The thread where the OP asked for help on “getting Burgundy” led me to think about this topic. How did we get into wine, where did we start, where have we arrived at, and what have been our journey?
I started relatively early as a student, but the low income situation as a student and different priorities led me to not spend a lot of money one wine. I loved reading about it from the beginning, though, but remember not understanding that much even though the magazine I started with was Decanter. Early on the descriptions of Burgundy caught my imagination, but I never really got it, although that’s understandable. My palate wasn’t there and the wines I tried are wines I still don’t enjoy that much even though they are better than ever.
This lead me to drink a bit of Portugese wine (cheap) and I early on loved Rosemount Shiraz Cabernet, which I see costs pretty much the same as it did back then (20 years ago). How did they do that? For a while I didn’t delve that much into wine apart from reading about it here and there and buying cheap wines. However at one point I came to work as an extra in a brasserie that had a decent wine list. At that point I had gone back to Uni to do a different degree, but it was the life in the restaurant business that won in the long run. I finished my degree, but not without learning a lot more about wine and food (and living a year in Italy which has shaped my food palate a lot, but I’m francophile when it comes to wine) and getting hooked.
When I first started paying more for wine it was Valpolicella Ripasso, but I quickly grew tired of them and an early favorite was Chateauneuf-Du-Pape from Pierre André. After a year of drinking larger wines I got hooked on riesling and from there the transition to Burgundy came naturally. Since then I’ve been deeply invested in Burgundy both in geeking out over it and buying it, slowly paying more and more for my bottles to get higher quality. Until Burgundy’s price hike came along and I had to pay a lot more whatever the quality and these days I spend a lot of time looking for Burgundy QPR.
Along the road I’ve taken some detours. I liked, but never spent much time or money with Champagne until very recently and initially I disliked Chablis. It’s probably the most sold category of white wines in restaurants in Norway and most people buy whatever the “house Chablis” is, which generally isn’t that interesting. I felt it was simply bland and boring compared to dry riesling, but that changes when I had my first 15 year old GC Chablis - then I “got it” and I’ve since bought and drunk a lot of excellent Chablis. I’m still not a fan of sauvignon blanc, some Sancerres are nice (prefer the ones made in neutral barrels to the ones in steel), and generally do not like the extremely powerful nose of NZ sauvignon blanc. There’s too much cat pee, although I’ve found some favorites (I get to taste a lot of wine) I still don’t cellar any.
I discovered the Northern Rhône very late. I’d been drinking a lot of Burgundy and listing it in the restaurant long before I started buying in Northern Rhône wines - it was Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot that won me over. The elegance and complexity of that wine made me look deeper into the region and it’s the fastest growing percentage in my cellar these days - it’s a lot cheaper than Burgundy both with age at auctions and current releases, and it triggers the same combination of hedonism and nerdiness in me. I’m watching the prices go up and availability go down (especially 2015 is very popular), but it’s still likely to keep growing for me.
So, that’s where I’m at these days. My love lists (we used to make these in junior high, but for a different topic) look like this:
White Burgundy (Côte d’Or)
(my cellar is filled with the same wines but in the opposite order, I drink a lot more riesling on a regular basis)
Nebbiolo from Piedmont
Sangiovese from Tuscany
(here my cellar is similarly proportioned)
Champagne (have cellared very little, but have started drinking better and more terroir specific)
What have been the journeys of everyone else?