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09 June 2006

For The Love of Wine

Do you remember the bottle? The unsuspecting one that finally made you stop and think? The one that opened your eyes and asked you to consider it? Sometimes, our journey takes us to such distances that we forget where we started. I know that my bottle found me while I was working as an intern at the Wine Enthusiast magazine. Despite working for a publication that surrounded itself with great wines, I was a poor college student, so the only wine that was a routine part of my life was a box of Almaden that kept me company in my dorm room, dishing out glass after glass of white zinfandel from its tap. Then, one night, a foot injury found me bed ridden, and unable to get to class or work. My girlfriend, who worked for the catalog end of the Wine Enthusiast stopped by to tell the editor and art director that I wouldn’t be able to make it into work for the next couple of days. And unlike any other “get well” gift I have ever gotten, they sent her back to the dorms that evening with 3 bottles of wine and a little note wishing me a speedy recovery.

I don’t have a CLUE what any of those three bottles were...I can’t pretend to name any one of them to you. But I do remember vividly how they AFFECTED me. I do remember thinking that the box of Almaden was no longer everything I thought it was. And I do remember feeling a sudden sort of giddy infatuation with my new “crush.” In fact, it seems to me that if you CAN recall the actual name of the bottle that pulled you in, then perhaps you were too busy remembering the wrong things. Now, many years later, I keep small spiral-bound books of notes on each wine I taste, and I’m beginning to think that jotting down notes is not the best way to go. If I am that busy analyzing the experience, then I am no longer truly experiencing. In many ways, I am not giving my senses the opportunity to take it in and store it away.

Case in point: my family continually complains that I don’t take enough pictures of my son--not enough tangible memories for them to store away in a drawer and retrieve years from now. My retort has always been that if I am busy behind the lens of the camera, then I am not truly living in the moment and committing it to memory. Perhaps it’s much more fulfilling to sit down years later and recall the event that is frozen in your mind?!? Same thing goes for wine. Forget that you had a bottle of Sassicaia and it can now be added to your brag book. Instead, remember where you were when you took your first sip of it, who was with you, and how it made you feel. If you can’t recall how the wine made you FEEL, then remembering what it tasted like is completely inconsequential.

So again, I’ll you remember the bottle? The unsuspecting one that finally made you stop and think? The one that opened your eyes and asked you to consider it?


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You have a son? Who knew?

I don't remember the bottle, but I suspect it was a French wine from the Minervois region. Whether it was a red or a rosé, I'm not sure.

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