The other day a friend asked me how I got so interested in wine. It made me think back to the many times that were pivotal to my path in coming to understand and appreciate wine. I remember those days in my early 20’s just starting my career and on a tight budget, my weekly trips to the market were really about staples rather than wine. I used to purchase that odd shaped bottle of Almaden Chablis and it would last me the entire week! It was the most drinkable cheap wine that I could find as I wasn’t about to pay the higher price for ‘Black Tower’ or ‘Lancers’. I am ashamed to say that for ‘special’ occasions I would spring for a bottle of Liebfraumilch ‘Blue Nun’ with that creamy sweet taste that was so distinctive. I’m not sure why but my friends seemed to like it, then again, it was the late 1970’s. I think my first big wine moment happened at a dinner party a few years later when I was poured a glass of Gamay Beaujolais. I can recall that moment when I sipped, stopped, and then asked to see the bottle. I had started to identify flavors and was beginning to really use my senses to fully embrace wine. It’s almost as though my brain snapped into a different mode and I was hooked! From that moment on I really wanted to know more about wine, the flavors, the grape varietals and where they come from. Although it was a bit intimidating at first as time went on I found I was absorbing a ton of technical information as well as learning through my senses. It takes years of experimentation to develop wine “skills” but as I always say, the most important thing is to try to understand what you like as there is really no right or wrong answer. Back in the 1970’s there was not much of a choice of wines in a super market and certainly fewer wine merchants around. However, given all the choices in this day and age, where would you send young adults for wine? Certainly there are better choices than ‘two buck chuck’ to start with even if you are on a budget, and so many choices from around the world, California, France, Argentina, Chile, Australia and more. A more recent wine epiphany moment for me was when I got a text from our daughter who was standing in her local market looking for a reasonably priced wine to share with her friends. ‘Daddy…are there any good wines for under $10.00??’ That text put a big smile on my face and then the discussion began!
What was your wine epiphany??