In honor of Open That Bottle Night, some thoughts on why a bottle of fine, aged wine is an excellent addition to any special occasion, and, by the way, what occasion actually is “special enough” to open that bottle, anyhow?

open that bottle

There’s a statistic going around that something like 80-90% of wine purchased in America is a current vintage that is consumed within one to two days after purchase.

This is  astounding, and  gets me thinking about how nice it is to have a  fine, aged wine at the ready to complement any occasion in life worth celebrating.  Wine is a truly unique beverage that can improve in quality, flavor and complexity as it ages.  Also, by virtue of my earlier-mentioned statistic, time can help create a beverage of greater scarcity and, thereby, greater value.  Starting with a fine wine can only improve such an investment.

Here’s how to start “saving” wine, if you haven’t already.

Establish a Wine “Savings Account”.  Each of us has done it—sampled a fantastic bottle of fine wine and purchased a bottle for future consumption, but only one bottle.  Then, when a special occasion arrives and it’s time to choose a wine suitable for celebrating, you see that single bottle and say to yourself, “Is this occasion special enough?”  One can avoid this predicament by setting up what I like to call a wine “savings account.”

Here’s how to start:  When tasting a wine you enjoy, particularly one that seems like it might benefit from more time in the bottle, don’t just buy one – buy two or three, and set them aside. Remember that not all wines improve with age, and those that do typically have a maximum age limit within which it is best to be enjoyed. Typically, fuller-bodied red wines that are higher in tannins and acidity will age well; white wines that have a high residual sugar are good for aging. Ultimately, let your palette be your guide.

Keep these wines in a safe place, preferably dark, at a constant temperature (around 55 degrees), at approximately 65% relative humidity.  Most importantly, however, keep them out of sight and away from temptation.

Once you’ve built up a savings account with a few favored vintages, don’t be afraid to enjoy them once in a while.  Now the question is not whether the occasion is “special enough,” but rather, “whom do I want to share this bottle with me?”