What I Learned About Wine In 2015--My Lessons. What Were Yours?

Each year, I try to look back and reflect, with some humor and also humility and wisdom surrounding what the year in wine taught me. I hope that in reading this post, you will share your own lessons learned, too. As to mine.

Leccion 1. Get The Balance Right. This year taught me that the amount of wine around a table that I am able to enjoy has changed. In past years, the more bottles the better, as I wanted to taste as much as I could. Now, I feel like the right balance is at 8-10 bottles, over several hours. My body can’t take the booze anymore, nor can I appreciate the wines after more than 8-10 bottles.

Leccion 2. Use Your Own Voice. I still believe passionately that the small circle of professional wine writers control too much of the buying dynamics. Less so around here, where I like to believe more of us think for ourselves. Yet, I just feel aggravated that the amount of retailers and ITB people have got to attach the points and the opinions of a handful of powerful critics for a wine to have merit, to be valued. Use your own voice, post your impressions to WB, to Cellartracker, to Facebook, whatever medium you can use to help advocate your voice and drown out these critics.

Leccion 3. Cherish Your Friends. Wine is full of generous, giving people. Some of the best friends I have made in my lifetime have been connected first through this forum (and previously E-Bob). These friends now are the best gifts that I could imagine having in my life. This year has reminded me with great clarity how lucky I am to have my friends, those who I have met through wine.

Leccion 4. Don’t Apologize For What You Like. I have learned more this year that I really like the energy and youth of wines without lots of age. I realize that some aging of wine is beneficial but akin to Leccion 3 above, as well as living each day as a gift, I want to drink and enjoy what brings me joy, not the prescriptive of having to buy a wine and let it sit for 10-20 years, at which time I can be allowed to drink it. Drink what you, when you want, whatever it may be.

Leccion 5. It’s Cool To Be Kind. In a world that often now feels crazy and broken (look at France, Chicago and San Bernardino, as examples), it’s necessary to remember that being kind, opening yourself to say Thank You and treating others, who you may not know or see (such as here where it is easy to sit behind a post or avatar and treat others poorly), we can do better, be better. Kindness is never out of season and we need more of it.

Happy holidays to the WB community and I look forward to seeing what others here have to share for 2015.

Fewer and better

The more white wine I drink from France and Germany the more my palate appreciates the complexity and enjoyment these wines deliver.

The biggest lesson learned this year is that wine is the binder, not necessarily the focus, when we go out with friends. Not everyone who appreciates good wine is a wine geek. The wine should be just another part of the evening along with the food and the conversation.

Lesson 1: If you order a bunch of wine, you are going to outgrow your cellar storage. Get on the offsite storage list and get a big enough locker(s).

Lesson 2: If you order a bunch of wine, you are going to have to figure out how to find it in your cellars later. Read WB and CT posts on inventory organization and get 'er done. I did used location, box and bin numbers. Still can’t find two missing Ridge Monte Bello’s.

Lesson 3: If you order a bunch of wine and you are 59, then you better adopt Frank’s lesson 4 while you backfill. Enjoy younger wines, hence premox of white burgs has me at 2009 as the youngest vintage Of them.

Lesson 4: If you order a bunch of wine, you need to start drinking more. A nice problem but it leads to lesson 5.

Lesson 5: If you order a bunch of wine and drink more wine, then I need to exercise more. Since I run crazy distances, it can effect my endurance. This lesson led to my hardest next lesson which I am moving to year 2016.

Lesson 6: Drink wine in more moderation if you you want to keep your running habit up.

I feel lucky to have you all writing your thoughts, with some of you being new friends. This is a great community of such kind hearted wine lovers - givers, generous.

My 2015 lesson: don’t keep bottles or stemware on low altitude coffee tables if your home is at risk for Destructive Tail Wagging Tornadoes

That many young Barolo (or is that Baroli) are much more approachable than was the case in the past.

Leccion 1. Get The Balance Right. This year taught me that the amount of wine around a table that I am able to enjoy has changed. In past years, the more bottles the better, as I wanted to taste as much as I could. Now, I feel like the right balance is at 8-10 bottles,

For me it’s like this:

Leccion 1. Frank is the MAN! I sometimes wonder if a bottle every night is pushing it, especially when I’m drinking it alone. Now I find that I’m sitting there with one bottle a night but guys like Frank are killing 8-10. I’m humbled and inspired. How can I clone his liver? Much respect. [wow.gif]

Leccion 2. Firearms and wine can be tricky. In fact, it’s not unlike firearms and hard liquor. Best is probably not to mix them at all if there’s someway you can avoid doing so.

Leccion 3. As I’ve always thought, wine can get you out of trouble. If the cops pull you over after an evening of many bottles, keep your wits about you. Don’t deny you’ve had some, but start talking about it and ask their opinion. it leaves them non-plussed and they leave you with a warning rather than a ticket.

Leccion 4. Drink your good stuff. You may go to the doctor and find out you have a problem you never knew you had. Your perfectly aged wine won’t matter if you’re dead.

Leccion 5. Wine, like politics, seems to attract people with very strongly held opinions based on little knowledge. When some dip starts talking about wine and doesn’t have a sense of humor about it, he’s someone to avoid.

Some of my thoughts and lessons carry forward from prior years, but some really made an impression on me this year, especially this last month:

  1. I have a perfect cellar. For a 35 year old. Or for someone like FMIII that likes 'em young and chewy. I’m 50. I just spent the better part of this afternoon reorganizing my lockers, and the number of bottles I have from the 2010-2014 vintages shocked me (check back in 10 years and I will be happy as a clam). And I still have 8 cases coming in next week.

  2. Be true to thy palate. I know what I like. I have a narrow, old school palate. While I have flirted elsewhere and with various styles, I always go back to what got me hooked in the early-to-mid-90s: Bordeaux, Chinon and Northern Rhones. These three regions account for 75% of my collection. About 22.5% of my collection is Beaujolais and Zinfandel.

  3. I need to curtail buying new releases, not stop all together, but balance them with backfilling. I really do need more wines that are mature, and as for Bordeaux, very mature. Backfilling from trusted sources is easy, and for many Bordeaux, cheaper than new releases from the vaunted vintages.

  4. I am really done with new Bordeaux releases. Not because I hate it, but because I am 50 and new releases no longer make as much sense. I bought quite a few 2014s as the pricing and quality was to hard to resist. That’s my last vintage. I’ve said that before. I think I really really mean it now. It’s in writing and now on the internet, so naturally is true.

  5. Mailing list wines add up super-quick. I’ve dropped every mailing list except for one: Bedrock. But even one adds up fast. This year I will receive about 2 cases of Bedrock. That’s a lot of wine from one producer in one year. I don’t drink that much Bedrock.

  6. I need to stop checking out emailers. I need to “unlist” from many. The temptation is too great, and the buying is too easy. I found out with some recent deliveries that I doubled ordered from multiple retailers.

  7. Having an organized storage is fun. And I finally have one. Took down another locker this weekend, did some organizing, and now my lockers are all segregated by region, and newer vintages in the rear. Took some time, but was fun and reminded me what I have. I do not use any form of computer software to track my stuff.

  8. This should be number one: Friends, Family, Friends, Family. Wine is the icing. Wine also seems to bring good people together.

  9. I cycle really well with a hangover. It dulls the pain. Makes me ornery. As much as I love wine, nothing matches the exhilaration of cycling at 25+ MPH in a large peloton of racers, hearing the clicking of the shifters, gasps for oxygen, humming of the tires, verbal and glutteral expressions of pain, hissing of the rear hub. Today was a perfect day of cycling in low-70s, sunny Florida weather. I so love my hobbies.

You must work for a polling company Alf - you’re leaving 2.5% margin for error. [rofl.gif]

I have a buying problem.

LOL, I coulda worded that better, was just clicking away. I was leaving a swag of 2.5% for the miscellaneous stuff that I have.

  1. Not every wine has to be aged to maximize the enjoyment…
  2. Open more great wine with people that are important to me.
  3. Never forget that there are always more deals around the corner.
  4. Sometimes…just sometimes; one wine is enough. If it’s the right wine…with the right person.

All roads lead to Napa.

I did not know that Napa was a village in Burgundy.

It’s okay to pass on wine offers, even if they are great offers. There will be more. Also, I love a lot of my mailing list wines, but I’m learning to buy them in fours and sixes and not cases.

Sometimes, even with a wine you love, you just have to take the money and run. :frowning:

I got off of WTSO, Winex, etc as they were just too tempting and I have very limited storage and no option for off-site storage where I live. We have none to my knowledge. Balance has become my watchword as well. I have also discovered that I am no longer buying anything that requires long age because they may not let me drink it in the nursing home.

1 - Sell wines that I have cellared for years and I can get today at basically the same price.
2 - buy stuff to cellar that will be difficult to find later or might be considerably more expensive. See point 1. (i.e Burgundy)
3 - re-lists. Most fall under point 1. Also you dont need to buy a case everytime. Also helps to split among friends(pre agreed)
4- buy less quantity with more age ready to drink…and drink. If not you might be a hoarder.

More off lines are more fun. They do not need to be large groups, even if it is 5-6 it can be a fun night.