Between Christmas and New Years I stumbled across a collection of long forgotten memories. Most of these memories were made more than a decade ago and they have sat in a basement collecting dust. I’m talking about bottles of wine that our family previously produced and gave to friends and family at Christmas. In truth, I have seen them sitting on their static ledge numerous times over the last two years but quickly looked away as I hadn’t been prepared to engage the memories for which they embody. For no particular reason, last week when I noticed them resting on a shelf in my dimly lit basement I decided they warranted closer examination.
I had no idea what I would find. Pulling a bottle from the pile, I wiped away the dust to find a Sauvignon blanc. A memory exploded into my consciousness! My eyes widen as I remember bottling this wine. It was the same year as we built our house. I pulled another; the Valpolicella was the first red wine we made. It was like Christmas morning and I was filled with excitement about what bottle I would find next. The anticipation of what memories would erupt within me kept a brimming smile upon my face. As I examined each bottle, it had its own story once celebrated, then forgotten, painfully hidden for a time and now fondly remembered.
But, what am I to do with the 14 bottles of wine I found? Drink it! Wait. Does that honour the memories that they harbour? I think it does. Wine is made to be enjoyed! Wait. Will self-bottled wine still be good stretching back 19 years? There is only one way to find out. I inspect the colour and cork of a 12-year-old Chenin Blanc. Seeming OK I get down to business and uncork it. I reluctantly take a gently sniff, then a deeper olfactory evaluation. The wine still seems acceptable. Now the real test – a taste test. Expecting a vinegar-like disaster, I wince as the liquid hits my tongue. Astonished, I think about how lovely this white wine tastes.
Later that week, I opened a 15-year-old Chianti with the same dazzling results. I don’t know if every bottle will be amazing but the feelings and memories encased within each vessel will undoubtedly continue to excite me. I shamelessly look forward to drinking my memories. I suppose I should also share them with family and friends. Cheers!!!