See the one problem with wine is that most of it has a relatively short lifespan. And to complicate that even further, it has a lot of enemies: light, vibration, hot temperatures, cold temperatures. All of these things quickly shorten what is already a short life. That’s why a lot of people place such importance on proper wine storage, and buying directly from the winery. There’s a lot less that can go wrong if you buy directly from a winery who cares deeply about the product they are making and then put it straight into a temperature controlled storage area before drinking it. Back to my original story.
Buying wine this way can definitely be hit or miss. I’ve found some pretty good wines this way. So far, I think my best finds have been a 1997 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1997 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Both were good, the Beringer was great. But I’ve also been disappointed. I once bought a 2002 Laurent Perrier Rosé that was flawed (the wine had oxidized giving it a very pungent and unpleasant aroma and taste). It was quite a disappointment and a little embarrassing as I brought this bottle to someone else’s house to share with friends.
Just the other day I went on a treasure hunt in a wine store near me and may have found gold, or not.
If all that checks out, the only other thing I’m interested in is price. The real thrill in this treasure hunt is not just potentially finding exceptional bottles, but potentially finding exceptional bottles at exceptional prices. And the other day, I found a bottle--actually 10 bottles of the same wine--at more than half of what I think it should be selling for. The bottles were in good condition and at that price I couldn’t pass it up. I haven’t tried one yet, but if the first one’s good, I may be back for more.
So why do I like doing this so much? Well, part of it is the thrill for sure. It’s like finding something that no one else seems to knows about. It’s a discovery, an adventure of sorts. But a big part of it is also about not being afraid to try something new. It’s about not being afraid to take a chance. Sure it might be risky, but without a little risk, where’s the reward? So I challenge you, go into a wine store this weekend; maybe a dive store, or maybe not. And try a bottle you’re not familiar with, or one that looks like it may have been collecting dust next to your jean jacket and 3-D puzzles. And then maybe put your jean jacket on when you open that bottle and let me know how it goes.