Epiphany Wines?!

Wine people can be a bit over dramatic. We describe wines by comparing them to people, saying things like "this Chardonnay is much more of a Marilyn Monroe than an Audrey Hepburn." We rant in incredible frustration when liquor companies buy out family estates and ruin their once great wines, and we sometimes talk about epiphany wines.

Epiphany wines are these unique moments when people taste a wine that rocks their world. For some reason, these wines strike people beyond simply tasting good, but can be a profound moment of discovery. It can inspire people to love a certain grape or region. It can cause some to become increasingly fascinated with cooking and pairing wine with food, and it can even cause some to change careers (like me!).

It is striking how consistent this experience is amongst winemakers. I've asked numerous winemakers about their epiphany wines and the majority have one or two specific instances that they point to that inspired their work. For some, it was their first taste of aged red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) from a classic producer, while others talk about a humble wine that just fits perfectly with the evening.

As much as I think the dramatism surrounding wine can make it unapproachable, and therefore incredibly destructive (I just want more people to enjoy this delicious juice!), I am also a bit of a romantic about wine. I think it can be a great way to learn about taste and more fully experience the world. It's totally okay if you don't have a specific "epiphany wine," I bring it up because I think it's interesting to take a step back and appreciate how taste and smell can cause powerful, moving experiences in the way that paintings or music can.