“Gray skies are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face
Brush off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face.”
The play and movie “Bye, Bye Birdie” may be considered dated, but so am I when it comes to music, I guess. This is the twenty-eighth edition of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge and Beth of Traveling Wine Chick was the last winner and her distinct honor was to come up with the theme of this entry which is “smile.”
Smile is a great theme, as I think all wine drinkers are happy and why not? They get to enjoy the nectar of the Gods and wine has been around for ages. I would venture to say that almost every article I have written about wines is merged with happy occasions and I tend to even smile as I relate the events. I can only think of four events that would make a wine lover not smile. The first is when you have a bad bottle of wine, either it is too old, improperly stored or the cork did not do its job properly and thankfully this is a rare time. The second is going to a restaurant that you are looking forward to trying for the first time, and that usually means a monumental dinner tab at the end of the evening and the evening left you wanting or expecting more. The third would be when you are enjoying a wonderful bottle of wine and you realize that you are drinking the last glass of the wine. The last time that a wine drinker would not smile is when you realize that you are enjoying the last bottle of that case you bought and have cellared for ages and you can’t go back for more. Otherwise we are some of the happiest folks, especially when one is enjoying the wine with a great friend or friends.
Smile is a theme that could go in many directions, but I always talk about how great wine enhances a dinner or a party and I have been lucky over the years to have dined at many stellar and unique restaurants. At The French Laundry with their spectacular wine list, I just asked the sommelier that evening to suggest a wine that is popular with the locals and he brought us a bottle of Pleiades VIII Old Vines of Marin County a truly unique wine that is non-vintage (bottled in July 1999) and is a blend of different red and white varieties and each issue of this wine is totally different from the prior bottling. What a smile I had that evening. And the evening that I was given the first glass of Screaming Eagle by some men that kept disturbing our dinner, yes I did smile afterwards and forgave them for the diversion.
What I am going to mention right now is some wines that make me smile because of their label or their name. I mean I am a very eclectic wine drinker. There was a wine that I had called Pazzo 2004, which in Italian means crazy and is made by Bacio Divino Cellars of Napa, California, and the winery in English translates into the Divine Kiss. This was a proprietary red blend of basically Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as other varieties. This was not an expensive wine, but it was fun, then there is the equally fun and not expensive Project Happiness Syrah 2011 from Oreana Winery of Lodi, California and that big yellow smiley face on the label will make you smile, even if you say to yourself I can’t buy that. The third wine that brings a smile to my face is a winery from South Africa with a name that immediately made our dear friend Ms. Yoga buy me one year. The wine is Goats Do Roam 2002 which is a great take off, of one of my favorite types of wine Cotes-du-Rhone. She knew that, and that is why she bought it for me, and the winery actually raises goats on the property and makes cheese from the animals. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz (sounds like a Rhone wine so far) and some Pinotage, the famous varietal of South Africa.
I also have to smile as this was almost my one-thousandth article to be published, but if I had delayed it, I might have been disqualified and I have only missed one entry in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge from the beginning of this wonderful change from my usual writings. I also have to say that another reason that I am smiling right now, is that when this article publishes my Bride and I will be off for a little getaway to celebrate another wedding anniversary. Yes, I am a very lucky man and that keeps me smiling even more.
“Take off that gloomy mask of tragedy
It’s not your style
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad
You decided to smile.”