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Do You Remember Crossing "The Line"?


Zeemanb
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Sorry if there is a recent, similar poll like this one, but I was wondering if there are others here who can distinctly remember the point at which they crossed "the line". For the purposes of this thread, I'll simply describe THE LINE as that point in time (or the event) that made you realize you had officially crossed over into what most of society would call "geekdom". Hopefully "geek" is not TOO subjective of a term, or even offensive to some, it's just the most generic word I could think of. I thought of trying to describe crossing the line in relation to the word "normal", but normal to me is making sure I've got decent wine glasses (and the style of corkscrew I prefer) stashed at both my parent's and my girlfriend's houses for when I visit, so "normal" society would probably think of me as a "wine geek" while most real "wine geeks" would think of that as the most logical thing they've heard all day. I don't even have a change of clothes stashed at the girlfriend's house yet, but the glasses and the opener have been there for a couple of months……but anyhoo….

As a newbie, I crossed that line pretty recently, so it's fresh in my mind. I've enjoyed wine for several years, have known what I like for the most part, but only in the last year have I consciously thought "I really love this, and I always want the enjoyment and learning to be a part of my life". I'm at the point now where I've learned there is WAY too much to know to truly "conquer" it, there will probably never be enough time and definitely not enough money to taste everything that’s out there…so relax and enjoy the ride. Learn the wines you like, share them with friends, and just slooooow doooooown.

Anway, back to THE LINE….and after all this rambling my experience will probably sound pretty anticlimactic. I was at Lidia's here in KC a month or so ago, and it was "girlfriend meets my parents for the first time" night (as a 35 year old career bachelor, I give mom and dad some false hope once in a while….it keeps them going). Everybody has known for a long time that I'm not going to have a nice dinner without wine, and my folks and girlfriend all know enough about it to know what they do and don't like to drink. So I'm yacking away with the server, having what to any of us would be a completely NORMAL wine conversation, and for some reason I remember that I used the word "meritage" and went through the differences in blends between the 2001 and 2002 vintages of a particular wine. When I turned back to my dining companions, dad was just shaking his head, my girlfriend was laughing, and my mom was openly making fun of me for saying earlier in the evening that I really didn't know much about wine. Not a life changing event by any means, but something in me just clicked and I knew I had forever parted company with my extended family members who don't venture much farther than iced tea or coffee. Plus, I remembered back to a time when I'd pick up a bottle of wine in the liquor store, notice information about percentages/blends and wonder who in the hell would ever care about that kind of thing.

So that's it for me. Getting called out at the dinner table by my family. I'd really like to hear anyone else's experiences, I know there have to be some interesting stories!

Have a great weekend, it's about wine-thirty so I'm outta here,

Jerry

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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I think I realized I crossed that line when I went with a friend to my then favorite wine shop so he could grab a bottle for dinner and we left with a bottle for him and a case for me...

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I think I realized I crossed that line when I went with a friend to my then favorite wine shop so he could grab a bottle for dinner and we left with a bottle for him and a case for me...

Couple of different lines, I think: the night in '94 when I had my first really serious wine ('88 Cos); and the day (just a few months ago) when I sat down to figure out my budget - and realized *all* my financial planning was contingent on the release price of burgundies (*bad* exchange rate - *bad*, *bad* Federal Reserve Board).

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It happened to me in a restaurant, too. I was having dinner with Dan Panico, Mat Garretson, and Lorraine Alban (McKillen then) back when we were all single-somethings gainfully employed at grown up wineries, before we all became debt-qualified winery owners. Mat's date, a pretty brunette from Atlanta, complained, "He's so boring. All he ever talks about is wine."

Lorrainne and I looked at each other in shock and started laughing. (Obviously that relationship was doomed.) Lorraine leaned toward me and whispered, "She's right, you know. We're all hopeless wine geeks. Look at us from an outsider's point of view." I thought moving our discussion from Merlot to Syrah was a total change in conversation. Annie, an artist, compares it to a typesetters' convention. "We spend all day talking about serifs and points, and whether a particular "e" is the right shape for its font," she says, patting me on the shoulder. "We find it endlessly fascinating."

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Mary Baker

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When I realized I was searching for 1998 Cabs from California........1997, 1999 wouldn't do.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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1968 Lawrence, KS.

I was living with two ex-Nam vets and we were taking a class called History of World War II. It consisted of and hour and a half of film every Thur. It was held in a huge (capacity 1,000) auditorium and we sat in the back drinking every period.

My friends would smuggle in 3-4 Falstaffs in their field jackets and I always smuggled in a bottle of KC's finest called "Barcelona Sweet Red". It cost $.62 per bottle, which was $.30 cheaper that a six pack of Falstaff.

I was doing it for economic reasons, but my friends gave me continuous grief about my "wine drinking".

Today I've refined my wine selection somewhat, and I have never gone back to the Falstaff; even though the Falstaff now costs about 10% of what my wine now costs.

rikkitikki

"the only thing we knew for sure about henry porter was that his name wasn't henry porter" : bob

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I think there was a number of lines...

Badgering a co-ed at a Berkeley party about drinking White Zin before I was of legal drinking age comes to mind.

However, looking back I'd have to say I went over the line when I single handedly bought out the local wine shop of a case of 82 Gosset Rose Grand Millisime one bottle at a time over the course of a month... on a linecook's salary of $8.50/hr. I would literally cash my paycheck and go straight to the wine store. You'd think it was crack.

As for the specific wines that doomed me to this life of abject geekdom...

82 Monsanto Chinati Classico Il Poggio

83 Jamet Cotes Rotie

85 Domaine Tempier Bandol La Migoua

The above mentioned Champagne

78 Rayas (that was freaking bright magenta at 12 years old)

88 Pignan

83 Clape Cornas (KL Cuvee)

and finally a horizontal tasting of about 15 87 Grand Cru Burgs conducted in 1991. Sandwiched between 85/86 and 88/89, you could pick up Grand Crus for nothing. Just a perfectly sublime expression of Pinot fruit. I think we were buying Jadot Clos Vougeot for something like $20 and drinking it as our house wine. Now those were the days, I was about 23 years old and already ruined for anything but the kind.

Edited by detlefchef (log)
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My interest in wine is a direct result of the times I shared with my Swiss grandfather in the late 70's. He kept a wine cellar of a couple hundred bottles in his home in Zurich and I remember him taking me downstairs to the 'Keller' after breakfast to choose a bottle for lunch. It was an old house built at the turn of the century and he had a big ring of keys that unlocked several doors that protected the wine from the outside world. Then with the flip of a switch the bottles were illuminated, all neatly laying in a row on their sides next to each other. He would show me two or three different bottles that were important to him and then pick one for lunch. There was always a bit of ceremony involved. Then we went back upstairs to open the bottle and let it come to the right temperature before lunch. During lunch he and I would drink and eat and discuss things, it was then that I noticed for the first time that the wine changed him. He became more open and accepting of me. The conversation flowed from us in spite of the fact that I had to struggle with my German. At that time I became closer to him than I ever had ever been in the past. Those memories of my Grandfather and our times together in Switzerland sparked my love of wine and are greatly responsible for my return to Switzerland six years ago.

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During lunch he and I would drink and eat and discuss things, it was then that I noticed for the first time that the wine changed him. He became more open and accepting of me. The conversation flowed from us in spite of the fact that I had to struggle with my German. At that time I became closer to him than I ever had ever been in the past. Those memories of my Grandfather and our times together in Switzerland sparked my love of wine and are greatly responsible for my return to Switzerland six years ago.

Wow, what an idyllic memory.

For me, it was a few glasses of wine at a friend's house: a white Burgundy and then some Barolo. I remember stammering -- something was happening that I couldn't describe. When I left, I felt that euphoric near-drunkennes you get from good wine. The more I looked at wine after that, the more I realized that there was a huge, even ancient culture and tradition around what had previously seemed like such a simple thing. I'll never forget having those wines on that night.

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I think wine geek is a useful name, by the way; anyway it serves a need.

My parents, who were sort of cooking-obsessed (and whom I and my brother served as prep cooks to chop the vegetables etc.), used to enjoy good wine, but as a child and teen-ager I did not like it. We kids would ask sometimes to try it, but as kids, we were more in tune with sweet flavors. In my late teens I found that I started to appreciate wine, and then to appreciate some of it a LOT. And alsoy learned that the pirce, and how much I and others liked it, were poorly correlated. This was educational, personally, and led to doing some homework (theoretical) and tasting (practical) and listening to the advice of people who had been wine enthusiasts for a long time. Which was often shared (then, as now). That was all a while ago.

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It happened to me when I discovered that traditional, old burgundies could appear dead when decanted, then open up for a mere half hour with tremendous breadth and depth, and then die when the last two servings were poured. Best of all, the revelation came via a 1959 Chambolle Musigny les Charmes, acquired from a sale bin at Astor, fifteen years later, for a few dollars.

Even better, I learned that the experience can be repeated, but often it is not, and the expense is much greater now.

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I've probably crossed a number of lines and will still cross a number more. But three come to mind. . .

1. When I went to my first live wine auction.

2. When I emailed a bunch of internet wine board people in a city I was traveling to for work and asked if anyone wanted to get together to drink wine. I hadn't met any of the people before. Now I do this all the time.

3. When I hosted a blind tasting of Rhone wines from Twin Cities-based internet wine board people, most of whom I had never met before.

I should add, as far as the last two are concerned, I've never met anyone I wouldn't want to pull a cork with again. Everyone has been terrific. I just returned from NYC where I drank wine with one person I hadn't seen in four years, one I hadn't seen in two, one I hadn't seen in one, and two I'd never met before. But open bottles of good wine get us all suspended in that moment in time.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Zee, you were a geek long before you ever had that Meritage conversation, and not just in the way of the grape. I'm still waiting to see that website!

Still, you showed plenty of interest in Ridge Zins, what, 2 years ago or more? That's plenty geeky for this taster.

I guess I knew I was a wine geek when I helped start a certain website 8 or 9 years ago. You know the one I'm talkin' 'bout.

We gotta get you up to Toledo next year. You'd make a great pool troll. :raz:

Yahoo,

geo };^)>

Edited by geo t. (log)

George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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Hey geo! I sat here thinking back to when I first got into those Ridge Zins, and it had to be whenever the '97's came out and I started buying them up. I remember piecing together a case right before a trip to Minnesota in 2000. Time sure does fly. As a matter of fact, I finished my last bottle of the '97 Lytton Springs almost exactly a year ago with our good buddy Varick at a cigar gathering on the east coast last year.

Another "great moment in the history of geekery" came the other night when we were sitting on the couch watching Six Feet Under reruns and I yelled, "Hey! David and Keith are drinking a bottle of Qupe!". It was kind of like a few years ago when I was in the prime of my cigar geekery, and yelled "Hey! Tony is smoking a C.A.O. Anniversario!" while watching the Soprano's.

And yeah, I guess I do tell people that one of the things I love most about my girlfriend is that she loves to drink the same wines that I do. It may SOUND geeky, but the last couple would only drink Piesporter......so you be the judge.

As far as the website goes, I'm actually taking an HTML class starting next month, but my focus for the past couple of years has been things that will get me OUT of the house! Plus, somebody already registered "extremeleisure.com", and I had my heart set on it! :laugh:

Good to catch up with you on THIS side of the world!

Jerry

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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I remember as a younger man drinking Boones farm simply because it had a screw top and I had no corkscrew. Wine was a primer. Well luckily that phase did not last long. I have since tried to become as knowledgeable as possible. I knew I crossed the line when friends started coming to me to ask about varitals. A friend of mine calls me his sommelier. I try to explain as best as I can what grapes goe into certain wines. I have also had the good fortune to come to taste some very good wines through a local KC resturant that has a quite extensive wine list. I do air cond and refrigeration work and was working on their wine cooler pro bono as a favor. The guy felt bad about me doing it for free and I said hey give me the 67 Petrus and will call it even. He didn't feel that bad.

I have had the 2001 Rieussec and believe me that wine is perfect. You do not want to drink anything to keep the taste in your mouth. I have also truted the judgement of a local wine merchant that led me to have a 2001 Hewitt that I thought was exceptional especially as it is young.

See there like all wine people I tend to ramble on the wines I have loved and drank.

Rodney

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Hey geo!  I sat here thinking back to when I first got into those Ridge Zins, and it had to be whenever the '97's came out and I started buying them up.  I remember piecing together a case right before a trip to Minnesota in 2000.  Time sure does fly.  As a matter of fact, I finished my last bottle of the '97 Lytton Springs almost exactly a year ago with our good buddy Varick at a cigar gathering on the east coast last year. 

Another "great moment in the history of geekery" came the other night when we were sitting on the couch watching Six Feet Under reruns and I yelled, "Hey!  David and Keith are drinking a bottle of Qupe!".  It was kind of like a few years ago when I was in the prime of my cigar geekery, and yelled "Hey!  Tony is smoking a C.A.O. Anniversario!" while watching the Soprano's. 

And yeah, I guess I do tell people that one of the things I love most about my girlfriend is that she loves to drink the same wines that I do.  It may SOUND geeky, but the last couple would only drink Piesporter......so you be the judge.

As far as the website goes, I'm actually taking an HTML class starting next month, but my focus for the past couple of years has been things that will get me OUT of the house!  Plus, somebody already registered "extremeleisure.com", and I had my heart set on it!   :laugh:

Good to catch up with you on THIS side of the world!

Jerry

Good to catch up with you indeed! We will continue to catch up I'm sure, but right now, I have to catch a little shut-eye!

Ciao 4 now,

:wacko:

Edited by geo t. (log)

George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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I think for me that would have to be about 20 years ago when planning to go out for a special dinner. I called the restaurant and told them the 3 wines I was bringing and told them to create the meal around the wines. They did a spectacular job as well.

The 3 wines were a Puligny-Montrachet, '61 Chateau Cheval Blanc, and the desert wine was a Robert Mondave Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. (Pretty sure on the latter.) Of course the Cheval Blanc was the highlight and with that they served a combination of Abalone and Veal Picatta. The restaurant is still one of my favorites, The Sardine Factory in Monterey.

While there may have been similar steps this was the definitive one for me.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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