The most profound change I made in my wine cellar began a few years back.
As my tastes again changed I shifted allegiances. I began concentrating more and more on Pinot Noir, a vastly improved wine from California, Oregon and New Zealand (three of my favorites), and concentrating less on Cabernet.
It had less to do with prices, although as Cabernet became more expensive, it was a consideration. And less to do with my own mortality, but that, too, was a factor: How much wine do I need to survive? And can I really afford to cellar wines longer than I might live? I'm sure some of my wines will outlive me, but not by design.
It had to do more with how I used wine and my stylistic preferences, as in wines with lunch or dinner. The foods I enjoyed the most were better served by Pinot's texture, nuance, subtlety and finesse. Those traits became more important considerations, and Pinot had more of them than Cabernet.
The taste wild card was not my enjoyment of beer, IPAs and the like, but my discovery that having spent a few weeks in Ireland, I really liked Irish whiskey and learning about different styles and brands. Red Breast and Green Spot, true holiday colors, earned spots in my kitchen cabinet.
I suppose in that regard I'm more in sync with today's typical drinker, having less brand loyalty than curiosity. But at some point those two concepts intersect. I'm amazed by how people keep up with all the new trends in drinks, but they do, and it makes for a far more interesting beverage world.
I still drink and enjoy Cabernets. For complex, full-bodied reds that age amazingly well, Cabernet is tough to beat. I am reminded of that whenever I enjoy a great bottle, and that brings a fresh dimension to drinking Pinot. But I can already see a troubling trend with my newfound friend, Pinot Noir. Prices are looking more like those of Cabernet, rising faster than I can afford, and that's a problem.