Several years ago Dave and I daydreamed of releasing our own wines “some day.” On August 11, 2015—coincidentally, the same peak night as the spectacular, annual Perseid Meteor shower—our seemingly unattainable dream actually came true.
Our journey into wine started in 2001, when we visited Italy with both families. Dave and I were never much for drinking, but the family all enjoyed wine with dinner there, and so—when in Rome—we figured we’d give it a go. WOW! The wines in Italy were amazing! No wonder we’d never liked wine—apparently, we’d been trying crap wine all those years!
After discovering Italian wine in Italy, we grew interested in exploring wines at home. It took plenty of trial and error (there’s still a lot of crap wine out there). As many people do, we started with the sweet stuff, but it didn’t take long before our palates outgrew those and shifted to dry wines. And then we started to become particular. No, I didn’t say wine snob . . . well, at least not out loud. 🙂
Along our path, Dave and I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering wines and learning about the art and science (yeah, we’re geeks) that go into a bottle of this living, breathing elixir. We’re fascinated with the vineyards and the planting and growing techniques, and the growers, the “terroir,” the harvest, the crush, the barrels used to age the wine and the coopers who make them, the winemakers’ mastery of creating balance with the right barrels and the right toast, the corks (or not), the bottling and the proper storage of wine—that and more, right down to the people who pour the tastes and share their enthusiasm for wine as they continue to educate us.
Early on in our wine exploration, the first time Dave and I visited Montalcino, Italy and splurged on a bottle of Brunello with dinner, the restaurant owner popped the cork and decanted the wine (which was a thing of beauty); he urged us to let it “breathe”—we were stunned. Of course, impatient wine rookies that we were, we had to test it straight away. It tasted great to us, but we took the owner’s advice and let it breathe for a while (while his mamma cooked us dinner); and, wow, were we surprised at the difference. That Brunello di Montalcino was our first experience with decanting (and our first expensive wine).
Nowadays one of our favorite pastimes is trying different grape varietals around the globe. There are so many regional varietals that we’d never heard of here in the States and have only experienced in specific areas of the world. Whether discovering Pugnitello in a musty wine cellar on Italy’s Lake Como, or taking a welcome respite from hiking the Cinque Terre to taste the regional dry white blend that’s harvested from the terraced vineyards above us with the blue Mediterranean sea below, or sipping a refreshing wine slushy (who knew?) on a blazing hot day at Alte Wache in Freiburg, Germany, or sampling Saumur-Champigny among the stunning chateaux in France’s Loire Valley—we find it all amazing to experience and to talk with the people in each of these places who share our love of wine.
So many wonderful people the world over have shared their knowledge of wines with us. But at home, Testarossa Winery has been instrumental in much of our wine education, as well as in helping to make our Meniketti Wines a reality.
Dave and I truly live in a great place, as California has some fantastic wine regions. Some of the most fun we’ve had in the past decade has been wine tasting weekends and day trips with our friends who also love wine, finding new wines to enjoy, and new (to us), fun wineries to visit throughout California. Good wine is best shared, and we relish the camaraderie of a nice bottle with our friends.
We’ve become selective along our wine journey, and when we finally reached the realization that we could release our own wine, we didn’t want to just slap our name onto any old bottle of juice. Rather than releasing a mass-produced, cheap-and-easy product, Dave was adamant about sharing with fans and friends the very wines that we love. Everyone tasting Meniketti Wines can raise a glass and know that they’re drinking the same wine that Dave and I actually drink at home. Cheers!