Can food overpower, or even eclipse the pleasures of a well-aged bottle of wine? Pairings are such an enormous part of the lore and baggage of wine that, on its face, this seems a heretical question.
You don’t need a fancy display or Wi-Fi capability to cook the most delicious beans without much effort.
In 2007, my father dropped dead while standing in a lift line at a ski resort. I heard a similar refrain from a lot of well-intentioned people, “At least he died doing something he loved.” Which was no consolation to me because, well, dead is dead.
I was upset and cynical, mostly because my dad had just
retired and looked forward to years of travel with my mother. She posed a question: Would I travel with her instead?
I said yes, though we weren’t close at the time.
“You’re going to live on a farm?!? YOU?!?”
This was my family’s incredulous reaction when we gathered at Christmastime and updated each other on our lives. I hadn’t realized how thoroughly I had cultivated my reputation as a soft city boy. You see, I had just announced that I was going to live (and volunteer) at Finnriver Farm and Cidery for the month of January.
Who hasn’t made a hasty purchase online? But the last time you clicked “Checkout,” a winery probably wasn’t in your cart. Kelly Austin, however, did score a winery on the internet. After winning an online auction in 2017, Kelly and her husband, Matt, were on the road to founding one of Walla Walla, Washington’s most unusually exciting and excitingly unusual new wineries: Grosgrain. From the labels outside to the wines within, each bottle tells a striking story.
As a grocery-store wine steward, I was accustomed to introducing customers to wines. But what happened when one of them returned the favor, with a legend no less?
Reaching into the cooler at my local wine shop on a hot summer day, the last thing I expected to pull out was a Valpolicella. Intrigued, I bought the bottle. Surprise: It was light and low alcohol, a refreshing revelation. But where were all the other Valpolicellas in my life?
As I’ve packed up my life in Seattle, waves of nostalgia have overtaken me. I’ve combed through boxes of letters, photos, and memories that brought up all kinds of feelings. It’s been very emotional. On that note, here are images conveying all the things I’ll miss.
Let me couch it in the terms of our world of smart phones and dating:
It's like Chardonnay is on Tinder, swiping hella left, and feeling very fussy, finicky, and unfulfilled. (UNLIKE ME, OF COURSE.) Until coming across an oak barrel. Which not only had natural good looks, an upright nature, and curves, but also some words of interest:
Looking to add richness and texture to your world without stifling your true nature. Battonage, lees, and stirring things up? Yes, please. NO FLAKES AND NO HOOKUPS!*
And Chardonnay swipes right and it's totally a match.
Where can you spend one breezy, scenic afternoon tasting hemp vodka, wine made from Austria’s signature white grape, Grüner Veltliner, and talking local varieties at an artisanal cidery? Just a short drive from British Columbia’s charming capital, Victoria, will get you to that place: the Saanich Peninsula.