On Wine: Baby’s First Bottle


If you (or your partner) just gave birth, chances are you’re not thinking about your sweet baby’s first bottle of wine. After all, the day your little one can legally pop a cork is 21 long years away. Still, you can start planning for that special day by buying and storing birth-year wines for your child.
     What’s a birth-year wine, you ask? It’s a wine produced the year a child was born and put away until he or she reaches adulthood. “You’re obviously looking for wines that age well,” explains local wine expert Josh Nelson, formerly the beverage manager at The Kitchen. Varietals that get better with age, he says, include French Bordeaux, California Cabernet, Italian Barolo, German Riesling, and vintage Champagne and Port. Don’t worry about rushing straight from the delivery room to buy baby’s first wine along with the Pampers. Age-worthy wines usually aren’t released until two years after the vintage date on the bottle. So 2009s probably won’t hit the market until 2011. That, Mom and Dad, gives you plenty of time to decide what wines to stock up on for Junior.
     Nelson also advises choosing classic wines with a great track record. Château Latour, yes. Two Buck Chuck, no. After all, you want something that’s worth holding on to. Once you buy your fine wine, store it properly in a cool, dark place. “There’s no use buying a great bottle and putting it on top of the fridge for 20 years,” he says.
     Nelson, who recently became a first-time dad, looks forward to laying down some fantastic birth-year wines for his little guy, Owen Price Nelson. Presumably, Owen someday will enjoy the stuff more than did one young man who came into The Kitchen with his father the night after his 21st birthday. In a celebratory mood, the dad opened up 10 or 12 birth-year bottles that he had saved for the occasion. The son? He was still hung over from drinking tequila the night before.