I was asked about an unforgettable glass of wine or an unforgettable bottle and how it has informed my experiences. Yes, I have had many unforgettable glasses of wine and yes, there have been incredible wines from wine makers that have been stowed away in my memories for all times. But they are all attached to certain people or places or times that could never be replicated.
Wine has always been a part of my life, but it is during the last four years that I have submersed myself in the world of wine. I went from my limited varietals and wine styles to tasting all kinds of wine. Some were harder to enjoy at first than others as I hadn’t experienced the stronger tannins or the intense acidities; my appreciation was slow to materialize. After my first distributor tasting experience I had a better understanding about how the interpretation of the grape varietal, terroir, and style differences in wine making helped determine the end product. Speaking to wine makers, picking a particular varietal to smell and taste from those present, comparing it to another varietal (typically red to red or white to white) to contrast and the sheer volume of tastes had an impact. Being a lightweight, I had to do a lot of spitting and dumping during the large tastings.
Traveling has also expanded my knowledge base and interest in wine. Realizing that American grape varieties (muscadine grapes) are more in line with fruit wines than with European grape wine as we tasted and tested the wares at Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery and Lakeridge Winery, both in Florida, increased my interest and curiosity in the industry. We had another opportunity in St Charles, Missouri when we happened into the tasting room of the Little Hills Wine Shop to experience non-European grape wines. Idaho and British Columbia have more traditional European-grape wines; when I have visited each place I have partook of the local offerings to add to my experience. Sometimes it is difficult to leave without purchasing several bottles and other times it is with an open mind that I purchase a bottle or two and hope for the best. Most of the time I am quite pleased with the results, but again, the moment was right and the memories are cherished.
We also began making fruit wine three years ago; amazing what a few batches can do to tune your palate and refine your thinking! Which is why I will spend two years in the Walla Walla Viticulture and Enology program. If my own experimenting and research has brought me this far, imagine what can happen with a bit of guidance.
I didn’t tell you which bottles or what varietal because it is the entirety of the experience rather than just the wine that is important for me.