As we enjoyed our wines throughout July and August, a quiet transformation took place in the vineyards of the northern hemisphere, this transformation is called veraison.
This is when wine grapes decide to change their "dress," so to speak. Veraison signifies the onset of ripening and is marked by a grape's color change. The grape begins to turn red/black, or deeper yellow/green depending on the variety.
A technical definition for the word veraison can be found at enologyaccess.org. Some definitions state that the root of this word comes from the French word vérité, meaning truth. So you could say that veraison indicates the grape's transformation into its true self.
Just as grapes were changing color, I was changing houses; a change of address, if you will.
Changing addresses requires a lot of work; both physical and emotional work, as you sift through your things, and you pick, pack, lift, haul, hoist, toss and lay to rest your belongings.
Why then, if something so simple as a grape slips so easily into its new dress, is it so difficult for we, humans endowed with rationale and complexity, to do the same?
Because it sucks! Enough of trying to be eloquent! Moving sucks and change can suck. There, I said it.
Normally I am not prone to negativity, but it was seeping into my everyday life. I tried to convince myself it was no big deal. I began to view everything differently, including my view of wine.
As a somm, you look for balance in wine, which means all of a wine's components blend together nicely without one particular element over emphasized. There should be enough acidity, pleasurable tannins and fruit, etc. But lately, I was over analyzing everything and every wine and I was constantly judging. My husband at some point uttered the phrase, "I've created a monster." He is the person who really got me interested in wine. Perhaps he was right. I would walk around in a zombie-like trance, looking more like Charlize Theron (no, not the beautiful, statuesque Charlize … I wish), but the crazy, psychotic, revenge-driven nut job from the movie "Monster." OK, maybe that's a bit harsh, but you get my point.
After some time, I began to think that I could either let change continue to worry me and stifle me to the point where I wouldn't venture out; or, like a fine wine, I could age beautifully and transform into someone/something more complex. Well, the intent is admirable, but it takes practice, and, like anything that is worth doing, it takes hard work.
In the meantime during the move, I found some wines that I forgot I had, and it was a pleasure to taste them. Not all of the wines transformed from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, but that's OK. You have to at least give them a try …
2009 Two Hands Shiraz, Bella's Garden, Barossa Valley, Australia. This wine was pricey and it is a good wine, but high alcohol, too. Wine Spectator, among others, gave this 90+ points. Big black fruit like plum and blackberry with savory notes. Yet after an hour plus of opening, I still felt the heat, which made it difficult to pair with food. If you like a big, powerful wine, this is it!
2008 Landmark "Steel Plow" Syrah, Kivelstadt Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, California. This wine was an incredible surprise to me! The timing was just right. A more earthy Syrah than I expected. Cherry and sour cherry, forest, thyme, and just a little vanilla with surprisingly soft tannins. Really great! I hope I can find more.
2007 Ecker Zweigelt, Weinland Österreich, Austria. I rarely drink Austrian wines, but this wine is worth trying especially at about $15. A neat wine with cherry, white pepper, a little "meaty" nose and some pink flower that I can't quite identify. It even seemed to have a little spritz to it. Very clean, refreshing wine.
Change … apparently it's inevitable. Wine transforms with time, seasons change, puppies and children grow, flowers bloom then fade; all the more reason to pay attention to these things and people when you have the chance. And even though change may create challenges, you'll probably surprise yourself by how much you can handle and just like the wine grapes you'll transform into your better true self.