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I imagine that every wine lover can remember specific wines that had a profound impact on their love for the juice.  Over the years, I can definitely recall several wines that blew me away and changed my views on specific kinds or varietals forever.  One of those memories was years ago at Bacchanalia in Atlanta with my first taste of Chappellet Cabernet.  More recently, I fell in love with a Chardonnay from Saintsbury.  And then along came the 2009 Halter Ranch Syrah.

This wine arrived in my life when I least expected it.  I had been wine tasting in Paso Robles and went to dinner my first evening at well regarded Italian restaurant called Il Cortile.  I thought it would be nice to take a break and try one of the Italian wines on the list.  Our server let us try a few but nothing screamed “DRINK ME” and then she suggested a local Syrah that the chef loves and was very reasonably priced.  It was one of those wines that I will remember and talk about forever, and the coolest part about it is that the wine retails for $28.  So I can drink it often, and plan to.  Full bodied and rich with dark fruit aromas like blackberry and cassis, this velvety smooth wine was a real treat for the nose and the palate.

I had not planned to visit this winery on our trip, but changed our plans later that evening to make sure I could get my hands on more of this Syrah.  Read more about my tasting at Halter Ranch.

Tasting at Halter Ranch

The property at Halter Ranch was gorgeous and I was so glad we took a break for a picnic after trying more of their wines.  I think this was one of the happiest points of the trip and was captured in this photo of me on the covered bridge that leads up to the new winemaking facility.

So happy at Halter Ranch

What wines changed how you feel about either certain grapes or wine in general?  Please tell your stories in the comments section.