This Wine is For October 9, 1971

Fortuna Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa

Producer: Turnbull Wine Cellars
Importer: n/a
Year: 2007
Price: $75.00

The love created on that day has quieted anger, eased pain, encouraged dreams, and inspired joy. It has been a constant – forgiving all, celebrating much, apologizing for little. It has had many homes, sustaining one for decades; it has triumphed over trials of mind and body, of will and wallet.

Forty years later, time treads softly around this love, letting itself in and tiptoeing over to kneel with respect before it. And three people in particular, its greatest recipients, still depend on it, seek to replicate it, and wander the world proclaiming it.

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This Wine is For The Winemaker’s Wife

— Based on a tasting of Pezzi King wines at Gibson’s Restaurant in Chicago, May 2011

Her answer always trumps the rest – the ace of responses to the tired inquiry, “What does your husband do?”. Hands down, for many, the coolest occupation ever – a welcome daydream for tortured souls who wear business casual, languish in cubicles, and sing to themselves in rush hour traffic (the corporate lullaby).

She realizes this and never minds – after all, it is pretty cool, and they don’t need to grasp the harsh reality. Often she imagines their surprise in finding that he suffers in the familiar ways, tossing and turning, grinding his teeth, lashing out at the kids when they interrupt his work, then quickly scooping them up. As he kisses their cheeks and holds them close, his gaze drifts to the window, the sky, the wonder if the chill in the breeze is signaling frost. Will he sleep that night, despite that menacing thought now planted firmly in his mind? She is well versed in the ancient concerns…

The sun is high and golden, splashing her world with light, and she moves around the tables, pouring the chardonnay. This is a wine for the afternoon – his homage to the backyard barbecue, the in-law visit, the annual neighborhood bocce tournament. The chardonnay coaxes the day to its relieved conclusion, fueling the chase of children across lawns and the hunt for the extra serving dish.

When the plates are cleared and the kids relegated to their beds, the chardonnay has done its duty. Now it is time for her favorite of wines: the ’07 zin. This is the wine of the night, of flickering shadows cast against candlelight, of layered clothing and hushed conversation, the guilty indulgence that makes her forget that an early alarm has been set, the vintage that makes her recall the reasons she first fell for her winemaker.

This Wine is For That Girl


You know the one –
Over there,
In the fleece vest and drawstring pants,
In clever disguise or bawdy costume,
In chic attire, borrowed from your closet
Or purchased that day, after brunch,
With too much champagne but with great ambition.
The one with the heart on her sleeve,
And a face for every punctuation in the book.

You know That Girl –
She has it all together,
Yet collapses in a fit of laughter at your feet.
The one who creeps, chugs, and lays one on you;
Who hoards soy sauce and expounds pop culture;
She dances across near and distant lands,
Sings Journey at the bar and Ave Maria at your wedding,
And she does it all with everything she’s got.

You love That Girl –
And in some way, you’re certain,
Inexplicably and always:
She lives in the room right beside yours.

— Toast her with 2009 Sofia Blanc de Blancs

This Wine Tastes Fine… A Week Later

Brophy Clark GSM
Santa Barbara

Producer: Brophy Clark Cellars
Importer: N/A
Vintage: 2007
Price: $16.99

No, really.

You open it on a Monday night during the second half of the Bulls game – you hadn’t expected to have wine on Monday, but there you go. Tuesday, well, Tuesday was a rough day at the office, what with the conference call and the formatting issue, so a bit more of that delicious Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend would help you unwind. Wednesday you end up traveling for work, and when you come back, it’s Friday: time for weekend wine.

The cute dark bottle with the landscape label sits on your kitchen counter for a few more days before the work week rolls around again, and suddenly there you are: Monday evening, eyeing the last poured glass, sniffing, grimacing, and then smiling with relief. The train schedule, the internet speed, the long line at lunch may have all disappointed, but the GSM did not. A small but delightful victory.

This Wine is For Your Franco-Bistro Fantasy

Newton Claret
Napa

Producer: Newton Vineyard
Importer: N/A
Vintage: 2007
Price: $25.00

How very American, to take a French wine (Bordeaux) and an English term (Claret) and create something that is best enjoyed here. Glasses clink and silverware rattles on trays carried by dark strangers who snake their way through the maze of diners. When your very dashing date dashes off to the restroom, you take the moment to indulge your Franco-bistro fantasy…

Alone at the table, you are a fatalistic, emotionally beleaguered artist, thinking deeply and wearing a beret, your eyes alighting on all things beautiful among your surroundings – the glint of a diamond on a well-heeled socialite’s finger, the smile exchanged between two lovers in the corner booth, the story of a work mishap that has all colleagues roaring with laughter. In this bustling scene, it is almost as if you have somehow stumbled into a colorful Renoir masterpiece… And yet, the greatest realization is that this moment is real.

Lost in reflection, you recline in your seat, one hand absentmindedly tracing the pattern of the tablecloth, the other raising the glass to your lips, which have curled in a subtle, charmed, almost Parisian smile.

This Wine Is For Company Casserole

Cannonball Cabernet
California
Producer: Cannonball Wine Company
Importer: N/A
Vintage: 2007
Price: $15.99
We make this recipe for the same reason we drink this wine –
It reminds us of a less complicated version of life,
A time when we wore heels to play dress up,
We were put to bed before dusk,
And we truly believed our parents – and their parents – were invincible.
A time when we took the greatest pleasure in the smallest things,
Like licking the spoon after we spread the sauce.
Company Beef Casserole
Mom’s Notes in Italics

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion (you can used dried if in a hurry)
1 cup sour cream (you can use lite, but not fat-free)
1 8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese – Remove from package and soften in microwave
1 cup cottage cheese (lite if you want, but no fat-free)
8 oz. to12 oz. wide noodles
16 oz. tomato sauce
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Grease 3 qt. or 13×9 casserole dish.
2. Cook noodles according to directions. (It’s usually a shorter time if using in a casserole – I think it’s 5 minutes for the noodles I use).
3. Mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese, stirring well.
4. Brown beef (and onions if fresh) in oil till fully cooked – then drain.
5. Add tomato sauce to beef.
6. To assemble casserole….
· Layer 1/2 cooked noodles on bottom of casserole
· Spread cheese mixture on top of noodles
· Add rest of noodles on top of cheese mixture
· Spread meat and tomato sauce mixture evenly on top
7. Bake uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan last 10 minutes if desired.

This Wine is For Your Urban Family

Green & Red Zinfandel
Napa Valley

Producer: Green & Red Vineyards
Importer: N/A

Year: 2007
Price: $21.99

Fruity flavors tempered with smoky sage – just the complement for your family away from family. On some occasions – Sunday nights, Monday blues, holidays, promotions – calling a friend just won’t do. These are moments when you seek out your urban family: those who embrace you in your new environment, transforming it into a familiar place. They know to bring more than one bottle to a dinner for three and are forthcoming with kind words, yet quick to dish out honest (if not biting) advice.

Over a glass, you can’t help but admire the members of your talented family – one’s subtle wit lights up a tale of work woes, another nonchalantly whips up a meal worthy of a two star Michelin rating, and as she tests the sauce, you realize she is wearing the sweater she borrowed from you last winter. (Such is the urban family life, sharing clothes, cabs, recipes, duets during road trips and the trials of making it on your own). Here you rest easy in your supporting role, laughing and encouraging, tasting and marveling.

Celebrate your urban family by enjoying this wine, be it for a holiday party or simply to commemorate a Thursday night. Just as we can choose the wines we love, how lucky we are to have the unique ability to choose this family we cherish, so much so that when we actually do go home, we have the sense that someone is missing.