Once long ago upon a time, I was 21 and wide-eyed. I knew nothing of the world of wine that did not end in a wine-soaked whine. “What is this swill?,” I was heard to say. I had never had good wine those days.
Then an anniversary came our way along with a graduation day. “Let’s go to Napa!” was all we could say.
And my world turned upside-down.
I had been 21 for barely half a year when I visited Napa for the first time. Having come to drinking late in life (as in waiting to do it legally…mostly), I had yet to disabuse myself of the notion that alcohol tastes yucky. At that point, my forays into the world of alcohol mostly consisted of fruity or chocolatey cocktails and cider, the latter only because my drinking education began in Great Britain where I was of legal age before my 21st birthday (Strongbow rules!). I hated beer and wasn’t much happier with the wine options I had partaken of so far.
Thank the (wine) gods I consulted my wine connoisseur uncle before my trip! I may never have found V. Sattui otherwise.
It was the first stop we made, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world.
Clearly, I had never had good wine up until this point. V. Sattui changed everything. For the first time, I tasted wine I not only tolerated but actually liked! A lot! So much so that even in our fund-deprived state, we bought four bottles between V. Sattui and its sister winery, Castello di Amorosa. At the time, that was A LOT of wine for me, especially at Napa prices.
It was all so good that I had trouble choosing which bottles to bring home. The Sauvignon Blanc was crisp and fresh, but the Off-Dry Riesling had that hint of sweetness and the Dry Gewurzstraminer that bold dessert flavor. The Gamay Rouge had such unique strawberry accents, but could it compare to the sweet perfection of La Fantasia? Not to mention the true dessert wines like the Madeira and the Port with strong flavors and subtle mellowing aspects that make these wines a delight for the taste buds.
These wines made me realize that with the right varietals and the right care, wine could be great. I didn’t want to drink to get drunk, I wanted it for the flavors.
I was hooked. The wines alone would have done for me, but pourers helped make the experience come alive. They were all very helpful, very informative, and very liberal, allowing us to try extras when we just couldn’t choose or when they found something they thought we would like.
By the end of our trip, we had tried a wide variety of their wines as well as three food pairings and loved every minute.
And so began a life-long love of wine tasting.