Wednesday, January 6, 2010

With Age Comes Wisdom

By Maureen C. Petrosky

Lately, I’ve been feeling like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz right at the part when the tornado hits. This year’s blustery winds have required the placement of Chapstick in each of my coat pockets as well as the addition of some serious winter moisturizer. The one thing I know for sure when this type of weather hits- it’s time to break out the big reds. Yet, those chaffed cheeks and less-than-soft lips aren’t my only wintry woes. Those big reds I mention are also the ones I usually lay down for a long winter’s nap, and that nap may go on for years. So do I skip them over again or is it time to start sipping?

Usually I’d say, “Life’s too short to wait for wine”. Probably because I don’t have the patience to wait for wine to age and often our serial moving pushes us to pop those bottles we’ve been saving just so we won’t have to pack them. This New Year’s Eve we celebrated with friends who also love good food, wine, and travel, so we delved into the stash and broke out a vintage Champagne we knew they would appreciate. Upon opening, the cork gave with a slight “POOF” instead of a wowing pop, but the pour proved there was life yet. In general I wouldn’t go any longer than 15 to 20 years on a bottle of bubbles. This one at age 14 had had turned from its original pale straw color to a deep gold, and the aromas were much richer than in its youth. Our guests had also brought something special to share--a 1997 Burgundy Grand Cru. The nose on this redhead was exhilarating. Its aromas were intense and in the mouth it was ridiculously luscious with a finish that massaged the palate. The point being--I’d do it all over again. I’d wait. These aged wines showed wisdom in the glass.

So this year take a few of your faves and put them aside. They don’t have to be vintage champagne or Grand Crus, but just make a few notes on what you love about them now. Then put a couple bottles somewhere cool, dark, and not too dry and add to your list of resolutions not to touch them for at least another ten years. The added element of surprise and sharing this special sip, with good friends of course, in 2020 is sure to be one of your life’s memorable moments. Be patient.

One to age this year-

Rudi Schultz Syrah, 2006, South Africa, $37- I have a friend who actually said she’d bet her right arm this would be even more awesome once it laid down for a while. I agree. This red has the structure and guts you want to see now so that it will still have that same strength- though softened- after aging.

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