John Poplin on November 30, 2016 1 Comment Though a special dinner at an upscale restaurant can be seen as a special event, there are other times in life when looking for an extra special bottle of wine is a must. It’s not necessarily to impress (well, who am I kidding, it kind of is), but instead is primarily to mark a celebration. It is a time to put forth a little more effort in picking out a nice bottle of wine versus our daily drinkers. Birthday Wines Birthdays are a milestone, and for many, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, the calendar reminds us each and every year that another 365 days have passed. For some of us, we’ve been popping corks since 12:01 am the day we turned 21. And just as some red wines get better with age, so do we; thus having an extraordinary bottle of wine will help us chase away those — I mean…celebrate life. Wine From Your Birth Year Whether you’re buying this bottle for yourself, a friend or for family, this is when you really go all out and look for something cool and unique. One of the best or most fun to find wines are those from the year we were born. As most of the wines out there are meant to drink young, this may take some extra work in tracking down a bottle from a specific year. If you are having trouble, turn towards Bordeaux, Ports, high-end Rieslings and other wines that are better known for their aging capabilities. But some of these can get pretty pricey, so another option may be to just look for a higher end wine from a region or producer that you, or they, like. Graduation Wines Graduations are another time when finding a special occasion wine to mark the event is certainly a worthy cause. Here is what you should look for: Champagne or Age-Worthy Wine Champagne goes without saying, and this too is an occasion for a bottle of a wine worth aging. Now, it’s up to the graduate as to whether it’s something they save, or if the cork is pulled before the cap and gown come off. But either way it marks the occasion. I also always suggest an age worthy wine to those looking to celebrate the birth of a new baby. If the bottle is in honor of your kid, make sure the wine’s got what it takes to make it the twenty one years. First Date Wines For those still in the dating pool, finding the right wine for that first date, or a special date, is a nice way to impress someone. I’m not saying you go out and drop a day’s worth of work on someone you swiped right on, but putting some thought into it may be a way to woo someone who has caught your eye. Order by the Glass Of course if your date takes you to a restaurant, there are some limitations. But restaurant “by the glass” lists often have wines you’ve never heard of, so take the plunge…be adventurous. Find out what he or she likes and ask your server or sommelier if there’s something they can recommend. Limited Release Wines For some, a date might be a romantic picnic on the beach, or even just the fact that grandma and grandpa have taken the kids for the night. So show them that it’s not just another day, that you want this day to stand out from all the others. Look for a winery’s limited release wines, or maybe even a smaller but well-regarded producer from a favorite region. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but make it something nicer than your usual #WineWednesday selection. Shop for Your Special Occasion Wine on Amazon Anniversary Wines Anniversaries are another celebration that come pretty much like clockwork. They may be the day we started a job we love, or the day we said “I do.” So picking out a special bottle for these monumental occasions is important in showing someone you care…or even remembered the day (you know who you are). A Special Wine From Your Collection Going for a premium bottle of wine is often the answer, and it may be one that you’ve already been storing in your wine cooler. So it might be the perfect occasion to pop the cork on the dusty bottle you’ve been drooling over, resisting it on the days when you might have forgotten you were out of daily drinkers but “no…it needs a few more years.” A Nice Champagne Now many celebrations pair nicely with an excellent bottle of Champagne. And not the everyday Brut from that well known producer, but look for either a unique or hard to find “grower Champagne” or Millésime. Many Champagne houses purchase fruit from local growers, and over the last years especially a number of these growers have realized just how good their grapes are, or that they are truly unique from their neighbors the next vineyard over. So we have seen a boom in these smaller producers who are making world class wines at (sometimes) very reasonable prices. Most good retailers will have a few grower Champagnes on their shelves, so take a second look…you won’t be disappointed. And with many producers you might find the word Millésime on the bottle, depicting an exceptional growing year. So these too are Champagnes that are something extra special. They may be a little more expensive, but hey, if they were good enough for anointing new Kings in Reims, France centuries ago, surely they’re good enough for your spouse. Now not all of you have tied the knot just yet, but you’re so close that you have bought the ring. Bubbly is another way to celebrate this special occasion, and packing that picnic basket with a nice Champagne is a sure way to get them to say yes as you bend down on one knee. And when she does say yes, the Wedding Day is another occasion where I feel it’s so important to have a nice selection of wines. I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve been to where I take one look at the wines offered and decide on a whiskey instead. Yes there will be the “Uncle Georges” at your wedding who are not as discerning when it comes to wine, but for the rest of us, find wines that commemorate the day (without being too expensive). There is a huge difference between “cheap” and “value driven” when it comes to wines. Your guests will leave your wedding remembering the wine they just discovered! So whether you’re celebrating another trip around the sun or another monumental occasion, look not to just cotton, linen, or lace; wine can be just the answer and for many preferred!