Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
An appealingly cynical English friend in the wine business once told me, “You see, what you do is that when your child is born, you purchase a case of vintage port from that year. Then, when the child finally graduates from college, you send them on their way, and you drink it.”
Exactly. All this business about putting wine away until your kid is able to appreciate it is just bunk; the person who really deserves a good bottle post-graduation is the parent. After all, it costs somewhere on the order of $241,000 to raise a kid, and that isn’t even counting college—don’t you think you deserve a bottle of something nice after all that?
Here are some splurge-worthy suggestions from some of the world’s great wine regions. They’re a little pricey, but on the bright side, you could buy more than 5,000 bottles of any one of them for what you just paid to raise your newly minted graduate.
2011 Clos Floridene Graves Blanc ($25)
Fragrant with grapefruit and floral notes, this 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon from famed Bordeaux winemaker Denis Dubourdieu is lovely now, but will also gain complexity over the next few years.
NV Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne ($45)
Founded in 1584, Gosset is the oldest Champagne house. Oddly, though, it’s one of the least well known. This creamy, full-bodied bottling is a great introduction to their style.
2010 Smith-Madrone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($45)
Charles and Stu Smith’s vineyards high up in the Spring Mountain District AVA create a polished Cabernet with impressive focus and structure. Drink it now, or keep it until child #2 graduates. Or #3. Or even #4. Seriously.
2011 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay ($50)
Streamlined and elegant, Montelena’s citrus-scented, ageworthy Chardonnay leans away from the more familiar big-and-oaky California style. (The 1973 vintage of this wine was triumphant at the legendary Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976.)
Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny Port ($55)
OK, I admit it: You could only buy 4,381 bottles of this superb dessert wine for what it cost to raise your child, not 5,000. But the extra few bucks are worth it: A complex blend of barrel-aged ports, this amber-hued wine has flavors suggesting figs, toffee, spiced nuts and candied orange peel. It will ease the pain when you sit back and consider that you’ve still got two more kids to get through college somehow.
More from Food & Wine:
Graduation Party Recipes
Perfect Party Punches
Drinks for a Crowd
Buy these red wines in bulk this summer
Graduate to better gluten-free cake
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
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