The Pandemic Wine Time Capsule

How to build a wine time capsule in memory of these trying times.

There’s not a day that’s gone by during this pandemic that I haven’t stopped and said: “I can’t believe how weird all this is.” And, like everyone else, I can’t wait for it to be over—but that doesn’t mean I want to forget it. So, here’s the plan: you buy a mixed case of bottles that spoke to you during the pandemic and, at regular intervals, drop in on them, see how they’re doing and remember unprecedented times—while being thankful for the many gifts of a great glass of (aged) wine.

After 3 Years

Le Vieux Pin Ava 2019

You see an increasing amount of roussanne and marsanne grapes in the Okanagan, but they were a novelty when Severine Pinte started making this wine years ago. It’s a classy bottle—rich with notes of honey drizzled on toast—and it’ll continue to evolve with some downtime. $30,

Sperling Brut Reserve 2011

You wanna talk crazy? This méthode champenoise sparkler is already nine years old, but its backbone of vibrant acidity will see it continue to age—adding some creamy and brioche notes as it does—for easily another few years. $80,

Phantom Creek Pinot Gris 2018

Aging pinot gris? Yes, when it’s overseen by Alsace legend Olivier Humbrecht and has a depth and weight (with some oak cask time added in for structure) that’s the envy of the Valley. $33,

After 7 Years

Tantalus Riesling 2019

The more obvious choice might be Martin’s Lane exquisite rieslings or even Tantalus’s own Old Vines offering, but how cool will it be to crack a $21 bottle of wine in 2028 and have it sing the song of citrus zest, apple and petrol that I know this one will? $21,

Quails’ Gate Clone 220 Chenin Blanc 2019

Wow, is this wine going to be cool in seven years. Chenin is an unheralded genius of a grape when it comes to aging—in its home base of the Loire, vouvrays and savennières made from chenin can last for decades. Expect to be blown away by a combo of waxy meyer lemons and wildflowers with a tremendously long finish. $40,

Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2018

Every wine geek I know has a bottle or two of this showstopper by Osoyoos’s Moon Curser tucked away in their cellar—and that’s because it’s that intersection of well-made and risk-taking (growing touriga in Canada is unheard of) that produces magic. And the hearty Portuguese grape can take age like nobody’s business and still deliver a tender wallop of berry fruit and dusty leather. $40,

After 10+ Years

Poplar Grove Legacy 2016

It speaks to the maturity of the industry that there are literally a dozen Bordeaux blends that could occupy this spot, but the nod goes to Legacy because Poplar has kept its price reasonable, given the company it keeps. And it won a gold at the Decanter Awards, which is one of the few programs that is rock solid. $52,

Blue Mountain Block 14 Gravel Force Pinot Noir 2018

There are a number of great pinots in the Valley that I think will age wonderfully—and one, this one, that I know will. Since the early 1990s Blue Mountain’s pinots have proved they can handle 10 years plus of cellar time, and their new vineyard-specific bottle only doubles down on that legacy. Ideally, you’d buy each of the three vineyards, but if it has to be only one, choose the structure of Gravel Force. $55,

Zenato Amarone 2015

I was keeping this all B.C., but in March and April, Northern Italy was on all of our minds—and this sledgehammer of a wine stands for the resilience of the people there. I often shy away from amarone because of the richness, but this bottle from Zenato underplays that aspect and increases the freshness and juiciness—and it has the tannic backbone to preserve all this like a champ. $65,