Today I've decided to change up the LENNDEVOURS Q&A series a bit...this time turning the microphone around and asking myself the same questions. Is interviewing ones self a sign of mental defect? Perhaps, but it's fun.
What (and where) was the first bottle of wine you remember drinking?
I'm a little embarassed to admit that it was Mad Dog 20/20. You know, that fruity sludge that frat boys drank in college purely to get drunk. Yeah, that was my first bottle of wine. I think it was the grape flavored stuff at least. But, the first bottle of wine that I remember capturing my attention was Cayumus Conundrum, probably the 1994 vintage. It was a gift from my aunt and it was the first time that a wine made me say "Hey, this is some pretty interesting stuff." I also drank a lot of cheap Aussie chardonnay in grad school. Stuff like Black Opal and Blue Marlin. This was before Yellowtail of course.
What event/bottle/etc made you decide that you wanted to be in the wine industry?
I'm not sure that I'm actually in the wine industry, but beyond that Conundrum, I'd have to give two entities credit for my foray into wine writing: Nena and Lieb Family Cellars. Before Nena and I started dating, I had been to a few wineries and liked a few of the wines, but Lieb (probably in 2002 or 2003) was the first place that I remember saying to myself "Hey, I like all of these wines." We spent a lot of time there and even joined the wine club. And, Nena has always been supportive of me applying my love of writing to my love of wine.
Which of your current wines is your favorite and why?
Well right now I only have one "current wine" and it hasn't been released yet. It's that 2006 cab franc that you've read about here before. So I guess that's the wine I have say...and the reason why is that, well, it's the only wine that I call my own.
What has surprised you most about being a wine writer on Long Island?
I don't think that anything has surprised me per se, mostly because I didn't know what to expect and had very few expectations going in. I've found that most winery owners and winemakers are genuine people who appreciate the honesty and integrity with which I cover the region. Sure, I've had some negative emails and calls, but in the end, I think that's inevitable and I'd worry if everyone loved everything I write. Contrary to what some wineries think, not all of their wines aren't good and deserving of praise. Sorry.
Other than Long Island wines, what wine/beer/liquor most often fills your glass?
As I've said on LENNDEVOURS a million times, I am a big fan of German riesling...and also California zinfandel. I know that they are probably on opposite ends of the wine spectrum, but my tastes are what they are. One cannot live on Long Island wines alone, right? I'm also a bit of a bourbon nut. I haven't explored and learned as much as I'd like...but I've had some great ones. Maybe I need to write about these a bit in the future.
Is there a 'classic' wine or wine and food pairing that you just can't make yourself enjoy?
Well, as someone with a shellfish allergy, stuff like <insert wine here> with raw oysters aren't fun for me. Other than that, I'm game for most anything. I used to like Port, but lately I just find it overwhelming.
Wine enjoyment is about more than just the wine itself.
Describe the combination of wine, locations, food, company, etc. that
would make (or has made) for the ultimate wine-drinking experience.
It's a little bit of a cliche but good friends, good food and good wine mean good times for me. As much as I love wine in and of itself, nothing makes me happier than pouring wines for my friends and family. I love introducing people to good wine and seeing the look on their faces when a wine really strikes them, when they finally "get" why I'm so passionate about the stuff. Add to that actually taking people to a vineyard and having the same "a ha!" moment...it's just magic to me.