Saturday, March 1, 2008


Central Coast

x-fact ~ wine is emotional.

firefly ridge central coast syrah 2005
paid 7.99
reg. 14.99

(i KNOW, huh? 7 bucks off?)

i do wish i had a label to share. alas.

i saw this wine at safeway several months ago. i noticed the label and couldn't decide if i thought it was sweet or swill. perfect.

but, at 14.99 i passed it by. natch.

today as i went about my errands that concerned the acquiring of provisions for a feverish and throw-upping child and a forever designated driver wracked by body aches and timidness of stomach, i was also thinking of a dear friend who had passed on this weekend 4 years ago.

my mood was somewhat somber, not helped by my trip to safeway. a store i don't frequent a lot and frequently doesn't stock a lot of what i would buy. and let's just let the snob out of the bag and say these are not my people.

oh hell, who am i kidding!?! if there were such a place populated by my people you know i'd probably never visit anyway. /shudder.

BUT, safeway has a respectable wine selection that more than frequently has more than a few good deals.

so, oddly on this day i was drawn to the back wall. a section of fancier and more pricey labels that i don't really check out. ever. and there it was, a bottle i recognized and never really considered. and right then i thought how my dear friend who had passed would have very much liked the label. so i picked it up just to look.

and wouldn't you know it, it was 7.99 down from 14.99? (i never see deals like this at safeway!) so i grabbed it up. the only bottle left.

you know, i like it. at first i was a bit concerned. it went down really easy, but without any kind of real flavor. or body. but very pleasant nonetheless. a great color, though. it looks really inviting in the glass.

at second and third sip it remains just as pleasant, but doesn't gain a lot in flavor. it practically floats on the tongue and feels like nothing at the back of the throat. oftentimes a good tasting wine on the tongue can give the throat a bit of a bracing pass through. this wine didn't. nor did it become any more flavorful.

it had a good smell and wonderful legs too, but pretty much stayed the same taste wise throughout.

i couldn't help but think of my friend while drinking it, though. how much she loved the central coast of california where this wine comes from, something we shared but something she partook of more than i was able to. and too, how she loved the sweet that i usually found swill. isn't the love of friendship grand in that the really good ones can sustain complete chasms of similar taste?

oddly, though, the fact that if she were here with me, we'd BOTH be enjoying this bottle with nary a thought. and so, you know, i wasn't really concerned with all of that other *wine business*. i didn't need the big body and the juice of flavor, i was content in my reverie.

wine is relationship for me. i'm at the age now wherein i have trouble remembering some friends and lovers, but there is cellular memory in wine. like a song or a smell, wine will take me back.

to this day i can't drink a montepulciano d'abruzzo without remembering that it was my first ever sip of a "good" wine. and a better memory. courtesy of a cloudless day, a bend in a nameless river, and a beautiful boy who brought it to my lips. sigh double sigh.

i can't drink a chardonnay without thinking of my first AND ONLY purchase of alcohol with a fake i.d.! HA! so fitting that it would be wine!

oh, and the lazy hazy afternoon that followed with the illicit purchases in my favorite small town with good friends and that endlessly endless way early incarnation of mazzy star as background music. sadly, and you never see it coming because you will always be friends forever, none of them exist in my own universe anymore, except when i have that first cold and perfect sip of chardonnay. sigh.

and lord, did my dear friend who passed love a port. i can't sip port without thinking of her. when she died her childhood best friend who grew into my forever best friend and i shared a bottle of her favorite port. but only 2/3 of the bottle. when she was cremated, the last 1/3 of the bottle, her share, bottle and all was tossed in with her.

yes. you can do that. and mixed in with her ashes you will see these beautiful, "unexplainable" unless you knew better, green *crystals*.

a fine and everlasting tribute to a wonderful wonderful and sorely sorely missed friend.

i can see drinking this wine while having lunch al fresco. a simple table set in someone's garden. a bit too hot. the flies never leave you alone. but the fresh grown tomatoes still warm from the sun they were growing in not an hour earlier mixed with the gorgeous green of the olive oil and the crisp and creamy white of a fresh mozzarella means nothing else matters. not the flies. not the heat.

this wine is a fabulous complement to the lovely yet simple elements of a classically beautiful meal. it's not too bold to disturb the wonderful flavors, nor does it need anything else to hold it up to being deliciously drinkable.

and seriously, who needs remarkable when you have homegrown tomatoes and the company of a good friend?

light and floating, this wine could take you all the way from the lingering lunch to a sliced up watermelon plunked on the table in a great heavy platter. slices are grabbed without benefit of plates while more wine is poured.

and i can say on good authority that i know my dear friend would have really enjoyed this wine, and better yet would have kept the empty bottle long after our lunch and my departure and indeed would have put some odd garden bouquet in it later in the summer. more than once.

while i wouldn't pay full price for this bottle, i'm glad i got to experience it. it's a good if not great wine, but what it lacks in anything it more than makes up for in the fact that it can kinda just go with the flow and be okay.

hey, that's not a bad thing. it's not gonna make you stupid or mask your meal. it's a handsome bottle for the table and the label invokes a playful spirit. plus, it brings to mind wonderful memories of a wonderful friend.

friendship is a moment. to be cherished and celebrated as. much. as. possible.

because it can be fleeting and short lived and all of that.

love your friends. drink wine.

drink wine with your friends and make your own touchstones. life is such that you just may need them more than you know.

all these places had their moments
with lovers and friends
i still can recall
some are dead and some are living
in my life i've loved them all


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