…or, “A Cellar Rat’s Guide to Becoming a Cellar Rat.”
Now might be the best time to buy those big structured reds. Yes, you read that right. Tasting and buying big reds in the height of summer seems like crazy person talk, and it may be, but nonetheless, there is good reason for this logic. Call it mind over matter.
Same Day Delivery and The Store Comes to You
In our current instant gratification world views, we expect to order something from Amazon, have it show up in some ungodly, unexplainably fast time frame, open the box, and begin to use or enjoy whatever it is we purchased. We used to shop in what are now referred to as “brick and mortar” shops; retail stores and malls. Upon purchasing a receipt was exchanged, you were handed the bag and off you went into the world with your product. However, even as it may seem wine is the same, it never has been and never will be. Wine won’t change, so maybe we need to?
The perception can be a little skewed however, even in wine. As it goes, you head to a wine shop or tasting room, select, purchase, and leave with the product. But what most consumers don’t see is the time leading up to that point, and very few see the opportunities for the future, trading that experience for heading home and consuming in a small time frame from purchase. Well, as it goes, the wine you just purchased and took home to enjoy most likely sat on-premise with the winery for months if not years before being offered in the tasting room or sold to the retail shop systems.
The Heat Is On
Understanding this brings us back to our initial statement about buying big, age-worthy reds in the peak of summer. Chances are, it is too hot outside to want anything with that profile. It is the time of year for red drinkers to sip Pinot, or lighter styled Zins. Who wants a big, tannic, bold, earthy Cab or red blend when it is 90°F+ outside? Whites and Rosés seem more enjoyable, preferably chilled down quite a bit (try to abstain from using ice in your wine though, more on that in the near future).
What does all this chatter about wine choices, heat, and purchasing have to do with being a Cellar Rat or starting an aged collection?
On Mind Over Matter
We tend as humans to buy things with some level of need, desire, or excitement that inevitably dwindles with time. We like to call it the “fever pitch & cool down” effect. 6-months after buying your new car, even if you use it everyday, it becomes less exciting as the first time you drove it. It’s a fact, even if that car is a McLaren. Hell, 1 year in, there is a newer model and your car is now, sadly, old news.
Wine is like all other things. The day you purchased it, it’s your new exciting thing. 6-months later, not so much. And herein lies the secret…
Buying those big boys you want to actually lay down, but have a hard time doing because it is so delicious and exciting, or shows so much potential yet a good couple of hour decant or aerator usage will bring it around, you are in the season where it just won’t be so enjoyable. The ambient temperature just doesn’t make it desirable from a consumption standpoint. Buying it now and putting it in a cellar or wine fridge is perfect. By the time you’re ready to enjoy it, months will have passed and it already has seen some age. It’s becoming old news. You’ll have found newer wines to consume when the time for reds comes around again that will be more for instant gratification. Not to say every bottle you purchased durring the warmer months will collect well deserved dust, but you’ll have less fever pitch about the wine and be in a much stronger cool down period personally.
The Cycle of Days and Seasons
During the cooler months, the same can be done for purchasing ageable whites. Practice this cycle for a few years, and you not only begin a fine collection, but you also start to work and purchase in the pattern of time that is relevant to wines, not mere mortals with immediate needs. You might even find yourself with a few premier vintages that begin to take on a life of their own some years later, and become one of the select few who can begin reselling or auctioning premier vintages in secondhand wine markets where quite a bit of money is to be made from other collectors.
All this said, and in this practice, you will not be sacrificing your ability to succumb to the immediate gratification you are used to. You will still impulse buy in season, you will still enjoy daily drinkers, your wine lifestyle will not change, but become elevated.
Cheers to your new found Cellar Ratness and future collection!