So many wine knowledge seekers have come to me with their confessions of one wine sin or another – added ice cubes to their Merlot – created their own “blend” – had a sticky affair with a Beerenauslese after vowing to love honor and sip only complete dryness – made leftover dessert wine into a spritzer (ok, you caught me I actually did that) – But one admission that stands out is a crime of time. There are two sides to this no-no:
I drank it too early.
I waited too long.
All is forgiven. The truth is that I really think you can drink your wine whenever you want – I try consuming some on a daily basis actually.
But I’m feeling the sense of a lot of harrumphing coming my way so I will qualify this statement. The best time for a wine is anytime, as long as you know how you like it.
If you’re one of those S&M pain-for-pleasure punch me in the face with the tannins but caress my sore cheek with your soft fruit type of wine drinkers… then party with the Young Cabs! Pop open some freshly released Petite Sirah and have your way with it. Go Barrel Tasting for that matter. And if you wax poetic about every nuance of tertiary development that whispers in your nostril – oh the cheese rind, the horse dung, the damp fungal floor of the forest – then lay that bottle down and play some Debussy while you wait for the perfect moment to arrive.
Love, with very young people, is a heartless business. We drink at that age from thirst, or to get drunk; it is only later in life that we occupy ourselves with the individuality of our wine. -Isak Dinesen
And how do you know when the wine will be drinking just the way you like it? I knew there would be more harrumphing here… If you’re in the S&M camp your question is already answered – you’re probably drinking it right now while you read this. If you are typing in a search for Debussy on your tune-turner of choice then you might need to seek professional wine assistance or reference a vintage chart because really, we want you to start by knowing your wine collection in the first place. If you digitally organize with a wine cellar software such as eSommelier or WineBanq, advice on drinking windows might be an integrated feature for you.
If you are a hands on cellar tracker that likes to keep technology in the office but not necessarily in the cellar then it might help to employ a few simple organization techniques. Consider the following when taking stock in your wine collection:
- drink now – drink soon – reassess in 2-5 years
- just myself (and someone special) – friends & family – party time!
- category: sparkling – whites – reds – sweets & fortified
With the Holiday season glistening in the near future, giving your cellar some attention now will pay yourself forward into the coming months. The time is right to decide what wines to offer while you’re entertaining and which ones will make nice fireside sippers. It’s also a good opportunity to plan ahead if there are areas of your cellar that are lacking and get stocked up. Don’t clear out all those cobwebs just yet – they add authenticity to your Halloween festivities – but DO get started on a Fall wine audit and pop a few corks from your “Drink Now” section while you’re at it.
More Tricks and Treats for your Fall Cellar Audit:
Five Signs You Should Invest in a Wine Management System – eSommelier
What form does your “cellar” take? -Join in on the Conversation at the CellarTracker Forum
Aging Wine Revisited – “Only about 1% of the world’s wines are meant to be aged…”and WHY would anyone ever keep over 2,500 bottle of wine in their cellar? -Wine For Normal People with Elizabeth Schneider, Certified Sommelier & Certified Specialist of Wine
Liv-ex – an answer to Elizabeth’s question about holding on to wine. Invest – Collect – Drink – All of the Above. You decide.
Wines to Stock Your Cellar – Visit The Gallery at Falling Bright