Part of the fun of building a wine collection is figuring out when is the best time to open a bottle.
In theory, the purpose of cellaring is to save the wine to drink at its optimal condition. Nevertheless, I generally pick an occasion, such as an anniversary, as the overriding factor when it comes to decision time.
There are many books out there that explain cellaring. I recommend "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" by Kevin Zraly. After writing award-winning wine lists in numerous restaurants, this is still the book I like best. I believe it will put you well on to your way to not only enjoying wine, but to taking the work out of it as well.
If you are just starting out as a wine connoisseur, do a little research. Buy a bottle that sounds good to you, and save that bad boy to drink another day. This alone makes it special.
There's always a certain amount of apprehension that comes when opening a bottle that has been saved for a long time. Like all things in life, we are bound to be let down from time to time. But, if you let this stop you from trying, you will miss out on some really special moments.
Once, my wife and I splurged on a bottle of wine. We saved it for a year and opened it on our first anniversary, while camping out at a beach. The wine, setting and even the weather was magical.
Two vintages and another anniversary later, we had the same wine at the same place. Everything was great, except the wine was really disappointing, especially for the money we spent.
Now, we have champagne and sushi every year, and we talk about our first anniversary and that bottle of wine.
So how do you go about assembling a wine collection?
We have some nice wine shops in Juneau with friendly staffs and nice selections. When you visit any of the local stores, take some time to look around. If you rush in and buy the usual, that is exactly what you will get - the usual. The whole idea is to try something new once in a while or maybe find a bottle for that special occasion.
I won't mention any specific wines for now, because I think when you start collecting it is best to build on what you like. But I will have plenty of recommendations in future columns.
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