What Are You Saving That Bottle For?


[Photograph: Wine bottle closeup on Shutterstock]



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There's a bottle I've had tucked away in safe, cool storage for a few years now. Not that it needed aging, necessarily, but just that it seemed 'too nice' to open on some random evening. I was waiting for...what, exactly? A cool night and a big dry-aged steak. A special occasion. A dinner party, perhaps. I saw the bottle there as I planned meals and celebrations, but I waited.

And now I'm moving, and I'm not taking any wine with me—our stuff won't be in temperature controlled storage, so it would all get cooked if we tried. So there wasn't any more time to wait. We popped open the bottle.

I'll be honest: this pricey bottle, a wine which has impressed one famous critic so much that he gave it a perfect 100-point score, just didn't do it for me. It was really concentrated and incredibly powerful, full of cinnamon and dried-cherry flavor, but not any hints of earth or character that seemed to be coming from somewhere. It seemed like very ripe grapes, glossed up with an extended stay in very expensive barrels. It was velvety and rich, like a cherry pie baking with whole vanilla pods inside it, and it would be quite delicious with lamb chops or maybe elk, but we didn't end up finishing the bottle. Was it all the buildup that left us feeling let down?

A few nights earlier, we sat in a friend's Harlem backyard sharing beers and saying goodbye. Everyone brought something: a rare sour saison that someone's dad picked up at the brewery, a bottle scored on a road trip, a limited subscription-only brew, a bomber you can't get anywhere on the East Coast. We passed them all around, pouring a few ounces, enjoying them together. It was fun to see how the beers had aged and think back on how they were acquired. It was just the right moment to share them.

Looking now at my near-empty fridge, I'm wondering what I'll collect and save in my new home, and what I'll open and share earlier, and with whom.

Are you saving a special bottle of something? What is it? What are you saving it for?

About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.