Rarely is there a life event that doesn’t double as an occasion for wine. Good or bad, happy or sad, these occasions get marked in some way. Whether the glass is half full or half empty, there’s something in there and it should be drunk. Life is a celebration and since tonight is special, let’s get going!
Of course, there was wine at the wedding, which started at 11 a.m! So by nightfall, you can imagine that most people – and by most I mean the happy couple, are pretty lubed up. ‘Wedding night’ wine is a little different than the Two Buck stuff you drank with Uncle Eddie and Aunt Bunny. Now, no one’s watching, and as if on command in comes Naked Winery, 2010 Oh! Orgasmic Tempranillo. This wine lays its goods on the tableand the flooron the sofaand the veranda. It’s a dark, fruity gyration of plum and currant, coiling through a fringed veil of hard-hitting tannins. Don’t forget the videotape! Of the wedding, I mean.
So life is doing what life does, and the happy “we” now becomes three. Not to discount how delightful babies are, but let’s be honest, one of the hardest jobs for parents is staying ahead of the never-ending, explosions that shoot from either end of the kid.
A glass of McKinley Springs, 2009 Bombing Range Red, knows the next detonation is just moments away, and does what it can to minimize collateral damage. This wine blows a smoky depth of soft blackberry and currant – banging to the rhythm of rosemary and sage. Supple and smooth like a clean baby’s bum, this wine extends for a long mocha-latte finish. Nostalgic? Why yes. And off you go to some familiar place – a bubble bath, a basement – tensely teed up for the next liquid eruption.
Gone are the days of a quiet evening, cuddled in the corner of a favorite bistro. So naturally, the best thing to do is instigate “date night,” the parental illusion of fun-filled, romance. Unfortunately, romance is short-lived when anxiety creeps in. Rather than keeping the visions at bay, Darby 2010 Chaos fuels the fire. This wine blends confusion with commotion, playdough with chalk – all tied up with a black satin bow. Peppery spice pulses through a chokecherry cadence, while a pucker of tweed grips sparingly. ‘Stay calm and carry on’ - not so fast with this liquid disagreement. Instead, it inspires crazy. The nice babysitter turns quickly to a crazy cat lady who locks babies in cages; just a glorified stranger, really. An innocent comment becomes a waylay of guilt, followed by a fire hose of texts demanding proof that the baby’s still breathing.
After that “first,” life keeps on keeping on, punctuated by a myriad of more and more “firsts”: First days of school, first broken bone, first good report card, first school dance, first overnight in jail and so on. After 18 years, baby is leaving the nest, and the nest appears to be as fragile as a bullfight. Pull on that twig, and watch the whole thing unfold; hopefully, with a glass of Idilico 2010 Tempranillo in hand. Idilico reveals that this fairytale may not be the kind with a happy ending. It’s a fine burst of old wood and perfume entwined in dirty, Spanish darkness. It steers you right, and steers you wrong – looks longingly and leaves you with a rough, unshaven kiss. Without that snap, crackle and pop, this wine says it’s quitting time.
So mom keeps the house and dad moves away. Things end on relatively fine terms, as fine as a split can be. That’s until dad shows up in his new convertible with a nuclear blonde. Barrage Cellars, 2009, Nuclear Blonde Chardonnay is a voluptuous package of green apple eye candy. It untangles itself in the form of mid-life madness with a supple mouthful of buttery oak. This smooth beauty is seductively tart - as only a curvaceous blond can be. Vanilla smoke wafts through creamy layers of delicate pear – lingering just long enough to reach a bourbon- like, brothel-ready finish. (What!)
Mom’s hardly one to sit and sulk. She’s catalog shopping on Match.com, and Mr. Right is right around the corner. Corvidae Wine Company, The Rook 2010, Columbia Valley Red is poised with dark luster. It’s an assertive swallow of sarcasm and black olive - easy on the eyes and even easier on the tongue. A long, strong finish leaves a lasting impression. He may not be forever, but he’s definitely for now.
We’re told not to sweat the small stuff, and that it’s all small stuff. This never made any sense to me. As we continue running the marathon called life, Treveri Cellars Sparkling Pinot Gris offers a bubbly burst of eternal happiness which beats doom and gloom every time. This sparkler fills a glass with citrus fizz, woven through a crisp whirl of tart apple, lemon and sour peach. Lively and fun, this wine bounces with excitement and sometimes, that’s all you really need.
In closing, raise the nearest glass of something and repeat after me
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave, with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body; but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out – and screaming... WOO HOO! What a RIDE!
Who said it? Not me. But what a ride, indeed!
TERI CITTERMAN is a Seattle dweller and an eager wine enthusiast. She is the author of the latest edition of Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest and the Northwest Wine Journal. She writes An Urban Sip Wine Blog at anurbansip.com.