What wine set your bar…which was your first??

An oft asked question when I’m at a wine event or just talking to some of our wine guests at a store is: what is your favorite wine? what was your first wine? These are common questions and my pat answer to the first question has always been “just good wine.” I don’t have a favorite wine that I drink all the time, there is just to much good wine out there to drink the same thing all the time. It doesn’t mean expensive either; when you drink wine about every day, price is very important. Spain, Argentina, the Rhone Valley, Italy, and Washington State are all areas that allow you to find great high quality wine values.

 The wine that started it all for me, in the early 80’s, was simple enough, Blue Nun Liebfraumilch. A couple of years later I was given a bottle of 1978 Ch. La Lagune, and that was the turning point for me. It tasted nothing like the wine that my Italian great-grandfather and my uncles made in the basement each year. They would stick their finger in their glass and then in my mouth. I can’t say that I loved the taste of it, but I remember the flavor to this day.

The wine that “set the bar” for me was a bottle of 1982 Ch. Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. I have had the opportunity to taste many great wines from around the world, but this was the wine that I compare all others…for now, anyway. So, when a younger wine buyer comes into ABC looking for White Zin or Blue Nun, I think back to when I started my journey across the wine world. I don’t look down to them for drinking such “pedestrian” wines, because that was me a couple decades ago and I know they’ll be back again looking for something more in the future.

If you have any stories on which wine you started drinking or the one that made the biggest impression on you, post it on this Blog. I’m sure many of us started in a similar fashion.

Ken Amendola

Wine Supervisor, North Florida

2 thoughts on “What wine set your bar…which was your first??

  1. Elleon17 says:

    I am not sure of my official FIRST wine, but I know there is a collection of riesling, white zin and some Boone’s Farm Strawberry wine thrown in there. 😉 The changing point for me was learning about wine when working in a restaurant. From there I experimented with different wines from everywhere and I agree with you, I can’t say that anything is my favorite (maybe with the exception of Champagne), but I like good wine that is enjoyable to drink and eat with.

  2. Amy Zugras says:

    My first wines were Lambrusco and sprite spritzers and Asti Spumante, can you tell I’m Italian? Later a Frascati paired with Chicken Francese was the first wine-food pair that got me. When I started drinking reds it was a Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet. Since then I’ve enjoyed many great bottles but the single vineyard Barbarescos from La Spinetta hold the bar on European wines. Out of Cailfornia Biale Black Chicken Zin, and recently Cabs from Mondavi reserve, Far Niente, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Next trip to California might bring some new favorites.

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