Andras asked, and we answered.
When it comes to wine, what was your “Damascus Road” moment? In other words, when did you taste a wine, have it bring you to your knees, and you just knew and surrendered?
We shared our stories around the Somm tasting table the other night, but it got me to thinking about my particular “moment.”
I have, truth be told, had several. But I remember the first, the second, and the third.
The first was a bottle of Jordan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, shared by my then new friend, The Wineaux Guy™. It was so different from the alleged “wine” I’d had at the occasional event and definitely a far, far cry from the Boone’s Farm Whatever I’d been drinking from time to time.
I remember the lusciousness of the wine, the nuanced flavors, the incredible nose. Now, as I look back, I have to ask myself: Was it the wine, or was it the company? Considering where we are now after a couple of decades of friendship, I’d say it was a little of both.
My second Damascus Road moment came when I had a wine that wasn’t the garden variety “white wine” that I’d had with the occasional dinner or evening at the local hangout. I had moved to Las Vegas by this time and had gotten used to the wine that passed as something quasi-palatable with dinner. Just as with many other women, “white wine” became my go-to since it was what was available and that’s what was the beverage du jour. There were other choices, of course. “Hearty Burgundy” was the red wine that everybody drank. Which, by the way, didn’t have a drop of Burgundy.
I was at a dinner somewhere with someone and had a white wine that was rich, creamy, full of fruit, and lingered for what felt like days on my palate. I wasn’t savvy enough at the time to take notes or remember what the wine was, but I couldn’t forget it. It was delicious, and I spent literally years looking for the same feeling that I’d had with this wine.
And then I had a Chardonnay. A real one, I mean. And I immediately connected the essence of the wine with the one that I’d had before. It was a dry wine, with character, mouthfeel (although I didn’t know the word at the time), nuance, and an incredible finish. There was green apple, tropical fruits, and a creamy, luscious finish.
THAT WAS IT!!
By this time I knew enough to take note that it was a Chardonnay. I didn’t take note of that particular Chardonnay, but at least I knew what the wine was.
My next, and most important, moment came when I had a wine that had black cherries jumping into my face. Along with the black cherries, it had cranberries, smokiness, spices, herbs, and mushrooms. (Mushrooms?!?)
By this time I’d begun to figure out how wines “work” – their colors, their structure, the nuances of aromas and flavors. And then there’s the stuff that isn’t material. It’s the stuff that you can’t quite describe. It’s what makes you take a deep breath, and you realize that sometimes wine can bring the tears.
That wine was Pinot Noir. And it’s been my go-to, my passion, my love, ever since. (Photos are an example).
Another wine that I started out hating, but as I learned and appreciated more, I finally came around to loving. Kinda like that guy you meet who you think is a jerk, but you eventually see that he’s really someone special? Well for me, that was Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo and I are still developing our relationship, but I love it. It’s no longer the jerk it started out to be.
Naturally, the world of wine isn’t just this varietal or that varietal. While there are some that we all prefer, there are some that touch us on more than just a nose/palate/finish level. Unlike any other drink, it’s ethereal in ways that those of us who “get it” can’t describe.
Let’s sip some wine.