Virtual Tasting for Charity Week 3 - Dec 7th-14th “Story Wines” for Semper Fi & America’s Fund

Charity: Semper Fi & America’s Fund. About Us - Semper Fi & America's Fund. Click the link to learn about what this charity does for veterans and their families. (This is one charity, by the way)

Theme: Every wine tells a story, don’t it? Maybe, but there are also some wines that have a more ‘personal’ story behind them for you. Maybe the vintage year has special meaning for you, or the wine was an eye-opener that led you to new wine interests, or you discovered the wine in your travels, or the wine brings to mind a memorable occasion or person, or . . . ?

Whatever the reason, these are wines that when you reach for them, this connection is in your mind. So that’s going to be the theme for this week’s tasting for charity. Open a wine that has this extra dimension of a personal meaning or connection for you and tell the story. A long story, a short story, a few words, it doesn’t matter. It’s your wine and your story and it’s all good stuff!

I’ll make a $10 contribution for each post made this week where you . . .
open a ‘story wine’ and tell the story.

Thanks for joining in.

P.S. I’m listening.

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Oh I have stories! Nobody wants to hear them, but I have stories.

Can’t wait.

Jim, I like this challenge. I have a Champagne I am going to use, and with your challenge live, I will open it tonight for my wife and I. I can narrate a pretty good story around it, too.

Thank you for doing this, for our vets and their families.

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Well you gave us quite scare this week,

I don’t remember which vintage, maybe 2008 or thereabouts, this one became a QPR darling on wineberserkers.

My wife is the Cabernet drinker in the family and this was in the back of her kitchen cabinet lurking all these years, she had purchased a handful of vintages based on those recommendations.

I found this when I was looking for other wines for a previous virtual tasting for charity week and she saw and said “hey I used to like that wine”. Hey she still likes it!

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Hmmm . . . a tweener’ maybe, Brig.
Half a donation from me and half a donation from Chris?

P.S. Thanks for being the first to post

Cool theme Jim and hopefully more people will jump in.

This isn’t much of a story. Unlike a lot of people who started getting into wine through CA or France, my love started with Italy back in 1984. And the first wine I can recall was a Ghemme (followed by a Gattinara). The big Bs came next. Coincidently, the Gs were historically famous before the Bs. I don’t recall the producer.

2016 Tizziano Mazzoni Ghemme

I wanted to love this wine more than I did. The color was a light, almost pale red. The nose was stubbornly muted even after being open for hours. The mouthfeel was nice enough and silky rather than tough and closed. Cranberries, red berries, a bit of tar. Quite light bodied for a Nebbiolo. I really can’t say that this was shut down so much as being insubstantial. Plenty of Langhe Nebbiolo have more to offer. Maybe it will amount to something with more age but it doesn’t really promise anything. A bit disappointing. My wife told me not to back up the truck.


Ramey Chardonnay is a story of family for me. My parents became fans of David Ramey’s wines when he was at Rudd. By total luck I actually met David on a cross-country plane ride around that time, and we talked about Rudd, and how much my parents loved the wines. Not long after my folks started buying the Ramey wines, Hudson and Hyde Chardonnay. I was not a fan. I was deep in my early Riesling years, and oak was my enemy. Still, every Christmas we would have a Ramey Chardonnay with our Lobster dinner. Gradually I warmed to the wines, and in about 2006 or so became a fan. Three magnums of Ramey Chardonnay were part of my folks’ 50th anniversary gift. I even had David Ramey sign the bottles. Eventually I started buying the wines for myself, and each time I open one I think of my parents. Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay is my mom’s favorite wine.

Tonight it’s the RRV Chard, but it’s clearly Ramey and delicious.


Jim, I took my wife to dinner last night to our favorite place in the OC, Marche Moderne. We’ve dined there for years, in part the new location and many in the old location, some with some memorable dinners (one was Clos and Clos, when we did Clos St. Jacques and Les Clos–that was a banging night!). So, there is the connection to place, of great memories, many with people here on this forum.

As for the meal, some photos below. It’s a piece of France brought to Orange County and it’s consistently the real deal for a great meal. I always bring a wine with me, so last night I brought one of my personal Champagne icons, the 2014 Marie Courtin Efflorescence. 100% Pinot Noir, no dose, farmed biodynamic, done in old wood by Dominique Moreau. And I have been fortunate enough to visit her twice at the domaine the past few years, most recently this past May. She is gracious, humble, talented and cerebral about her 2.5 hectares–it ain’t much but what she does from that plot is gorgeous, and I own a pile of her wines in my cellar. She’s in my very best in all of Champagne.

In 2020, I found my way into the 2014 cuvee called Efflorescence. It’s from the lower part of the slope. In 2014, given the cooler conditions, that wine sings and the Pinot Noir is both savory and fruit reflective. I have had 12 bottles of the wine now, and they are consistently the very best of how I think about Champagne. The few I have left of the 2014 I am careful opening as it’s now very hard to backfill.

Last night’s bottle was just beautiful. My note is below and when I think of Marie Courtin, of Dominique’s wines, it is this wine that always tells me a raspberry filled, gastronomic stony tale, a story of real beauty.

  • 2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut - France, Champagne (12/8/2022)
    My final bottle of the December 2018 disgorgement (have two remaining from 2019 disgorgements), and this is my 12th bottle since release so I've got some good perspective on this wine now. I've consistently loved this wine, it's an iconic wine for me in my own Champagne journey. I found it almost 3 years ago and it's been a north star kind of wine, helping me to dig in strongly to support the wines of Dominique Moreau, and really appreciate and revere the grower craft. Opened last night, drank through all but a glass, shared with my wife over dinner. It displayed a mix of things, starting off smoky, perhaps a bit reductive. Then, it flowed into crisp apple, kumquat and then the lovely stony profile that has made me fall for this cuvee. Revisiting tonight, the final glass. It's lost a good amount of the bubbles, and I've let it cool off so it's room temp of 66f. Tonight, the Pinot Noir comes through in the red berry raspberry note, then a tangy crisp apple, with a little citrus bitterness but it's the finish, the cleansing minerality/stone that always gets me. Just picture a tangy raspberry/apple spread over that mineral finish. Gorgeous. I got two of these jewels left! Dominique Moreau just nailed this 2014.

Posted from CellarTracker


Bought this wine a few years ago. I rarely drink red anymore, but when I do, it’s usually with my best friend. Last night, headed up the mountain to visit him, went to the brewery (Lake Arrowhead Brewing represent!), had a few beers, came home and opened this with dinner.

But, I was pretty toasted by this point so I don’t remember much about the wine! Inky color, fruity, dark nose, not much on the front or mid palate, long dark fruit finish with smooth tannins. Yummy, not profound. But fun to drink a 100% AB (and not really remember!) it.


My father-in-law was a painter as well as an art teacher all his professional life. He was the first person in a family of immigrant steel workers to go to college, and was a WWII veteran who we believe drew at least some of the maps for Operation Torch (the North Africa landings in November 1942) and possibly for Operations Husky (the invasion of Sicily) and/or Avalanche (the landings at Salerno). He did not talk about it much.

His teaching career was so long, and he propelled so many of his students into art, that most established figures in the Cleveland art community today were either taught by him or know someone who was. He enjoyed considerable success while he lived. However, he didn’t spend a lot of time relentlessly promoting his work, a task to which my wife has set herself since he passed in 2011 at the age of 95.

As part of that effort, I seized an opportunity to create a private label champagne, using one of his paintings as the label. The champagne is 2012 Nicolas Maillart BdB Les Chaillots Gillis; among other uses, we give it to museum staff and directors as a thank you when they host shows. The label is a detail from a 2006 painting called Victory at Samothrace. The champagne is delicious: lush, loose knit, with a strong balance of baked apple flavor and tart citrus acidity.

My mother-in-law passed away the day after Thanksgiving. She was 99, and lived a full life almost to the very end. She was instrumental in allowing my father-in-law to pursue his art, so we could think of no better way to commemorate her life that having a bottle of this champagne. Out of the limited edition series of 114 bottles, you are looking at bottle #1.

Home - The Art of Anthony Eterovich

Anthony Eterovich – Artists Archives of the Western Reserve


Fantastic story! Thanks for sharing.

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Now all my stories will suck in comparison.

Great story!

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Another uninspiring story for me.

A have an associate who is a great example of someone who love drinking good wine, knows a bit about it, but has no interest in diving deeper or doing his own research. He has a contact in the wine distribution business and when he needs wine, he calls the guy to find him good wine within a budget. Whenever I have my friend over, he brings two bottles to gift me. Usually, it is a good Chianti or Barbera. This summer he brought me a 2016 Cigliuti “Serraboella” Barbaresco. I thanked him and said that I’d lose it in the cellar for 15 years. His response was, “What? I’ve drank two cases of it.” I put it in the cellar and forgot about it. A few weeks ago, he emailed me asking how I liked the wine. Shit. So I went looking for it, except that I really did lose it in the cellar. I spent three different trips down there looking for it. My wife asked me why I was dropping F bombs in the cellar if that was my happy place. Finally, I did find it. Who doesn’t put a lone bottle of Barbaresco behind the Clos Cibonne Tibouren “Cuvee Speciale des Vignettes”?

So, the wine. On a separate thread regarding how the 2016s currently are, I discussed this producer a bit with @Otto_Forsberg and @Todd_Tucker. This wine was a blast of bright cherries, fresh primary fruits, and a slight hint of leather. Of course, it had nothing tertiary and still had some fierce tannins. However, it was also very approachable and drinkable giving credence to someone drinking it young in quantity if the didn’t care about the results of extended aging. So the wine is ready or not depending on your preference, but it is not a “don’t touch” wine at this point. A second point we discussed is that Cigliuti uses a combination of botti and used tonneaux. Todd strongly insisted this wine shows heavy oak influence. I’m not sure what to make of that. This wine certainly does not have anything on the nose resembling what I would identify as new oak from the modern camp of Langhe Nebbiolo. There is really nothing on the palate either - perhaps it is a bit silkier than I would expect from a young Barolo. There is a slight bitterness to the tannins that I’d prefer wasn’t there. Is its approachability so early in the aging curve the tell of the tonneaux? I don’t know, but Todd clearly has a palate superior to mine if he found this wine overtly oak influence. Anyway, it’s a good wine, not great, not life changing, not buy by the case. I think it was retailing around $60.

Update: The above was written after the first glass. The second glass turning decidedly less inviting. While the 15% ABV didn’t help, rather than opening up the wine simply turned increasingly bitter and plodding. I have not seen this before from oak (usually that is more of a cloying sweetness for me) and it was certainly not what I would expect from a traditional vinification. Perhaps Todd is right about this one. I don’t know if age will right this, but I am discouraged.


Chris, thanks for the nice note and the laugh out loud story of the lost bottle. I think you misunderstood me. I tend to actively dislike ANY noticeable wood in nebbiolo, so it distracts to me. The Serraboella as I think sees 30% tonneaux. It’s not 100% barrique. The fruit in this wine is great and IMO would have been better without the wood. I am well aware of my predilection as are the people with whom I drink. Is this wine Voerzio? Of course not, but I can taste the tonneaux, and I don’t like it. That’s what I said.


Chris, I read your edit. This is what young structured nebbiolo often does. It can be really good for a glass and then shut down. I wouldn’t blame the wood for that. Even if it’s not favorite style, I bet this wine will be very good in many years.


Love this one, in terms of the cause and the idea of putting stories behind it, so had to find an occasion to participate and last night provided the opportunity.

Vertical tasting: 2017, 2018, 2019 Merry Edwards RRV Sauvignon Blanc

We have a core group of 4 who get together about once a month to cook a nice dinner and share good wine. Myself, my girlfriend, my best friend, and his mom. For the two ladies in the group, the Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc is their favorite wine. We generally open a bottle together about 3x a year, and they just gush about it, light up when they drink it, and always look forward to the next one.

Quick backstory: 2017 was the first time I took my girlfriend to Napa & Sonoma. She appreciated wine, but really didn’t know a whole lot about it. So while she knew what she liked, she rarely remembered grapes, let alone producers or appellations, always relying on me to do so. But after that trip, whenever someone would ask what her favorite wine was, the answer was always the same “Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc” (without me having to prompt her, which was a small miracle at the time). So, in our heads, we consider that ‘our wine’.

Fast forward to last night, my friend and I decided to surprise my girlfriend and her mom by doing a mini vertical of their favorite wine, paired with a simple but delicious roast chicken with salsa verde. It was a lot of fun to compare vintages, which 2018 took in my book because of an extra depth to mineral and creaminess notes on top of the tropical fruit that was present in all 3. My friend preferred the 18 as well, while his mom preferred the 2019. My girlfriend? The 2017: the year we had our first trip there together.

Cheers to all our veterans. Semper Fi.


We are at the mid-point of the tasting week. Thank you to those who have joined in so far. I might have ‘misread the room’ a bit with the theme, but there is still plenty of time to join in.

I’ll make a $10 contribution for each post made this week where you . . .
”open a ‘story wine’ and tell the story”

A long story, a short story, a few words, it doesn’t matter. It’s your wine and your story and it’s all good stuff!

All your stories are good for this thread, its not just ‘best story’ :cheers:

I had a few things last night that I thought could tell a good story but they were both red wines and my wife doesn’t drink red so I think tonight we’ll get some Vilmart open and I’ll have a good story to keep supporting this great effort Jim… thank you.

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Amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

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