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ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE BEGINNING WINE CONNOISSEUR

Thereís a great article in the September 15, 2001 Wine Spectator.  Written by Gerald Eskenazi, a New York Times sportswriter for the last 42 years, the article provides a timeline of his wine progression.  Like many of the U.S. born and bred baby-boomers, his early professional drinking experience was with liquor rather than wine.

It was at a season-ending party for the New York Jets beat writers hosted by Eskenazi that he had a wine epiphany.  A fellow writer for the New York Post, Paul Zimmerman, had a wine tasting hobby.  Eskenazi asked him to select wine for the dinner party and was surprised when most of the writers commented on the taste of the two wines and how well they complemented the dinner.  Eskenazi was hooked and thus began his wine tasting experiences.

Eskenazi relates a few interesting wine stories.  Norman Braman, former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, had a wine cellar at his Miami home which was a converted swimming pool.  In the deep end was the 1896 Lafite Rothschild.  Chuck Noll, the Steelers coach, had a cellar in Pittsburgh during the hey day of the Steel Curtain.  My favorite was the story of a Redskins exhibition game in Easton, PA, when Eskenazi criticized a wine offered to him by the late Jack Kent Cooke.  Accordingly, Cooke sent an aide to find the only bottle of Chardonnay in that area of the state (Wino John may be able to attest to this based on his college table waiting days in that area).

While most of us havenít had the opportunity to sip wine with the rich and famous, many of us can relate to Eskanaziís tales.  In college, a good bottle of wine was generally a bottle of Mateus.  If you were hosting a wine and cheese party (ostensibly to meet women), Almaden jug wine was generally an ok selection.  My first personal selections were German whites, generally because they were sweeter.  Graduating to drier whites then reds was less of a traumatic event in hindsight than it appeared to be at the time.

If you have a decent wine initiation tale, I encourage you to post it in our guest book.  If itís too long for the guest book (please list the maximum number of words for the guest book, Wino John), send it to Wino John and heíll publish it somewhere on our site.  Meanwhile, keep drinking wine.  I encourage you to expand your horizons and try wines recommended by others.  You may like it.

Wino Wally
September 25, 2001


 

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