FINE+RARE asked eminent experts within the wine trade if they remember the wine moment that changed everything. From accidental finds to unexpected recommendations, these are their fine wine epiphanies…
Do you remember the fine wine that changed everything for you? That eureka moment that catapulted wine to a whole new level? At FINE+RARE we call that a Fine Wine Epiphany. We asked three movers and shakers in the wine industry to share their epiphanies with us.
Neil Tully became a Master of Wine in 1993 and is Creative Director at Amphora, a wine trade design consultancy based in Bath. His fine wine epiphany happened almost 30 years ago to the day…
1976 Tokay Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer
“My vinous epiphany occurred on my first day of gainful employment in the wine trade with a City wine merchant in London, having landed what I felt to be probably the best job imaginable (for an art school graduate, albeit armed with my WSET Diploma). Late in the morning one of the company Directors appeared, proffering a glass containing Tokay Pinot Gris 1976 Vendanges Tardives from Léon Beyer. Quite a baptism of fire, which took my perception of wine in general, Alsace, aged wine and Pinot Gris all in one go to a whole new level. All these things still mesmerise me, and I am eternally grateful for this vinous act of generosity.”
Daniel Primack has been described as a wine trade maven. His company Winerackd aims to help people get the most out of their wine. He is also a judge for the International Wine Challenge, the man who put Zalto glassware on the map in the UK and one half of Beer Anorak alongside Jamie Goode. His fine wine epiphany provided an affordable entry point…
2004 La Pialade Rayas
“During the early 2000s, my taste for fine wine was predominantly based on Cabernet Sauvignon, from Napa or Bordeaux. In 2006, at a dinner in The Halkin Hotel, I had the chance to drink a glass of Château Rayas. At that time, I did not know the Rhône well and it was a revelation of perfume, earth, spice and finesse. Shortly afterwards, whilst in a favourite wine merchant’s shop, I commented that I had Rayas taste and Côtes du Rhône money. ‘Funny you should say that’ said the wine merchant, ‘try this’. And he gave me La Pialade by Rayas.”
Tim Hanni (pictured wearing a Mondavi cork jacket) was a professionally trained chef before becoming one of the first two Americans to earn the title Master of Wine. Among many other achievements he has helped the WSET to rewrite their teaching on food and wine matching and published a book entitled “Why You Like the Wines You Like.” His fine wine epiphany made him a Burgundy lover for life.
1964 Corton-Bressandes, Jaboulet-Vercherre
“In about 1969 my friends and I (in high school, I was 17) rode our bikes to try and buy some beer at a local store. Unsuccessful, I went to a liquor store (the now-locally famous wine emporium Sunset Fine Wines in Miami) and asked the clerk for a nice bottle of Burgundy to serve with dinner. Voila! $3.50 a bottle. He seemed to overlook that I was far too young to buy alcohol and said, ‘Come again soon!’ So I emerged with a bottle of Jaboulet-Vercherre as a hero to my pals, we cooked steaks on the grill by the pool for our dates and, as the saying goes, the rest is history! I recall the wonderful smells and taste, and instantaneously became a hopeless Burgundaphile.”
FINE+RARE are experts in sourcing the finest and rarest wines. If you would like us to attempt to find any of the epiphany moment wines described above for you, please don’t hesitate to email us.