I've more than once quoted this tidbit from Matt Kramer: "If you love wine and you’re buying anything decent—let’s say any wine that costs $20 or more—you need to know that the odds are extremely good that the wine you’re buying today will taste better, and be more rewarding to you, if you stick it in a cool space for a year or even five or 10 years."
This is about two very simple things: affordable wine and wine storage, which, it turns out, is also very affordable. You can store 144 bottles of wine for only $162/year at The Cave, so you buy a $20 bottle of wine and for the price of one Charles Shaw it'll be a markedly better experience. This is the most ridiculously underutilized culinary feat I can think of.
Late 2012 I bought a case of wine from the east coast. It was a case dedicated to the wisdom of Mr. Kramer, a mixed case of affordable mostly Bordeaux wines. These were all selected based on the provided descriptions, ratings and price, each around $20.
Sadly, when it was shipped to California it became trapped in a delivery/customer service vortex that lasted 19 days and two heat waves. While I know cooked wine isn't a good thing, my palate isn't sophisticated enough to detect all of wines potential problems. It tastes like wine, it doesn't, I like it, I don't; that about covers it. What I do know is I've not been WOWED by any of my selections, and I consider this a product of my ignorance rather than the sun's blistering abuse.
I've dedicated 2014 to drinking the wine from this purchase. I figure finish the thought, cut the losses of my ignorance, and move on. Towards that end I opened this weekend a 2009 Chateau la Vieille Cure.
I declare, it was delicious! How did that happen?
It had a bit of a watery beginning but then came some nice spicy things with a big, jammy finish.
I don't know why the watery beginning, someone who knows things would. In wine ignorance is not bliss, it's expensive and frustrating. There are moments, though, when it allows you to take something on its own terms minus imposition that also matters.