I guess the epitome of a friend, when it comes to wine, is if they would not want to share a glass of Screaming Eagle wine. That is not to say that I would not share, in fact, I offered the first taste of this famous cult wine and was told that it was all for me, because they would not want to spoil their appreciation for the other wines of the world. This is another entry in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, and the theme is Friend, as proffered by last month’s winner Dracaena Wines.
A “friend” as a theme is perfect and the light bulb immediately lit up above my slowly balding pate. This could only be about my best friend that I have known for around twenty-one years. I remember the first evening when we met and we were drinking mixed drinks, not even a glass of wine. Later that evening, I already knew that she was to be my Bride. Who is a better “friend” to associate wine with, then my Bride? It has been a wonderful ride for the both of us, and like all couples there are some downs, but they are far out numbered by the ups and all the great memories.
When we first started comparing notes about our likes and dislikes, I discovered that she basically only ate fish and fowl and only like white wines. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with white wines, in fact some of the best wines that I have had are white, but I knew that this was a wonderful moment to start teaching a neophyte about how good a red wine could be. I also knew that I had to get her to start eating red meat as well. How does Professor Henry Higgins proceed without sounding like Professor Harold Hill?
I started out by trying to woo her, with my very limited culinary skills and made her an Armenian version of what is known in the states as Shepherd’s Pie; a garlicky lamb dish surrounded by potatoes. That was the night I introduced her to one of my favorite go-to wines and it still is, namely Marquis de Riscal Rioja and the Tempranillo grape varietal. I think she fell in love with the wine, and maybe me, just a little bit. Her appreciation for red wines were growing and evolving. Some of the wines were immediate hits like the Rioja wine, and others were slower to get on her hit parade, though Clarets and Cotes du Rhone were also accepted very quickly. It took time, but she even discovered white wines that were not a Chardonnay, but she is no fan of the Zinfandel, either white or red, but I did trick her a bit at the French Laundry with our wine for dinner.
What a friendship that evolved, there were trips, dinners and wines. While she was always more worldly in travel and the desire to try all types of cuisines, I was and maybe still am more parochial then she. My world was wines even when I never left the state, really until we met. There were white wines, and gradually more and more red wines, until the student may have become more learned then the teacher. The wine tastings, the parties and it seemed that there was a whirlwind of activity of food and drinks. I watched as she became more confident about what she was tasting, and how quickly she learned what she did not like, though sometimes if I thought there was a star that she missed, I had to tactfully (me tactful?) try to get her to give something a second chance.
We started visiting wineries in Napa Valley, Carmel Valley, the Traverse City and area of Michigan, and even in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario, Canada. So many wines to try, to decide if we should bring some home, and over the years, we have brought home more cases then I wish to count. It is fun to watch her decide if she likes a wine or not; and she is always game to try a new wine. Sometimes she tries wines when we are apart and she brings home a case of two of wines that she enjoyed without me. I may be the envy of wine drinkers and Bloggers alike. While I may have spoiled her, by introducing her to wines in my cellar, it really was her that has spoiled me. Sometimes she has to be the firm adult when I get too carried away in a restaurant or in a wine shop. There is no need to mention that we have been to wonderful, if not famous restaurants and resorts over the years, as I have written about some, and there are still more to be written about. I have to laugh that sometimes she buys wines in a restaurant by the price and works backwards to finding something that she will enjoy, because she knows that I will try to reach for the stars.
When I think of some of the wines that she has skipped, because her passion is for the wine, and not necessarily for a producer, so I have had a glass of Screaming Eagle, Latour, Lafitte, Mouton and Margaux, while she has demurred, because as she claims that she may not be able to appreciate the wines or doesn’t want to spoil her taste buds, I think she tries to allow me to have a bit more of some of these legendary wines. She has more then hinted that for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary she would like to go to Italy and who am I to disagree, as I do believe there are a few wineries over there to visit as well. As I said my Bride is the epitome of a friend, if I went into our library and delved into the large dictionary on the stand and looked up “friend” her picture would be there, above the definition.