Those who know business travel, but love wine and food know the drill. You finally get to your hotel to0 late to seek out the best local restaurant, but you are starving. With no choice you head off to the hotel restaurant. There is little hope for an interesting wine on the list and forget anything nice by the glass. You are in corporate wine heaven - otherwise known as your wine hell.
When handed the wine list in such situations, sometimes, low-and-behold there is one wine that looks promising. This week I found a bottle of 2000 Talbott, Case Pinot Noir, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in the midst of all the blandness. It was lovely.
It reminded me that all to often, when looking at lists we focus on varietals and price, when a better strategy may be to run your finger down the vintages. My 2000 Talbott was a full 3 to 4 years older than the other pinots on the list and what made this wine so enjoyable was the fact that it actually had few years in the bottle. It was no longer dominated by the big dark black fruit flavors of young wine, instead offering real nuance and complexity. You can't replace bottle age. Strangely enough the 2000 Talbott was actually cheaper than some of the more "famous" names on the list.
Keep an eye out for those bottles with a few years of bottle age on them when you search the wine list and not only will you be rewarded with a more interesting wine, but you just might save a few bucks as well.