The wines that made me a wino...How I fell in love with wine

Do you remember your first love? your second? Your fourteenth? One of the greatest loves I have for wine is how much you can remember a good bottle. It sticks with you forever, and makes your love for the drink even stronger. I cannot think of a beer that has done that (okay one beer, but thats about it). The more I drank, the more I fell in love with wine, but there are a handful of bottles I can remember that made me a real wino!

Anthonij Rupert Optima and Anthonij Rupert Cabernet Sauvignon Circa 2005 Vintage

I can remember the tasting as bright as if it were yesterday. It was my first real wine tasting, my dad had taken us to see the amazing car museum on the L'Ormarins estate in Franschoek, South Africa, and we stayed for some wine. The cars were stunning, and I felt like I was in a whole new world of luxury. It felt good. The first wines, not so much. But then I got to two red wines, Optima and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Anthonij Rupert range. They were unreal, I loved the wines, but could not put my finger on it. I would go back in 2010 and again in 2012 and still floored by these awesome red wines. They felt and tasted like a memory, like they had become a piece of me.

Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010

My first ever Napa wine tasting at an estate I had Googled the night before. I had no idea what to expect, but I felt like this was the right place. Not a massive winery, not overly touristy, definitely focused on good wines. I was so happy I found it. People had been calling me a wino, and making me the go to wine decision maker at dinners, but I felt like I had no real knowledge about wine. I felt like I needed something exceptional in my life, and at Trefethen I found it. A superbly rich Cabernet Sauvignon that turned wine into an adventure, daring me to seek out new experiences. 

Pinotage, all of it, like every bottle.

Any and all Pinotage here. It is one of my favorite wines because it share so much in common with me. Dark, heavy, South African. Pinotage is wine that brings out my national pride, and something I can follow from half the world away easier than the Springboks. It tastes like Africa, it tastes like home, and it makes me feel warm every time I sip it. Want to know what South Africa is like? Drink Pinotage. 

Lourensford SMV 2010, 2012, and 2014

I think this is the wine that made me feel like wine was a 'thing' of mine. When I first tasted this blend all I could think about was how much I wanted it to be me wine for everything. This was the wine everybody would fall in love with, and everybody has. I still want to, and still do share this wine with everybody. A blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre, and Viognier that captured everything I could ever want from a bottle of wine. Bonus, it was what, like $10?

But it was the 2014 vintage that made me question something else. What the hell was I doing with my life? Why was I selling market research surveys? Long story short, I started Vynl because I wanted to share wine with everyone. These wines rock, and when you find a wine that is that fucking awesome you want to share it with everybody. That is what wine should be about! That is what wine should be about!

Oh, and a few honorable mentions...

  • Enso 2013 Cabernet Franc - A wine that unlocked memories of driving down dirt roads to visit wineries with my parents as a kid.
  • Chateau L'Eglise Clinet 1986 - I celebrated my 30th birthday with this beauty. 
  • Barolo - Winos all over the world over go apeshit over this wine. After my first... I get it now