Tag Archives: wine country

The Art of Slowness

There is something about winter that makes me slow way down: the cold night air, the naked tree branches, the dried flower buds holding on for dear life–all are living proof that winter has arrived and the time to go inward is here.   

There is an art to slowness, although it takes time to master.  My mind still runs a mile a minute with things that need to be done; my body whispers, “What’s the big hurry? Enjoy the slowness, the dormancy of nature, this organic tapestry weaving time and energy together to restore and bloom come spring.”   

And so, there is not much of the garden left.  The cold night air and brisk winds have taken the last of the vineyard leaves down. 

A few flowers remain–red and white Cyclamens decorate my outdoor pots, and red Camellia buds are holding tight to open come February. 

This time of year makes me want to curl up by a warm fire and read a juicy book. 

Or take a little nap under a thick blanket with Amber who waits for me to take her inside.  These little moments say, relax into the day, it is ok. 

One of my favorite past times during the holidays, after I have made breakfast, dropped the kids off at school and spent my morning writing, is to sit in my living room with our Christmas tree all a glow, my candles lit in vigil, to relish the moment of this warm scene.  My home is my church, my sanctuary, my place of refuge. The art of slowness is mastered here.

Good Lovin’ in a Bottle of Parmelee-Hill

Last Sunday, for my 49th birthday, Dan (my husband) gifted me with an exclusive bottle of Parmelee-Hill, Estate Grown 2007 Syrah.  As I held this fine bottle of Sryah in my hand, I decided to learn more about its unique qualities, aroma, flavor, and finish before I partake in the nectar of the Gods.  

I went to Parmelee-Hill’s website, a Sonoma winery, and read about the wine’s aroma of jammy fruit, mixed berry cobbler, plum and hibiscus, the flavor of juicy fruit (and I don’t mean the gum), red plum, cherry, and raspberry, and the finish of lots of fruit, good structure, smooth with good length.  After having a glass of the Syrah, I smiled with satisfaction, having to agree from an amateur’s experience with what was written by the wine experts. 

With all this wine tasting, I couldn’t help but think about the 2004 comedy-drama called Sideways, a film about two guys, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) and Jack Shephard (Thomas Hayden Church), who venture up the California coastline from Los Angeles to the Santa Barbara County wine country for a week-long road trip.  Along the way, they stop at a winery for some wine tasting, Miles a true connoisseur of wine tries to educate his ignorant friend Jack on the special qualities of wine. 

Miles holds up a glass of wine and says to Jack, “Let me show you how this is done.  First thing, hold the glass up and examine the wine against the light.  You’re looking for color and clarity.  Just, get a sense of it.  OK?  Uhh, thick?  Thin?  Watery?  Syrupy?  OK? Alright.  Now, tip it.  What you’re doing here is checking for color density as it thins out towards the rim.  Uhh, that’s gonna tell you how old it is, among other things.  It’s usually more important with reds. OK? Now, stick your nose in it.  Don’t be shy, really get your nose in there.  Mmm… a little citrus… maybe some strawberry… (smacks lips)…passion fruit…(puts hand up to ear) and, oh, there’s just like the faintest soupçon of like asparagus and just a flutter of a, like a, nutty Edam cheese…”  Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) looks at Miles, sips the wine and says, “Wow.  Strawberries, yeah! Strawberries.  Not the cheese…”

When I asked my husband what he thought of the 2007 Syrah and its qualities, he admitted, “I don’t know if its oakey, smokey, cherry, or berry, juicy fruity or jammy, but what I do know is that it tastes good.  Amen!  In the end, isn’t that what matters? 

As for what to eat with the 2007 Syrah, Dan and my two boys served me a thick cut, medium rare rib eye steak, with side orders of lightly sprinkled parmesan asparagus, and holy cow twice baked potato.  To finish the night’s affair, I was served key lime pie with whipped cream. 

The next time I open a bottle of Parmelee-Hill 2007 Syrah, I will remember the good stuff: that one of a kind good lovin’, the jammy wine, the Henry the 8th sized grub and gluttony that you can only get from your family. 

And to think, Parmelee-Hill Winery is just one mile from my home.  Life is good.