Has anyone's wine trajectory looked like this?

Wow, any original bottles of these, perhaps lost in cellars, are wines I would LOVE to try. One never knows. Until One does.


This is an interesting thread, as it has made me reflect on the influence wine has had on my life since I began drinking it in the late-'80s. When I started, my peer group was interested in Cali Cab and Bordeaux. I drank a bunch of late-'70s and '80s Cali Cabs from producers like Joseph Phelps that opened my eyes to the difference between grocery store wine and more seriously crafted wine. In the '90s, my wine friends and I continued to drink these excellent Cali Cabs and Bordeaux wines on deserving occasions, but we started poking around in places like Australia and Chile for daily drinkers that could deliver some flavor and balance at a decent price. In the 2000s, I began to look seriously at other regions for my wine pleasures, in part because the Cali Cab and Bordeaux I liked were becoming uncomfortably expensive, but also because I sensed that there was a world of wine out there that needed to be discovered. I started drinking Alsatian Whites and Chateauneuf, among other things. Now, I have evolved to a point where I get more thrills from white wine than red most of the time, so I am drinking Riesling and other whites from Alsace, the Loire, Germany and (recently) Austria, and I am investing more in Chablis. My red wine thrills come mostly from Syrah and Pinot Noir from cool climates in California.

Who knows what I will say five years from now when I revisit this thread.

We started with Burgundy in 1961 and are still drinking Burgundy regularly. We evolved through Italy, Spain, and Germany in the late sixties; didn’t start drinking California until the early seventies. We have steadily drifted away from CalCabs and Bordeauxs over the years, except for well-aged ones (over 25-30 years).

Mine went-
Zinfandel (with dabbling in Bordeaux and Cabs)
Pinot Noir
Burgundy (dabbling in Northern Rhone and Nebbiolo)
White Burgundy (Cote de Beaune)


In the late 70’s, my brother-in-law bought up half bottles of Napa Cab from all the restaurants that wanted to unload them, then sold them to me. The were 67 to early 70’s wines. They were so much different than the Napa Cabs now. One of my favorites was Inglenook. Spicy and yet restrained. I would get off work at 7AM, (grave shift), come home, pop a bottle and try to drink it all before it faded due to age. I intend to revisit some of the older (late 60’s early 70’s 750ml bottles) we’ve been acquiring, that shouldn’t have lost so much life in the larger bottles.

A true wine geek goes through the following spiritual stages:

Stage 1 “Genesis” – Have an epiphany wine that makes you want to get more serious about wine
Stage 2 “Confusion” – Realize that there are so many bewildering choices that its difficult to decide what to buy
Stage 3 “Discipleship” – Start following the ratings of a respected wine critic as a guide to what to buy
Stage 4 “Cognitive Dissonance” – Do your best to tell yourself that you are actually enjoying all the highly rated wines you are drinking
Stage 5 “Awakening” – Realize that taste in wine is subjective and you need to determine for yourself what you like
Stage 6 “Rage” – What the f*ck am I going to do with all this wine I bought that i don’t actually like?
Stage 7 “Dinner Parties” – Unload the wine on friends at non-wine-geek dinner parties. They will likely be impressed as the wines are highly rated.
Stage 8 “The Quest” – Taste, taste and taste some more to see what regions, producers and vintages you like
Stage 9 “Enlightenment” – OMFG! Burgundy!
Stage 10 “Dark Night of the Soul” – OMFG! These things are expensive!
Stage 11 “Inner Peace” – German Riesling! And cheap too!

My daughter and her husband gave me for Christmas, George Taber’s “Judgment of Paris” the '76 tasting of French and CA wines. Winos are easy to shop for! [cheers.gif] The history parallels mine in the discovery of wine from the sixties in Ca to the eighties in OR. A very interesting read for those who haven’t already done so.

Boone’s Farm
Australian Chardonnay, Cabernet, Shiraz and stickies (I lived there for a couple of years)
Bordeaux, CdP, Tuscany, Piedmont, Tempranillo
Zinfandel, Cali Cab
Bordeaux, CdP, and Alsace
Barolo/Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti, Red Burgundy and Cognac/Armagnac

What a journey!


No divorce? neener

First 2-3 years: Burgundy (red and white), Reislings
After being convinced I could never learn enough about Burgundy, I went in search of an easier answer, Bordeaux

Next 3-5 years:
Bordeaux, Sauternes, Port and selective Spanish wines
Selectively buy Piedmont wines and Brunello
Some Aussie wines - tire of them quickly

Next 7-10 years:
California mailing lists with reckless abandon (Cabs, Chards, Zin, you name it)
Continue buying Bordeaux
Try Aussie wines again - tire quickly
Selectively buy Riesling, Burgundy, Alscatians, Piedmont, Tuscany and Spain

From then to now:
Sell +/- 2,000 bottles of New World wines - decide it’s not my wheelhouse and didn’t improve with age
Stop buying Bordeaux
Focus on Burgundy, Piedmont
Would buy much more Riesling and Alscatians if my wife were game
Limited buying of Brunello
No US wines except Rhys, no Aussies

{NOTE: EDITED because I realize after re-reading, that I am older than my post would look and I have been drinking wine for much longer than I first remember}

Rhone Syrahs
Domestic Syrah
Pinot Noir
Bedrock/Carlisle/Holdredge/Cabot/Rivers Marie/Wind Gap/Copain flirtysmile
Contentment [cheers.gif]

Bartles and James!

I don’t think I would call it a trajectory since I am currently drinking all these regions. So I would call this my ‘discovery’:

Beaujolais Crus, Southern Rhone, Piedmont, Northern Rhone

Starting here seems very unusual to me. It has been my experience that most newbies don’t appreciate these wines, especially the red Burgs. How did you manage to start here? Guidance from knowledgeable mentors?

Got into wine later in life (early 30s). Prior to that hadn’t drank wine except for Mad Dog/Bonnes Farm/Bartles & James in college. Was purely a craft beer guy, who thought he hated wine. [snort.gif]

Had a buddy who was very into wine (several thousand bottle cellar, very knowledgable as well).

He invited me to a tasting. It was for white burgs. I was hooked. flirtysmile

Next tasting was Gewurtztraminer - I went out the next week and bought a 6-pack of '89 Marcel Diess Altenberg de Bergheim

For New Years Eve that year, my buddy made a 7 course dinner. Highlight was a DRC Richebourg. Been chasing that Dragon since.

I also got into Burgs first, at the age of about 22. For me they were immediately appealing and still nothing has ever come close for me. It helped that a year or two after getting into wine my wife and I visited Burgundy on our honeymoon and drank some Rousseau at Troisgros.

In terms of varietals or styles, I don’t think of it in terms of progression, more as expansion. As I try more, I find more stuff that I like. As I find more stuff that I like, some of the stuff I used to drink a lot doesn’t seem quite as special as it used to (and some of it still does). My real progression has been more like this:

-Wine is crap
-Wait, good wine is actually good
-If you want good wine, you have to remember the ones you like
-Dammit, even the ones you like change every year
-I need to buy what I like in quantity, and keep it around (hey, cheaper that way, too)
-But I’m bored only drinking what I remember
-OK, try more, learn more, and figure out what I like more broadly
-Oh, wait, scores. That can help.
-Oh, wait, scores. Sometimes they don’t help at all.
-I need to figure this out, which means buying more, and trying more
-I don’t have enough space
-Geez, I really do like really good wine
-Uh-oh, now I’m out of space and out of money, too

Somewhere in there I realized I had become a wine geek.

This is totally realistic. [welldone.gif]


N. Rhône
CA Rhône Rangers
CA Syrah
Whatever Morgan bottles next