1978 Ernest and Julio Gallo Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Story was that this was a private bottling for family consumption only. (Which may explain why I can't seem to find any info on this particular wine.) Supposably 6 cases were shipped into our province for a friend of the Gallo family but somehow ended up in the hands of the local pirates/monopoly instead.
All 3 of my bottles were sublime and sent me on a remarkable mission of discovery I've never regretted.
1999 Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard cab... drank with my dad and grandpa at a nice dinner shortly after graduating college. First wine that ever knocked my socks off, and made me realize that good wine with loved ones is a true experience to enjoy (not just another beverage you can suck down to get drunk... remember, shortly after college...)
2000 Rust en Vrede Estate (Cab, Shiraz, Merlot blend)
New Year's Eve wine with the then girlfriend at Morton's. Her doctor had prescribed her a glass of red wine a day for blood pressure, but we usually had sub $10 bottles, picked according to the dog on the label wherever we happened to be.
I vaguely remember the conversation at Morton's over the wine list going something like, "I didn't know they made wine in Africa. Which one should we get? My parents have a dog named Rusty, let's try this one."
I remember thinking as I drank that wine, "Wow! Now I kind of see why people like this stuff so much!" I also remember reading the blend and saying something about how I never knew you could blend different grapes together like that.
A month later I had to get a few cases for my parents' surprise anniversary party and had to do some research, and within the year I was really hooked. Now, a few bottles later, here I am!
That's, RedLoverJim to you
One of my all time classic wines. I have two bottles left, and am hoarding them.
My fiance's dad has/had a case of this. Down to three bottles left plus 2 magnums. He jokes that he will pop the magnums at our wedding, we'll see about that lol.
This is largely a repeat of a previous post. My first "moment" was when I answered a knock on the door at my parent’s house. I was around 19-20 years old and it was the mid-‘80s, and this European wine importer called Emissary was actually selling wine door-to-door.
For $15, I got to try six 375ml bottles in the comfort of my parent’s dining room and decide if I wanted to order any more of any of them. My parents were even cool with this! It was through this that I came to love German Rieslings. I wasn’t much into reds at the time, but one that I strongly recall as opening my eyes was a Hungarian red – 1984 Ersekhalom-Bischofsberger Spätburgunder, Red Ausbruch Grape Wine. I saved the label, but I’ve never been able to learn anything about this wine or the producer. But it was very spicy and got me excited about the variety of flavors that you could get from wine.
Sadly, I didn’t have the disposable income at the time to really explore much or to look for higher quality wines. But it simmered in the background until it finally flared up for me about 10 years ago. It's been a series of "ah-ha" moments since then.
My "ah-" moment was a Shafer Hillside Select when I was about 20, which, unfortunately also gave me the impression that great wine was beyond my budget. The "hah" moment was a decade later when a friend introduced me to an excellent dirt cheap Chilean Merlot. With a little guidance I was off and running, reading and tasting. (The next vintage of that wine sucked monkey balls, but I was into exploring at that point, not buying multiple bottles, so more an amusing little lesson than anything.)
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