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The Case for Cases

May 18, 2009
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I already wrote about searching for wine values and provided a strategy on how to buy.  Hopefully you are putting some of this into action.

Now, if you find one wine that you like and are floored by its value, I encourage you to scrounge up the money and buy a case of it.  You are not going to drink it like water.  So perhaps you can just consider this to be an advance purchase of something you would be buying over time anyhow.

Buying a case does a few things for you, many of which most people do not consider attempting with value wines:
1)    Establishes a house wine, which you have decided for the short term, you will drink more than anything else.  This is a very valuable tasting tool, because you will become very familiar with its style.  You will know it.  You may not be able to describe it.  But just like you know what Juicy Fruit gum tastes like, you will know the taste of your house wine.  At that point this wine can be used as a yardstick for measuring other wines.  “I like it, but it’s not as good as X.”

2)    Makes sure that you have plenty of your favorite value wine on hand, before it sells out.  This is important because value wines can often be inconsistent.  We had a few favorite value wines back in the day.  There was this ’97 Zinfandel that we loved.  We tried the ’98 when it came out, but it just wasn’t as good.  When we were down to our last bottle of the’97 we treasured it more than anyone has treasured a $6 bottle of wine.

3)    Allows you to see how a wine from a specific vintage changes over time.  This presumes, of course, that you do not finish the case in twelve months.  Sure, the wine you buy will probably be intended for immediate consumption.  But that doesn’t mean it will be frozen in time.  It will change.  Some good things about the wine may decline.  But some new and better things may emerge.  Experiencing this change in wine firsthand is part of the journey.

4)    If the wine happens to still be around and produces a subsequent vintage, and if that vintage is any good, you will be in the rare and enviable position of conducting a vertical tasting.  These are harder to orchestrate than one might imagine, and provide a unique look at what effects time has on wine, a winery’s style, and the idiosyncrasies of an industry based on an agricultural product at the whim of nature and the bulk grape juice marketplace.

5)    Sometimes you will get a case discount.  It makes cheap wine even that much cheaper.  But really, this is just a bonus.  If the above hasn’t convinced you, let’s move on.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2009 8:41 am

    Neato! So what is the house wine at Casa De Daniel B.?

  2. May 19, 2009 12:29 pm

    At Chez Junot, we have two house wines. In fact, one is the wine that our large, furry resident was actually named after — Renee Junot red table wine. My personal house fave is the punnily-named Goats do Roam red, a rhone blend from South Africa. It’s a little jammy, quite dry and perfectly quaffable. Oh, and pretty cheap.

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