Mistakes… I’ve made a few

Over the years I have made some errors of judgment while starting a wine collection and thought it was time to confess my sins.

  • Not buying enough of a wine I really liked. As a wine lover and retail salesperson I had access to a lot of great wine on a daily basis. This caused me to be complacent and I often just bought single bottles of wine because I craved variety. This lead to a situation where I ended up with a lot of orphan bottles in my cellar and no frame of reference as to the wines suitability for aging and where it was on the aging curve. Solution is to buy ( a minimum) of three for any wine you want to follow over a number of years. Six or twelve bottles are even better.
  • Serving wines at the wrong temperature. I have adapted my rules for wine service and now like to put reds in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes before serving and take whites out approximately 20 before serving. Traditional wisdom for red wine service is/was room temperature. Most rooms in North America are warmer than room temps in Europe so this temperature adaptation accounts for the difference. I find I enjoy the wines much more now.
  • Not having sacrificial bottles. There have been more than a few times when I woke up the next morning and realized that some really good bottles had been open far too late in the evening when I didn’t have the capacity to properly enjoy them. IE no need to open that special bottle of Super Tuscan at 3am . Solution have a selection of good quality reasonably priced wines and keep them in the most accessible spot in your cellar ( this is especially helpful in a household where there are people who don’t have the same passion for wine that you might have). If you love Cabernet Sauvignon maybe 6 or 12 bottles of something like Wynns Coonawara Cabernet (link) or Edge Cabernet from Napa Valley (link)

  • Not trusting my own palate. I have had the rare opportunity to try a LOT of wine during my career. There have been a few times when I tried wines at public tastings and the sales person told me a great story about the wine or mentioned it would be receiving a glowing review from ( insert wine writers name here) . Sometimes I liked the wines sometimes I didn’t but nevertheless I bought the wine anyway . Years later the wine would be opened and the disappointment would be palpable. Solution , trust your judgment. You only have to make yourself happy when it’s your money on the line.
  • Keeping wine too long. This is a painful lesson. There is a tendency among wine lovers to keep wines in your cellar for a special occasion. Then the special occasion comes along and it not as special as you might like so you keep the wine longer. Resist the temptation to keep bottles forever. It’s bad to drink a wine too soon, but it’s worse to keep them too long. Better to project in your mind a wines potential than to lament it’s demise.

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers

David Lancelot