“Don’t save a great bottle for anything more than a rainy day,” is rule No. 89, the last piece of advice, in Jon Bonne’s slim guide, The New Wine Rules. Bonne, the former wine editor and chief critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, defines tasting notes (“animal” is an appropriate term), suggests glass types (ditch stemless) and provides pairing ideas (the sauce is more important than the protein).
He also dedicates quite a few rules to storing wine and sabotaging the “great romance (and a lot of bullshit) about the age-worthiness of wine.” Drink wine young is today’s practical advice. And don’t think of the cellar as a deep, dark cave only cradling gems.
“I’m more interested in wines that you want to drink,” says Neal Wavra, the owner of Field & Main. That sentiment applies to modern cellars, too, and is the topic for Wavra’s wine class this weekend.
The seminar, a vertical tasting of Bordeaux, will explore how a wine changes in five-year increments, starting with 2015 and going back to 2000. The class is one of the membership benefits of the Hesita Guild, a food-and-wine social club by the Marshall restaurant. (Perks include dining credits, discounts on wine, free tickets to seminars and a swag bag.)
The class, open to the public for $50, will explore the big topics related to aging wine—selecting bottles, managing conditions, knowing when to open—and Wavra also has advice for finding joy in drinking from the cellar.
“Ideally as you collect wine, it doesn’t all have to be expensive,” says Wavra. He suggests finding a bottle you like—“It’s personal. I think that’s what scares people most,” he says—and buy a case. Just like how a journalist will check in with sources for updates on stories, Wavra says to “touch base” with the wine. Drink a bottle at five years. Try it again in a year, in six months. Is it coming along? Try again in three months. “When it starts to get great, drink it once a month,” says Wavra.
Not all wines must be a unicorn worth saving and savoring for that never-gonna-happen special occasion. As Bonne writes, “One of the great fallacies of wine is that waiting makes it better.” If there’s one rule: just drink the wine. // Seminar: Aging Wines Through the Lens of Bordeaux at Field & Main: 8369 W. Main St., Marshall; $50
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