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How To Drink A Vertical
Field Notes • Wine Stories

How To Drink A Vertical

Tasting the same wine through multiple vintages, or drinking a vertical, offers an embodied experiment in taste and time. Natural wines, as with any living product, evolve as they age. Pulling the cork on a bottle creates an imprint of the wine at that very moment – like a beetle in amber. 

With the expansion of the natural wine movement in the United States, we've encountered the misconception that natural wines are only meant to be enjoyed shortly after production. Without preservatives, some consider natural wine to capture nothing more than a fresh and ethereal expression of place. We love to make and drink those wines.

However, winemakers have been crafting age-worthy wines for centuries without any preservative. In the spirit of these traditions, we rely on grapes with naturally occurring tannin and acidity. We work with these elegant checks and balances to create vibrant wines that age with grace.

Whether you want to experience a time/place with special personal significance, explore a new region or just nerd out, verticals offer a playground for the senses. Assemble your wines, gather loved ones and prepare to journey.

 

STEP 1: LET IT MELLOW

Leave the wines upright for at least a day before you intend to drink them to ensure that any naturally occurring sediment falls to the bottom of the bottle.

STEP 2: AWAKEN THE MOMENT

Open the wines together and pour into three glasses. Once open, aged wines will develop quickly. The wine may start out feeling aggressively acidic and harsh – as they open up in bottle, the wines will begin to soften and coalesce. Dusty tannins, delicate perfume, and a softer mouthfeel will emerge as the wines begins to mingle with the oxygen around you.

Some people prefer to decant their wines, but it’s easy to overshoot oxygen exposure with a decanter. Generally, we prefer to have the wines in the bottle with the cork off and then let them awaken from their slumber slowly over the course of several hours.

STEP 3: DRINK WITH PATIENCE AND ATTENTION

Start with the youngest wine and move back in time. As the night progresses, return to each glass to see how the wines change expression and open up. How do they change? What do the smells evoke? What feels different from vintage to vintage? What stays the same? Explore the texture of time in each bottle. 

 

Balanced grapes like Nero d'Avola, Petite Sirah and Carignan are perfect companions for lingering meals with keen conversationalists. Get curious with our limited Nero d'Avola Vertical