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.
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