One night recently, a friend asked me what was the wine--that one, that inspired me along this path. Thinking about it, I've noticed that a lot of people have these passionate tales of a revelatory Barolo or Burgundy (or in his case, a Spatburgunder). It's all very romantic to have a such a beautiful story, or some one-word answer with a respectable D/AOC attached.
For me though, there wasn't one wine that turned the key that opened the door to this technicolor world. I didn't have such a tidy response. There was just a beginning, the first steps of a journey.
It's funny, but white zinfandel was my first wine, though I didn't stay there for long. My active curiosity quickly (and thankfully) swept me along on a current of new places and better wines.
My love for wine is one manifestation of this curiosita', a theme that has also led me away from home and back again. To me, wine has always been a stained-glass window to the world, a way to touch another culture and understand it's eno-gastronomic traditions; a way to travel that is much more visceral than vicarious. (Such a gift!)
Of course there have been special players along the way, wines which have made my ears perk...wines which have sent shivers down my spine...wines that stayed with me long after their ephemeral physical selves were poured and drunk.
Those have been special. But when asked to explain where my love of wine comes from, I have to say that it is the taste of an exotic place, connection with foreign geography right in my own home, and perhaps most thrillingly of all, there is always something to learn.
And for the thirsty ones out there like me, that's the key. What's yours?