Memories are made of...wine

You never know what will trigger a memory. Sometimes it is something you see, something you smell or taste or hear. It can catch you by surprise, leave you breathless, a little nostalgic, maybe even a little sad. If you are lucky, it can make you smile. This past weekend I was in a brand new market here in Missoula, perusing the wine, as I oft times do, when BAM...there it was. A bottle of wine from the past. My daughter was married 8 years ago in the backyard of my brother's home. It was a wonderfully casual and relaxed wedding and the day was full of good friends, good food and good wine. My daughter and I had debated venues, but with her fiancĂ©'s family in Texas and hers in both Southern California and Montana, it was difficult to find a compromise. Then one evening she tentatively asked me if I thought my brother would offer up his home. My brother and his family were living in the house that my mom and dad had bought after the two of us left home. My father's untimely passing 10 years later had left my mom with a too-big house while my brother was living with his wife and 3 kids in a smaller home nearby. The solution was simple, they would swap living spaces while each retained ownership of their own homes. It was a win-win all around. My daughter and son and their cousins had wonderful memories of Gramma and Grandpa's house and her idea to have her wedding there was brilliant. My brother was, of course, delighted and offered not only to provide the venue, but the wine as well, his and his wife's gift to the couple. Being a newbie wine drinker at the time, my tastes had not progressed much further than knowing that I liked Pinot Grigio and didn't like Pinot Noir, so I was happy to leave this tasks to him. He chose a red and a white. The red was, I'm sure, very nice, but because I had not expanded my wine 'likes', I drank only the white...a lovely chardonnay called Lucky Star. It was, I now realize, everything a good Chardonnay should be...dense with pear and honey, wonderfully rich and simply delicious.

I don't drink much Chardonnay now, preferring the crispness of Sauvignon Blanc over the sometimes oaky flavors of Chardonnay. For months after the wedding I looked for the wine, but I live in Montana and the smaller California vineyards are not well represented, so eventually I stopped expecting to find it and as my tastes changed, I stopped even looking for it.

But last Saturday as I strolled up and down the wine aisle, noting the price of favorites (which is how I judge a store), I suddenly stopped and stared. There it was, THE white wine of my daughter's wedding, Lucky Star. It was so unexpected, so surprising that I stared at the bottle, filled with a rush of memories and feelings. (Full disclosure, this part is a little sad, but bear with me, it has a happy ending) My brother passed only 5 short years after the wedding and since that time, I have sought out wines he liked and shared with  me. Wines I drank on his deck while watching the sunset, never realizing he had such a short time left. I have toasted him with each glass, choosing not to be sad, but to be happy with this small part of him.

I'm sitting on my deck now, enjoying the sunset and this lovely wine, which I am happy to say is just as yummy now as it was 8 years ago. To be honest, I would drink it if it tasted like vinegar, but am so delighted it does not. As I held the bottle, lamenting the fact that I was so shortsighted as to have bought only one bottle, no doubt worried about the whole vinegar thing, I read this on the back of the label:

May your trampoline stay put during a windy storm
May you be relocated to a town a mile from your BFF
May you find a penny...from 1862 and worth big bucks
...and may our wine bring good fortune to all who share it

Here's to my brother and his unerring good taste in wine...and here's to my son, who upon seeing me drinking the wine, and knowing what it meant to me, said "seems like the perfect subject for a Wine Wednesday blog".  He's so wise.






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