One of my father’s favorite sayings is that most wines are consumed on the way home from the liquor store. He is saying that tongue-in-cheek, of course, but says it to make a point: while many wines are meant to be aged, few are actually consumed more than a year after they are bottled, and most are consumed within a week of being purchased. Most wine consumers, when they are out shopping for a bottle to go with their meal, are not expecting to cellar the wine and serve it with a meal a few years, or decades, down the road; they want it with their salmon TONIGHT. Along the same lines, most restaurants do not cellar wines for extended periods of time. They have current vintages on their list, not thinking forward a few years to when the wines might be drinking best. Boom boom, sell ’em fast and make more money.
Perhaps this is one reason why wines have become increasingly jammy, overripe, and easy to drink upon release. Perhaps it is also why so many wines that get big scores these days do not age well in the cellar. Or perhaps Robert Parker really has had the influence on winemakers that the industry seems to think. One will never really know (and maybe many of you don’t really care).
One of the greatest things about working at Lumen has been the pedigree of our wine. Our 2012 Pinot Noir, while the first release under the Lumen label, is a wine that has over twenty years of history. That is a history between winemaker and vineyard – namely Lane Tanner and her favorite Santa Barbara County vineyard, Sierra Madre. Those of you that have had the opportunity to taste old vintages of Lane’s Sierra Madre Vineyard Pinot Noir know exactly what I am talking about – they age incredibly well, and get better with time.
One test that is fun to do is to open a bottle of wine, pour a glass, then recork it and leave it open for another few days. Taste the wine every afternoon or evening after work, and see if it changes. If you try this with either the Lumen Pinot or Chardonnay, you will be amazed not only at how long it lasts, but also with how much complexity it gains after being open for a day or two.
Since we bottled the 2012 in August of last year, Lumen Pinot Noir has gone through an incredible metamorphosis. It was good upon release, but it is tasting great now – and over the next ten years it will most certainly improve. The only problem is that we are almost sold out of the wine. 500 cases came and went in less than 8 months, and the 2013 will not be out until September.
Now is the time to get the last of the 2012 at a fantastic price. For the remainder of our inventory, we are offering 10% off – and extending the offer to all of our wines. Simply place your orders before the end of June to get this deal. Simply use this code at checkout: IGGV1B4. And remember, wine club members 20-25% off of all of their purchases – so this is a great time to join.
Drink one tonight, but try to keep a few around for the coming years. You won’t regret it!
– Will Henry