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Early in our relationship, my now-wife and I declared our It-person (It-Guy for her, It-Girl for me). Our respective It-Person is a celebrity who, if the opportunity presents itself, you are allowed to do It. Key rules of It-No pin-ups allowed. And our It-Person cannot change with the shifting winds. Loyalty to our illicit fantasy is required. Finally, without divulging It names, their fame must be so great that there is no chance of it happening.
This brings me to my It Wine, and why in this edition of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor Blog, I recommend we all have, or be looking for, one. While I firmly believe the best wine aficionados drink with diversity (all grapes, styles and regions are enjoyed), choosing one It Wine, the wine you would most like to drink over any other wine, is a transparent gaze into your wine soul.
IT WINE Rules
The Dawson rules for It Wine and It Guy/Girl mostly parallel. Wines can be noteworthy but not Uber-rare and luxury. There must be loyalty to your It Wine. Minimum 5 year span between changing. Contrary to the It Guy/Girl, your It Wine should be accessible. Drink it, share it and celebrate it as much as you can! Finally, not covered in It Guy/Girl rules, It Wine is not vintage specific. It’s about loving a style that transcends vintage variation.
What’s the point? Unless you’re super-advanced in your wine knowledge almost to the point of encyclopedic, having one wine as a cornerstone of your wine appreciation, a symbol of your passion for wine, helps you identify your place in that big wine world out there.
Origins of It Wine
Let me explain with the story of my It Wine. I was born into the wine business in the early 1990s around the original “Cult Wines” of California, Burgundy, Loire Valley and Rhone Valley wines. Loved them all (still do), but the Rhone, north and south, grabbed me like no others. The perfume, warmth, fruit, spice and uniqueness is like nothing else. My favorite, and my It Wine for 20 years: Andre Brunel’s Les Cailloux Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge. The potpourri, glycerin, spice box, sweet berry fruits and cashmere texture spoke to me. Les Cailloux speaks to my wine enlightenment and reflects the flavor and personality of the wines I most like to drink to this day. (Unfortunately, Les Cailloux has fallen off as of late, so I’m looking for my next It Wine. Below are three I’ve reviewed that are It-Wine worthy.)
Think about the first few years of your wine enjoyment, and remember those wines that grabbed you so strongly, you can still smell/taste/feel them. Chances are, those wines have established your foundation as the wine lover you are today, and they have established your wine-soul. Think about those wines, and you are probably well on your way to knowing your It Wine.
Free wine advice from a former Napa wine shop owner & sommelier
Potential IT WINES
Read my reviews on these three wines that I deem It-Wine worthy. Whether or not they speak to you in this way is up to you, of course.
BLACK CORDON Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 ($80) Made by Paul Hobbs for David and Karen Dunphy. Mostly mountain Cab grapes, all winery-owned and farmed. Very under-rated by Napa Cab standards. (Black Cordon Website)
MARCIANO ESTATE “Massiglia” Napa Valley 2014 ($125) Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend from Estate Vineyard in the western foothills of St Helena. It’s fantastic – better than other reviewers give it credit for. (Marciano Website)
POST & VINE “Old Vine Field Blend” Mendocino 2013 ($30) This could well be my next “It Wine.” If I like the 2014 as much as I like the ’12 and ’13, I think I’ll anoint it. Petite Sirah, Grenache, Zinfandel and Carignane. Owned and made by two very talented Napa Valley winemakers. It’s their “Soul Wine.” (Post & Vine Website)