Day 21 {Another Moment}

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There is nothing that I love more (…less than baby and husby, of course) in the world than opening a new bottle of wine, sitting down with the glass, giving it a little swirl and sticking my nose in it. Sure, drinking it is nice too, but there is just something about that moment when you first smell a wine. My mind goes blank and all I can think about is the aroma coming from my glass and what I’m smelling. It’s almost like I’m transported to the vineyard for just a moment. It is one of my favorite moments ever. I just can’t get enough.
I had my first glass of wine at a Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom and Dad when I was 13 or 14 years old. At the time, I absolutely hated it. I’m pretty sure I made a horrible face and passed the glass off to my Dad shortly there after. In college my roommate and I used to buy Franzia Chardonnay (how awful, I know) or Relax Riesling. It was like juice, seriously.  And we didn’t drink for enjoyment, we drank for the effects, unfortunately. Such is the life of a college student. At least we weren’t drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon (well, not all the time anyways…). 
Once I started my job I began to realize that there was a lot more to wine than I ever thought. At the time I was only 19, so I was never allowed to taste the wine, but I could smell it. And I think that’s when I truly fell in love with wine. I learned how to pick out different aromas and I learned what they meant (black pepper is an indicator of Cabernet Sauvignon, for example). I discovered that you can tell a lot more about a wine from the sight and smell of it than you can from the taste – like the alcohol content and the climate from where it came. I started to study and learn as much as I could about it. 
I started helping the sommeliers inventory each month, just so I could learn a little bit more. Each one of these bottles has a different aroma and a different taste and I find it fascinating to discover why. There is so much more that goes into a glass of wine than I ever realized.
This is only one side of the back wine room. And each spot holds two bottles.
Chateau Latour 1945 – The most expensive bottle we have, listed at $5,000.

Once I turned 21 I was able to finally taste a glass of wine at work. We actually had a tasting on my birthday just for me! At that point I decided that I wanted to continue my wine education. I started studying and preparing for the Court of Masters Sommeliers Guild exams. They offer 4 different levels of testing – introductory, certified, advanced and master. There are only about 200 Master Sommeliers in the country. It’s a difficult title to achieve, thats for sure. You have to be invited to take the Advanced and Master exams.

In October of 2009, I took my introductory exam and passed. It was such an amazing day!!! I spent two days in a class with 4 Master Sommeliers, taking notes and tasting wine. I still cannot believe how much I learned in just two short days. The hour wait between the test and the results was agonizing. There were 3 people from my restaurant that took the exam (myself, included) and we spent that hour just sitting there going over every single question trying to figure out if we were right or not. I actually thought I’d failed the exam and I was so thrilled that I didn’t!!! Of course we celebrated with a few bottles of wine. What else are you supposed to celebrate with?!

I officially became a certified wino on that day. I still proudly wear my pin to work every day. I still cannot believe that everything I’ve learned and achieved has been because of that one moment that I fell in love with – that moment when you very first smell a glass of wine and imagine where it came from. It is absolutely one of my favorite moments ever. Luckily – I can relive it as often as I want.

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