.It’s that time of year. The month when the tastings dry up, the reps stop coming and the bar is either full of revelers or not so full of stragglers. It’s a good time to catch up with regulars and to adjust inventory. This is the time of year I like to pour the last bottles of leftovers I’ve been hording over the course of the year.
This is a trick I’ve stumbled upon in my nine years at BiBO. At any given time there are between thirty and forty wines available to be poured by the glass. For most of those wines there’s inventory in the stock room. Backup bottles.
The leftovers are the last bottles of interesting things I’ve poured over the course of the year and liked. When it comes to the last bottle though, it’s sometimes hard to let go. I stop reaching for the bottle, stop suggesting people try it and it stands like a good soldier waiting for its’ moment to shine. If it’s a white, then it’s no longer displayed on the back bar, but hidden in the fridge in a corner waiting to be discovered.
The leftovers are great place-holders. They make it appear that there’s a vast inventory to choose from without having to pay for the inventory to back it up. The leftovers linger mostly in the lowest and highest end of the price spectrum. They make the rest of the inventory look good. Yes, you may have a glass of wine for $9.99 or maybe a $25 glass, but more likely you’ll treat yourself to something in the middle.
At any rate, this is the time of year that I like to clear up the leftovers and pour special treats for my guests. Last night it was a bottle of G-Spot, a gorgeous, sexy Agioritiko from Greece. Another guest in the same party got to drink from my last bottle of Casa Marin Sauvignon Gris from Chile. That was a tough one to let go.
Yes, I know. I can order them again! …but the nature of BiBO is an ever-changing inventory. It keeps me interested and it keeps the regulars coming back to try new things. This is not to say that they’ll never be back. There are new vintages and that single fact allows us to rediscover wines year after year. It’s also the heartbreaking thing about the leftovers. That wine, that particular vintage will be gone forever.
So I try to pour myself an extra-large taste when the bottle is opened (for quality control). I try to savour the aromas, sniffing as if the very act of smelling could pull extra details of scent from the glass. Then I taste the wine letting it sit longer on my tongue, pulling air through the wine, slurping like the most pretentious of wine geeks…reluctantly swallowing at last.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but the show must go on! I must make room for the next great thing and I do.
This is also the time of year I like to go through my cellar and check on the gems inside. There are wines that need to be opened before they silently slide past their ‘best before’ date. There are also wines I will probably never open. Signed bottles, barrel samples from old friends in great vintages… It’s so much fun to go through the bottles, pulling them out and sorting through the memories of how they got there, then choosing, or not choosing to open one.
I’m a firm believer that wine is made to be drunk and it should be drunk in good company with good food. I also recognize the hoarder in me that wants to keep those memories so I can have them there. So I find the balance, I hope. I open the bottles, even if reluctantly, and enjoy the shit out them.
After all, it’s also the time of year for indulgence!