How I Woke Up to Wine
It was late 2000. We took a visitor from San Francisco to lunch at a local restaurant. Stephen, a wine buyer, supplied several restaurants and bars in the San Francisco area. He was quite curious about the café and eager to sample their wine list.
I’d always enjoyed wine – especially Champagne and sparkling wines but had no idea why I liked what I liked.
Back to the restaurant and our wine expert: we ordered and then he asked for the wine list. He chose something French and I thought “ oh boy, here we go! He’ll talk about the aromas and flavours using all kinds of fancy wine words.” He asked for a bottle of Gevrey Chambertin. Immediately, the plain glasses from the table were removed and the fine crystal wine glasses appeared.
The wine arrived and he tasted it, pronouncing it fine to drink. We drank. Slowly, taking in oxygen and following his lead. My mouth was filled with flavours of pear, lemon and green apple, butter and vanilla. I could taste different flavours on the areas of my tongue – a completely new experience. With Stephen’s help, I started to identify buttery notes and sweet vanilla.
After that experience, I began to take note of wine reviews and bought a copy of the Wine Spectator. I started to get more information from the wine store staff and buying wines that attracted me. I wrote in a journal about my tasting experiences and glued wine labels beside my notes. At some restaurants, I would ask for the label to be soaked off the bottle. In short, I was hooked. I woke up to a world that continues to fascinate me.