June 13, 2024 by Arden Montgomery

Why My Dad Went From Collecting Cabernet To Drinking Chablis

Life is short. Drink good wine.

It’s been almost 5 years since my Dad passed away. It’s a lot to process. Feelings surface that you thought were something of the past. But, you remind yourself, once again, that your grief will change shapes and sizes, but it never goes away.

You start to figure out your own special ways to commemorate and connect with your loved one, and for me (surprise, surprise) it happens to be through wine.

My father and I bonded over food & wine. Almost every photo I have of him around the house has him with wine in hand. Depending on the year the photo was taken, he’s enjoying a glass of red or white.

Pre 2014, it’s safe to say something opaque and inky lived in the glass. Post 2014, I guarantee his glass was always half full with something pale straw to golden yellow in color.

What changed in 2014? He was introduced to Chablis.

While I was away at The International Culinary Center studying for my Certified exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers, my Dad would text me for the 411 on what wine the Master Sommeliers I was studying under suggested he try. He was curious what all the hype was surrounding Chablis and Burgundy, and wanted an expert opinion on where to start.

I’d text him back a list of producers from Chablis to Meursault, in addition to specific Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyard sites for him to try.

Needless to say, my father fell in love with Chablis first, and then White Burgundy followed. I continued to bring home bottles for him to try, and share the remarkable stories of these historic, family-owned domaines. The history of Burgundy is rich in legacy, tradition, and triumph.

I have been a fortunate beneficiary of my father’s exploration through these regions over the years, tasting many top shelf producers on any given weeknight. He never waited for a special moment to pull the cork on Premier Cru or Grand Cru wines.

You make the moment. He taught me that.

I am forever grateful for the countless glasses (and bottles) I got to share with him on an average Tuesday night.

This is what wine is all about – Drink the bottles you have stowed away, and allow wine to make a typical evening an unexpected occasion. I promise you. It’s these unplanned, last minute, YOLO moments that make for the most precious memories.

Chablis forever holds a special place in my heart, and I thank the families that work so hard to produce these outstanding expressions of terroir for the joy and happiness these wines have brought to my family over the years.

Here’s to the man that proclaimed,

“Chill the White Burg!”

I love you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

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