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?
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?”