“I should save that.”
Many wine lovers have uttered those words before, and, chances are, many will say them again. I would know, I used to be one of the worst offenders, reserving countless precious bottles for the perfect opportunity for them to be consumed. But that optimal time wasn’t based on the wine’s maturity or evolution—I wasn’t cellaring.
I was hoarding.
The time was rarely right for me to give in to greatness. I couldn’t allow myself the experience of enjoying a spectacular wine without a momentous occasion, a special guest, or some other grand reason deserving of its delicious contribution.
For whatever reason, I didn’t think I was good enough to enjoy a fabulous bottle of wine on, say, a regular old Tuesday night, with a simple grilled cheese or a casual cheeseburger. It all had to be decadent and magnificent—the food, the occasion, the company—just like my expectation for the properly cellared, optimally aged wine in question.
I was cellaring for all the “one days” that may not even come.
Thankfully, I realized that all my rules and expectations were simply ridiculous. After a long weekday at work, I got home, looked at my cellar to pick out something “acceptable” to drink on a Thursday night, and thought long and hard about the quantity of fantastic bottles staring me in the face as I passed over them all for being “too good.”
What the hell was I really waiting for? Were there that many occasions that I needed to be keeping these bottles for?
Am I, myself, not a good enough reason to enjoy great wine?
Right then and there, I decided, of course I am!
Now? I’m free. I drink whatever I want, whenever I want it. I don’t need an occasion to open up a $50-plus bottle of wine, or something that I’ve been aging for five or 10 years. I do not need a “fancy” meal to enjoy good wine; I can just as easily enjoy a mature Brunello with some cheese and crackers as I can a good, juicy steak.
Collect what you love and mature it to your preference, but for goodness sake, avoid hoarding.
And while I love sharing fine vino with a great friend, family member or significant other, I think I’m good enough to enjoy a special bottle alone, too, especially during these trying times, when we all need to appreciate what joy we can, whenever we can.
Moreover, I think everyone should join me in celebrating the fruits of wine-collecting labors any day you choose. Build your cellar, collect what you love and mature it to your preference, but for goodness sake, avoid hoarding for all the what ifs and one days. Break free from the stigmas and compulsions that so many wine lovers possess and realize that you always deserve to enjoy the best of your collection, any time you like.