There’s No Going Back

May 10, 2007

We always hear about how we learn from our elders, from those who came before us. But what about how the older generations are influenced by the younger? Case in point, my parents. My parents didn’t know a whole lot about wine when I was growing up. Boone’s Farm was a staple in our house and they eschewed the homemade wine from our Italian neighbor (which I wonder now if it was actually a gem).

But then I went to school in Paris and “discovered” the pleasures of wine. One time, not long after my first trip to Burgundy, my Dad came to visit and I opened a bottle of Aligote (a not-so-well known, somewhat humble grape from Burgundy) that I’d bought from the very first vineyard I’d ever been to. We sat on my balcony in Paris and ate cheese and sipped this fresh, simple wine while I told him that the hills in Burgundy had been softened by autumn mist and the vines were a tawny gold. I told him how we had stayed in a little inn and how the proprietor had greeted us late at night (we’d gotten lost on the way back from the vineyard) with a crock of Boeuf Bourgignon cooked over the fire, and early in the morning with fresh-baked croissants. As I took my next sip of wine, I realized it—its aroma, its taste—somehow encapsulated the experience and the place for me. My dad realized it too. It was our first experience of terroir.

When I came back to America and lived with my parents for a time, we explored beyond Boone’s Farm and every bottle was like discovering a new land. I went on to learn more about wine and, eventually, to move to America’s wine country in California and still, my experiences are broadening my parents’ wine horizons. Christopher and I will often instigate a year of “Huber Wine Club” monthly shipments to thank them for one thing or another, or to celebrate a life event (we have Dad on a special ‘blends’ program right now to celebrate his first year of retirement ;-)). And more often than not, the wines and stories we share with them affect the direction of their own wine exploits.

I just met Erik Olsen, Clos du Bois’ winemaker, for the first time the other day and he said something that sparked this whole line of thinking (come to think of it, we were talking about his upcoming trip to Burgundy too, so I guess he infiltrated this whole post). His mom is Scandinavian and grew up on beer and aquavit, but now she’ll only drink Erik’s reserve wines (he was laughing that she doesn’t seem to realize that he actually has to pay for the wine he sends her). Ironically, my mom had made a similar remark when I was back in Connecticut last week. She was swirling something nice and let out a wistful sigh and said, “now that we know the good stuff, it’s hard to go back, isn’t it?” To that I would say yes, mom, it certainly is. No matter which generation the revelation comes from.

Cheers,
Lia

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