There are wines which pour, make a satisfactory glugging noise in the process and which caress, stimulate or assault the senses with varying degrees of complacency or excellence. These are the things we tend to drink from day-to-day, often as an accompaniment to other activities and, quite possibly, largely unremarked in their passing. There are also still a few wines which should be consistently avoided, either on the grounds of gratuitous toxicity or market-engineered blandness.
Then there are those wines which you approach on tip-toe and preferably from behind, to catch them unawares, and hopefully in a state still more fit for drinking rather than for use in hand-to-hand combat. These are the ones where you can have no idea whether they’ll come roaring out of the bottle after years or decades of confinement, looking to slaughter the innocent and drink their blood, or which will slide smoothly forth, with a casually doffed cap and a cultured ‘good evening’, in best Leslie Philips intonation. The mere opening of such requires commitment, nerve, and a brief offering to the gods of viniculture that they haven’t turned to purest paint-stripper over the years. The drinking of them requires both physical and mental preparation, and a clearing of both mind and palate in hopeful anticipation of joys to come.