04 5 / 2012
04 5 / 2012
02 5 / 2012
02 3 / 2012
"..it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity."
02 3 / 2012
I was 18 when I had my first glass of wine—well, it wasn’t really the first. But it was the first time I ever really drank wine. The first time I smelled, tasted, sipped the flavors, the textures, the aromas.
By parents were recently divorced and my Dad was lonely at the house with only my sister, ten years my junior, around to keep him company. My visits home from college became increasingly important to him. Left to prepare dinner all on his own for the first time in a decade or two, Dad seized the opportunity to fine-tune his cooking skills. He put everything on the grill that he could. He’d become particularly good at searing shrimp, tuna, and swordfish in a thick, peppery glaze. He’d also acquired a decent palate, filling our multi-tiered wine rack with (mostly) red wines of various vintages and varietals. Some bottles came as gifts from friends or recommendations from wine store owners. Others were chosen simply because he liked the name or the label. The one we choose that night was The Magnificent Wine Company’s House Wine Red. The blend, a Bordeaux- style, was nothing extraordinary; but it was the blend that sparked in me an interest in and appreciation for wine that is at the center of my life today.
College had been an escape for me. In a new state, surrounded by new people, away from family issues and other past problems, I was having the time of my life and rarely made trips home to visit my family. Between college parties and all-nighters at the library, I was constantly on the go. Yet that night, as I watched my dad darting back and forth between the kitchen and the grill outside with Riley, our Cocker Spaniel, following clumsily at his feet, I felt strangely at peace. Relaxing at the counter, a glass of House Wine in hand, I inhaled, letting the plum and the spice notes fill my nostrils. With each sip, the velvety notes slipped smoothly over my tongue, and, with senses engaged, I said, and truly meant: “I love this wine”.
Dad and I finished the bottle over dinner, talking about school, plans for the future, the president—the wine. “It’s made in Washington—a ‘cult wine’ they are calling it,” my dad explained. With bellies full and lips purple, we went to bed, and I fell asleep thinking that I’d never been happier to be home.
In the months that followed, my dad was sure to always have a bottle of House Wine uncorked and ready to be enjoyed every time I came home. Eventually, I became eager to branch out, and my dad picked new wines for me to explore—rich California cabernets and chewy zinfandels were his favorite, and quickly became mine too. Under the influence of wine, food, and family, my Dad and I became closer during my college years than we had ever been before.
“You know, I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was young,” he told me over a bottle of Emilio Moro Malleolus. “I wish I’d pursued that dream,” he said twirling his glass and sticking his nose deep inside. I followed his lead and did the same, breathing in blackberry, licorice and tobacco. My father, a motivated CEO and workaholic, had never struck me as an artist. I told him so and he responded, “People, like wine, have layers.”
This alone is why I enjoy wine so much. People, like wine, have layers. It is, after all, a living thing. Each bottle has a story: the story of the field-worker who picked the grapes or the wine-maker who tended the must. Some stories are better than others, blessed by a good growing season or even just plain luck. But it’s all in there, waiting to be uncorked, sipped, discovered.
Wine has healing powers. It brings people closer together and inspires the stories within us, both those buried by the passage of time and those still yet untold.
It’s the living drink.
27 1 / 2012
"Wine: one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.
~ John Milton"