To Feme, my friend

As I approach my 60th birthday, my thoughts turn to my friend Feme, born on the same day, same year in Germany.
This post I wrote several years ago.

by cheri block

Years ago, in a common place, I met a German Riesling. Wine enthusiasts here and abroad might have called her a kabinett. Elegant and light, her grapes harvested at peak potential, she left a smooth finish on the palate.

A humble California Zinfandel, spunky, with a hint of cherries and dirt, I am.

We met in a store whose name bears no importance to this tale.
Suffice to say, I needed something to dress up my image, and in that context, we blended.

Our history.

In October of the same year, fermenting in a small German town, she showed early promise. Sommeliers from the Sundial District gathered in the cellar to consider. She would be a beauty, with long legs and a color that would make them blush.

Far away, in Northern California, another young wine found her way into a bottle made distinctive by a creative label full of red color and design. Her essence would tell her wine maker’s story.

This magnificent Riesling arrived in California and we met, awkwardly, on a shelf, in a specialty store.

Somehow, by accident, we learned of our special connection: we had been bottled on exactly the same day in the same year, continents apart.

Life went by.
We aged gracefully, we thought.

Our barrels widened.
Our flavors deepened.

For twenty years, we met, in a common place, twice a year, to discuss our wineries, our color, our blends, and our young grapes to come.

I thought we would meet in this way forever, at competitions, where certainly we would take home Best in Class and the Wine Spectator would tell the world.

Eric Asimov, chief wine writer from the New York Times, would call us and beg for an interview.

Two wines, so different, but bottled on the exact same day, worlds apart.

Last week, I went to her store because I needed a light fruity boost.

I looked throughout the shelves for my German twin.

She was gone.

No one told me that a Riesling must be opened sooner than a Zinfandel.

No one told me you had left this Rich Vineyard.

I almost uncorked myself, that day last month.

You are gone, so all I can do now is make my final toast to you in sparkling crystal.

Thank you for the Bouquet of a Lifetime, Feme.

Picture by Rob Mezzetti 2008 Hall Winery, Rutherford, CA

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life. Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to To Feme, my friend

  1. Kayti Rasmussen says:

    You will always be the perfect vintage Cheri! I lift a glass to you, (or perhaps a full bottle.)

  2. zeusiswatching says:

    May God grant a fine California wine many years.

  3. Philippe says:

    I had an uncle, a connoisseur of wines, who looked disdainfully at Zinfandel wines (rosé wines) , saying they were “bastard” wines.

    I feel sure, though, that had he known of you, he would have thought differently.

    • Cheri says:

      Don’t tell that to the Zinfandel growers in the Paso Robles area. Come down to the Central Coast, revisit the castle, and taste the wine there.

      And thank you, Philippe.

  4. Sablock says:

    Cheri, she’s not gone. She just hooked up with a nice cold cabbage salad and German summer sausage in a little village near the Rhine. Sometimes we must let go and share the ones we love. Just remember who you are, colorful, sassy, and smooth on the finish.

  5. jenny says:

    Cheri, I’m glad you included dirt.

    By the way, lots and lots of good news recently about the health benefits of booze: heavy drinkers live longer than teetotalers, for example. ooooOOOh YeeaaaAAH!

  6. Cheri says:

    Digging in the dirt, making forts out of Popcicle sticks, and trapping poor moths and butterflies in them was my chief occupation as the neighborhood mason.

    By junior high, the dirt had turned to dirty jokes.

    By high school, the dirt was who was doing what to whom.

    Now, as a mature woman, in my robe–my face still smashed from my pillow and restless night’s sleep–I go down to the hotel coffee pot in my robe. The men around the pot politely say, “Good Morning” and their coiffed younger wives look at me compassionately. The men stand there with folded newspapers under their arms, already read after their morning jogs with their fit little women.

    I say, “What’s the dirt?” and pad back up to my bed and turn on my computer.

  7. Cheri,

    Well, this may give you a laugh.

    When first I glanced at this picture I thought it was a small church or chapel. The empty pews, the warm lighting, each provoked ‘an end of the day feeling’ right before a funeral service. Casket up front. I’m not kidding.

    Though my grandkids never believe me when I say ‘I’m not kidding.’

    Love and kisses on your special birthday.


  8. Blessed is the fruit of the vine…and those who make it into such wonderful elixirs.

  9. Man of Roma says:

    Oh such lovely tale. Your words, an elixir my battered soul needs in this moment. Wine has purity in it, like you.

  10. Richard says:

    So wines do not fulfil their promise until uncorked, and you may not be there to taste. How unlike human lives where the joys and disappointments are ever present to enrich the world.

  11. wkkortas says:

    From a hearty (if wholly undistinguished) Finger Lakes semi-dry Riesling, please accept the wish that the next sixty years be just as if not even more rewarding.

    • Cheri says:


      I hear the wine from the Finger Lakes region is fabulous and so with you, the maker of word pictures and the master of image, abbreviation, and story-telling. Please forgive this Zinfandel for not always commenting. I fear my time this academic quarter has shriveled.

      Thank you, my poet.

  12. ana terán says:

    Beautiful. Shines, sparks its bubbling light throughout the world and further, further, further…

  13. Cyberquill says:

    Stop wining. Start juicing.

    • Cheri says:

      Very good, Peter.
      I’m sure you are an amazing wine expert after all the restaurants you have worked in. Maybe you could do a blog post about ordering wine in restaurants. I have always wondered about the formula for the price.

  14. Cyberquill says:

    You know, it just hit me. You do have a period after Notify me of new posts via email. All the other blogs I’ve come across only have one after Notify me of follow-up comments via email. The period after Notify me of new posts via email is always missing.

    What’s the story? Did you add it manually?

  15. Cyberquill says:

    Wait. Now it’s missing again. It was just there a minute ago. I swear. This is soooo weird.

    • Cheri says:

      I’m glad to see there are other people out there who are concerned about punctuation. Would you like to make a guest appearance in my grammar class today at 4:15?

      • Cyberquill says:

        I presume that’s 4:15 PST. So I still have an hour and a half to get there. No problem. I may be 5-10 minutes late. (It’s rush hour here in NYC.) is simply out of control. In addition to the—apparently intermittently—missing comma after Subscribe by email to this site, right below Leave a Reply it says the following:

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

        A period after published. No period after marked.

        I’m not aware of any grammatical rule stating that an asterisk replaces a period.

      • Cyberquill says:

        PS: I solved the intermittent period mystery. I presented my findings in the comment section of Andreas’s most recent entry.

  16. Cheri says:

    OK. I will check it out, even though I am off duty.

  17. Cheri says:

    This is a demonstrative pronoun. To what does it refer?

  18. Cheri says:

    Dear Jenny and Narelle,
    The whole damn blog is a true confession. (and in my comments too). Isn’t this better than a therapist? Being married to the same man for 39 years and turning 60 are certainly reasons to head into analysis.

    Anyway, back to the hotel robe. I wore the hotel big terry robe with a logo down to the coffee. My 37 year old daughter told me from under the covers in the dark room, still snuggling deeper into the bed, that her husband gets her the coffee too.
    “Thanks Mom.”

    This she said as her 59 11.5/12ths mother took an elevator down (in the robe) to retrieve two cups of steaming coffee.

    At least I didn’t go down there in my jammies.

    • jenny says:

      All writing is a true confession.

      O, hang the expense of the foundation! I’ll buy a round of drinks.

      Philippe has me thinking about Annie Hall today; so, in that spirit, let me say, dear Cheri, as the weekend begins, in my best over-the-top-internet-friendship way: Cheri: We lurve you! We luff you!

    • Ah, it was a maternal robe you were wearing, not a wifely one. Enough said.

      Just a thought … consider how round and powerful the number 60 is, compared to 59 11.5/12ths.

      May you have a weekend of power and magic, Cheri. It’s already Sat here and all’s well. The sun is up, the grass is ris and the boidies are singing. SGCx

  19. Cheri says:

    The boidies are singing here too, funny that.
    Thanks for the wishes. I had a wonderful day.

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