Mine was a 1988 Tignanello. The year was 1999 and I was dining with my future wife at Circo in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. The wine list was huge and foreboding and my wine knowledge at the time was nowhere near what it is now so we left the wine choice up to the Sommelier. I distinctly remember him showing us the bottle and then whisking it away to open away from the table, but within eyesight. He opened it and poured some for himself (I’d never seen this done before and was calculating in my head the dollar value of his sample) and immediately decanted it. When he finally brought the wine to the table I could smell the aromas before he even poured it. I don’t remember the exact taste profile of that bottle (I’ve had it since and it’s in decline) but I do remember thinking that it was, without a doubt, the single greatest bottle of wine I’d had to date. (It has since been surpassed by ’56 Conterno and ’82 Mouton.) After that I was hooked and my own personal journey of wine discovery began.
As a partner I wore many hats including biz dev, sales & marketing, public relations and sometimes tech support. While there I created a “Concierge” services division of the company to assist clients with organizing and cataloging their wine collections which eventually morphed into helping clients buy and liquidate wines as well.
I found that I loved the work and decided to sell my stake in the business back to the other partners and focus solely on servicing wine collectors directly.
A couple of years back I decided to append some credentials and certifications to my name. I took and passed with the merit the WSET Level II certification as well as the much more difficult Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier examination. I’m currently studying for the Advanced Sommelier certification with the eventual goal being to become one of only 230 Master Sommeliers worldwide. (For insight into how difficult that exam is go watch the movie Somm.)