Where A Love Of Wines Begins

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - March 03, 2010
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A smooth Cabernet with a huge spiced fruit core

If you are a wine lover, you have most certainly had that experience that ignited your passion for wine. It comes in many different forms and can differ in intensity. But the one guarantee is what gave you that experience was a truly great wine.

Few of us in Hawaii can say that we grew up drinking wine. Wine is a relative newcomer to Hawaii’s culture, and there is no record of fermented beverages being consumed on a common basis in ancient Hawaii. But there are those who have moved to Hawaii who grew up around wine. Either their family drank wine regularly at meals, was involved in the wine business or even produced it.

At the same time, there are those who don’t become passionate about wine at all. They see it as a common beverage, a grocery item that is meant to be drunk without passion.

I know some drinkers who started drinking wine because of its health benefits. Red wine is well-documented for its health benefits, and health-conscious adults continue to gravitate to it. They search the shelves or ask a salesperson which is the best one for them, rather than ask which one tastes the best. But eventually they start to develop the flavor and desire for certain wines. They become much more discerning - picky, even.


There are those who dabble in wine because they love great food. These are the gourmands of life with the joie de vivre to enjoy whatever comes to the table. Some may call them hedonists. These people find wine an essential part of a meal and easily become passionate about wine because of the passion they find for food.

Others get hooked on wine because they entertain and do business over meals. These are often the executives and professionals that seek to impress guests. They often are tasked with the responsibility to choose a wine without spending too much or too little. In order to get better at what they do, they research a little more, taste a little more. The next thing you know, they are a full-fledged wine lover.

Any combination of these people become collectors, wine enthusiasts, wine geeks and sometimes (unfortunately) wine snobs. But the one thread that holds them all together is that they all experienced a great wine. It is a great wine that inspired them to seek out more.

This inspiration is what ignites the passion in almost anything. If you ask people who are successful in life what has inspired them, each in their turn will recount an example of greatness in their lives. Perhaps it was Michael Jordan making a game-winning shot. Perhaps it was Martin Luther King Jr. marching in Washington, D.C., or hearing Sviataslov Richter play the piano in concert.

There are moments of inspiration in our lives that move us toward better things. They teach us to aspire to higher levels of greatness.

The great wines of the world do the same for wine drinkers. Once you taste a truly fantastic wine, you will never be able to look at wine the same way again. You have seen the next plane. In my mind, that is one of the true gifts that great wine brings to the world. And it is one thing that we can all share.

Recommendations: 2007 Delas Freres Cotes du Ventoux ($10) This is a dead ringer for a great Cotes du Rhone based on Syrah and Grenache. It has an exemplary amount of fruit and complexity at a pittance. It’s great for barbecues or stewed red meats. This is a two-bottle buy recommendation. 2006 Carpe Diem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) This juice comes from the Dominus Estate, and shows a huge spiced blackberry and blueberry core of fruit that leads into a smooth texture on the palate. This is one of the best values for Napa Valley Cabernet I’ve had in a while.


Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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