Saturday, May 31, 2008

Magic in a Bottle

I think for most of us serious wine drinkers, there is that one bottle of wine that made us say "Wow! I get it!" and caused us to understand that sometimes something very magical happens to grapes. For a lot of people, this never happens, or perhaps it does, but they are not receptive to it. Others cannot perceive that the magic in the glass is worth the price and so they never try world class wines. Or they cannot comprehend that wine can be magical at all.

I've been studying (this verb makes it sound like much more work than it was and is) wine, and seriously building my flavor memory and palate for almost thirty years. And it has been a hugely rewarding process. Along the way, I have had some amazing wines such as Penfolds Grange, Chave Hermitage, many big Bordeaux, various Cortons and Chambertins, and the mind-blowing 2001 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois.

As great as these wines are or were, they will still never approach the taste memory of that first amazing bottle, the one that made me realize that sometimes magic happens. For me, that wine was a Champagne, Dom Pérignon 1982. I bought it on release in the mid-1980s for what was then—especially given my extremely limited means—an astronomical sum. I no longer remember why I bought it or where, but I do remember the almost startled look on my wife's face when she first tasted it. And I remember saying, "Now, I understand."

Until that point, all I had ever had was wine. Never before had I had magic.

Has there been magic in your life?

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