Vintage Pacific NW: We’re revisiting some of our favorite stories from some of our favorite former magazine contributors. Check back each week for timeless classics focusing on food, fitness, gardening and more.

Originally published Feb, 5, 2016
By Andy Perdue, former writer of The Grapevine

YOU KNOW THAT bottle of wine in your collection? The one that’s “too good” to open for just any occasion? We all have one or two — or many more. 

They’re special bottles, perhaps procured from a prized winery. Perhaps purchased at a charity auction. Maybe gazing at it reminds you of a happy moment, a memorable trip to wine country. 

And you just don’t want to open it. You want to preserve the memory by saving the bottle. 

Well, that wine probably isn’t getting any better, and it would be a shame to never pull the cork and enjoy it. In fact, most wine made in North America is not meant to age — at least not much longer than it takes to get from the store to your home. 

While it certainly is true that some wines will gain complexity and reveal fascinating aromas after years of patient storage in your cellar, these are rare occasions indeed. 

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So let’s talk about those special bottles. They could be high-end cult wines, such as Quilceda Creek or Leonetti. They could be a rare wine-club-only release from your favorite producer. Perhaps they are from one of the great Bordeaux producers. Maybe you got your hands on a wine that earned a perfect 100 points from a top publication or was named wine of the year. 

In any case, it has transcended from a simple bottle of wine to a trophy, something that must wait for that special occasion — one that might never come. 

I’m here to tell you that you might well wait in vain for the right moment — and now is the time for you to create the moment, to stage an event (Pandemic-era Editor’s Note: Small is fine!) that will result in you opening that wine, savoring it and holding that as a cherished memory. 

Here is what I want you to do: Find the bottle in your cellar (in many cases, we likely have several of these trophies hanging around). Whether it’s a big red wine such as a cabernet sauvignon or a suave bottle of pinot noir, build a menu around it. Make your meal match the wine. Choose the finest cuts of meat, the best ingredients for the finest sauces. Make sure every detail is just right: the candle, the tablecloth, the stemware. Maybe it’s your birthday. Maybe it’s a holiday. It doesn’t matter. That wine is what matters. 

Do it soon, and I guarantee you won’t want to wait long to do it again.