Last summer, for the first time in my 10-year (legal) drinking career, I decided to start collecting wine. My goal was to purchase one bottle per month for two years, so that, when it comes time to popping my first cellared bottle, I will have collected a respectable 24.
One purchase in and I was certain that I would not see the endeavor through to the following month. I would come home thirsty one evening and, what do you know, a bottle in the closet with my name on it. After the second purchase, however, I coveted my little collection like a proud, jealous father.
Yesterday I added a ninth bottle, and it occurred to me that I ought to share some of my early findings as an aggregator of wine. In addition to explaining why I select each bottle as we progress through the months, I’ll offer a piece of personal insight. Something I’ve learned along the way.
Firstly, I must do away with the great misconception that wine collecting is a rich man’s hobby. Most of the bottles in my humble collection are $35 or under, and there are plenty of bottles around $20 that are worth holding onto. It’s not about purchasing the most expensive bottle on the shelf; it’s about finding a bottle of wine that will evolve over time and offer something different and exciting months or years later. And we’re here to help you find these worthy specimens.
Wine is alive. And all wine will change in the bottle, for better or for worse. Some is meant to be enjoyed young, but even a bottle of cru Beaujolais – typically bright, light wines in comparison to those of Bordeaux, for example – often benefits from a couple years’ bottle aging.
This month I’ve selected a bottle from the Côtes Catalanes in the Roussillon region of southern France. The 2014 “Calcinaires” by Domaine Gauby is a blend of syrah, mourvèdre, grenache, and carignan. Since 1985 the estate has been run by an energetic young man named Gérard Gauby, who has embraced biodynamic principles, realizing the potential of the region’s unique chalky terroir.
I had the pleasure of tasting this wine last week. Its high acid level, funky, natural brett quality, and overall complexity contribute to great aging potential. For those of you into sour beers or natural wines, this is worth popping open at any time. I’m interested in seeing what happens when the tart funkiness settles down a bit, revealing softer fruit. Only time will tell what's in store for this funky little treat.
Domaine Gauby Calcinaires
Côtes Catalanes, France
Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan