Your most memorable wine experience

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Alan Rath
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Your most memorable wine experience

#1 Post by Alan Rath » January 25th, 2020, 3:19 pm

Came across this old note I wrote back on ebob. Made me think of the best wine experiences I've had. What are yours? Doesn't have to be the "best" bottle you've drunk, just something really memorable that involved wine.

7/26/06
TN: 1997 Cheval Blanc
I'm at a conference out here at Mt. Holyoke college this week. A very informal conference, we have talks in the mornings and evenings, then hang around drinking beer until later hours. I took a drive around to see the countryside this afternoon, and stopped in to Table & Vine to take a look around. On a lark, I picked up a half bottle of Cheval Blanc. No wine glasses in sight, so this was drunk straight from the bottle.

Color: no idea. Nose: ?? For a 97 Bordeuax, this is pretty damn good. Some decent depth, nice balance, though a little on the higher acid side, fairly mild tannins. Impressions of red fruits, plums, pomegranate, some vanilla oak presence. 89 points. Half bottle of wine: $65. Swigging Cheval Blanc from the bottle while talking science with a Nobel Prize winner: priceless.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#2 Post by Adam Frisch » January 25th, 2020, 3:42 pm

A Tony Coturri Albarello. It complete opened a new world for me - didn't knew wine could or should taste that way! Got me on a huge natural wine binge for years, that I'm now mostly recovered from. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#3 Post by Joshua Kates » January 25th, 2020, 3:47 pm

1983 Rousseau Chambertin about 8 or 10 years ago; showed me the heights of which red burgundy is capable. Never really been equalled by any other wine, though some have come close.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#4 Post by Carole Meredith » January 25th, 2020, 4:06 pm

1967 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage
October 16, 1992

With Gerard and Jean-Louis Chave in Gerard's home in Mauves
The wine was poured from an 18th century crystal decanter
Steve and I consumed this wine while listening to Gerard and Jean-Louis argue about Algerians. In French.

Steve and I have never ever had another wine experience even approaching this . . .


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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#5 Post by Markus S » January 25th, 2020, 4:10 pm

Can't remember 'best', but sure miss the old Table & Vine in Northampton.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#6 Post by Alan Rath » January 25th, 2020, 4:29 pm

Carole Meredith wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:06 pm
Steve and I have never ever had another wine experience even approaching this . . .
And yet, we've been to your place how many times? ;)
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#7 Post by Carole Meredith » January 25th, 2020, 4:50 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:29 pm
Carole Meredith wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:06 pm
Steve and I have never ever had another wine experience even approaching this . . .
And yet, we've been to your place how many times? ;)
Your visits are always memorable, Alan, but I don't recall that you've ever brought us a 67 Chave . . .
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#8 Post by Alan Rath » January 25th, 2020, 5:27 pm

How about a '67 Chevy?
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#9 Post by Carole Meredith » January 25th, 2020, 5:41 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 5:27 pm
How about a '67 Chevy?
[snort.gif]
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#10 Post by GregT » January 25th, 2020, 5:46 pm

Those are both great stories.

I don't have anything remotely as interesting but the one experience I remember vividly was from some time that would have been late 1970s or early 80s. I had a friend whose father was a biochemist in another state. He introduced us to one of his colleagues, also a biochemist, and told us that he was a very nice man but extremely peculiar.

So this second guy invites us for dinner with his wife. They were a Japanese couple and for whatever reason, his wife apparently never went out so they always entertained at home. We greet each other and he goes downstairs and comes up with a bottle of wine, opens it, and starts talking about it. We finished it and he does it again with a different bottle. Turns out his peculiarity was that he was a wine collector.

"How eccentric!" we remarked to each other.

Over the next few years he would tell us about meeting a pilot at an airport because the pilot had picked up something from California or Italy or France or somewhere and was only in town for a few hours to deliver the wine. And in turn he was flying to Texas and needed to take a few bottles that our friend had picked up at some conference. This was all pre-internet so it was done by mail and phone. It was like some subculture where planning was key to obtaining those bottles.

I thought it was so weird and obsessive that you really had to be a little off if you were going to be involved in something so mystifying.

Unfortunately, Sam is no longer with us. I wish I had the opportunity to talk to him now. I doubt that he'd laugh. He'd probably suggest opening a nice white to start with.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#11 Post by Kris Patten » January 25th, 2020, 5:51 pm

Bottle of DRC Echezeaux with my dad, who'd never had one, at his member-member tournament at his club. Most of the best experiences I have had, have been with my dad and sharing with him.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#12 Post by C. Keller » January 25th, 2020, 7:12 pm

I had a helluva time with some Boones Farm in college. A lot of it I can't remember for some reason.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#13 Post by HoosJustinG » January 25th, 2020, 8:26 pm

'08 Dom Perignon ... opened it this May the night we lost our 10 year old pup ('08 was her birth year) after a battle with lung cancer ... honestly remember very little/nothing about the wine, but it brought us together and fueled a couple hours of happy stories about her that helped get us through the night
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#14 Post by LMD Ermitaño » January 26th, 2020, 6:29 am

“Most memorable” is impossible to narrow down; but these two come immediately to mind:

1. An ‘86 Montrose in the very late ‘90s. Shared with an old high school buddy at home late at night - at the patio overlooking the garden; reminiscing about the trouble we’d get into way back when.

2. A ‘78 Pichon Lalande under the stars, after an al fresco dinner at the grounds of Château Siran (where we were staying). It was a warm summer night in early June 2006. I was with my wife and a few friends, including our host (whose family used to own Pichon Lalande). We didn’t talk of anything of import - I actually remember absolutely nothing of our conversation topics; but I do remember the night itself very well.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#15 Post by Jim Stewart » January 26th, 2020, 6:39 am

Here's one of more than one . . .
Rambling around Anjou. Dropping by unannounced and being invited to join an ongoing private tasting by the winemaker's wife to help her communicate with an English speaking couple. Discovering that the guy had the same name as me. Hanging around and chatting a bit after they left and being joined by the winemaker with a bottle of Bonnezeaux for toasting his wife's birthday. Serendipity!
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#16 Post by Andrew Demaree » January 26th, 2020, 6:46 am

A bottle of Silvio Nardi Brunello (vintage long since forgotten) shared with my dad and wife after our first child was born.

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#17 Post by Rich Salsano » January 26th, 2020, 8:05 am

Being walked through a 5 vintage vertical of Lapierre Morgon by Matthieu at their winery in Beaujolais, inclusive of stories about each vintage. And it just so happened MS Brian McClintic was there for that tasting as well.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#18 Post by Rudi Finkler » January 26th, 2020, 9:32 am

1991 Pichon Lalande. At its best, the epitome of pleasure and understated hedonism. :-)
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#19 Post by Dennis Atick » January 26th, 2020, 9:45 am

One time years ago at Bern's we drank some 19th and very early 20th century Bordeaux. It's hard to describe. When I try to tell non-wine-geeks about it I tend to get strange looks, so it's a memory that just sits mostly with me. The next year we did even better. Those were pretty good experiences. And a Rousseau dinner here around 2012 or so was off the chain memorable.
Last edited by Dennis Atick on January 26th, 2020, 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#20 Post by Charles Weiss » January 26th, 2020, 9:58 am

My wine epiphany.
!974 Chapel Hill NC, then a wine wasteland in an almost totally dry county.
Parental visit --> out to a real restaurant and my dad, having no wine knowledge, let me choose.
1968 Duhart-Milon Rothschild. I had no idea wine could taste like that.
Only years later did I learn it was a horrible vintage, which no doubt accounted for it being in NC then.
What I did know at that time was that I loved it.

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#21 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 26th, 2020, 10:06 am

Blind tasting group about 15 years ago, when we had 1970 Cheval Blanc and 1970 Petrus in the same flight.

Later that same evening we finished up with a Port, 1945 Taylor.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#22 Post by JBucholz » January 26th, 2020, 11:27 am

The times when I would visit my dad in the last few years before he passed. I would always bring a bottle of port and we would share a glass as we talked and he would go on to finish the bottle.

I sure do miss him.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#23 Post by Kelly Flynn » January 26th, 2020, 11:40 am

When my Dad died at Christmas 2006 my friend from childhood brought a 1929 Latour to my parents’ house. He slowly ah-so’d and decanted and left it in a spare bedroom where we would occasionally escape the crowd and imbibe. Pairing note: It went like glove-in-hand with lasagna and chips and dip. :)

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#24 Post by lleichtman » January 26th, 2020, 11:52 am

Dom Perignon non-vintage to toast each one of my kids when they were born.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#25 Post by JPWilley » January 26th, 2020, 12:20 pm

Paris. New Year's Eve 1990. Roaming the city with a bunch of Bulgarian students we met. Drinking some Bulgarian swill out of a plastic gallon gas jug. Worst hangover of my life.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#26 Post by Eric Ifune » January 26th, 2020, 4:03 pm

Went to visit FE Trimbach in Alsace but discovered they were closed. I was standing, staring through their gate and turned away when a couple of gentlemen in a car asked if I wanted to visit. I responded yes, but they seemed to be closed. They said wait with them for a while. A few minutes later, Hubert Trimbach drove up and opened the gate. These gentlemen turned out to be Trimbach's Scandinavian importers. Got invited into a comprehensive tasting with Hubert and Pierre Trimbach, including multiple vintages of Clos Ste. Hune and Frederic Emile. Afterwards Hubert invited us all to dinner at a restaurant.

Second experience would be visiting Weise & Krohn's lodge in Porto (actually Villa Nova de Gaia). Before getting sold to Taylor Fladgate. They had a restricted area in the lodge. We were invited in by Mr. Carneiro, the owner, and got casks samples of 1863 and 1896 Colheita Ports and a 1896 White Colheita. Amazing, amazing wines. I had to sit down when I started nosing the 1863.

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#27 Post by David Glasser » January 26th, 2020, 4:15 pm

Never heard of non-vintage Dom.

Berns with my brother.

Pre-millennium party with 59 Lafite among other stupendous bottles.

Dinner at Ch. Margaux with Corinne Mentzelopoulos and Paul Pontailler, mags of 61 Margaux and others.

Dinner at Maison Bouchard with 29 Pommard and others.

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#28 Post by Colin Haggerty » January 26th, 2020, 5:01 pm

lleichtman wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 11:52 am
Dom Perignon non-vintage to toast each one of my kids when they were born.
I will clarify for you...you mean "current release" rather than "non-vintage." And BTW, I think that it is awesome that you would celebrate your kids' births with DP. We did the same with our two. [welldone.gif]

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#29 Post by Jim Stewart » January 26th, 2020, 5:06 pm

Eric Ifune wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 4:03 pm
Went to visit FE Trimbach in Alsace but discovered they were closed. I was standing, staring through their gate and turned away when a couple of gentlemen in a car asked if I wanted to visit. I responded yes, but they seemed to be closed. They said wait with them for a while. A few minutes later, Hubert Trimbach drove up and opened the gate. These gentlemen turned out to be Trimbach's Scandinavian importers. Got invited into a comprehensive tasting with Hubert and Pierre Trimbach, including multiple vintages of Clos Ste. Hune and Frederic Emile. Afterwards Hubert invited us all to dinner at a restaurant.

Second experience would be visiting Weise & Krohn's lodge in Porto (actually Villa Nova de Gaia). Before getting sold to Taylor Fladgate. They had a restricted area in the lodge. We were invited in by Mr. Carneiro, the owner, and got casks samples of 1863 and 1896 Colheita Ports and a 1896 White Colheita. Amazing, amazing wines. I had to sit down when I started nosing the 1863.
Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing these experiences.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#30 Post by Jeff_M. » January 26th, 2020, 6:33 pm

Grange tasting at Magill Estate. My wife and I were in a small group of 7 and they had 8 place settings. As we tasted through the wines the 8th setting was being picked over for the extra glass. When we got to tasting Grange, I was the only one who hadn’t raided the 8th setting. I asked if anyone at the table wanted to split that extra glass of Grange with me and they all told me it was mine. So here I am double fisting two glasses of Grange at Penfolds. We stayed for lunch with degustation and just had an epic experience. Got to also purchase some library wines afterwards and with the USD being so much stronger than the AUD we got really great pricing on our purchases.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#31 Post by Eric White » January 26th, 2020, 6:48 pm

I've thought of this a fair amount since I first saw the post. On reflection, I have to say:

Sipping 70-something BV GdL with my parents as an early teen. They introduced me to wine, clearly had great taste, and didn't hesitate to share a small amount with us kids.

I miss them both dearly, so this is surely my most memorable wine experience.

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#32 Post by Mike Kuller » January 26th, 2020, 9:06 pm

On my 40th birthday we were in the South of France visiting my wife's brother and his wife in St. Jean cap Ferrat (he was an atrtist who lived in the area for 25 years).

We had driven down from Frankfurt with another of her brothers and his wife. A couple from home also met us there and along with a few others, 12 of us were in Ville Franche sur Mer sitting on the seawall passing bottles of champagne around (wish I knew what they were) and laughing.

Then we all walked across to a local restaurant there on the waterfront and had amazing bouillabaisse with more champagne.

Most Friday nights at home now, 30 years later, we open a bottle of champagne.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#33 Post by wspohn » January 27th, 2020, 9:08 am

Many great memories, but this one still sticks in my memory.

1928 Dr. Barolet Collection Grands Echezeaux ((Henri de Villamont) - The good
doctor collected and made wine from 1911 until his death in 1969, and left a
collection of 160,000 bottles. He is thought to have adulterated extensively
with wine from other areas and perhaps brandy, in an effort to produce a better
product, and if this bottle was any indication, he met with much success. We
had little clue as to this wine's origin and nature, but were all thinking a
cabernet based wine, probably a Bordeaux, from a big classic vintage. Only
Albert Givton detected a hint of pinot noir fruit in the nose, the only clue to
it's origin, and Albert also guessed the source when it was revealed that it
was a Burgundy. It had a smoky, leathery nose, with truffle and mushrooms, and
exhibited some tannin(!), at 73 years of age, and we were all thinking a 75 or
maybe 59 Bordeaux. Great colour intensity for its age, and it only started to
show a Burgundian barnyard nose as it started to break up in the glass after a
half hour or so. A real treat!

Some others: (I must note that many of these notes date back u to 20 years and all of the old wines were tasted due to the generosity of Albert Givton, sadly no longer with us. I owe him a great debt for the education he offered myself and many local wine aficionados in Vancouver.

1917 Rayne Vigneau - the oldest Sauternes of the two day tasting, and
pleasantly surprising, as it wasn't a good year for wine (or politics). Fairly
dark amber, with a good nose of toffee, showing slight oxidation, and quite
dry, a function of it's age, with a very long finish. To those who are that way
minded, it gives one pause to think that the wine in the glass before us was
placed in the bottle in the middle of the Great War to End All Wars, in the
time of our grandfathers, 83 years ago. It makes the last sip something to be
taken reverentially and with the realisation that it will be the last taste one
will have of this wine, as long as you live.

1918 Ch. Calon Segur - (also recorked, in 1990 and topped with 1959 from
magnum) a limpid garnet colour, it was fresher on the nose with dark fruit
notes, (as opposed to a simple sweetness that older wines are sometimes
left with when all else has passed), a wonderful wine with character and
balance, and my choice or best of flight.

1916 Ch. Calon Segur (St. Estephe) St. Etephe is a good bet for longevity and Calon has shown exceptional durability in many vintages. This was a very good bottle with a slightly musty at first but decent nose with mature cedar and dark fruit notes, remarkable at the age of 96 years (born in the middle of WW 1 and bottled before the surrender). It was amazingly rich and lively in the mouth with a very good smooth finish marked be significant remaining tannins. Another old style huge tannic wine when young, no doubt. Great showing!

1928 Ch. Palmer - a Nicolai bottling, recorked in 1968 and 1980 (two
bottles) and topped with 70's wine -an intense sweet nose, complex with
fruit tones, garnet colour. I swear that it still had a touch of
tannin(!). Must have been a brute for the first decades of it's life. Nice
fruit on palate and good acid, although it does dry a bit with time in the
glass. Excellent.

1967 Yquem - For me, the best wine of the evening. Fortunately kept in one cellar
from purchase (unlike the 70, which Albert had purchased from less reliable
origins), it was fairly dark, showed honey, vanilla, and a hint of Earl Grey
tea in the nose which to me evidenced its maturity. It was so well balanced
that at first it seemed lighter in body than the other wines, but it was in
fact very full, - a wonderful wine showing what an Yquem can be at its peak.
Bill in BC
Vancouver BC

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#34 Post by Mike Cohen » January 27th, 2020, 10:36 am

I think if I had to pin it down to one experience, I would say April 1999 (honeymoon) at Willi's Wine Bar in Paris. It was our first night there (and my first trip to Europe) so I wanted to go to a place where I knew that some English would be spoken. 91 Chave was on the list and we ordered a bottle. Absolutely stunning. As my wife an I were talking about it, the couple at the table next to us overheard and asked about the wine. I gave them a taste and they promptly ordered a bottle. They were almost finished with their meal and it was their second bottle of wine. They each had a glass and then paid their bill. As they were saying their good byes to us, they gave us the 2/3rd full bottle and wished us a happy honeymoon.

But if I really thought about it, pretty much any bottle of wine I've had in Europe has been stunning. Impossible to pinpoint if it's the fact that it didn't have to survive the importation process or if it's the setting or if the wine is simply different there. But even the lower end wines I've had in Europe have been really enjoyable.

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#35 Post by Thomas Keim » January 27th, 2020, 11:46 am

Around 1987, I got approached by a group selling a cellar from Lombard Illinois. It contained about 700 bottles with the bulk of it being old Burgundy from the Labaume Aine et Fils firm. Outside of a couple cases of 1938 Chambolle Musigny, it was all 1919 and 1915 Reds from various appellations. And a couple bottles of 1876 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc. I ended up selling the bulk of it to a Restaurant in Southern Florida, but we kept about 100 bottles for the retail store I was at at the time. The cellar was from a well known importer in Illinois who had recently passed, so it was easy to see how authentic everything was (and well stored).

The lot also contained a bunch of Latour from various vintages and a couple cases of '34 Montrose. What blew me away was this; a couple cases of 1941 Latour that had been bottled in blue bottles. I remember being told by a British wine historian that the Nazis used all the Nitrate (or some chemical) that was used to make a bottle brown, so the vintners in Bordeaux only had access to blue bottles. This was before the internet, so finding out about stuff like this wasn't easy.

That '41 Latour was an absolute fruit bomb, and still one of the greatest Bordeaux I have ever tasted (even though it's not considered a great vintage). The 1915 Corton and '15 Musigny from Labaume were also extraordinary.

I remember having Pizza one night with a stray bottle of Labaume 1913 Chateauneuf du Pape.

We ended up paying around $34 a bottle for all of this. Fun times.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#36 Post by A Songeur » January 27th, 2020, 12:23 pm

Went to Provence to visit a French dedicated Bordeaux lover about 10 years ago (a bit less). He proudly shows me the cellar insisting I pick a wine for diner. So, we look at the Latour, the Mouton R, the Ht Brion, the Pichons... and he is rightly very proud of his babies.
Suddenly, I identify a mistake... what is this, an odd bottle shape..?...
So, I ask "what is this?"
He answers " I have no clue really, a builder gave me this as a thank you gesture... let's see, what does it say?...erhh Musigny Vogue 1988?... Well we can open it if you want..."
I answer "well, why not try your builder's plonk?... This would change from Mouton Rothschild..."

Then, we opened it.... and he and his wife loved it... Fast forward.... this guy who had not a clue about Burg has become obsessive and has well over a thousand bottles and, apart from a few Roumier, Vogue,... Villages only has 1er and grand crus in the cellar (and PYCM at all levels...)....

Unexpected dividend: He bought a 100 bottles of grands cru from a burgophile which learnt he had a health conditions and offered him "don't ask a question, I will choose 100 bottles and you give me 10000 €, you will not regret it".
My friend obliged... and landed a hundred grand crus from the 70s, 80s and 90s... Dugat, Mugneret Gibourg, Ponsot, Rousseau, Roumier,... you name it...

Let us be clear... this Musigny was not the best bottle I drank... but, with insight, it was the best memorable experience for the fun and the consequences... as we further bought a house in Provence and have shared quite a few of his bottles... not to mention that he was subsequently instrumental in getting me my yearly allowances of Roumier and Barthod... with a wine merchant he does Business with.
Antoine

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#37 Post by Rob_S » January 27th, 2020, 12:53 pm

1) A mentor of mine who was a German Baron and married to the daughter of a British Lord had emigrated from London to Toronto in the mid-1980’s, taking with him his nearly 100,000 bottle collection. For my 19th birthday he told me that he was going to sell, not give, but sell at his cost, a bottle of wine for me to have with my parents on my birthday. A birth year wine. It was a 1978 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti. It was, I seem to remember, about $130ish that he charged me (me, not my dad). Even in 1997 I knew this wine was worth thousands. My parents liked wine and knew it a bit but in a fairly narrow band. This was not in that band. My mother still doesn’t realize what we drunk and probably only had a small glass, my dad and I polished it off. I can still smell and taste it when I close my eyes more than two decades later. It’s why I only have a handful of Burgundies in my cellar. My first was the absolute apogee of the region, some could argue maybe of all red wines. I will never hit that height again in Burgundy and in many ways it’s wrecked for me.

2) One of my now Mother-in-Law’s best friends threw my now wife and I an engagement party in Chicago. I knew wine but I was still only in my late 20’s. So I thought I knew a lot more than I now actually do… He was serving aged Turley Zin and mid 80’s Lagrange to everyone. Then the night was almost over, most everyone gone and he wants to share another bottle of red with me before he breaks open a D’Yquem (which I had let slip I had never had before). He pulls out a 1982 Lynch-Bages and a 1983 D’Yquem. I was tipsy and being the gentleman said, "Don’t open that (the Lynch-Bages)! It’s too nice." I knew how much it was worth. He looked at me and said “I bought it on release and it probably cost me $20. Are you going to argue with me about opening another $20 bottle of wine?!? No? Then sit down and give me your glass.” I learnt two things that night. I love D’Yquem and wine is a sunk cost. It doesn’t matter what it cost or what it may be worth now vs what you paid for it. When it’s the right time to open it, just do it, the money was spent years ago.
utherland

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Alex Frank
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#38 Post by Alex Frank » January 27th, 2020, 1:48 pm

What an awesome thread. Great stories, keep 'em coming!

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#39 Post by P. Marshall » January 27th, 2020, 2:50 pm

Similar to the original post, my first wine epiphany was a Cheval Blanc, but it was in the late 70's (not sure what the vintage was). That's when my wife and I looked at each other and thought "OMG, wine can taste like this?"
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#40 Post by John Morris » January 27th, 2020, 5:34 pm

Four rather different wine experiences come to mind:

1. A bottle of Mateus Rose in the garden of the faculty club of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver [take note, Bill Spohn!] (in a year long enough ago that I have no interest in disclosing it publicly) with a young lady (whose name I will withhold because she's long and apparently happily married). It was pretty innocent and ended with her driving me home in her Datsun 510 (oops, I may be dating myself). She was a master of smashing the shifter against my knee every time she geared up to 4th.

2. In 1997, I visited the Mosel for the first time and made an appointment with Hans-Leo Christoffel, the proprietor of J.J. Christoffel. He spoke no English, and I was shocked to discover that I remembered almost none of the German I'd learned as a child. Still, we managed to communicate over a two-hour visit. He kept pulling out pairs of his Urziger Wurzgarten and his Erdener Treppchen -- same vintage, same Pradikat. Pair after pair after pair. Each time, he's ask me which I preferred. (This much I understood.) Each time I stated my leaning, he replied, "Ich auch" (= me, too) or the equivalent. Finally, we got up to the TBAs. He asked me again. I hesitated and then, somehow, communicated that each was superb but so different that I couldn't decide. In German, he said something with a shrug that communicated, "Me neither."
The wines were outstanding, but my most vivid memory is of this supremely modest and kind winemaker:
Hans Leo Christoffel 1997 - small.JPG
3. A bottle of '83 Canon drunk with friends in London circa 2001, which was every bit as stellar as earlier bottles. I'm not sure I've ever had a more thoroughly satisfying Bordeaux.

4. Now we get to the bragging part.... On a dreary, wet day in November 1998, I had the good fortune to visit DRC with my old friend Claude Kolm of the Fine Wine Review, who had visited the estate every year and knew Aubert de Villaine. At the end of our tasting, around lunch time, as we were departing, M. de Villaine apologized that he couldn't invite us for lunch because he had no bread. I (perhaps presumptiously) mentioned that I had a couple of bagettes in the car to tear off between visits. He ducked in a back room and returned a minute later and said to get the bread. He'd found some cured meats. So the three of us snacked on hams and bread and a bit of cheese with a '67 Echezeaux he opened.
Again, what really sticks with me is what a modest and unpretentious man he was/is, and that great wine is best savored with fine people. All the trophy bottles at big events shortly fade into a blur.
Last edited by John Morris on January 27th, 2020, 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#41 Post by John Morris » January 27th, 2020, 5:44 pm

Rob_S wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 12:53 pm
1) A mentor of mine who was a German Baron and married to the daughter of a British Lord had emigrated from London to Toronto in the mid-1980’s, taking with him his nearly 100,000 bottle collection. For my 19th birthday he told me that he was going to sell, not give, but sell at his cost, a bottle of wine for me to have with my parents on my birthday. A birth year wine. It was a 1978 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti. It was, I seem to remember, about $130ish that he charged me (me, not my dad). Even in 1997 I knew this wine was worth thousands. My parents liked wine and knew it a bit but in a fairly narrow band. This was not in that band. My mother still doesn’t realize what we drunk and probably only had a small glass, my dad and I polished it off. . . . .
This is as God intended it.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#42 Post by John Morris » January 27th, 2020, 5:50 pm

GregT wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 5:46 pm
... So this second guy invites us for dinner with his wife. They were a Japanese couple and for whatever reason, his wife apparently never went out so they always entertained at home. We greet each other and he goes downstairs and comes up with a bottle of wine, opens it, and starts talking about it. We finished it and he does it again with a different bottle. Turns out his peculiarity was that he was a wine collector.

"How eccentric!" we remarked to each other.

Over the next few years he would tell us about meeting a pilot at an airport because the pilot had picked up something from California or Italy or France or somewhere and was only in town for a few hours to deliver the wine. And in turn he was flying to Texas and needed to take a few bottles that our friend had picked up at some conference. This was all pre-internet so it was done by mail and phone. It was like some subculture where planning was key to obtaining those bottles.

I thought it was so weird and obsessive that you really had to be a little off if you were going to be involved in something so mystifying. . . .
And your view has changed?
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#43 Post by wspohn » January 27th, 2020, 5:56 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 5:34 pm
Four rather different wine experiences come to mind:

1. A bottle of Mateus Rose in the garden of the faculty club of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver [take note, Bill Spohn!] (in a year long enough ago that I have no interest in disclosing it publicly) with a young lady (whose name I will withhold because she's long and apparently happily married). It was pretty innocent and ended with her driving me home in her Datsun 510 (oops, I may be dating myself). She was a master of smashing the shifter against my knee every time she geared up to 4th.
John - when was this?

I was at UBC from 1968, off and on until 1983, collecting various degrees and running the law school wine club toward the end of my tenure there.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#44 Post by John Morris » January 27th, 2020, 6:03 pm

I will PM you.
"English doesn't just borrow foreign words, it stalks languages down dark alleyways, knocks them over and then rifles their pockets for new words." -- @Another NPC on YouTube

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#45 Post by Corey Porche » January 28th, 2020, 7:10 am

My two most memorable wines came together, and this would be the start of my wine collecting. Grand Floridian @ Disney World on July 4th 2015. 1978 DRC St Vivant and 1990 Chateau Lafite Rothschild

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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#46 Post by Doug Ackerman » January 28th, 2020, 8:53 pm

Carole Meredith wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:50 pm
Alan Rath wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:29 pm
Carole Meredith wrote:
January 25th, 2020, 4:06 pm
Steve and I have never ever had another wine experience even approaching this . . .
And yet, we've been to your place how many times? ;)
Your visits are always memorable, Alan, but I don't recall that you've ever brought us a 67 Chave . . .
Carole: Years ago (I think it was 2001 possibly just before 9/11) we visited you and Steve for the second time in about a year. Feeling a bit guilty for imposing twice within a year, and beyond grateful for your hospitality, I brought with me a 90 Verset Cornas to share. Well, this wasn't 67 Chave, but it was darn tasty...


fun thread! Most memorable...hmmm...not sure. Will report back
https://www.redelectricwines.com/
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#47 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » January 28th, 2020, 10:08 pm

Randomly, my mom was married for a while to Jasper Morris’ brother-in-law. In 1996, my mother and I went to England, she was in the antiques business with a friend in Liverpool, and we stayed in London at Jasper’s flat for several days. He was operating a small shop called Morris and Verdin, and I was in the puppy phase of wine appreciation. I was reading everything I could find on wine, new world and old world, and tasting everything I could on a VERY limited budget. I had been expressing some sorrow at having 1968 as a birth year, and he agreed it wasn’t optimal.

The next night Jasper cooked dinner for us at his flat. In the time we were there he was a tremendous host, and one of the nicest people I have met. His wine knowledge was exceptional(says Captain Obvious), but he was very down to earth and patient with with the shallowness of my actual experience and the amount of energy I had for the subject.

At dinner he brought out a 1968 Lafon Montrachet. As he said, a wine that Rene Lafon had made him promise not to sell. It was not profound, yet perfectly capable of hinting at the ability to be profound, if that makes sense. And then he opened a bottle of 1957 Bonnes Mares, his birth year. To this day that is the most profound wine experience of my life. Little fruit, tremendously magical nose. At one point I remember being frustrated at having to stop smelling and exhale...

Unlike anything I had tried at that point, and only some older Rousseau has been in the same league. That bottles colors my thoughts and feelings on wines to this day, and I continue to be humbled at Jasper’s generosity with those wines.
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#48 Post by Carole Meredith » January 30th, 2020, 10:05 am

Doug Ackerman wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 8:53 pm
Carole: Years ago (I think it was 2001 possibly just before 9/11) we visited you and Steve for the second time in about a year. Feeling a bit guilty for imposing twice within a year, and beyond grateful for your hospitality, I brought with me a 90 Verset Cornas to share. Well, this wasn't 67 Chave, but it was darn tasty...
Doug, Any Northern Rhone wine with a bit of age on it is always appreciated here [cheers.gif]

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Yao C
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#49 Post by Yao C » January 30th, 2020, 10:25 am

When I first got to San Francisco a few friends of mine organized an event where we would divide ourselves into teams and sprint 4-5 miles across the city, at night, from Bernal Heights to Pacific Heights, ending up at the sort of seedy Chinese restaurant that is slowly but surely vanishing from the city. Each team would carry a roughly 4L bag of Franzia (I believe my team had the cuvee Sunset Blush; NV needless to say), and every time we came across a public park we would have to chug from the bag. The objectives were to i) be first, or at least arrive within a respectable amount of time, and ii) drain the bag long before arriving at the restaurant (with of course no practical way to enforce this). You can imagine the sort of gleeful drunken giggling that resulted from having to look for stealthy places in the bushes and trees to gulp wine. It is the most fun I have ever had in public in San Francisco, sprained ankle notwithstanding :)
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R Holliday
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Re: Your most memorable wine experience

#50 Post by R Holliday » February 3rd, 2020, 7:04 am

two experiences.
The first, Drinking a '95 Shafer Hillside Select at a restaurant that was selling it at about retail in 2001 or so. I remember the alcohol literally burning my eyes from the glass. It was an epiphany for me that wine could be so much better than the everyday stuff I had been drinking. I started collecting wine literally the next day.

The second was memorial day weekend 2018. My wife and I were in Bermuda and hitting our favorite restaurants. Our first night in town I spy an '85 Lafite selling for $1300. I explain to my wife that we'll never see it again at that price in a restaurant of this level so I ordered it without too much complaining from her. It was epic. I've always been a fan of older bordeaux but I'd say I've been disappointed more often than not when opening a "good" bottle. This, however, was a slice of heaven. Paired with chateaubriand it just couldn't have been a better meal. Two nights later we had a '85 Latour that only magnified how amazing the Lafite was. The next morning, I woke up, had a heart attack and almost died there in Bermuda. (my wife insists it was having foie gras 3 nights out of 4 but it was a truly epic weekend of decadence)
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