This week I got another stark reminder of how short life really is. A very dear friend of mine lost her battle to cancer just over six months after I lost my father to the same. Both were 53 years old at the time of their death. Both were incredibly warm, and could light up a room with their laughs. Both were far too good to be taken so young.
If I meet the same fate, that means I should rename my “Quarter Life Crisis” to “Mid-Life Crisis,” and I’m only 25. Even knowing what I know now, it feels impossible.
It’s easy to assume we will live forever, that there will be time for everything. It’s also easy to get overwhelmed by the sadness and emptiness that comes with these unfortunate situations. The hardest thing is to keep going and keep your chin up–to know that one thing is over but it doesn’t end everything. Still, I’m not sure its possible to understand the cliche “Sink or Swim” until you feel what it is like to sink.
I thought it would be a good time to begin my discussion of different wines with my Dad’s favorite. The Malbec.
Malbec is a grape grown primarily in the Mendoza region of Argentina. It is also grown in Bordeaux, and can still be present in some old world blends, but for some reason, it flourishes in South America. It is often a big red, but without the same bite that you might find in a Cabernet or a Pinot Noir. Similarly, it is often lacking the sweetness that you might find in a Merlot. To me that makes it a perfect red, and one that I purchase most often. In fact, my go to bottle is the 90+ Cellars Old Vine Mendoza Malbec. It’s $10 a bottle, and it is simple, subtle and fantastic.
Flavors that are often used to describe this varietal are: cherry, boysenberry, fruitcake, licorice, vanilla, spice, and cocoa. Its a big wine, and so pairs well with Mexican and barbeque flavors. I also think the subtle sweetness makes it a good companion to caramelized vegetables in dishes like french onion soup, or fajitas.
Other Mendoza Malbecs to try:
Vina Polkura Malbec Colchagua Valley $23 (this might be hard to find, I can’t seem to find it online because apparently only 200 cases were made! Ask around at your local wine store)
Vina Montes Malbec Colchagua Valley 2010 $12 (Same area as the first one listed, for half price. I’m not saying, I’m just saying)
Pick one of these, and drink to the happiness in your life. Whatever it is. Celebrate the ones you miss, and never forget them. But keep your chin up. And swim.