Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My dad calls me Oenologist.......

I've been doing alot of soul searching lately, trying to find ME and figure out where I need to set my direction. I've lost alot of myself over the past six months, between the move, the new lifestyle, the shocking loss of my job, it's been a real adjustment. But I need to recapture my passion and my spirit and restore who I once was.

Everyone who knows me remembers the City Girl who embraced a life filled with wine and laughter. Wine became my hobby and no, not guzzling bottle after bottle and stumbling and staggering.......well, ya, that happened once in a while, but I developed a serious interest in wine. Everything wine. The growing of vines, the history, the science, the chemistry. I tasted. I sampled. I became educated.

And I longed to share that passion with the people around me. The best thing about this time in my life is that my friends and I have mellowed into who we are, settled into our lives, and long gone were the party girl years and goofy drinking stories. So when I wanted to drink and appreciate wine, amazingly, so were my girlfriends !! Of course we did not all have the same palate. I truly love all wines but I tend to lean more towards the big, bold reds with a meaty mouthfeel and alot of body.  Cabernet is my friend. Sangiovese is my true love. Some of my girls were more conservative, sticking to moscato and the occasional sweet riesling or pinot grigio.

I loved filling the role of teacher when it came to wine. Friends would call me and say "Hey Mo, I'm in the liquor store and I need a wine for dinner. I'm making roast- what should I get ?" I visited wineries all over the midwest. Iowa became a wine destination. My European history was coming alive in the middle of the midwest and I was thriving. I went to classes whenever I found them and became a wine tasting guide. Fun fun fun !!!

Then......in an instant......life threw me a curveball I was not expecting. Everything changed, and to save the lengthy story, I experienced what millions of other people have experienced- the breakup of a marriage, the loss of a lifestyle, the loss of ME.

Standing on the edge of the unknown, facing a life I have never wanted to live (single ??? me ???) I had to restart. Re-find myself. Rediscover. Rebuild. Believe me, it wasn't easy. Everything about the old me was gone. Who was this new me ? Two years of my life go by and I finally realized....... I can't control what other people are doing (the boss who laid me off, the husband who didn't want to be married) but I better figure out what I CAN control and make some changes. Get myself back. And the first thing that came to me was recapturing the things that made me passionate. What made me HAPPY ??

Wine. That one simple word. That beautiful, artful expression of taste and talent. Centuries of  crafting. Generations of families devoted to this one simple thing that is almost as old as mankind. Wine makes me happy. And not just drinking it (although, yes, I will say, a glass or four makes me pretty darn happy) but learning and experiencing it.

Somewhere in the infamous Room of Doom (that room in our house that has become the dumping ground for unopened boxes we don't have room for) is a box containing my wine diaries. I have 3 volumes of diaries filled with labels, my opinions, my likes and dislikes. I need to find that box !!!!! And continue where I left off !!

Baby steps....baby steps......and 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio.......and here I am.

I first heard about Flip Flop wines while reading a food blog and with a name that darn cute I could not resist. This bottle is a 2010 California Pinot Grigio. I know, I know, I'm a red wine girl, but it is technically still summer, fairly warm out and I love a crisp Pinot G in the warmer months. Now, everyone who knows me KNOWS that if I am going to pick a white wine, Riesling is my absolute favorite of the whites. But many of them are sweet and sweet wines are lower in alcohol and I think too "soda-y" for me. I am an absolute HATER of Chardonnay- I rarely even try one, mostly because I detest the woody flavor of aging in oak (reds aged in oak don't seem to get this....the stronger red grape flavor stands out more I guess).

Back to the Flip Flop. It's really a good wine !!! Well balanced, not too acidic ( a problem many whites have in my opinion) and not too sweet, it really was a pleasure to drink. And an extremely good value at less than $7 a bottle !!!!  Who says cheap wine is bad wine ?? That's so not true !! But wine prices..... oh my, that's another blog post entirely !!

And then I opened the Black Swan. The Black Swan pinot grigio was by far more acidic !!!! Yikes !!! It really had an acid bite !   I would love this bottle with a heavy, cheesy, cloying dish like lasagna or eggplant parmesan. But just to drink on its own as a sipper ???  No, not so much........ it has a 12% alcohol content and a much higher acid than the Flip Flop pinot grigio. This was the bottle I shoukd have opened first !!!

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