For me, the essence of great wine comes from people and place.  These are both the people who made the wine and the people with whom I drink it, as well as the place the wine was made and the places where I tasted it.


1986 Peju Cabernet HB Vineyard – This is the first wine I ever remember tasting.  I tasted it at the winery and I believe it may have been the producer’s first vintage.  I was visiting Napa with friends and Peju was the first winery we visited.  I can’t recall the wine specifically, but I remember not wanting to leave the tasting room.  I have them to thank for getting me started on this life-long exploration.


1990 Chave Hermitage – I’m a big Rhone wine fan, and the wines of Hermitage are my favorite.  The 1990 Chave was the first wine that made me realize wine needed to be an important part of my life.  It had the nose of raw meat and the graceful power of the region on the palate, filled with flavors that had nothing to do with grapes.


1961 La Mission Haut Brion – This wine was given to me by my wife’s grandfather who had originally purchased it on release in France.  It was 2004, he had a case, and wanted to know if it was ready to drink. We poured it using an early prototype of Coravin. My wife happened to come in the room and despite being meters away, she asked “what’s that smell?”  I shared this wine with 13 people on 3 continents over the next year.


1991 Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne – I tasted this wine with Jean Charles who runs the estate while I was in Burgundy.  His wines convinced me to start exploring white wines after a lifetime of drinking only red. The nose of a white burgundy is something that grabs your attention, and the palate of his wine is a highly focused laser of remarkable purity.


1988 Achleiten Grüner Veltliner Bodenstein – I had this wine recently with the wine maker from Prager, a great producer from the Wachau region in Austria. Prager’s wines are incredible, but he pulled this wine from his cellar to show me how well Grüner aged.  It was a nearly perfect wine that I will never forget.  I immediately stopped drinking my young wines from this region and will drink them again in 10-20 years.


1988 Cos d’Estournel – I collected a vertical of Cos from the 1970s through 2003.  This vintage taught me a valuable lesson -- that off vintages can frequently be incredible wines.  The ’89 and ’90 of Cos were very well rated and are indeed wonderful wines, but I’ve found over time that the less well reviewed ’88 has aged beautifully and is an incredible value.  I now try many off vintages from great producers looking for such values.


2000 Chateau Reignac – This Bordeaux is not an expensive wine, but was beautifully made in this great vintage.  It was my favorite test wine during the development of Coravin and was always a pleasure to taste again in the blind tastings that helped perfect the system.  I opened my last bottle of this wine, accessed 9 years prior, at the end of our launch party in New York to share with guests.  I will never forget it.


2005 Giacomo Conterno Monfortino – I had this wine from the barrel with Roberto Conterno and a few friends on my first trip to Italy for Coravin.  This wine is a transcendent Barolo, so tasting it in the cellar of the producer, with Roberto was an incredible joy.




With all of the traveling and tasting that I get to do with Coravin, by next year I may have eight completely new favorite wines to share with you.