Years ago (like 20 years), when Dave and I were just getting into wine, the Liquor Commission Board of Ontario (LCBO) came out with a program to introduce people to wine. Each month, they would recommend wines that they suggested you buy in 3-bottle lots: one to drink now, one to drink in a year, and one to drink some time later, based on the aging potential of the wine. These wine recommendations were in the back of the magazine, and came with great write-ups about the wine, along with articles about aging and storing wines. The goal was to document your thoughts about each bottle, and compare them, so you could understand the effect that bottle aging has on wines, and why you might buy wines that aren’t even ready to drink yet.
We still practice this to this day. Every time we identify a wine that we’d like – perhaps through Wine of the Weekend or WineAlign, we buy three bottles, drink one right away and put the other two away. Of course this means you need somewhere to keep the wine, like in a dark corner in the basement – or even better, a wine cellar. And it means you need some discipline to let it sit for a year or two. Not that we have that much discipline – but we found that if you have lots of bottles in the cellar, you’re ok with letting some of them age, as there’s always something else to drink :-).
What’s the value of this? It’s a pleasure to enjoy a good wine, but to see it age and become even better with time is even more special. You feel more ownership and pride in the wine – after all, you’ve safeguarded it while it worked on becoming its best. It elevates drinking wine from just slugging back something to skew reality, to a practice of appreciating something that’s grown in special soil, by special people, in a place that you’d love to visit. It gives you the ability to learn to identify what you like, how it will complement your meals and make them more enjoyable, and where you should spend your precious wine budget. And if you’ve stumbled on a truly exceptional wine, it gives you something amazing to look forward to.
Why not give it a try? Next time you’re off to buy a bottle of wine, pick up three. And let us know how that works for you!