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03.03.2009

Drink What You've Got: Wine in Troubled Times

winecellar.jpgThe current recession offers a blessing in disguise for many wine lovers. Even those whose decreased purchasing power means they can't buy wine like they used to.

For many wine lovers, the instinct to collect is strong. Beyond the dopamine rush of finding new wines to own, which may not be that far removed from the buzz of the compulsive gambler, the benefit of aging wines adds an allure to socking away bottles that can be hard to resist, especially if you have the financial means to do so.

One of the great pleasures of being a wine lover comes from the luxury of getting to know wine over time. But it's all too easy, as so many auction houses gleefully appreciate, to not find the time to actually enjoy the fruits of a wine purchasing habit.

Buying wine and not drinking it is a crime nearly as severe as buying a Ferrari and not driving it or owning a great record collection and not listening to it. Yet so many wine lovers, even those who don't consider themselves to be "collectors" can quite easily fall into the trap of finding the acquisition of wine easier to justify than its consumption.

But in these troubled times, I'm finding it much easier to avoid buying more bottles, and I'm enjoying the challenge of mining my own cellar, even though my purchasing habit was sparse, and my cellar quite modest.

While serious collectors, especially those who buy for investment purposes, will no doubt be using the current economic crisis as a serious buying opportunity, I hope many others are using it as an excuse to reacquaint themselves with past purchases. Take a pause and pull out a bottle or two, and remind yourself of why you bought them in the first place.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.