Your epiphany wines?

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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Mark Lipton » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:11 am

I've mentioned these before on wine boards, too:

1974 Concannon Sauvignon Blanc - opened my eyes to how tasty and food-friendly good wine could be
1978 Dehlinger ZInfandel - made clear to me what complexity in wine was all about
1978 Ch. de la Gardine Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Do you mean that there are good wines made outside of California????
1978 Chateau Montelena Estate CS - A monumental wine that I had the good fortune to taste over several decades
1982 Ch. Meyney - When I finally "got" Bordeaux
1985 René Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses - My Chardonnay epiphany
1988 Dujac Clos de la Roche - My Burgundy epiphany
1986 Verset Cornas - A signature Syrah experience, even at age 20
1945 Huet Le Mont Moelleux - History, personality and wine all commingled into a truly memorable experience
1990 Ridge Geyserville - a memorable Geyserville that forever cemented my love affair with Ridge

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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:49 pm

The 1982 Ch. Gloria ca. 1991 was my epiphany wine, I had liked lots of wines before, that started me towards geekdom.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby JC (NC) » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:50 pm

Unfortunately, I wasn't keeping notes on the vintage with some of my earlier wine epiphanies and sometimes didn't even make note of the producer. This was the case with a MONTRACHET that I tried in a wine appreciation class at the University of Maryland in the late 70's. I could see why this vineyard lays claim to being the greatest white wine vineyard in the world. One of my red wine epiphanies was RIDGE LYTTON SPRINGS when I lived in California in the 80's. A small taste of a 1999 GERARD RAPHET CLOS DE BEZE at an event in Raleigh was an impactful introduction to a Grand Cru red Burgundy. Living in Germany I had some great Eisweins and some 1976 Rieslings. Two vineyards that stayed in my memory are ERBACHER MARCOBRUNN from Rheingau and a MUSSBACHER ESELSHAUT from the Pfalz, though the wines I purchased most frequently were from the Mosel or Saar tributary. I had some wonderful Dr. FISCHER OCKFENER BOCKSTEIN Rieslings in the 80's or early 90's. A 1996 DAUVISSAT GRAND CRU LES PREUSES was an epiphany for Chablis and a 1995 MUGA PRADO ENEA GRAN RESERVA was an epiphany for Rioja. An IRVINE GRAND MERLOT from Australia was an epiphany for both Australian wines and Merlot as a variety. I also gravitate to tawny Port including Niepoort and Cockburn and was impressed (if not a real ephiphany) with Penfolds Grandfather Fine Old Tawny Port.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jeff B » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:29 am

I've yet to try that one wine that just completely blows me away - that 99 pointer of a wine. But I've had several that has fueled a deeper love and fascination for wine...

Beringer 1996 Knights Valley - I can still remember how lush and heavy the wine was and how the tannins completely surrounded my mouth. I loved it. And it opened my eyes to a world of luscious, full-bodied reds. Since then, I've tried to get into lighter, perhaps more balanced, reds. But my tastes always gravitate back to this style.

1990 Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne - This bubbly made me realize just how delicious and smooth real champagne can be. Prior to this, I had only tried NV bottlings, and while they were good, it was this bottle that got me hooked on the magic of "the good stuff".

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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Tim York » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:19 am

I thought that I had already posted here, but I don't see it. It was probably somewhere else. So here goes -

- Chambertin Cuvée Héritiers Latour 1947 in the early 60s. A revelation of the greatness of Burgundy.
- Various Médoc "super seconds" from 1953 in the early/mid 60s for their superb freshness and elegance.
- Various Riojas "discovered" on business trips to Spain in 70s. Imperial, Riscal, Murrieta...
- Château Latour 1945 in the mid/late 80s; my finest Bordeaux ever
- La Tâche 1962 at a similar time; my finest Burg ever
- Vouvray Le Mont or Le Haut Lieu moelleux 1947 at a millenium tasting
- Château Ausone 1959 at the same tasting; my finest right bank Bordeaux ever
- A Dönnhoff eiswein 1998 poured by Helmut Dönnhoff at a tasting c.2002
- Chevalier-Montrachet 1985 Domaine Leflaive at an offline dinner c.2002
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:39 am

Bill wrote......1971 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher Marcobrunner Riesling Auslese - another epiphany and the start of my conviction that the grape that makes the greatest white wine on the planet is Riesling, not Chardonnay.

Schloss Schonborn late 70s me too! Also Monte Real, could usually find halves when living in London.
Memories of the 1985 Lytton Springs Zinfandel still talked about.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Tom NJ » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:26 am

My epiphany wine was a white zin (Beringer? Sutter Home? Fetzer?) NV.

My wife's was the same as Dale Williams': a Chateau Gloria. But hers was a '76.

My wife and I both race motorcycles, and we met in a racing forum. After a year or so of chatting she invited me to fly out and race in an event being put on by her club. I could use one of her spare bikes. So I did.

She met me at the airport hauling a trailer with two racing motorcycles so we could go right out to the practice area. We race dirt bikes, and her club had use of a giant abandoned quarry in which to play and hold events. As we were driving there she said, "I remember you said you like wine, so I picked up a bottle of my favorite and some cheese. We can have a picnic!"

Okey dokey.

We rode for a couple of hours before going back to the car where she grabbed a cooler. She strapped it to her bike and rode out to a clearing, where we spread a blanket. Out of the cooler came a box of Ritz crackers, a brick of factory extruded "Swiss" cheese, and...that bottle of white zin.

"This is my favorite wine" she chirped. "It's like Miller Lite, but sweet!"

It sure was.

And it was the. best. wine. I. ever. had.

I mean: sweaty, muddy redhead...motorcycles...abandoned quarry....picnic under an endless blue midwestern sky. It was the stuff of dreams. Who cared what the wine tasted like? After that picnic we went from friendship to courtship.

That was my epiphany: wine didn't have to be great to be enjoyed. If I'd been a snob, I'd probably still be single.

Her epiphany: later that year she flew out to NJ for our first official "date". After a day in NYC I cooked a suitable "impress the chick" dinner back at the ol' bachelor pad, and decanted a '76 Gloria (this was in '97).

She looked at it suspiciously. "I don't like red wine. It's bitter."

"Just taste it."

Two years later we were married. We served Gloria at our reception (with flown in KC barbeque, woo hoo!).

The downside to all this was, of course, the fact that I ruined a good thing. Wifey is no longer a cheap date. Unlike me, she IS a snob now that she knows better. We haven't been able to afford the likes of Gloria in a while because of circumstances, and the Avia single or Concha y Toro "Frontera" magnum we're able to save up for once a month or so she drinks through gritted teeth. Can't keep 'em down on the farm once they've tasted Pa-ree, I guess....
"He ordered as one to the Menu born...."
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:31 pm

Tom,
Your tale rings some bells for me. When I started going out with my future wife, her favorite wine was Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. I'd lugged a case of wine from CA to NYC with me when I started grad school, so as our relationship blossomed I started opening aged Zins and Cabs from my case (I had another case stashed at my mother's in CA, so I wasn't at all troubled to dig into my NYC stash) and her tastes began to change. The '78 Chateau Montelena Estate Cab (opened in '87) became her new favorite; when we relocated to Berkeley, I took her to the Chez Panisse Café where she fell in love with Pinot Noir. Now, 25 years later, she prefers aged Burgundy -- talk about a money sink! :roll:

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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Tom NJ » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:17 pm

We'd do it all again though, right Mark? Some things are just worth the price :D
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:02 pm

Tom NJ wrote:We'd do it all again though, right Mark? Some things are just worth the price :D


Tom, LOVE your story. So much so I just read it to my husband, who is also a romantic.


My epiphany wine was a Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet. The year was 1986 and we were on our honeymoon, and when we checked into our charming little boutique hotel we were handed a message from the Paris branch of one of Bob's clients, congratulating us on our marriage and inviting us to dine alone that night at restaurant Laurent "bill paid". Laurent is the kind of place where the woman's menu is unpriced, and to anyone who expresses an interest they soak the label off the bottle of wine you enjoyed and hand it to you in a neat little folder at the end of the night. Framed, that label hangs in our wine cellar today. But it's only the name of the producer and vineyard--the vintage must have been on the neck or back label, and I didn't note it because back then I wouldn't have paid much (any?) attention to year anyway. I lived in California and didn't understand vintage significance much at all--we just enjoyed wine on occasion and pretty much bought day-of for those occasions. So at Laurent, we allowed the somm to choose for us; we both ordered duck with red currants and other berries, and my starter course was my first-ever foie gras (Bob told me later that my foie gras was about $80, which I'd have never ordered had I known).

All I knew about what we were drinking was two things: that it was chardonnay, and that it was the most complicated wine I'd ever had. Chardonnay as I knew it in California had three or four flavors, this one had about 100 and I struggled to keep track of them all. It was trippy, mind-blowing, that a wine could be that eloquent and complex. I was completely transported. I literally had no idea that such a wine experience was even possible, and I left Paris determined to find out what else I'd been missing. Next epiphany, perhaps a year later: a 1981 Haut Bailly fished out of a supermarket clearance cart for $4.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Tom NJ » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:38 pm

You're meal sounds pretty good I guess, but it was no cheese on a Ritz. 8)

What a great story! That was just too sweet, and what a terrific intro to our favorite vice. Shame you couldn't taste that wine again now. I bet you wouldn't need the neck lable to get the year right at this point!

ps. Your hubby's my hero.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:59 pm

Tom NJ wrote:You're meal sounds pretty good I guess, but it was no cheese on a Ritz. 8)


I once had a Penfolds Grange with In and Out Burgers on the beach--in Winter. Fancy food isn't the only way to go. :)

As for tasting the wine again now, I've relived the experience many times since. Almost any white burg can set it off, though maybe it's like a first kiss or other notable firsts, you can't quite un-know what you know so it's never quite the same again. But in fact last night we opened a 2010 Fontaine-Gagnard C-M, the first we had since that night in Paris. And followed it with an 86 Gruaud Larose. Not a bad night. :)
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Tom NJ » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:06 pm

Awwwwwwwww. Laissez les bons temps rouler!...and rouler...and rouler....and rouler....

:D
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Tom V » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:19 pm

The Gallon jug wine that my father used to drink like Gallo Hearty Burgundy and Italian Swiss Colony was my introduction to wine and therefore my original "Epiphany Wine". Drunk out of a jelly cup rather than a wine glass, it was an accompaniment to dinner and was greatly enjoyed. Once in a while I still like to drink it for the memories it conjures up.

My "fine" wine epiphany was a bottle of 1982 Beringer Knights Valley that was ordered in a restaurant at a family occasion. That wine was the cause of all my wine craziness for all these years!
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