Wine Talk

Snooth User: Kelsey Wilburn

Your Wine Epiphanies (the quick and dirty version)

Posted by Kelsey Wilburn, Sep 7, 2011.

I absolutely loved writing for the wine epiphany contest here on Snooth, and I'm thrilled that this website (of already great ideas, people, and community) is fostering something so literally rewarding and fun. Because not everyone loves writing essays nor has the time to, I'd love to hear what people's epiphany wines were (just a name, price, and vintage will do)!

In the meantime, go read the wine epiphany essays too! So many were great. Here's mine, if you want to take a look:


Reply by Mark Angelillo, Sep 7, 2011.

Glad you enjoyed the contest! I had fun reading the entries.

I once had the privilege of being able to sample a Ch. Lynch Bages 89 out of the GDP cellar. That was a killer wine and eye-opening for me. My appetite for wine had already developed by that time, but this bottle took it to a new level entirely.

Reply by loganberrypie, Sep 7, 2011.

1995 Joseph Phelps Insignia. We had 3 bottles at one dinner for four of us - but one got spilled and we lost half the bottle! It was all our very generous (but a bit clumsy) host could do to not suck on the tablecloth as that purple stain spread. I was just a year into my wine journey, but that experience of tasting so many complex flavors sent me straight to the moon. I - and my wallet - have never been the same since. Still, I wouldn't change a thing.

Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 7, 2011.

Sadly, I don't know the exact wine, and neither does the person who gave it to me.  A close friend who knew that I liked wine had gotten me a Friday night gig as the wine bar girl at a local wine and cheese shop.  My job was to pour samples for the free tastings on Friday evenings and entice customers to buy as much as I could.  The wine I was charged with pouring was cheap, and I do mean cheap.  It wasn't nice wine at a low price.  It was marginal wine that was overpriced even at $9.99. 

One evening my friend came over to me as I was cleaning up glasses after a tasting.  He had a glass of wine in his hand and said, "You've worked hard tonight.  You should taste some of the really good stuff." 

I wasn't expecting much out of the wine that he gave me, based on the wine I had been pouring all night.  But then I tasted a sip, and I was in shock.  My senses were awakened immediately.  I tasted green apples and overripe peach.  There was an underlying creaminess that lingered on my tongue long after I swallowed.  I closed my eyes and savored the moment.  When I opened them, my friends was standing there, smiling at me.  He knew what had just happened.

"What was that??" I asked him.

"White burgundy.  It's my favorite wine in the world."  Then he left the glass with me and walked back to his table on the other side of the shop.  As we now say, that was either the best thing or worse thing he ever did for me.

Since I was clueless about French wine at the time, I didn't really know HOW to find out the exact wine I had just tasted.  My friend had been sampling most of the evening already, so he doesn't remember what he gave me.  We know it was a white burgundy, and he thinks it was a 2005 vintage, definitely a Premier Cru, probably a Puligny-Montrachet or Meaursault.  However, we will never know for sure.

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 7, 2011.

Determining which White Burgundy is pretty much a needle in the hay scenario, but at least you know the region.  You'd think he'd remember if it was his favorite wine in the world, but oh well.

As a young chap, it was a Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon 1999.  Just the regular, nothing fancy, but it really was epic and as a young guy interested in alcohol but totally uninterested in wine, this was the taste that really brought wine into play for me. 

Reply by spikedc, Sep 8, 2011.

A South African Neighbour new to our street invited my wife and me in for a drink one evening and brought out a bottle of Boschendal 1685 Shiraz 2008, although i've always enjoyed a glass of wine it was always run of the mill plonk and  was drunk without much appreciation, it was just red or white wine.

From the first sip of the Boschendal my senses awakened, suddenly i realised that for just a little extra outlay a wine could taste so much better, although not an expensive drink it totally sucked me in to the world of better quality wine.

My Neighbours stories of his time in South Africa and that first glass made for a very pleasant evening and since then i have always had a bottle of Boschendal in my rack to remind me of how my wine adventure started. I have now tasted many great wines thanks to the guys here at Snooth and my South African Neighbour.

Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 8, 2011.

@JonDerry, he wasn't referring to the specific wine as his favorite in the world, but to White Burgundy as a whole. 

@Spikedc, I like that you continually keep a bottle of your "epiphany wine" in your rack.  How often do you drink it?

Reply by spikedc, Sep 8, 2011.


Not as often as i should (so many other great wines to try) maybe once every couple of months. It  usually comes out when meeting up with my SA neighbour who is out of the country working a lot of the time so maybe 9 or 10 times a year.

Got a soft spot for Boschendal wines in general but there will always be a space in my rack for a  1685 Shiraz.!

Reply by EMark, Sep 8, 2011.

March 1969--A bottle of Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon.  I don't remember the vintage year, but it was vintage dated--probably '66 or '67.

The thing I learned from that wine was that it is important to have a good corkscrew to get the cork out.  I was using a metal combination bottle cap remover/churchkey/corkscrew that was woefully inadequate.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 12, 2011.

Emark, that's great.  Sounds like the epiphany was a useful one:  Invest in tools.

Two for me:  In 1978 or so, when I was fifteen, we visited a friend who opened a bottle of '68 BV.  I had no idea until much later that this was a vintage that put Napa on the map.  (Inglenook as a wine put it on the map before, but that vintage turned out to be a legend.)

Then, in 1994 or 1995, I got a cheap bottle of Monterey Vineyard's 1990 Cab.  And learned all over again the priority of vintage--a spectacular bottle from a modest source.  Sometimes, the stars, or at least the one we call our sun, align just right. I've since bought, for a lot more money, 1990 Cali Cabs when they showed up at auction.  In spite of RP's raves about 2007 in Napa and the S. Rhone, I doubt that I will see a year that excelled for one grape across so much territory as cabs from 1990 in Northern California.  And, thankfully, the makers were still showing a bit of restraint.

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