This Wine is For Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Independent Producers “La Bourgeoisie”
Columbia Valley

Producer: The House of Independent Producers
Importer: n/a
Year: 2007
Price: $9.99

This is the wine that you drink while you and your mom stand side by side in the kitchen. It is sipped between chops and during stirs, between browning the onions and minding the rutabaga‘s boil. It is enjoyed between recipes edited aloud, between gossip about family and judgments on lumps in the gravy.

This wine reminds you that you are, in fact, a grown-up, despite all evidence still pointing to the contrary. As you soak in the familiar affection and seek the ancient approval, you realize that a part of you will always be that child peering over the countertop, admiring the capable hands at work and banging on pots with wooden spoons.

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This Wine is For Mothers-In-Law

Lola Kay Red Wine
Napa

Producer: Rubissow Wines
Importer: n/a
Year: 2006
Price: $24.99

For the vintners, this wine was named for their grandmothers, but for me, this wine is all mother-in-law. Unfined and unfiltered, it is a simple, serene blend with a long reach, warming the heart and fogging the head in the most delightful way. This wine is grace and strength in the style of my mother-in-law, a powerful blend of moods and opinions, a force of fashion and grit, a staunch supporter and a perpetual wild card.

The bottle has two faces. One reflects the mother, the woman who raised the child who grew up to be my husband. The other reflects the woman who lived beyond that role, who danced, painted, traveled, healed, and loved, and who would appear to me through stories shared, late at night, a continent away, after many a glass of good wine such as this.

This Wine is For Cabin Fever

Mount Veeder Cabernet
Napa

Producer: Mount Veeder Winery
Importer: n/a
Year: 2006
Price: $39.99

If L.L. Bean and Pottery Barn were to have a lovechild, and that offspring dabbled in winemaking, this would be the result. When the walls are closing in, when the sky has been too gray for too long, when there’s nothing good to eat, nothing good to wear and nothing to watch because you’ve seen it all before, throw on your monogrammed puffy vest and Hunter boots and venture out into the world. This is porch swing wine, clean and calm and content, when the world smells of approaching rain, and burning leaves, and changing seasons, and a fresh start.

This Wine is For My Tortured Adolescent Grunge Self

Adelaida Schoolhouse Recess Red
Paso Robles

Producer: Adelaida
Importer: n/a
Vintage: 2006
Price: $13.99

Break out the flannel and men’s corduroy pants for this bad boy, a kitchen sink blend with more varietals than a teenager’s mood swings. Your disheveled, disillusioned friends at the coffeehouse will all agree – this wine has what it takes to combat a stormy bout of early 90’s nostalgia. Pour a glass, turn up the Candlebox and think of the good old days. When Friday night was just another evening spent whiling the hours away in your room, scribbling furiously in journals and hosting a Kurt Cobain séance. When every surface was covered in lyrics and every mix tape included a desperately disturbing Pearl Jam number. When every day was both a horrific routine and a circus of drama. You may realize, at times, that not much has changed.

This Wine is For First Date Jitters

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
Spain

Producer: Segura Viudas
Vintage: N/A
Price: $8.99

The bottle is decisively popped as a temporary solution (or perhaps distraction?) to her overwhelming wardrobe conundrum. Returning, glass in hand, to a mountain of cast aside options, she reexamines the scene, pitting her choices against one another. Buttoned up or down? Denim or micro-mini? Heels or flats (how tall is he anyway?)? Finally, even the clock throws up its hands – decision time. Clasping at the belt of her terry robe, she frantically asks her roommate to address her suitor’s nervous knock. She is resolute not to be the classic rom com “first date girl”. One last delicate swig brings unfounded enlightenment: with a quick confident look in the mirror, she self assuredly strides to the door.

A Toast: To Paris

Specifically, the small square behind Notre Dame.
On a sun-splashed, endlessly soft afternoon,
I watched children tugging at dancing balloons,
Mothers tugging at chubby, grass-stained hands,
Strangers ambling,
Lovers loping,
Friends filling the space with laughter –
The entire world, as it were,
Passing by my park bench.

Enjoy With This Wine: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

This Wine is For Sports Fans

Los Alisos Syrah
Santa Barbara

Producer: Los Alisos Winery
Importer: n/a
Year: 2007
Price: $22.99

Blueberries. Light and tangy. No legs. Big smells. This wine is for sports fans. It softens the blow of a primetime spectacle when the latest superstar sells out. With glass in one hand and remote control in the other, all you can do is sit and watch as greatness dissipates and a newer, harder version of success reveals itself. As the disappointment fades, this wine reminds you that not everything is powered by corporate sponsors, not everyone gives up on their hometown, and not all hope is franchised.