“What's your favorite wine?” - a question we're asked quite often. It makes sense: we sell wine for a living, and we love sharing our opinions about wine. But, my favorite? I'm not sure.
What's your favorite wine?
Not the best wine you've ever drunk, but your favorite.
It's not an easy question to answer. Or maybe I'm making it too complicated. Maybe you can answer it just fine and I'm over thinking it all. It wouldn't be the first time. For me, “best” wines are easy. I've got them all categorized and everything, and can reel off a list counting finger by finger with little to no effort.
Favorite, to me, is different. A favorite wine is a bottle whose moment, or moments, pierce through the memory of palate, heart, and mind. It may have been a revelation or a comfort, or both. It comes to be something that we consider as defining who we are – not just wine, but food, music, art, movies, architecture... Often the story of how one particular thing becomes a favorite rather becomes a defining story of our lives.
Again, maybe it's just me. It could be that I weigh down these moments with significance in hindsight, turning the odd moment into something far more than it has any right to be...
A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I tried a bottle of Celler de Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Rouge. It wasn't fancy then, it isn't fancy now, but at the time, it was fancy to me. Until this point in my life, I assumed all wine tasted like the communion offering. My first quaff of Cotes du Rhone blew me away! Fruit! And Earth! And Acid! All melded together into a gorgeously harmonious blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre (grapes I'd never heard of) that instantly ushered me into an ever expanding world of depth and flavor! I will always remember that moment: the place, the people with whom I shared the bottle, and the fact that I was completely blown away by a $13 bottle of wine.
So, how shall I choose to answer the question of “what's your favorite wine?” I'm thinking of using the “Desert Island” test: if I could only drink one wine for the rest of forever, what would it be?
I've whittled it down to 3 answers: