What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

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J Sullivan
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#1 Post by J Sullivan » May 20th, 2016, 11:38 pm

I always find it interesting to meet people who are really into wine and hear how they were first exposed to this wonderful hobby. So many great stories of eye-opening bottles, parents who imparted their passion onto their children, etc.

I'd be curious to hear about who has had the greatest impact on your personal wine journey. Was it an old-school critic like JR, MB, or RP? Magazines such as Spectator, Decanter, or Noble Rot? A fellow Berserker or wine aficionado? Perhaps even a specific winemaker? Whether it was GaryV, Galloni, or signore Klapp, it'd be interesting to hear who had the most profound impact on your personal wine journey and why. Cheers!
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#2 Post by Bdklein » May 21st, 2016, 2:23 am

Paul Masson and Orson Welles. They would sell no wine before its time.
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Soren R Nielsen
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#3 Post by Soren R Nielsen » May 21st, 2016, 2:44 am

In 1981 (just turned 16 years), Christmas family dinner. Before this, I didn't like wine at all ("sour taste, and low alcohol, -No thanks"! ).

My father had a small box of wines, 6-8 bts. from My grand parents. Bottles were saved "for a special event".
Some NV Champagnes, a port, and two 1959 red wines. Upright in box, City apartment, no temp. control, many years like this !

We opened the burg, and the Bordeaux, both 1959 and unknown, believing they were ruined, but they were both great wines. As I remember, they were light, not bitter, brick colored, and very easy to swallow with the traditional roasted duck. A new dimension of flavors, paired with food, opened up for Me..
I had to start My own collection.

In the mid 90's, I was a fan of RP, I loved to read the juicy TNs, and then buying the same wines, for My cellar. Great advices, that I appreciate a lot today.

Regards, Soren.

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#4 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » May 21st, 2016, 3:30 am

My Dad, who exposed me to wine and a very civilized existence. We still drink together quite regularly. We are uniquely different people, but wine is a shared passion.

Robert Parker, for starting my education into French wines. Yea, I broke up with him in 1999, but still have to give him credit.

And then my very close friends with whom I have shared this passion for many years. I started my career with 4 other young lawyers in a large firm, and together we started wine tastings and a wine club, which ran for years. I still break bread with some of these gents. My current group of wine friends are also my cycling buddies, and my very best friends, of 15+ years. Sharing wines, meals, cycling and seamless conversation on so many vast subjects - some of which is entirely puerile - is what brings it all together.

Gotta give this Board some credit too. Have made some wonderful friends here. And learned many things and been exposed to wines that I had never heard of before. We have a great community here.

"Alfert was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#5 Post by Jason T » May 21st, 2016, 5:09 am

Really, this board, and the people who are a part of it. I'd been into wine for a couple years, and had read whatever I could find on the subject.

But most of my reading is done online and I was finding less and less value in the Spectator. Decanter didn't do much for me either. So I googled "wine forums" and stumbled across this place.

That was in May 2014 and it's been really fascinating to look back on these last couple of years and see my evolution. I was smitten by Berserkers quite early, and decided to start at the very beginning of the forum and work my way forward through every topic that struck my fancy. That took about six months.

Thanks to this board, its members, the discussions, and the reviews, my understanding of the wine world expanded from "US wine is Napa and Sonoma, and oh yeah Oregon does some Pinot too", to gaining an appreciation for other areas of California such as The SCM and Anderson Valley, and really understanding the differences in that can occur with the same grape across all of these regions.

This board has also helped me discover my love of old school, classically structured Napa Cab, low/unoaked Chardonnay, reds and whites from the Loire, left bank Bordeaux, and German Riesling (not necessarily in that order).

I feel like I've gained 20 years of wine education in just 2. Can't imagine what the next 2 hold, much less the next 20!!!
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#6 Post by Corey N. » May 21st, 2016, 5:45 am

Señor Orlando. He taught me to embrace the green.
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#7 Post by Henry Kiichli » May 21st, 2016, 5:51 am

waaaaay back when, I had



Wines and spirits, (Foods of the world) Hardcover – 1968
by Alec Waugh

Helped open up the world and kindle the fire.
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#8 Post by Dennis Kanagie » May 21st, 2016, 6:01 am

The person who kicked my interest in wine up several notches from the "I'll have a glass if there's no decent beer on tap" level to the "I need to commit to a cellar in the basement" level was a friend who's a Master Sommelier. If not for him, I'd probably not be neck deep in this hobby. Specifically, a 1996 JC Pichot Les Larmes de Bacchus years ago and more recently a 1993 Ponsot Clos de la Roche - both from Bern's - were the bottles that hurt my wallet the most.

As far as members on this board, both Craig G and Robert Alftert made me dip my tow back in the Bordeaux pool, which would have been a region I simply avoided otherwise. Gotta give a shout out to Mike Pobega for some very nice California Cab recommendations, and thanks to Alan and Chris for their suggestions / trades of American Pinot during the "Pick a Buddy" swaps.
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#9 Post by Eric Ifune » May 21st, 2016, 8:41 am

Alexis Lichine.
I picked up the wine interest from my father. Back then, in the early 1970's, there wasn't a lot out there about wine. I had a copy of his encyclopedia and read his descriptions. The wine world back then was only Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and Cabernet in California. Because of his book, I started branching out into Italy, Rhone, Alsace, and Germany. And the wines were ridiculously cheap back then. I currently have an aged, very eclectic wine cellar as a result.

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#10 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » May 21st, 2016, 8:43 am

Corey N. wrote:Señor Orlando. He taught me to embrace the green.
Admit it, it was the big hug i gave u when we first met!

"Alfert was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#11 Post by Steve Brickley » May 21st, 2016, 9:05 am

I'm going to second the idea that Berserkers has had a large impact. As for a winery, I'd say Draper and the gang at Ridge which goes back to the 70's for me.
Steve

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#12 Post by Michael S. Monie » May 21st, 2016, 9:07 am

Without a doubt it was Robert Parker.
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#13 Post by Jerry Hey » May 21st, 2016, 9:07 am

When I first started working in the studios in LA, the best sessions were always with jingle composer Don Piestrup. Not only is he an incredible writer and a great guy, but he had a wine cellar of 8,000 bottles of first rate wines. For each session he would bring at least a case of assorted wines to try. A ten o'clock hour jingle session with LA's finest musicians, then an eleven o'clock wine tasting and that happened a few times a week for several years. Wines that were poured ranged from premier and grand cru white and red Burgundies to 60's and 70's Californias to 1945 Taylor vintage port. This was a master class of both wine education and music education second to none.

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#14 Post by alan weinberg » May 21st, 2016, 10:08 am

Steve Zanotti--of Wine Exchange. On Thursday afternoons for years, occasional other days also, I would sit in the back office with him and Kyle, later also Tristen, and taste, taste, taste, as he educated me. In return, I would proofread the then hand-written Wine Ex newsletter, as his wine abilities were inversely related to his spelling capabilities. He was brilliant at palate memory, merciless at dissecting a wine, and outstanding at characterizing or describing a wine, an incredibly gifted taster, the best I have seen. He became a friend, I spent a lot of money, I had access to amazing wines, and an amazing education. This went on for years, beginning more than two decades ago.

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#15 Post by Thomas Keim » May 21st, 2016, 10:11 am

alan weinberg wrote:Steve Zanotti--of Wine Exchange. On Thursday afternoons for years, occasional other days also, I would sit in the back office with him and Kyle, later also Tristen, and taste, taste, taste, as he educated me. In return, I would proofread the then hand-written Wine Ex newsletter, as his wine abilities were inversely related to his spelling capabilities. He was brilliant at palate memory, merciless at dissecting and characterizing the wine, an incredibly gifted taster. He became a friend, I spent a lot of money, I had access to amazing wines, and an amazing education. This went on for years, beginning more than two decades ago.
I've been calling on retailers in just about every major market in the country over the last 25+ years; Zanotti and Kyle Meyer were by far the best retailers I ever called on. I will never forget the old trashcan they used to have in the middle of their office, and those two could hit it with a trajectile spit from anywhere in the room. It was like watching two great gunslingers -
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#16 Post by Scott Wi3gand » May 21st, 2016, 10:15 am

I had several initiations into this world of wine. In 1998, when I was 16, I went to France on a school trip and we got wine with dinner every night. Most of the wine was tough for me to drink at the time but did because I loved the idea of class sanctioned drinking. But at dinner one night in Paris, we were at a fine restaurant (some place with a duck in the name) and the table wine was much more enjoyable than the other stuff we'd had to that point. Later, our French teacher arranged for each table to share a bottle of "fine Bordeaux" (likely a decent second or third growth, maybe cheaper since we really didn't know any different). This wine was an eye opener for sure. In comparison this bottle made the other wine seem lifeless and dull. I credit my French teacher with introducing me to wine for enjoyment (rather than just drunkenness).

As years wore on, I had terrible luck chasing the red (wine) dragon. I couldn't understand why wine sucked so much. Now I realize I just hadn't been looking in the right places. Plus I was a poor student and wasn't willing to shell out a bunch of money for something that I wasn't sure about to find something that had been mostly I enjoyable. This began my journey into craft and foreign beer. I could justify dropping a few bucks on beer to explore new styles but shelling out more than $10 on a bottle of wine that I knew next to nothing about was terrifying for a 20 something student on a budget. Somewhere in my early 20s though, I met Chef Kevin why reintroduced me to wine. Chef Kevin explained to me the usual course of wine exploration. You will likely start out liking sweet whites and progress to dry whites and lighter or sweeter reds and then eventually appreciate the dry reds. He was absolutely correct and I had been jumping the gun a bit by trying to find a red that was like the Bordeaux I had that I loved. At that pint I tried to focus on finding whites I liked and to progress my way though the palate development stages.

Over the next couple years, my then fiancé and I tasted our way though many styles of wine until we started to favor bold dry reds. A few years later in 2005 or so at a party at Chef Kevin's house, my wife and I and Kevin were the last ones at the party and Kevin pulled out a Napa Cab from his cellar and we tasted another eye opening wine that rivaled the Bordeaux I had years earlier. Now I knew those wines were out there and now I had a rough idea about how to find them. The next 10 years have been about how to find what else I like and how to get ahold of them without selling the farm so to speak.

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#17 Post by Thomas Keim » May 21st, 2016, 10:16 am

HUGH JOHNSON - Because his Encyclopedia of Wine was my first wine book, and I still find myself quoting from it 40 years later.

ROBERT PARKER - Because he turned me on to so many small importers in the 1980s, and his monthly newsletter made me look a hell of a lot smarter that I really was.

JIM PEDRONCELLI - Sales manager for his family winery for 60 years this year, he was always my favorite visit in California. So humble, yet so dedicated, when I was young and would just pop in on him at the winery, he always remembered my name and would take time out no matter what he was doing to answer my stupid questions. And it's been fun to watch his family business grow over the years into what it is today - the greatest values in California.

WALTER BOLL: The late German importer based in Chicago was my first 'mentor'. He turned me on to so many great German estates over the years - and really developed my love of the 'Petite' Chateaux of Bordeaux -
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#18 Post by alan weinberg » May 21st, 2016, 10:17 am

Thomas Keim wrote:
alan weinberg wrote:Steve Zanotti--of Wine Exchange. On Thursday afternoons for years, occasional other days also, I would sit in the back office with him and Kyle, later also Tristen, and taste, taste, taste, as he educated me. In return, I would proofread the then hand-written Wine Ex newsletter, as his wine abilities were inversely related to his spelling capabilities. He was brilliant at palate memory, merciless at dissecting and characterizing the wine, an incredibly gifted taster. He became a friend, I spent a lot of money, I had access to amazing wines, and an amazing education. This went on for years, beginning more than two decades ago.
I've been calling on retailers in just about every major market in the country over the last 25+ years; Zanotti and Kyle Meyer were by far the best retailers I ever called on. I will never forget the old trashcan they used to have in the middle of their office, and those two could hit it with a trajectile spit from anywhere in the room. It was like watching two great gunslingers -
yeah, I once accidentally almost stepped in that thing and knocked it over. I often emptied the disgusting 5 gallon container--God only knew what lurked in there.

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#19 Post by Matthew King » May 21st, 2016, 10:19 am

Which wine figure has had the biggest impact?

The aggregate total of how much I spend on wine each year! Yikes! :o

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#20 Post by Markus S » May 21st, 2016, 11:10 am

Bdklein wrote:Paul Masson and Orson Welles. They would sell no wine before its time.
Dang, I was going to mention Welles! He got me thinking that, hey, this could be an EZ, high-ballin' life drinking wine! champagne.gif
$ _ € ® e . k @

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#21 Post by Ken Zinns » May 21st, 2016, 11:11 am

Two people have had the biggest impact on me, though it's likely that few people here have heard of either of them.

Denis Kelly taught wine appreciation courses at UC Berkeley Extension, and I took about a half-dozen of them starting with "Wines of Europe and America" in 1991. Those courses really opened my eyes to the world of wine beyond the relatively few I'd tasted with friends in Napa and Sonoma up until then. Denis is actually best-known as an author of books about meats and sausages.

Tom Leaf introduced me to winemaking in 2001, when I volunteered to help at his winery, Grapeleaf Cellars, in Berkeley. I gradually became more involved with that and when the Grapeleaf label folded in the mid-2000s I stayed on to work with the two producers who were in the same facility, Eno Wines (still there in Berkeley) and Harrington Wines (moved to San Francisco in 2008). Although I've learned much about winemaking in the years since, I picked up many of the essentials working with Tom. He's continued to work as a winemaker for several producers in the urban Bay Area.

My parents and other family members rarely drank wine. I've learned a good deal from writers in various wine magazines and books though wine critics have had pretty much zero impact on me. In terms of the internet, West Coast Wine Net had the biggest impact in terms of meeting wine people - both within the wine business and outside of it - with whom I'm still friends.
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#22 Post by Pete Marsh » May 21st, 2016, 11:42 am

Peter Buffo - my grandfather and home winemaker who let me make wine when I was seven years old - not the best wine in the world but I loved the challenge

Rod Berglund - the person who got me hooked on Pinor noir and is the keeper of the flame in RRV. An absolutely great person.

Tom Dehlinger - he and his family are our largest supplier - also the source of cuttings for our vineyard - miss the Octagon wines

Michael Trjullio - encouraged me to follow my dream - to this day, my mentor and friend.

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#23 Post by GregT » May 21st, 2016, 12:14 pm

A close friend, now deceased. I had floundered around for years, starting in the 1970s, travelled to Europe and drank wine at restaurants and with other people, but didn't really care all that much and couldn't tell you much about this one or that one or why people seemed to get excited about some lable.

When I finally got seriously interested, I tried looking for sources of information. I'd read Frank Prial's column and there was another guy whose name I can't remember. All I remember is that I bought something he had highly recommended and I thought it was crap. I heard of Parker but never read anything by him. I looked at a few copies of Wine Spectator but I couldn't make any sense of the tasting notes and couldn't discern any pattern to the scores. So I figured reading wasn't going to help at all. Instead I went to every possible tasting I could and drank as much wine as was humanly possible to learn about it.

Then I got involved with a tasting group and I was trying to describe something in a particular wine that had a kind of metallic quality as well as something that reminded me of burnt sugar and this guy next to me quietly told me that the wine was oxidized and ruined. He would point things out that I could discern, but couldn't yet put words to and he helped me put meaning behind the various words I'd read in reviews and notes.

More than anyone, he helped me figure out ways to articulate what I was tasting. He was an engineer and extremely analytical, so it was good to taste with him. We would taste something and talk about it and decide whether we liked it and then he'd mention that it rec'd such and such a score from Parker or someone else. It helped me understand that the writers, critics, and somms in restaurants didn't have superior palates or taste and that the history and politics of a region, while interesting in and of themselves, didn't mark one as having a more correct opinion of a wine.

It was a great way to learn. I miss him. To whatever degree I can, I've tried to do for others who are genuinely interested what he did for me.
G . T a t a r

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#24 Post by I. Howe » May 21st, 2016, 12:24 pm

In my late teens and 20's, I could have cared less about alcohol of any kind. I never liked beer (still don't), never liked whiskey (still don't) and do not think I was really ever exposed to wine. I would have the occasional margarita at a restaurant, but that was about it.

In my 30's, I worked for a company that was based in Sonoma. When we would go to headquarters for sales meetings they would take us to the wineries for various events; cave tours, barrel tastings, blind tastings which were educational, etc. The first few times, while I appreciated the events, it was not really my thing. But as everyone around me was really jazzed about how cool these events were, it started to rub off and I starting sampling the wines. Over a few years they grew on me and I still recall bringing back my first wine from California, Imagery Estates.

I probably should not publicly proclaim him, because his already large head will be the size of a hot air ballon, but Robert Alfert is responsible for most of what came next. He gave me a bottle of Ridge Geyserville and 1999 d'Armailhac. The d'Arm was a revelation. I loved it like no other wine that had crossed my lips. I started shopping and started building my collection.

Alfert told me early on about CellarTracker, and that site has been invaluable to me. The tasting notes, the ability to manage my collection, I could go on and on.

And then he told my about WB. And now I am posting pics in the "What did you buy today" thread of cases and cases of wine.

Damn him!
Ian Howe

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#25 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » May 21st, 2016, 12:36 pm

Terry Theise, followed by David Schildknecht.

I am sure that shocks a lot of people. ;)
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#26 Post by Blake Brown » May 21st, 2016, 4:13 pm

First thoughts:

Burt Williams- his wealth of knowledge and willingness to share it as well as his impeccable wines.

Jim Clendenen- almost a ditto here plus so much wit along with the wisdom.
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#27 Post by Paul H Galli » May 21st, 2016, 4:21 pm

Harry Waugh.

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#28 Post by robert creth » May 21st, 2016, 4:59 pm

Gary Vanerchuk at the Wine Library for making the language of wine accessible to me and the learning fun. There was a person who taught me a lot at the old Chowhound Wine Board. He was usually a nemesis, and would answer the most simple query with a 10 paragraph history lesson. We agreed on little as he was a self described "expert" and I was not interested at groveling at the alter of French Wine history. Despite the fact that our interactions were often semi-hostile, the information I learned is invaluable. He turned me on to one of my best wine discoveries, Ahlgren's in the Santa Cruz Mountains, (or hills as I would say to get a rile up). He also helped me learn how to walk into a wine shop and not feel intimidated.

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#29 Post by Emily Richer » May 21st, 2016, 5:01 pm

Karen MacNeil.

My first week of culinary school in the Napa Valley. Oy, I thought, to sit through a week of wine words, this will be hell on earth. I could not have entered with a worse attitude. Growing up in a low-income musical/political family, we grew veggies, we had chickens for eggs, we cooked. But we didn't eat out, I never saw a bottle of wine until I was working in business and it was someone's job to show their sophistication by ordering the wine. It just was not my natural inclination to join some snobby club that I thought, from the outside, to be exclusionary as nearly the only purpose of its existence...

But maybe it's about sensory warm-up, I thought, a way to start things off. I showed up Day 1, and tasted Wine #1 and Wine #2 and raised my hand to answer the question of which I preferred and why. She observed us taste, writing our responses in an organized way on her flip-charts. Noting some of us may have missed the full pleasure by not swirling the glass, taking a moment to teach us. Karen's exceptional gift of EDUCATING--not showing off, not intimidating, not manipulating, not selling: each question asked, each glass poured designed to build our understanding, to see the cuisines and regions of the world through the efforts and intentions of its winemakers. Then touring and tasting with local wineries setting out astounding arrays of wine to reinforce the impact of region, ground, viticulture, winemaking choices... So, that was almost 20 years ago now. I came to Napa Valley for a 21-week program... and I'm still here. Can't recommend her book enough.
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#30 Post by M. Dildine » May 21st, 2016, 7:24 pm

Joel Peterson and Paul Draper got me hooked, years ago, on high-end, vineyard-designated, old vine Zinfandel.
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#31 Post by Howard Cooper » May 21st, 2016, 7:46 pm

For me, by far #1 was my father. He owned a wine store in Savannah, GA, and I was tasting wine and developing a palate before I knew what I was tasting. To this day, my palate is a lot based on his palate. And, my love of wine and how to approach it came from him.

Second was David Schildknecht. Around 1984 or 1985 I saw a wine ad in the Washington Post from a store I had not been to called Rex with a long list of German wines. Nobody advertised German wines. When I went into the store I met David and through him I learned producers for German wines, Burgundy, the Loire, etc., that I had never heard of before. He really helped me refine my palate.

I have had lots of other influences and I appreciate all of them.
Howard

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#32 Post by J a y H a c k » May 21st, 2016, 7:55 pm

Ms. Feidner. My high school French teacher. She taught us about French culture and every year would take us to La Comedie Francaise or come other French touring troupe in NYC. We would eat lunch or dinner at Au Tunnel and they would serve us wine because nothing was wrong with 16 year olds drinking good wine. Can you imagine how much grief a teacher would get for allowing that these days? nd probably some jail time.

The Ballantine family, along with the Rheingolds, the Shaefers and the Schlitzes. Their beer was so awful that I could not drink it in high school.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#33 Post by Jeannean/Ryman » May 21st, 2016, 7:57 pm

An ex-boyfriend who was a bit older and had a lot more money than I did. At that time (many years ago), I couldn't imagine a wine being worth more than $20. He showed me how wrong that assumption was.

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Scott Wi3gand
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#34 Post by Scott Wi3gand » May 21st, 2016, 10:00 pm

Emily Richer wrote:Karen MacNeil.
+1
I recently read the wine bible and found this to be highly informative and very entertaining.

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#35 Post by Veronica Castro » May 21st, 2016, 11:49 pm

Fortunate enough to be friends or have work(ed) with these people who have influenced me greatly:
Lyle Fass for Germany
Dan Rhodes for French wines
John Downing for Italy
Jim Duane for Champagne
itb
hi-time wine cellars

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#36 Post by David Glasser » May 22nd, 2016, 3:34 am

In the 1970s, a med school roommate who introduced me to red Bordeaux and white Burg when all I knew was Blue Nun, Lancers and Mateus.

Next, Robert Parker, who turned me on to a lot of Bordeaux I'd never heard of and to Rhones. For good or bad, he was also responsible for me getting on almost all of the early California cult lists. In addition to subscribing since the early '80s, I had the opportunity to drink with him a few times. He was very generous with his wine and his knowledge. Unlike his online persona in the later years, he was very welcoming of diverse opinions in person.

For a few years in the mid-80s, John Bassett, a local retailer that no one here has ever heard of who loved to listen as much as he loved to talk about and drink wines became my wine guru. Every few weeks, we'd talk, he'd open a few bottles in the back of the store (before it became legal), and I'd go home with a mixed case he'd picked out based on our discussion. He really helped me learn what I liked and broadened my exposure more than anyone else.

The common theme among all 3 was their passion for wine and willingness to share.

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#37 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » May 22nd, 2016, 4:07 am

J a y H a c k wrote:Ms. Feidner. My high school French teacher. She taught us about French culture and every year would take us to La Comedie Francaise or come other French touring troupe in NYC. We would eat lunch or dinner at Au Tunnel and they would serve us wine because nothing was wrong with 16 year olds drinking good wine. Can you imagine how much grief a teacher would get for allowing that these days? and probably some jail time.
I also have to give props to my high school French teacher. He was adamant that you couldn't teach the language without teaching about the culture, including food & wine. We had a French club, where we ate French food and drank French wine (once we were 18). At a time when almost all of my peers were getting hammered drinking crappy American beer, it was a revelation to think about nice wines as something you would drink because it went well with a meal. The first bottle of wine I ever bought was a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Merci, Monsieur Thelen.

Bruce
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#38 Post by Kirk.Grant » May 22nd, 2016, 4:15 am

Hago...he's a local Japanese Gardener that has been in & out of the wine industry for years. He introduced me to Musar and some other producers that still are largely unknown. So anytime he speaks...I listen.
Cellartracker:Kirk Grant

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#39 Post by J Slawney » May 22nd, 2016, 5:13 am

Stephane Derenoncourt
Christophe Perrot-Minot
Pierre Yves Colin-Morey
Those are the three that had most transformative power on me.
Strange CV, but it is what was available to me.
Also: loved Jonathan Nossiter's films.
My mother, when she was dying of lung cancer and still mobile, used to drink a magnum of Burgundy every day for pain relief. I used to help her pick them.
James S.

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#40 Post by J a y H a c k » May 22nd, 2016, 6:05 am

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote: . . . The first bottle of wine I ever bought was a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. . .
Me too. It was the embossed glass that first got me. I was going to give props to the store owner who sold it to me when I was under age, but the store still exists and I think it's owned by the same family, so I wouldn't want to get him into trouble.
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

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#41 Post by Michael Martin » May 22nd, 2016, 6:29 am

Every server and bartender across the world who gave me a pour of their local wine and opened my eyes and taste buds to flavors I never imagined. I thank them all.

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#42 Post by Joseph MR » May 22nd, 2016, 4:15 pm

Eric Ifune wrote:Alexis Lichine.
I picked up the wine interest from my father. Back then, in the early 1970's, there wasn't a lot out there about wine. I had a copy of his encyclopedia and read his descriptions. The wine world back then was only Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and Cabernet in California. Because of his book, I started branching out into Italy, Rhone, Alsace, and Germany. And the wines were ridiculously cheap back then. I currently have an aged, very eclectic wine cellar as a result.
I visited Lichine in the 80's as a student, he signed my copy of his book. Nice Germany coverage, for sure.
ra + * ter

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#43 Post by fred o. » May 22nd, 2016, 10:35 pm

Eric Asimov, the NY Times wine columnist. He gets some flak here and in the comments sections for his pieces, but I think for what he does with his Wine School columns, he's done a tremendous amount to teach and guide me and I'm sure many others who are new to wine. I've really loved following the monthly topics, and trying as many of the wines as I can, learning more about different wines, different areas, different cuisines, different cultures. It's part of what makes wine so great.

Irene Virbila, the former LA times wine columnist. I really miss her columns, I loved how she would make wine something local, connected to the inventories of the disparate wine stores of the greater LA area. Through her, I learned so much about different wine proprietors in the LA area with interesting, thoughtfully curated collections.

And you guys -- I've been lurking for a while now, but have learned so much, esp from a lot of the LA-area folks. Thanks guys
0k

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#44 Post by Matthew Hemming » May 23rd, 2016, 4:59 am

Interesting question.

My late boss - John Avery - was a mentor, friend and enormous influence. He taught me masses and there can be very few people in the UK able to open the sort of wines John shared with me. We rarely had a great French bottle without comparisons from Australia, California or elsewhere in the New World. The first time I drank with John we put 1978 Pichon Lalande against '78s from Penfolds (Bin 707) and Mondavi Reserve. We had 1970 Ducru and the BV Georges de Latour from the same vintage that night, too.

Through John I met Len Evans in Australia. Len gave me the opportunity to taste and explore some of the greatest wines in the world. It blew my mind that I went to Australia to drink DRCs and 1st growths. DRC Montrachet was served blind as an options wine one night and I'll never forget the old Woodleys Treasure Chest wines, the 1955 Wynns Michael or the Bin 60A. The measure of Len's influence is a letter he wrote me - with a stamp, no E-mail!! - that included the PS 'don't forget to do the MW.' So I did.

Becoming an MW was the single biggest deal of my professional life and it was Len's note that prompted it.
ITB

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#45 Post by Neal.Mollen » May 23rd, 2016, 5:10 am

I've forgotten her name, but she was a pretty blonde with a seductive laugh and a job at a wine shop 2 blocks from my dorm. I pretended to know something about wine (her favorite was something called Chateauneuf du Pape) and I began a course of intensive study so I could keep up. She lasted a few months; my love affair with wine lasted a lot longer.
I don't have to speak; she defends me

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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#46 Post by Philip N. Jones » May 23rd, 2016, 6:21 am

My wife, who insisted that I serve better wine to ourfriends, and Robert Parker, whom showed me how to do it.
Phil jones

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#47 Post by Jay Miller » May 23rd, 2016, 6:28 am

I'll pick two widely disparate names

Robert Parker (in the late '80s)
Joe Dressner (in the late '90s)

say what you like about what he later became - when I had my subscription to Parker and when his Bordeaux book first came out he had extremely thorough coverage and he would write about then-obscure regions and his enthusiasm for the wines he liked was contagious. I got into Sherry because of him.

I first met Joe through the old Wine Lovers Discussion Group and after sampling the wines he imported fell in love with that style of wine. Wineries such as Pepiere, Clos Roche Blanche and Baudry made amazingly great wines a ridiculously good prices. He was acerbic, brilliant, argumentative, opinionated and I still miss him.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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#48 Post by Dennis Kanagie » May 23rd, 2016, 7:45 am

Jay Miller wrote: He was acerbic, brilliant, argumentative, opinionated and I still miss him.
Sort of like Klapp, without the "still miss him" part. [wink.gif]
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What wine figure has had the biggest impact on you?

#49 Post by Greg Smith » May 23rd, 2016, 9:35 am

Just an old friend/business associate. I was on a business trip in the late 80's out in San Fran with my wife. When we entered our hotel room there was a gift basket with 2 bottles of 1985 Silver Oak Napa. Hadn't really drank much wine up to that point but had these and realized that better wines actually taste better than the swill I had consumed up to that point. (I'm sure some here would consider the '85 Silver Oak swill). From that point on started consuming more and spending way more.

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Two....

#50 Post by TomHill » May 23rd, 2016, 9:41 am

Two of them:
1. KenShultis: He was my major professor at K-State. He had me over for dinner one night and served a '66 Lynch-Bages w/ steak
grilled on their hibachi. "Hmmmmm...this stuff is pretty tasty". We then segued into Sue's GrandMarnier Souffle w/ a '65 d'Yquem.
"Holy $hit". Still have the two labels in Vol.#1 of my wine notebooks. But I was hooked on wine. You could drive into KC and go
to Berbiglia's or HappyHollow and buy 1'st growths for $12 and DRC's for $20.
2. HankRubin: At Berbiglia's, they had a free-bie magazine called BonApetit. It was published in KC by Pillsbury, where they had a
flour mill & company headquarters. In addition to food articles (w/ lots of recipes), they had a wine Q&A column by Henry (Hank)
Rubin. Hank, at that time, owned the PotLuck restaurant in Berkeley, where Calif cusine really originated, not at ChezPanisse.
Hank went on to become the SFChron's first wine columnist. I peppered his Q&A column w/ dumb questions (like..."What is the
optimal alcohol level for great Tazzalenghe from Udine??"). We developed quite an exchange (via letters...where you'd write something
on a piece paper, put it in an envelope, afix a stamp, and give it to your postman...all seems so quaint in this day & age). He later became my
Editor when I wrote for PhilipSeldon's VintageMagazine. Finally met him in person in the mid-'70's and became fast friends, getting together
in TheCite about every other yr for lunch. Last time I saw Hank he was advanced Alzheimer's in a care unit there. His mind was pretty
much shot....but the look he gave me when I walked into the community room was priceless. Hank was one of the original LincolnBrigade
in Spain in the '30's and his book is a great read.

I, of course, followed Parker from the very start. Never did subscribe, but always read a friend's copy. Have to say that he had zero influence
on me. Can't think of a single wine I ever bought on his rec. Calif Syrah, which he supposedly put on the map?? Was there 10 yrs ahead.
SQN??? Was there 5 yrs ahead of him. Colgin?? By then, couldn't give a rat's a$$ for NapaCabernet.
Tom

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