Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wine, Because Life Is Short

Life is short.



So enjoy life. Live to the fullest.



Wine is the beverage of the gods. Drink deep. Drink responsibly.



Wine is one of the great pleasures in my life. I'm not about to give it up. Although, honestly, I don't drink more than the occasional glass of wine with dinner, and not all the time, I do enjoy good wine. It's one of life's pleasures. I'm not about to turn into an ascetic monk living on bread and water. So.

Back from the recent roadtrip, I brought home some wine from Paso Robles, CA, and, surprisingly, Lubbock, TX.

Some wine from my favorite vineyards in Paso, Chronic Cellars, which I very highly recommend—I finally bit the bullet and joined their wine members' club, so I'll be getting wine twice a year without having to travel there myself—and J. Lohr, who are bringing back some older grape varietals that haven't been cultivated or bottled for awhile.

As are some of the other vineyards in the region. Paso Robles is all about trying new things. A lot of the winemakers there are taking what has been learned in places like Napa Valley—which is now very well-established, with several famous and excellent vineyards, famous around the world, a tourist destination, etc., and all that—and are trying new things. Paso Robles is an innovative region, and in my opinion, some of the best and most interesting wines I've tried in years. I'll take Paso wines over any other region in California, these days. Every time I visit there, I find new, interesting, high quality wines from exciting new vineyards.

If you're going to do a wine region tour in California, consider Paso, or maybe Santa Barbara, rather than Napa. Avoid the crowds. Try something new. Talk to any of the really personable and enthusiastic people at any of the wine tasting rooms. And they are enthusiastic; I spent a full hour talking wine, music, art, sculpture, and more at Sculpterra, after spending a half-hour wandering around their fantastic sculpture garden.

Now, for Lubbock. Wine in Lubbock, TX? What?

Lubbock is on the high plains of north Texas. There's nothing there. The soil is red. There are no hills. In fact, I recall years ago that some clever student at Texas Tech, which is a good university in Lubbock, made a t-shirt that had a line of fence on it, and a single tree off in the distance, along a totally flat horizon; the t-shirt caption was "Ski Lubbock." Which is the joke of course, as you can't; all the skiers there drive over to New Mexico to go skiing. But I digress. Anyway, there are no hills, no terrain, just cotton fields and flat lands. So where are they going to grow grapes?

Well, not too far from Lubbock, there is some beautiful canyon and hill country, where the plateau falls off over the eastern rivers, and the land has some of the most beautiful north Texas canyon landscape I've ever seen. So, they can indeed grow grapes near to Lubbock.

There are now four vineyards in the region, or so I gather. I went to a wine tasting at one of them, and heard very good things from my local friends about the other. So far, so good. Some good wines might be appearing out of Lubbock, in the not too distant future. Stay tuned.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

I like the pretty bottles but I have no appreciation for wine. It all tastes the same to me - awful. Carrie drinks wine all the time and I know the varieties she favours - Malbec, Barbera, Pinotage, Carmenere, Cinsault although she can drink Merlot and Shiraz which are much easier to come by. I can't tell the difference. White wines she tends to avoid and so I'm really not as clued-up on them.

3:10 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

No worries. I actually prefer white wines, although I have an appreciation for all.

Truthfully, I can taste the difference between a 15 dollar bottle and a 50 dollar bottle. But I don't have the palette to taste the difference between a 50 dollar bottle and a 500 hundred dollar bottle. I suppose some people do; but that's a rarified, mythical level of wine appreciation that is hard to connect to the real world.

How about cheese? Are you a cheese connisseur instead? Or something else?

For me, as much as I get into wine, the main point here is to enjoy life's simple pleasures to the maximum. Wine, food, good reading, whatever. It's all part of enjoying life.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

I don't particularly relish any food, Art. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and if all food tasted like cakes and chocolate I wouldn't complain but really I eat to live and if I could get away with not eating at all - if they had one of those pills the old science fiction films kept promising us - I could cope. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good meal but the idea of paying £50 or more for a meal would take all the pleasure out of it for me.

Cheese I'm not allowed much of so we have some kind of low-cal mild slices a bit like Edam but not so rubbery and that's all I'm allowed.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Well, no offense or judgment intended, and I can';t imagine living that way. I readily admit that it's okay that we're not all alike. For me, though, the sensual pleasures in life are very important.

Especially lately, when for the recent past my quality of life has been severely reduced by chronic illness, etc. Food and wine have become more interesting and important to me, no doubt, as a result of the context of mortality.

I also remember reading "Zorba the Greek" and taking a big lesson about this from that character and novel. Big bites out of life. Because it will end it's all the sweeter.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Knits with Penguins said...

Arthur,
Thanks for the high praise and stunning photos of wines that we introduced you to. The newest "wine country" in California appreciates that. If you thought the Chronic you picked up on your visit was good, just wait till you get your club shipment. They have changed the Sofa King Suite to 100% Viognier. Oh My BOB it is good. We love and miss you.
B & B

2:28 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Oh, awesome, awesome, awesome! I'm so glad I joined up with Chronic this year. It's going to be so worth it!

And I meant every word above, too. Love you more!

3:57 AM  

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