Five Reasons to Open Your Cellared Wine

Our editors share the top celebrations for popping your oldest and finest bottlings.

Cellaring wine can become a tricky enterprise. It’s tough enough to resist popping the cork of a fine bottle as soon as you buy it. (Indeed, 80% of wines are consumed within 48 hours of being purchased.) But even if you’re patient enough to properly store your wine, choosing just the right moment to open it can prove challenging. Here, Wine Enthusiast editors share five special celebrations they say warrant a trip to the cellar.


1. Anniversaries

“A big anniversary is ideal for aged Armagnac, especially if it matches the year you met or married. The 1996 Francis Darroze Domaine de Dupont from a single-estate in Bas-Armagnac was stored 14 years in a single oak cask, then bottled. The producer never blends casks or vintages, nor adds water. Silky-smooth in flavor, its tannins and alcohol in perfect sync, it offers a gorgeous melange of honey, vanilla-coated almond and candied ginger.” – Virginie Boone, Contributing Editor

2. Births

“I've made it a point to cellar wines from my kids' birth years. Even if it turns out that they aren't interested in wine when they turn 21, the wines are still more meaningful to me than wines from other years.” – Joe Czerwinski, Managing Editor of Digital and Print

3. Weddings

“Our daughters—two married, one not yet—believe that Champagne is the liquid that helps a marriage flow. They recommend opening bottles at the wedding and, more importantly, once a week.” – Roger Voss, European Editor

4. Birthdays

“Birthdays can be bittersweet, but the grace and maturity of a well-aged wine can offer solace and inspiration, particularly when faced with those heavy-hitting milestone birthdays!” – Anna Lee C. Iijima, Assistant Tasting Director

5. Anytime

“Although I have a few bottles marked for specific occasions, my favorite time to open wine from my cellar is anytime! There doesn’t always need to be a special reason to open up a great wine; sometimes getting through a hectic Wednesday is reason enough to celebrate!” – Lauren Buzzeo, Tasting Director

Check out the best collectibles reviewed this year, Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Cellar Selections 2012.

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