One of the advantages of advancing age is that you can sometimes live long enough to see youthful acts of irresponsibility redeemed (though probably never forgiven).
Let me explain.
In 1983, when I was just beginning my lifelong affair with wine and when I had little or no disposable income, I made a profligate, yet fateful, buying decision.
I was on my way to buy the weekly groceries when I stopped to check out the wine selection at the state liquor store, the only place you could purchase wine back then.
As I browsed the aisles searching for any wine not bottled in big green jugs, I came across three bottles of 1978 Château Fortia. At that time, Fortia was considered the best producer of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the '78 had gotten great reviews.
The wine cost $18 a bottle, a stratospheric price to pay for wine back then. I agonized over the decision for all of five minutes before using our weekly grocery money to buy the wine.
When my wife asked why I had not gotten all the items on her grocery list, I sheepishly presented her with the three bottles of wine and, as I recall, some peanut butter, bread and lunch meat. To put it mildly, she was not happy, and I heard the words "selfish" and "irresponsible" used repeatedly to describe me over the next several months.
In defense of my decision, though, it helps to know a little about the wine I chose over my children's need for nutritional sustenance. Château Fortia is a storied property and its late owner, Baron Le Roy de Boiseaumarie, not only produced among the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape, he developed a system of governmental regulations to insure the quality for everything associated with making wine. This system was the foundation for the Appellation Contrôlée system for all France.
I had read about the exploits of Baron Le Roy and the legendary wines he was making so when I saw the opportunity to acquire a few bottles of this monumental wine ... well, you know the rest.
Anyway, this past Valentine's Day, my wife asked me to go to our cellar and surprise her with a nice bottle of wine to accompany a special meal she had prepared. (Incidentally, despite even more egregious acts by yours truly over that quarter-century, I am still married to the same long-suffering wife.)