If you’re reading this, that surely means that you, too are a wine lover. It’s also a sure bet that you’ve seen the 2004 film “Sideways” at least once (and I know there are more than a handful of you that can recite it religiously). One of my very favorite scenes from that movie is the bit with Miles in the diner as he finally cracks open his unicorn wine — a 1961 Cheval Blanc — and proceeds to pour it, label hidden, from a brown paper sack into a styrofoam cup.
Any wine enthusiast can relate to this scene, one of the pure joy of drinking wine. It’s a reminder that every DAY can be a special occasion and an “excuse” to open up that exclusive wine that you’ve been saving.
But when IS the right time to open that special bottle?
It’s romantic to say that the special occasion is when you pop the cork, and I do subscribe to that philosophy. There has been one occasion where I was saving a fancy and expensive bottle of 1996 Chateau Leoville Las Cases that I purchased just when I was starting out as a wine connoisseur. I bought the bottle at a small wine shop in New York City and I paid nearly $200 for it. It was a large purchase and a huge investment for me at the time.
Because of the expense, it sat. And sat. And sat in my cellar; years passed by as this investment wine was improperly stored (on a rack over my stove, in the heat of the summer, in the back of a moving van, all before my climate controlled cellar was installed).
I don’t need to tell you what happened when we finally opened up that wine.
I now have proper storage for my bottles and I’m fortunate that making a $200 wine purchase is no longer a huge budget buster. That’s not to say that I make it a regular habit of buying or consuming over $100 bottles of wine, but it does mean that I’ve been known to enjoy one on occasion. But that occasion no longer means a major life milestone like a wedding or promotion — that special occasion is sometimes as insignificant as a weekend getaway, after a particularly hard day at work, or a lazy Sunday afternoon at home.
If you have a special bottle that you’ve been saving, don’t sit around waiting forever. Drink it now. Drink it today. Don’t let the wine spoil because, and I know you’ve heard this before, life truly is too short.
Go. Go now. Go open that special wine. And save a glass for me.