MINI-GEEK: Verticals? For serious geeks, there are a few bottles out there in the world that serve as holy grails for collectors: the Lafites and Latours and Cheval-Blancs of the world; Sassicaia, Opus One, Screaming Eagle; Sea Smoke Pinot, anything coming in magnum form, certainly, and hell, even weird whites from Baumard, Dagueneau, and their ilk. People who have access to these wines are very lucky, indeed, and their friends are luckier still if the bottle owner wants to share. Scenes from The Billionaire’s Vinegar come to mind, where some of the world’s wealthiest and richest wine collectors come together for several days and work through verticals of the wine, meaning they drink multiple vintages, in order, of the same wine. Truly a great learning experience, drinking through multiple vintages of one wine from one producer teaches the drinker about the subtle–and not subtle!– differences that one year’s varying meteorological activity can make on what is, essentially, the same agricultural product. Events like the California wildfires of 2008 lend a certain smokiness to some wines that was not present in 2007, and so on. Also, trying older vintages of a wine will let the drinker understand more about the aging process of specific varietals, not just the individual bottling.
We Lushies love partaking in vertical tastings where possible, and we don’t limit it to just wine. We’ve been known to throw big parties celebrating the many vintages of great beers, like Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout [we still have some of the 2006 vintage!–ed.] and, among our staff and friends, the absolutely insane Three Floyd’s Dark Lord. Lushie Erin has a bottle of the 2005 Dark Lord stashed away in her cellar, to be unveiled soon with Lushie Brent during a completely ridiculous vertical tasting. So if you can keep those thirsty paws patient, stash away a bottle or two of your favorite wine or beer for a few years in a row, and get your learnin’ on. Slurp.