Last night I attended a meeting of the Association for Women in Communications. During the cocktail reception I talked about my passion for wine. Sitting next to me was a vivacious brunette who reminisced about the first time she tasted a really fine wine. She didn’t remember what she drank, but she said that glass completely changed the way she thought about wine. I told her I had the same experience.
The first time I tasted a wine that shattered all my expectations I was sitting in the antiques-laden livingroom of my inlaw’s Montclair home. My father-in-law, who always struck me as having walked off the set of a Fred Astaire film, entered the room carrying a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape. I don’t know the vintage or the producer—didn’t pay much attention to that back then. The wine was presented to me and my husband as being something very special. I sipped the dark wine and let it sit in my mouth, where the liveliest things began to happen. I was awe-struck by the dimensions of flavor I was tasting. First fruit. Then leather, then something earthy, was there a smokiness there? There was so much going on in my mouth I was awestruck. And that was it. The genie was out of the bottle. I knew. I knew what I had been missing, what all the fuss was about, why certain wines command hundreds or even thousands of dollars. My ideas and expectations for wine were never the same.