My relationship with wine is about as old as my relationship with Brian Grobleski. In college, we would drink whatever we could afford (Mondavi, Yellowtail, etc.) while playing gin. From there, we moved on--and up--one bachelor party at a time, one wedding at a time: a Mondavi Oakville here, an Amarone there. I got married; he went to culinary school. Each of those decisions, for us, meant a new relationship to wine.
Marriage meant, among many things, that I would eat and drink with my wife--who, at the time, really had no interest in wine. When we did drink wine, it was wine we could afford. For me, this was fine; for her, though, it was more a reason to stay away. But then something happened.
Her career began to take her to fine-dining restaurants across the city, state, nation, and globe, and each meal meant exposure to a new wine. One of her first glasses without me was a 2003 Quintessa. It was, she would later say, what changed her mind about wine. Since then, she's encountered a wide variety of bottles, some mundane , some exotic (I'm most envious of her "sipping Brunello in Basel, Switzeralnd" moment). Through these experiences her palate became fine tuned to what she most enjoyed: deep, rich, full-bodied Napa cabs and cab blends, "Meritages," and even old world Bordeaux blends.
While taste stayed in the affordable range, hers had soared to seemingly unattainable heights. Yet little by little we'd try something new, something pricey, and we began to develop our palates in tandem. I'm slowly getting over my aversion to Pinot (what I once called water-wine), but I've yet to taste one I would run out to buy. I'm still partial to Napa cab: recent highlights have been 2004 Freemark Abbey and 2007 Caymus.
Most recently, the chef--Brian--has relocated to Texas and joined our tasting table, bringing with him expert knowledge of varietals, varieties in terroir, deductive tasting techniques, and production. I'm looking forward to learning more, tasting more, and finally opening the gift that my wife gave to the Chef after recently reaching one of his personal goals: a 2006 Quintessa.