The Case of a Real Case

I was once a case. I would buy a couple of bottles of a limited, promising wine with the intention of trying one out — after I had let it "sit down" for a while — and then perhaps saving the other if it seemed to have promise. The only trouble was, as I got better at predicting this promise, after tasting that first bottle, I would often say to my favorite wine drinking partner: "Geez, I wish I had bought more of this stuff!" I would get on the phone, call around, spend my time in search of a few more bottles, finally coming to the conclusion, "I shoulda boughta case." Duh. This is one of the first revelations that signals you are really getting serious about wine: You start thinking by the case.
It's that ol' word "shoulda." This bit of vocabulary has become a kind of curse in my reluctant, stoic Scandinavian family. We hesitate buying stocks, because our post-depression ancestors got burned in the market; our Lutheran background somehow whispers in our ear that it is more noble to delay gratification; even though the rewards of this delay are usually unclear. He who hesitates...and all that. And this year I did something truly unprecedented: I bought a case of 1995 Bordeaux futures and got in trouble with my accountant at home. Case closed.
Towards the end of April a Wine Nose reader came in and asked me if I ever buy wine by the case. I said do you mean me personally or The Store? She said "The Store." Well, yes. Our best prices are by the case, but so are yours. While we discount bottles 10%, our discount on a case can be between 15-20%. Ask us. There are other benefits to buying by the case, such as consistency. Wine can be different from case to case. Chances are the wine you like will maintain its consistency throughout a case (or even improve consistently). More and more, our goal at The Store is to bring in small lots of many different kinds of wine. Increasingly, these mid-line wines that taste great but do not cost an arm and a leg sell out quickly — especially if they receive a favorable review from some highbrow wine critic. If you like something, it is best to go for it now. Besides, then you won't waste a lot of time on the phone, like I used to, trying to track such elusive wines down.
Finally, storing a box of wine in your cool basement can give you a warm, reassuring feeling. You know that you have 9 or 10 bottles of that particular wine left, and as you continue to enjoy, you can study how the wine may change. With a mere 6 bottles left, you can ask yourself if the case is half empty or half full and learn more about your own perspective on life. Are there only 6 bottles of this limited wine left or do I have a whole half a case left? And, now, I must rest my case.

May 1997