Once upon a time in Texas, there was a girl with an appetite and a dream...



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?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was the way my grandmother's gravy smelled. When I was a kid I asked her why it smelled so good, and she said, "red wine." She would also sneak me wine as a kid, during the lunches she would make me.

I didn't become a wine fiend, however, until I had a beaujolais nouveaux. I found it fascinating that it had to be drunk RIGHT NOW. I'm not good with waiting, so I could get my mind around a wine that was all about instant gratification.

9/02/2008 8:39 AM

Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

my path here:

9/02/2008 9:57 AM

Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

It was a random house red I had sitting outside eating dinner at Taverna Trilussa in Trastevere.

The sky was this intense midnight blue. I remember looking up at the sky and thinking "I don't want to leave."

9/02/2008 9:59 AM

Blogger Do Bianchi said...

My epiphany wine was a Sangiovese fatto in casa by Augusto Marcucci, the father of my friends, the Marcucci brothers, Leonardo, Riccardo, and Andrea. It was done in a totally natural style (even though I didn't know that then). I was in Bagno Vignoni (Montalcino) with my band to do a show and we paired with fried wild boar liver and stayed up all night. It was 1994. There had been so many wines before that, but that was the one that made start searching to find that experience again. Ironic since Riccardo had seriously schooled me in Super Tuscans at his family's restaurant... I mean the serious stuff. But it was his father's wine that changed my path.

Awesome post Tracie B.!

9/02/2008 11:35 AM

Anonymous J.Doe said...

This doesn't answer you question but I want to speak up in defense of white zinfadel. I like it. It's not my favorite, but I do like it.

9/02/2008 1:04 PM

Blogger Dear AL said...

I rarely drink wine. I know... the horror.

I grew up poor, so my love is fresh milk.

9/03/2008 4:03 PM

Blogger Susannah said...

I really liked this post and thought you described it all perfectly. My entry, I confess, was through a French not an Italian wine that made me want to stand up and salute it...a Gevry Chambertin from 1984. Truly astounding experience.

You have a nice touch to the wine blogging about Italy scene. Nuanced and muted. Very appealing.

9/03/2008 8:11 PM

Blogger Susannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/03/2008 8:12 PM

Blogger cammar said...

I love living in Maui just as much as I hate my yearly trip to Italy to visit my parents.

One of the very few things that I enjoy about the latter, is drinking the not labeled, home made, has-be-drank-within-a-few-months Falanghina that I can still find over there (I got a good pusher in Pozzuoli).
I'm not a sommelier nor a wine expert, but that thing is just a delight for my papille gustative (too lazy to look that up...).
He has also remarkable Per'e Palumm and Aglianico.

Ciao bella.

9/05/2008 4:18 AM

Blogger Tracie B. said...

miss e--wine in gravy is a good thing

ace--i remember that post...not a lot i haven't read!

nyc--i love that kind of blue! i went to the beach after work last summer in ischia around one in the morning. the moon was full and it seemed like dusk with that very same bright indigo. ti capisco :)

2B--what a great story! it is always the simple things that are the most fascinating, though. la dolce vita, ricordati :)

jane--drink what you like, sister!

dear al--milk?!

susannah--thanks for the visit and comment. well THAT wine won't be getting you any sympathy 'round here ;)

cammar--papille gustative: taste buds

9/05/2008 8:24 AM

Blogger Susannah said...

I went through many Lancer and Mateus bottles before that. Don't get me wrong...

funny lady. I like the word goe-sip. Can I use that too?

9/11/2008 12:08 AM

Blogger Tracie B. said...

hey susannah--you have to love how those darned italians pronounce our words! (and vice versa--i know)

do you have a blog? send me the leeeenk-uh.

9/11/2008 7:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is such a nice blog...Check out this blog: www.livingthegourmet.blogspot.com!
Post messages, sign up for e-mails, and don't forget to visit daily to see what's new! See you there! :)

10/17/2008 10:46 PM

Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Ciao Bella!
I wanted to send you an email, but don't seem to have it saved in my address book. Could you give it to me?

Hope all is well. I can see that you blog ALMOST as little as I do these days.

Sending a big hug from Italy,

10/28/2008 7:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know, this is a bit of an old post, but I am catching up! My distinct experience was a 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, tasted in 2007. It was like taking a bite of the best steak you have ever tasted. And I know good steak, being a Midwesterner! I will never forget that taste. ~Katie

3/08/2010 10:21 PM


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