Aging wine is tricky—I get it. Most of us here at the shop purchase certain wines to stash away. We’ve had the occasional fortune and pleasure of tasting gems from Kermit’s cellar, and once you’ve experienced aged wine, there’s an allure to capturing that magic yourself. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose and that “right” time to open a special bottle has passed you by. How do I avoid this situation? I aim to open wines when they hit...middle-age. For me, and maybe this will change as I continue to age, drinking wines on the early side of a recommended drinking window provides the most pleasure. Middle-aged wines retain a good bit of the vibrant fruit from their youth while pleasing aged aromas start to emerge. I know it may sound like a metaphor for life—or perhaps it’s a manifestation of my own coping with the newly arrived aches and pains of getting older—but really, I’m just describing what I smell and taste in wines with some age. Direct from the cellar of each producer, we have four wines that have five to six years of age on them—the perfect middle-age for their appellations. We are lucky that Domaine Diochon and Domaine Chignard of the Beaujolais like to hold back a few cases of each vintage to release in the future. Typically their wines are drunk upon release and arguably too early, so here’s a rare opportunity. Moving across the country to Bordeaux, a region known for long-lasting wines, we’ve included the 2012 vintage from Château de Bellevue. Aged Bordeaux for $26.00?? Lastly, from the biodynamic vineyards of Loire Valley wizard, Thierry Germain, there’s a bottle of his “Franc de Pied”—Cabernet Franc vines planted on their original rootstock—a viticultural practice that is risky, as this rootstock is highly susceptible to the dreaded pest phylloxera, but delivers fruit that many believe gives the most honest rendering of Cabernet Franc in bottle. If youth gives us vigor and age brings wisdom, what about middle age? It’s all about pleasure.
SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE $115.00
(a 15% discount)
2012 Moulin-à-Vent “Vieilles Vignes” • Domaine Diochon $25.00 2013 Juliénas “Beauvernay” • Domaine Chignard $25.00 2012 Lussac Saint-Emilion • Château de Bellevue $26.00 2013 Saumur Champigny “Franc de Pied” • Domaine des Roches Neuves $60.00
Kermit once said...
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa