I don’t remember the first time I drank wine or the first wine I drank. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a pleasant memory even if I did remember. I do remember buying a case of Mogen David for myself because it was only $1.50 per bottle. I had huge plans for that case, I was going to cellar it and sell it in twenty years for thousands of dollars! The case lasted about a week, and it’s not a purchase I would repeat, even if it was only $18.00.
I do remember the first wine I enjoyed.
When I was 19 years old, my best friend Caleb worked at a little French Bistro called Rococco. He was a waiter, and he was really good friends with the owner. The owner was known for being extremely generous with her nice selections. One year for Christmas, she gave Caleb a bottle of wine. The wine was called L’Espil. It was a Grenache blend from Priorat. Until about three years ago, I would have said that Priorat was the varietal, and in previous wine buying positions, I had been desperately seeking the illusive Priorat grape. As it turns out, Priorat is a region in Spain that is known for some pretty spectacular juice.
As Caleb and I were slightly under the legal age to purchase our own alcohol, that night that we were desperate to drink. And with no means of getting our booze, we remembered his Christmas present. In the basement of my mother’s house, out of the cheapest stemware imaginable, we drank that bottle and didn’t think twice about the situation. Looking back at it, it was AMAZING!! Before that night, I had no appreciation for wine whatsoever. It was all grape juice with a weird aftertaste. This was clearly the exception. I can still taste it. It was full flavored and rich up front. The wine had an intense tannic and acidic mid-palate but finished with a long-lasting smooth amazing black peppery finish. I never forgot the name Priorat. It wasn’t until seven or so years later that I came to really appreciate it. It was a wine that I would now sell for probably $200 to $250. The region has a really cool history that I love to talk about.
Coming soon: “Priorat… Danger and Celibacy”
View my restaurants’ wine lists:
Also coming soon:
Wine Event at Nosh – March 17, 6PM – 8PM – Wince Cru Spanish and Portuguese Wine Tasting