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Remembering impressive wines

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Imprint that wine in your memory

full sensory experience contributes to remembering that special wine

I do not have a photographic memory, nor am I great at remembering names. It is not unusual that I am introduced to someone and five minutes into a conversation am at a loss as to the person’s name. It is a bad habit and something I need to work at. But somehow I am pretty good at remembering a wine that impressed me and where it was that I was introduced to that wine

there is a great story behind this wine that contributes to my memory of it

I think the key to this ability is discovery – wanting to be introduced to a wine and taking an imprint of the moment and the surroundings. Wine enthusiasts will tell you that it is important to sample the wine while reading the label, but for me that is a minor imprint. I find a more lasting impression is achieved by acknowledging the surroundings, the more impactful and impressive, the better for remembering the first time a particular wine was experienced.

I give you an example in a visit to Argentina in the 90s. I was undertaking a research study for a new hotel in Mendoza and had two impactful tasting events during that time.

The first was in having dinner at a Frances Maalman restaurant with the sponsors of the project. The wine selection was a local wine called Finca La Anita – my wife’s name is Anna and we met in Spain – so there was an immediate relationship for me with the wine and all that was around me. I remember that wine and the restaurant to this day.

another great story behind this and I will never forget the wine

The second was in having a tour of a local winery – Bodegas Norton. I remember being surrounded by dusty wines in a cavern and then reaching a cavernous bottling area with a tiny bottling machine surrounded by five employees that were watching labels being placed on the bottles upside down. I was given a dusty bottle of Norton Privada, which I opened in my dining room a month later. The bouquet flowered the room upon opening – a sensation that I will never forget.

There are numerous occasions of impactful firsts with a wine – a Martinelli Pinot Noir in a San Francisco restaurant, Jardinaire; the first Sadie Family wine from South Africa in Capetown’s Pot Luck Club; a Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris at Joe Forte’s in Vancouver and an Atinori family Solaia in Florence (pictured previously). All are vividly remembered today because I allowed the moment and the surroundings to provide an imprint in trying the wine.

pot luck this was not!

Note: I have not been compensated for featuring any of these wines or the restaurants in my blog. I am simply a happy taster with great memories.

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