I had the amazing fortune of making a new friend just recently – one who shares many of the same interests with me, including a passion for wine. Just the other day we had a very lengthy discussion about what exactly makes wine so very …. intoxicating. No, not the alcohol kind, although that could certainly add a bit of extra color to our wine musings. I’m talking about the intoxication that gives us that little thrill when we hear the pull and pop of a cork, even when there is no “official” special occasion to commemorate. I’m thinking about the kind of intoxication that causes us to gently and unintentionally tilt our heads to one side when a taste is poured, and close our eyes as we take in the aromas that fill the glass, and then seductively waft up to wrap our minds and hearts in its very essence.
Ah, but I digress….
So the conversation with my friend turned to the memories that we each have of wine – our first sniff, our first sip, the memorable events that involved a wine experience, and the special people that we shared them with. She shared with me how much her father loved wine, and how he shared that great love with her when she was a child – giving her a sniff of a very special wine when she was a little girl, and how, at the end of his life, she and her father shared a special time, reminiscing about the beautiful wines they experienced together, and the peaceful, joyful emotions that those memories brought with them. I likewise shared with her the memories I have of my grandfather, handing me a little glass of chianti and telling me that just a little wine, and it was “just a little”, was good for you. I must have been all of 6 at the time. It wasn’t an expensive wine, but the experience of sharing that moment with my grandfather was priceless. I loved that time with him. I remember that we sat out on a picnic table, on a cool afternoon of a sunny autumn day. Colorful leaves were on the ground, with a few on the table, all made brighter by the sun. I remember the new smells of this grown-up drink, and that first little sip. It felt warm on my tongue, and with my head down toward my little glass I glanced over at my grandfather, who took a sip, closed his eyes and pursed his lips before swallowing. I remember he let out a happy “aaahhhh…..”, and then he looked at me, smiling. I smiled back, and he held out his glass for me to clink with mine. We both laughed, and smiled, and sipped our wine together until the breeze got cooler. When we went back in the house I knew that my grandfather was indeed my very best friend, and always would be. I loved him then, and I miss him with all my heart now. And I will always love that wine moment we shared. There were other special times along the way, but those are for another time, and other “wonderings”.