Recently, I attended an absolutely killer wine tasting: near Boston Harbor, on a blue-sky day when the views seemed infinite and the sun warmed limbs and temperaments chilled by an extended 'spring'. Attendance was light; there were no hordes of young sommeliers seeking the hottest new trend. It was mostly a few old friends who have been in the wine business for decades. The wines, from a small California winery, were delicious, but since that was a previously acknowledged fact, nobody was making much of an effort to 'sell' them.
Notes From All Over
It was the best of wines; it was the worst of times. The Brunello was amazing; the deliveries were always late. The Syrah was stunning; it never came with an actual physical invoice. The Riesling was transcendent; I ordered two cases, but received one case, 5 bottles....plus six more bottles of a completely different vintage.
A June visit to CVS is rife with 'Happy Father's Day'. Cards, sure, but also mugs, plaques, T-shirts, keychains. Signs everywhere. It's become a cottage industry. But really-what's the perfect present for all the Dads we know and love? What would make Dad 'Happy', on Father's Day or any other day?
If you think Gin was born in London or thereabouts, you're wrong. Gin, then called Genever, was invented in Holland in the early part of the 17th century. (Full disclosure: Williams is my married name; I was born a Van Vugt.) In this early form, it was distilled from whatever was near at hand-mostly cereal grains-and flavored with botanicals to mask its defects.
This spring's consistent cold, grey drizzle has often driven me to the couch, accompanied by a warm blanket, the dogs, and a good book or seven. Luckily, between birthday/Christmas and Mother's Day gifts, and a few visits to my favorite (local, independent, natch) bookstores, I was well supplied. And the recipe works: what rain? I was tooling through sunny Provence.
Once upon a time, wine was considered snooty. Elite, even. The common man drank beer, or bourbon. Or a Manhattan, Martini, etc. Definitely not wine, which was a formal beverage, served formally. From a bottle. Which definitely had a cork, requiring a corkscrew.
Once a year, we combine our passion for everything pink* and liquid (dry rosé, pink cocktails, rosy-hued cider) with our passion for eradicating cancer.
Cancer is a thief-a thief that steals time, steals our loved ones, and steals our peace of mind. The best response to this theft is giving: a fun time, a delicious experience, and-most importantly-cold, hard cash to help fight the good fight.
Did you know that Tuesday, May 9 is National Teacher's Day? Considering the outsize influence a great teacher can have on both the education and eventual character of their students, I think it's curious that we only allocate one day per year to honor their contributions. In my own education, I was blessed with many gifted teachers; in adult life I've met even more, and witnessed the amazing contributions they make to our youth and our communities.
Once upon a time, a beautiful young German girl, Bettina, met a handsome young man named Wolf. In Berlin, they fell in love. They watched a young and popular American president give an inspired speech, 'Ich bin ein Berliner.' A few months later, JFK was assasinated, and their young love mingled with the world's sorrow over this loss. An aspiring writer, Wolf desired to create something of lasting beauty to offset the world's darker impulses.
Scene: Hotel function room. One table, one chair. White tablecloth. Six wine glasses, filled with unknown wines. By sight, scent, and taste alone, you will identify them by grape variety(ies), region, and probable vintage. Verbally. To a seemingly-omniscient wine judge. Are you terrified yet?