world of wine

not to be drinking so much, thank you

Contrary to what it may seem, I don’t drink much. Honestly, I am a serious lightweight; the champagne over-indulgence story from a few days ago is a relic of a different age; these days, I’m flushed and giggly after my second glass of table wine. One martini, floor — that’s me.

But the wine, I love it! And variety, I am loving it more (almost)! What for to do with the need for many wines and the lack of drinkage that I practice?

Voila, says the online wine world: Jeff at Good Grape did a fantabulous post on Something That I Need Right Now but that I put on my Amazon wishlist instead because it’s all Xmas and shit: Vacu Vin. With this magical device, I can open a bottle, taste my heart out of one-point-five glasses, pump that baby, and fridge it for days, nay a week, with nary a care in the world. I no longer have to think of ways to work old wine into my cooking. I no longer have to pour red wine on my herb garden, wondering what it will do to the parsley. (I torture plants. Why? I don’t know. But I systematically fail to water them, or water them with fucked-up liquids, or let them freeze… out of sheer disregard or some kind of prurient, Mendelian interest. shrugs It’s the truth: I want to love them, but I don’t.) You can buy your own Vacu Vin here, if you like: Vacu Vin Concerto 3-Piece Wine Saver Set

And then who trots out a great idea I always forget about, but the old WSJ? Apparently, half bottles are The Next Best Thing again; who knew?

Now, for you uninitiated, a half bottle contains 375 ml of wine, about 2 healthy-sized glasses. This Is Good for times when you and your companion want to have a white wine at the beginning of a meal and a red wine at the end. Or if you are dining alone and don’t want to cart half a bottle home or get a DUI. Or if you are dining with someone who does not drink or prefers beer. Or if you can’t afford to buy a whole bottle of Ch. Lynch-Bages, but can’t live without tasting that particular vintage. Oh, the possibilities!

One disadvantage to half bottles is that they tend to be more expensive than the corresponding full bottle, just as a package of 5 Kraft singles coast more than a package of 500. Also, and possibly more importantly, wine ages faster in small packages than it does in large packages. So your 375 ml of 2005 Ch. Talbot St Julien that Parker said to drink from 2010-2020 might actually be ready in 2008. Don’t buy half bottles (unless it’s dessert wine) to age them — buy them to drink.

The good news that Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher are preaching in their article in the WSJ is that these days, really crazy-good, high-end wines are being bottled on the small! They suggest a case of half-bottles as a thoughtful gift for a friend who mostly drinks fine wine on her or his own, rather than splitting it with a partner. What a grand notion! They list a number of online retailers that offer lots of great half bottles for sale. Hey, and I learned this from reading their article: did you know that Thomas Keller of legendary restaurant The French Laundry requested of over 200 “top” wineries that they produce half bottles for him to include in his wine program? Wow. How did that conversation go, I wonder?

Anyhoo, if you live out in Lightweight Country with me (howdy, neighbor), don’t despair! You have options, and they’re not all boxed.

0 replies on “not to be drinking so much, thank you”


I’m like you, contrary to what many people would think, I don’t drink nearly as much as a lot of people I know. Half bottles are awesome, and completely under-utilized.

PS – Love Dot and John.

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