Your epiphany wines?

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Your epiphany wines?

Postby Salil » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:26 pm

Just mentioned this in another thread when discussing how a 98 Z-H Brand Riesling was one of my eye opening experiences in getting me really hooked on Riesling, and thought it'd be fun to hear about the various wines that got people so hooked into this crazy hobby, or served as introductions/eye-openers for particular styles.

A few others on my list (though not the full list by any means)...

2004 Carl Schmitt-Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Spatlese - a $15 purchase from Howard's Wine Cellar in Chicago, that Howard Silverman guaranteed would work perfectly with the Indian dishes I was cooking that evening. He was right, and I got absolutely hooked on Mosel Riesling (and the off-dry Kabinett/Spatlese styles) from that point on.

1996 Joseph Drouhin Musigny and 2004 Truchot Clos Sorbes - two amazingly great Burgundies opened for me several weeks apart, when I knew barely anything about Burgundy... and got me absolutely hooked on those wines.

2007 Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissee - Jay Miller opened this a few years ago at a casual BYO dinner, and I was instantly hooked. Got me absolutely hooked on Chinon, and somehow old-styled, classical Bordeaux soon followed.

So - your epiphany wines?
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jim Grow » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:17 pm

Certainly one of my epiphany wines was the 1976 Ch Montalena Zinfandel. It was so smooth with complex old Bordeaux-like flavors that I was totally amazed.I never thought Zinfandel could mature into something like that. Tasted in 1990 and found in a tiny wine shop in Ft. Wayne for $10. My other epiphany wine was a 1976 also, a Riesling Schloss Johannisberg Roslack Auslese consumed around 1988-89. Brilliant brassy gold color and wonderful peach and apricot flavors framed by great acidity, a total joy to drink. My friend has a remaining bottle and I hope it is still in fine shape in his very cold cellar.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:23 pm

I have mentioned both of the wines that really got me going in this hobby previously:

1992 Arrowood Merlot (yes...Merlot)
1995 Selbach-Oster Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

There have been too many others to count.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jay Labrador » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:08 pm

Red - Pichon Lalande 1985
White - Dr. Thanisch Berncasteller Doctor Kabinett 1985
Bubbly - Dom Perignon. I don't remember the vintage but it must have been early to mid 80s.
Sweet - La Tour Blanche 1988
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:09 pm

No specific bottles stand out, but my introduction to German riesling was with the release of the 2001 vintage. I was amazed and joyous to see that wines could taste like that!

I had just been getting more serious about wine for the past year or so, and the only white wines that I had 'explored' in any depth were all the various Loire whites and a smattering of white Burgundies. To see the completely different paradigm of the off-dry regal razor German wines was amazing. I would go to the regular Dee Vine Wines tastings and spend a few hours drinking a wide range of thrilling wines was more than exciting.

Of course without perspective I had no way of knowing how special that vintage was!
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:24 pm

I don't celebrate Epiphany.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Brian Gilp » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:14 pm

In roughly the order in which they happened.

A Puligny-Montrachet that I would have to look back up from my notes. Dr. Vine told me to come to the wine appreciation class that week to taste the Corton Charlie but it what the Puligny that really impressed me. The first and still only wine that had waves of flavor where it really changed drastically during a single taste.

1986 Ridge Paso Robles Zin. Did not understand that Zin could have that flavor profile before that bottle.

1991 Leroy Musigny. At a pre-auction tasting. I knew nothing about Burgundy at that time. Did not know anything could smell like that.

1955 Leroy Volnay. At the same pre-auction tasting. Did not know anything could have that texture. Amazing to me now that it was a village wine and almost 40 years old and just singing.

1995 Ravenswood Monte Rosso Zin. What I thought was the perfect zin for a long time.

Cloudy Bay SB. Vintage unkonwn. Who would have thought that Jalapeno could be a good flavor in a white wine?

Martinelli Reserve PN. I believe it was the 1997 vintage. Who would have thought that Ham could be a good flavor in a PN?

1999 Togni Cab. I did not know that you could find Cal Cab that smelled this good.

1995 Ridge Geyserville. Most amazing combination of leather bound books and red fruit. Taught me what the best Zin based wines can evolve into.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Brian Gilp » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:17 pm

Jay Labrador wrote:Sweet - La Tour Blanche 1988

I had two 375s of this. The first I drank rather young and I was lacking experience and I was underwhelmed. I saved the second for many, many years only to have it be oxidized when I finally was ready to try it again. I always felt I missed out on something here and you just confirmed it.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Paul Winalski » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:52 pm

1980 Chateau Rieussec taught me just how good Sauternes can be.

1920 Blandy's Bual taught me how great vintage Madiera can be.

1929 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild let me understand for the first time why wine connoisseurs go ga-ga over old Bordeaux.

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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jon Peterson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:06 pm

1984 Estancia California Cab ~$4/bottle at the time.
(It helped that the shop owner pulled it off the shelf and we went in the back room and drank it!)
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:43 pm

So many great wines! Even some very recent ones, I am still having epiphanies!

1999 Cafaro Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon. Just a fantastic Napa Cab!

2001 Smith Haut Laffite. After an afternoon of wine tasting at semi-mediocre Napa wineries, my brother says to me "this is what cabernet is supposed to taste like).

1999 L'Evangile Pomerol. Wow. Just wow!

Domaine Les Roches (Lenoir) Chinon. May be my favorite Cabernet Franc in the world! Vintage after vintage. Stunningly rich, yet amazingly fresh and varietally correct.

http://selectionmassale.com/2011/02/dom ... ome-lenoir


But even more than individual wines, I would like to reference importers and retailers as consistent sources of multiple epiphanies. Kermit Lynch. Back Room Wines in Napa. Terroir in SF, Neal Rosenthal, Oliver McCrum, Vintages Berkeley.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Patrick Martin » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:46 pm

A 1975 Lascombes and a 1982 Giscours opened to celebrate my college graduation. Old Bordeaux spoke to me immediately.

Around the same time, a British friend opened for his 21st birthday an 30 year old vintage port laid down at his birth by his parents. Have no idea what vintage or port house, but it was like nothing I'd ever tried.

Later in life, a 1996 Selbach-Oster Z.S. Spatlese got me hooked on Riesling.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Noel Ermitano » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:21 pm

I grew up having wine because of my father; hence, I have no "epiphany wine(s)" that got me to start buying. When I got married and moved out of my dad's house in January 1992, I had to start buying my own since no longer had my father's stash to rely on.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Mark S » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:22 am

Okay, let's play. A 1984 DRC Echezeaux: probably the first Burgundy that had what pinot noir should aspire to. A Beaucastel blanc old vines rousanne from 1990 maybe(?) that blew the pants off any white I've had. Chave 1984: should how a great producer can make good wine in an off vintage. A 1986 Coulee de Serrant: showed the beauty of older chenin blanc. Some older Musars from the early 1980's. A 1983 Jasmin Cote Rotie: pure silk. Only tastings(!) of Grange Hermitage from 1981 and 82, made me wish good wine was a lot cheaper to buy bottles of! An off-year Mersault from a producer that isn't around now and I cannot remember the name of, it was about 15 years old at the time and changed almost minute-to-minute. 1985 Lynch Bages: sorry for not having a case of this, every bottle was realiably delicious.
That's a good start I think.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:49 pm

I've had lots of more distinguished bottles later on, but speaking only of the early days of my wine appreciation career, these stand out in memory. I've tried to p[ick just one of a given type.

1979 Sassiaca - a WTF moment when I tasted this young. Back when these wines still had a sense of region, yet this was also international and very, very good. Later tasting the 1985 sealed that deal - magnificent wines (most recently opened a 1988 last weekend - zowie).

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.

1970 Ch. Latour - this vintage has fallen a bit out of favour these days with the sweet modern available vintages from 1990 on, but I am, and have always been a fan of classic claret and this was one of the first really 'Holy Crap!' wines from Bordeaux, for me. It is still in fine shape despite rumours to the contrary and I have one magnum left that I am trying to resolve myself to drink. But once it's gone.....there goes a wine archetype I'll probably never experience again.

1967 Ch. d'Yquem - best Sauternes I had ever (and may ever) tasted. A symphony in honey, spiced vanilla and Earl Grey tea that made me an admirer, although not a buyer of this wine for life. The 1983 tasted at the same time was divine as well, but too young.

1968 Heitz Martha's Vineyard - this minty paragon made me realize that a very small percentage of American cabernets could develop into something really outstanding over many years. Sadly, not too long after making that discovery, the American producers switched to making Parkerized fruity, often early drinking wines that relied on impact rather than complexity, that I didn't particularly like.

Enough for now. I'll think about what other wines set me off in a given drection.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby David Lole » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:39 pm

Way back in 1983, I tried a 1976 Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon that blew my socks off. Other Aussie classics followed - including still wonderfully fresh and riveting riesling's from Leo Buring (made in the sixties by the great John Vickery), Lindemans stunning and rare 1976 Limestone Ridge Cabernet as well as their incredible 1970 Classic Release semillons from the Hunter Valley.

Following the initial barrage from the locals, a Henri Jayer 1985 Cros Parantoux, soon followed by some of the great 1978's from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti kicked off the burgundy and European bug. The 1985 Jean Gros Richebourg was also another "total" epiphanic experience.

A Leflaive Grand cru (1981 Batard, IIRC) was another wine that took my white burgundy drinking experience to another 'sphere'.

The 1973 and 1975 Bollinger RD's were both major formative figures in my early Champagne drinking.

A 1978 Jaboulet La Chapelle was ridiculously good, even if it was in its middle teens and with so much 'heady' structure to resolve.

For red Bordeaux, my first mind-boggling meeting was with the creamy silk cassis of a relatively young 1982 Pichon Lalande.

The 1975 Ch. d'Yquem is without a doubt the most thrilling bottle of sweet nectar that has passed my lips (I have tried the 1967 but I don't think it was as well kept).

And the great German sweet riesling's from 1971, 1975, 1976 & 1983 ..... from the likes of Fritz Haag, J.J. and S.A. Prum, Muller and Zilliken have had lasting impressions right to present day.

And then came Alsace Riesling .... Trimbach .... the 1989's .... CFE & CFE VT ...... Clos St. Hune SDGN ..... followed immediately by Trimbach's amazing 1990's including my first hit out with Zind-Humbrecht's extraordinary VT's made from Riesling and Gewurtztraminer.

And that will do from me - I have indeed been so blessed to get to try just a few of the world's great wine's.
Last edited by David Lole on Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Ryan M » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:36 am

The 1981 Louis Martini La Loma Napa Cab was the first mature wine I had, and showed me just how lovely mature wines could be, how much I love mature wines, and how much I love mature bordeaux-type wines in particular. This has pretty much summarized my feelings on mature wines ever since.

The 2001 Myrat Sauternes was the first outstanding Sauternes I had, made me fall madly in love with Sauternes, and that has been the case ever since.

And the 1928 Coutet Barsac showed me the glory of a truly old wine - an experience I only hope I am lucky enough to have a few more times in this life.

I certainly have had many other "benchmark" wines since, but those three are responsible for planting the seeds of my core perspective as a wine lover.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Howie Hart » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:55 am

1967 Lafite, 1975 Bernkasterel Doktor Beerenauslese and several 1990 vintage Champagnes - all tasted at MOCOOL a few years ago. My home wine making epiphany wine was 1982 late harvest Delaware.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby ChaimShraga » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:16 am

Cheval Blanc, 1986 - Not my first great Bordeaux, but the first one that made me realize how effortlessly those clarets achieve greatness.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Brian Gilp » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:30 pm

Howie Hart wrote:My home wine making epiphany wine was 1982 late harvest Delaware.

I find every home wine I make an epiphany of sorts. Just not all of them are the good kind.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jim Cassidy » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:44 pm

In about 1976-77, I was the only enlisted man at a dinner while on the road with some US and Latin American officers. A US Navy Lt. Commander, though outranked by most of the rest of the group, ordered medium rare steak and what I recall as an Underagga Pinot, from the early '70s, for the entire table of more than a dozen. It was a great pairing, in addition to being the first time I ever drank a wine after sipping it. Until then, finding a way to lose the glass was my usual reaction to being handed one.

Ridge Lytton Springs, in the early '80s, on the advice of a UDABC clerk who described it as sex in a bottle.

1988 Chateau La Tour Blanche with fresh peaches and ginger snaps or gingerbread... It was like Led Zeppelin on 78... I saw the FSM... And kept 4 bottles of it way too long. :cry:

Somewhere along the line, I ran into tawny port. I like it in all but the worst manifestations I've found, and keep a bottle of Hardy's Whisker's Blake in the fridge.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Ryan M » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:42 pm

Jim Cassidy wrote:1988 Chateau La Tour Blanche with fresh peaches and ginger snaps or gingerbread... It was like Led Zeppelin on 78... I saw the FSM... And kept 4 bottles of it way too long. :cry:


Past it, really? The '88 Sauternes should be in great shape even now. Is mature Sauternes not your preference Jim?
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jim Cassidy » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:36 pm

Ryan said:

Past it, really?


Yeah, these are gone. Can't vouch for their storage conditions before I got them.
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Re: Your epiphany wines?

Postby Jon Leifer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:08 pm

Ah, whiskers Blake..remember it fondly..My epiphany wines were 1955 and 59 lafitte, presents for high school and college graduations.. By the time I got my Masters, I was on my own, Leoville Las Cases 1982..1989 Haut Brion and La Conseillante..these wines were my my Bordeaux Epiphany ..and finale..1990 was the vitnage I bought re Bordeaux..

a Leflaive Batard Montrachet that my assistant gave me as a wedding pesent. Latour Corton Charlie..these opened my eyes to White Burgundy
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro a zillion years ago when I was still single, opened my eyes to Italian reds and chianti in particular..1985 Monsanto Il Poggio sealed the deal for me re Chianti

1988 Mondavi res Pinot Noir and 2001 Loring Garys and Clos Pepe were my Cal Pinot epiphany wines
Ridge Lytton Springs and Geyserville started a life long love affair with zin that continues to this day
Donnhoff opened my eyes to Reislings and remains my favorite
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