By Simon Cocks, Manager, Majestic Wine Bangor
The older I get, the more impatient I become. Along with an occasional touch of road-rage, a few more grey hairs and several snapped golf-clubs this has also led to me opening a few bottles of fine wine a bit sooner than I had planned when I originally bought them. Great Clarets, Brunello’s, Barolo’s and Grand Cru Chablis are just a few styles of wine that will be at their best if you just give them a bit of time.
It’s a horrible feeling when you un-cork a wine that has cost as much as a new pitching-wedge, only to discover that it really could have done with a few more years to really develop into the finished article. Opening a 2005 Barolo today would be such an occasion. A bit premature. Give it a few more years and you will be drinking undoubtedly one of the world’s great wines.
As well as impatience, I’d like to think I’ve also gained a little wisdom too, and that is how I’ve come to reach a couple of decisions about my wine-buying habits. The first is that if I’m going to take collecting fine-wine seriously I will have to seek professional help (not for my anger-management issues before you ask…). This is where Majestic’s Fine Wine Plan in partnership with Lay & Wheeler comes in. A monthly investment from £50+ will mean some of my hard earned cash can be invested in some great wines that can be stored in a warehouse, well away from my impulsive hands. Click here to be redirected to the Majestic Fine Wine Plan website to read more about the plan and its many benefits in greater detail here.
The second decision I’ve made is that I’m going to stop buying top-drawer wines and leaving them to stew in the wine-rack in my kitchen, rather I’m going to buy slightly lesser wines that are made for drinking younger. A classic example would be to leave that Barolo well alone and try a Barbaresco instead.
Barbaresco is a village in the Piedmonte region in north-west Italy and its wines are made from indigenous Nebbiolo, just like its more famous neighbour Barolo. Barbaresco tends to be slightly lighter in style in part due to the fact that it is further east than Barolo and therefore has more of a maritime influence. It also released when younger than Barolo and doesn’t tend to age as well but it does share many of the same characteristics.
You get the same high acidity and tannins as you get in Barolo, and the same dark-cherry fruit with a hint of the classic tar and rose petals in the background. An excellent example of the style is our very own De Forville Barbaresco 2007 (currently £12.99 down from £14.99 when you buy 2 bottles). At half the price of a decent Barolo you’re getting an excellent wine that is ready to drink as soon as you get it home. And I’d heartily recommend you try it with a fillet steak in a porcini mushroom sauce. The earthiness of the mushrooms complements the background notes in the wine superbly!
So I’ll be buying a case of fine Barolo and leaving it in storage, ready to be drunk when it was intended to be drunk – in several years time. Whilst I’m waiting, I’ll gladly make-do with its younger sibling Barbaresco and there won’t be any regrets or temper tantrums, just great wine and a happy feeling about the money I’ve just saved!