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What's your wine story?

Updated: May 27, 2020

I’m always interested in learning how wine initially enters one’s consciousness - how passion for fermented grape juice blossoms and emotional connections to it occur; how for some, wine is simply a beverage to enjoy with dinner while for others it might become an all-consuming obsession (raises hand). Whenever I’m speaking at a wine event, teaching a class or serving guests, I make a point of asking participants how their interest in wine came about. Did a special bottle pique the initial interest? Was there a friend or family member, restaurant experience, travel excursion or sommelier that proved inspirational? To me, the answers are invariably fascinating. So, since this is my first entry on the Vine Society blog, I thought I’d introduce myself by describing how my “wine story” started, and how my understanding of it has changed over time.

For me, no single bottle of wine resulted in any sort of spiritual epiphany, but I do remember a specific time and place in which wine impacted me in a profound way, one that likely sparked an interest that eventually changed the course of my life. I was an 18-year-old exchange student assigned to live with a large family in a tiny village in the Lot River region of southwest France. Upon my arrival, the family welcomed me with a festive, celebratory dinner at the village’s only restaurant where we toasted each other with a delicious red wine. Now, wine certainly did not figure in my Ozark Mountain upbringing, so this was a new and fascinating experience. To this day, I’m not really certain what wine was served, though I seem to remember a Bordeaux bottle shape and the words St. Émilion on the label. It somehow seems appropriate and kind of poetic that the identity of my “A-Ha Moment” wine is shrouded in mystery. I reflect on that night often and now realize that the experience was less about the wine itself but mostly about the role it played in inaugurating a lifelong friendship.

What is your wine story? Write a new chapter with the 2016 vintage from any of these excellent St. Émilion châteaux:

Château Corbin, St. Émilion Grand Cru Classé 2016

  • Superb quality at a modest price is rare in this region, but Annabelle Cruse Bardinet consistently produces polished and supple wines that are drinkable now.

Château Barde-Haut St. Émilion Grand Cru Classé 2016

  • Plummy Merlot with an herbal undertone courtesy of Cabernet Franc. Energetic with an interesting tension between fruitiness and structure. Drink it now with a robust meal or put it away for couple of years.

Château Canon St. Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé 2016

  • Elegant, a little flashy - and delicious. Historically, a property that produced wines of uneven quality, Canon's profile has risen quite a bit since it was acquired by luxury fashion brand Chanel.

Château Troplong-Mondot St. Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B 2016

  • A balance of power and refinement - a perfect example of modern Right Bank winemaking. Bordeaux lovers will find this exhilarating. Lay it down for a few years.

Interested in any of the above wines? Please contact Mariano at and we will source them for you.

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