On the day of the Queen’s funeral, we drank a bottle of 2002 Domaine de La Romanée-Conti, Cuvée Duvault-Blochet. It was a special bottle kept in various cellars for twenty years in search of an appropriate occasion, and it felt like the right sort of thing to do: to commemorate a singular day with a singular bottle of wine; to acknowledge the spectre of death by committing a tiny murder of our own.
The wine was very nice, but not the sort of experience the price tag and the (price-tag adjacent) mythologising around DRC might have led one to expect. We instantly started to agonise: had we drunk it too young? Had we decanted it too late? Too early? Argh – was it only just starting to fully express itself now, with just a thimbleful left in our glasses?!
It got me thinking about the now-ubiquitous contention that “wine is a living thing”. This axiom, or some variation on it, has been the rallying cry for a whole generation of wine critics and wine drinkers, and with good reason: it’s a fundamental, genuinely liberating way of reframing decades of fusty vinous scholarship, repositioning wine as something modern, interesting, and vital. But it has a flipside, too: an especially relevant one as we mature into a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Wine is a living thing, but it is also a dying one – something forever in the process of unbecoming, of evaporating into dusty obsolescence. Pulling the cork just speeds up the process.
I was at another funeral recently – one of those sad but ultimately uplifting funerals where everyone had parted on good terms with few regrets, a day for celebration as much as for mourning. Inevitably, though, you do start thinking about bigger questions: around what it means to call a life well-lived, and what regrets you might not want to leave behind. My ultimate takeaway: don’t leave things on a wish-list for ten years down the line. Do everything you can, while you still can.
With this in mind, then, for Autumn 2022, six spots on your Wine Hit List to make the most of this baffling, unsettling, unquiet time in British history – places to make the most of it, whatever that means. As various members of the political class now know all too well, it’s always a little later than you think.
- The Wine Hit List, Summer 2022 Edition: Veraison, Half Cut, Bright, and More
- In Dalston, Mangal 2 Is a Classic Institution That Answers to No One
- Planque, Quality Wines, Noble Rot Soho, and More: Introducing the Resy Wine Hit List
- Where to Drink Outstanding Natural Wine in London
- Margaux Aubry of Naughty Piglets Knows the Best Wines to Order (And Where to Get Them Delivered)