Saturday, September 26, 2009

message received

Twice now, very recently, I have come across the following quote. The first time it was read aloud in my yoga class. The next I chanced upon it while looking for something completely unrelated. I don't know that the universe is sending me messages, but it resonated with me all the same. It is from the book "The Scottish Himalayan Expedition" by William H. Murray:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

Apparently the couplets attributed to Goethe represent a very loose translation of Faust lines 214-30 made by John Anster in 1835. Considering how deeply Faust resonated with me, this only serves to please me more.


I'm the first to admit that I'm a novice when it comes to wine. In the wine world, I have little to offer in the way of professional criticism, but among my friends, I seem to be the person to call when one is staring down an aisle of wines and trying to pick something reasonably priced and tasty. With that in mind, I've decided I'd start sharing a bit of the wine I enjoy, beginning with a bottle R and I shared for a belated birthday celebration.

I recently discovered Garrison's Fine Wines and thought we might want to pick up a bottle for after our lovely dinner at Nostrana. I know that R likes big wines, jammy zins, but most of the wines in the shop were not ones I was familiar with and the few I did know were out of my price range. While once spoiled into developing two palates (one solely concentrated on taste and texture and one concentrated on what I can afford) I no longer can afford the luxury of really spendy bottles of wine. That said, I can still recognize something delicious and seem adept at picking good wines blind.

My methodology is simple. I look for wines with interesting and attractive labels. My logic is that a vintner must care enough about his wine to bother designing an attractive label. But, as the old adage goes, one can't judge a book by its cover, so I also look for a wine from earlier than the current vintage. If I'm particularly focused, I may even call up the memory of some rather good wine years for a particular region. When it comes to region, I tend to choose either regions that have satisfied my wine tastes in the past, or regions I know nothing about.

I can no longer set aside bottled with screw tops, as there are many decent wines that bear no resemblance to Boon's Strawberry Hill, which was what I used to associated screw top wines with and so carefully avoided. That said, I still avoid flat bottomed wines. I'll admit, some of this is my aesthetic preference. I like a wine bottom with that cradles my fingers. Plus, I can't think of a flat bottomed wine I've had that wasn't disappointing or downright bad.

So, on to the wine from Friday night: Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zin

This 2006 wine was more than I like to spend, but still reasonably priced at $20. The fact is, I've had $80 bottles of wine that were no better than a $12 or $15 bottle and most wines between $15 and $35 are pretty good. It had a dark, rich color, too dark to see through when held regularly, but held up to the light and swirled it was a marvelous crimson gem. It also had good legs and held up quite well in the nose (I just love that phrase). It was full of dark berries, but not too fruit forward. It finished with a little earthy, peppery quality and felt good in the mouth. It is not the kind of wine that slakes one's thirst, but rather a wine to let linger on the tongue and swallow slowly. Water is for thirst slaking.

Plus, it has an awesome little wild boar in red ink on the label, which, frankly, is what got my attention to begin with. I'd certainly drink it again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that I have the most amazing friends in the world. And to thank them (YOU) for the gift of being in my life.