I get to know so many of you and the lives and events that good wine has enhanced. Oftentimes, I get to tell you a little about my experiences with each wine in the offering email, but here's an overview of me and the journeys behind Timeless Wines.
Like many, my first foray into wine was through food. I was fortunate enough to have good friends, one of which was a French-trained Chef who had a restaurant that quickly became where I enjoyed my evening meal. The restaurant had a private room right off the kitchen with only two tables. This was reserved only for the Chef's closest friends. I never had to order. The Chef would prepare each course and pair it with a wine for me.
Galileo once said, "Wine is light, held together by water." There, sitting at a tiny white-linen table, with only the golden glow of a table luminary filling the wine glass at my place setting, is where I truly understood the meaning of his words. The Chef would sit down with me at the end of the night and ask me about my meal and then explain how the wine brought out the flavors he prepared. Food took on an entirely different level in my hierarchy. Alone, it was purely physiological: it was nutrition to feed the body. But, allow the extraordinary combination of wine with food to saturate your being and the match transforms into something that feeds the soul.
At this same restaurant, in the same private room with only one other table, one would think to enjoy the company of Chef's family;perhaps his mother or his wife and children. Maybe I would even be lucky enough to have dinner with Chef's younger sister. Instead, the other table was only ever occupied by a gentleman and his dog.
This man just happened to be world renowned wine importer and taster, Fran Kysela. Robert Parker regards him as one of the finest palates and selectors of top wine. I was sitting across the room from one of the most prominent men in the business. A man who had not only been importing the finest wines in the world for 30 years, but he himself was discovering. And of course, his dog;Jake.
Fate stepped in to cultivate an ideal that every person keeps tucked away in only the smallest corner of their heart. I didn't know it then;but I was about to turn my taste bud delights into a career. It was a slow growing friendship. A few conversations throughout dinner, then we would see each other about town and have casual chats. The Chef and Mr. Kysela had known each other for years. Chef was often invited to join the wine trips that Kysela would sponsor for buyers and distributors to prospect new wines overseas. Chef would tell me it was "the experience of a lifetime" and that I should definitely join in on a trip. It wasn't something I actually believed would ever come to pass. At that time, in 20 years of the wine business, not one person was ever invited to join a trip that wasn't a wine affiliate. I was an IT Director, and my extent of knowledge was only the tidbits of info I would get at the end of the night about my meal and its pairing.
The next thing I knew, I was getting a call from Mr. Kysela himself to discuss the upcoming trip to France. It would be in January. I remember his words, "Now listen, it's not like it won't be fun, but it's not a vacation either. We have a set schedule. It's non-stop. There is no point of rest;and you will have no free time. We are there simply to discover new wines and taste new vintages." This was serious and intimidating. I didn't want to do it, and I certainly had no idea what I was in for.
The Chef picked me up that early January morning. He handed me a Traveler's Journal, something I had never even seen before, let alone open up to write in. "Take notes", he instructed;and off we went. The time zone changed and there was no rest. We drove 2 hours from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris to Epernay. Champagne Valley;the soil was chalk and a piece still sits on my desk at my office. The underground cellars were really caves that had been chiseled out of the ground. I can remember the smell as we weaved through the maze of small dimly lit tunnels draped in cobwebs and huge glass bottles. All at once, the tunnel opened to a grand room with a huge white clothed table and place settings for all 18 on the trip. A feast was served well after 11 pm. The combination of alcohol along with exhaustion and adjusting to the overall environment change made for a baptism of fire at this first wine dinner. People were passing out at the table. I couldn't keep my eyes open. When I look back at the notes I scribbled next to each sample, it was obvious I had started out with full gusto. The first few samples had detailed descriptions and information…as the dinner went on I scrawled out raw one-word specks of ink. I don't even remember what time it actually was when we finally arrived at our hotel that first night.
The trip is known as "The Death March";2weeks and 560 wines. We were up at 5 am and most nights didn't get to bed until 2 am. We visited 56 wineries as well as sampled at local restaurants. By day 4 of the trip, Kysela and I were seated on the bus next to each other and I was able to ask questions that had been adding up since the start of the trip. He was more than generous with information and even seemed excited to share his knowledge about the wines and the regions. Not only did my notes improve at each tasting, but my palate sharpened and I was able to breakdown the wines by the end of the trip.
I returned home a changed man. Hundreds of books and thousands of tastings later, I began to put into action what is now Timelesswines.com. I attended many more wine trips overseas, absorbing knowledge and tannins. I've been fortunate enough to sample in Spain, Germany, Austria, Argentina, New Zealand, Chile and Italy and even led an Australia wine trip. It truly was the experience of a lifetime and I wanted to be able to confer the benefits to other people. I started Timeless Wines so that everyone could have the opportunity to please their senses and lift their spirits with fantastic value wines.
Bright and light golden-yellow in color. Exotic and sweet vanilla bean aromatics backed by pear and kiwi with a slight orange peel. The palate resonates with texture and depth as stone minerality and cream brioche to match. Flavors of roasted plantains, gravenstein apple, and lemon zest frame the wine for a long yet soft finish.
Planted in the early 90’s, this is the coolest vineyard site in the Russian River Valley, located at Lee Martinelli Sr.’s home ranch in Forestville, CA. After riding around with Lee in his pick-up truck when we visited his Woolsey Road, Zio Tony, and River Road Vineyards, he decided to take me to this gem. He kept this particular vineyard in his back pocket until we hit it off. We did, and I think you’ll enjoy the ride as well.
Elusively crisp and inviting on the nose, this is a thickly intriguing wine, floral in orange blossom and fresh apple. Structured and lengthy, it retains a tangy acidity and structured finish, the grapes sourced from a dry-farmed vineyard. - Wine Enthusiast 92 Points