinot Grigio.
- Become familiar with the wine: learn the story of its creation, learn anecdotes to pass on, tell of the wine’s long passage as you present it at the table.
- If you can, buy other vintages of the same wine so that you can taste several side by side in what is known as a vertical tasting. This makes for an extra special treat, tasting and discussing the differences between the vintages.
- Pick a wine that is special to you: a vineyard you have visited, a wine you have followed for a long time or just a special deal that you picked up from your local independent wine shop that you haven’t seen before or since.
- Pick your guests: nothing is worse than the built up expectation of decades of self control to share that moment with someone who, in reality, would prefer a rum and coke.
- Most importantly, don’t drink it: we have all been there – you’re saving a special bottle for the future but you have had a few bottles and need another – it’s just sitting there tempting you – then you guzzle it away without enough planning to do it justice.
Bottles of wine like these go down as special memories to cherish, like the time when my father giddily brought out a very old Sauternes from the cellar at Christmas or, sharing with friends bottles tucked away after tasting with the wine maker.
Looking for some suggestions? Chateau Musar from the Lebanon – it famously ages well and is made differently each year, a joy to discover or keep. Keeping vintage champagne too can yield fantastic results – Lanson’s lack of malolactic fermentation means it can still contain a green apple acidity long, long into maturity while Cristal has a big mouth feel in youth that becomes silky and long with age – it should really be drunk with a few years under its belt.
I hope your future wine plans go well and yield fantastic memories.