“Wine is bottled poetry” said Robert Louis Stevenson. Hello, 4-day weekend, says I.
Once upon a time I knew nothing about wine. “Take me to the sweetest vintage” I declared, smacking my lips at the thought. And off we went to buy and taste Eastern North Carolina’s finest, typically made with Muscadine grapes. That, dear friends, was a long time ago. Though our Southern geography hasn’t changed much, keeping us still smack dab in the middle of the Muscadine valley : ), my palate has certainly, like fine wine, matured. It started to broaden with frequent trips to the Biltmore Estate (complete with winery tours and tastings) when we lived close enough to make it a quarterly endeavor. I still knew what I liked, but I also started to like something new, something that wasn’t as syrupy, or as fruity, or as mild. It took some years before I started to define what I really enjoyed, and what tasted better with food or just for sipping and sitting on a Saturday evening. And as I look back I realize that my mid thirties, where I am currently residing, has been a revelation to me in many ways – in knowing what I want, knowing how to identify it, knowing how to ask for it knowledgeably, and knowing when to try something outside the box. And that isn’t just as it applies to wine.
I now have a wine catalog, complete with iPhone pictures (like the one below) to help me remember what I had, where I had it, and whether or not I want it again. And despite knowing what I want, I still find myself pulling new bottles off the shelf. It’s never a wasted effort, especially when shared with friends. Long story short, wine, like the best things in life, is a journey. You start somewhere but you end up somewhere else, somewhere better, and the path you take along the way is never headed in the wrong direction for it is almost certainly delicious, often educational, sometimes highly entertaining, and always worth it.
Aaron and I are vacationing in California at the end of the month, to include a long overdue sojourn in Napa/Sonoma and I am so looking forward to it! And, to prep for the trip, I am trying lots of new vino. Below is a phone photo of one of my most recent tries, Entwine. It’s a Chardonnay that speaks my language – buttery, oaky, nice mouth feel, and best if left out for a bit, allowing it to come to just the right temperature. Bon appétit!