Sunday, August 12, 2007

Single bottle trauma

Wine is all about pleasure, right? OK, maybe that's a simplification, but the bottom line is that in a world where we don't have to drink wine to
a) get us in such a mood to attack marauding Goths
b) warm our cockles because we live in a central-heating-less yurt
c) warp our vision so that we will procreate with anything with a pierced navel

And yet... Andrew Bajorek who posted this on Tom Cannavan's wine pages forum is not the first worried wino to suffer from single bottle syndrome. I write as someone whose wine cellar consists of serious quantities of single bottles. Wine writers are often sent wines in two-bottle consignments (one of them may be corked), and we don't have the time/inclination/liver to polish off the extras.

But the question remains: you have only one bottle of a potentially very nice wine - how do you ensure that you drink it at its peak?

And the answer remains: there is no definitive answer.

A cop out? No. Think about music. Think about food. think about cars. Do we all go for the same thing? No. And it's the same with wine. And even if you have two people who like wines from the Rhone, or Santorini, or Maipo, you will hardly ever get them to agree on a precise time when a wine is 'ready'. Some like grippy tannins and upfront fruit. Others prefer something more mellow and evolved. The important thing is that no one is wrong in preferring wines at whatever stage of development they are at.

My advice for for single bottle owners? By all means check out what other online drinkers are saying about wines. But if you're still in two minds, open them on a Friday night. If it's ready, you can drink it there and then. If it's not, chances are that it will be starting to shine on Saturday.

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