When I was a teenager my best friend at the time had a little cousin that was cute as all get out, big brown eyes, long wispy eyelashes, chubby cheeks the whole deal. He was small for his age but sharp as a tack, he could work people like nothing I had ever seen. He would ask for something and on the rare occasion that his request was met with a, “No” he would sit there looking stunned at first and then those big brown eyes would double in size and begin to water, the bottom lip would quiver and then poke out and in the sadist voice he could muster he would say, “But….but I want it”. He was smart, he didn’t scream or throw a tantrum, nope not this kid he would sit there looking like his heart was breaking wide open and “How can you be so cruel” as not to give him this most desired thing. Worked like a charm and he was almost always given the cherished item only to, “forget” how much he wanted it 10 minutes later.
Fast forward 5 years and I was in the middle of my own, “But…but, I want it”. I had fallen in love with a man twice my age that was married but separated from his wife. He treated me like a queen, (which at 22 meant he took me out to dinner and bought me expensive gifts) and at the time I wanted nothing more than to make him mine and mine alone. I pushed from him to move forward and get the divorce he said he wanted; I would pout, beg and tell him if he loved me he would rip the band-aid off already. After listening to my incessant whining for over a year he asked me to help him find a lawyer, I was so happy, this was what I wanted more than anything, this man that held my heart in the palm of his hand was proving how much he loved me and that was when it hit, “Has his face always been that oily looking?”. As things moved forward I began to notice all the things that my, “love” had blinded me from seeing, he was a lot older than I, wore too much jewelry and lied a lot….holy crap what was I getting myself into? The day after we met with his new lawyer it hit me…..I didn’t want him. I wanted him to want me more than her….
I got out and I got out fast! Before you go feeling sorry for him I assure you the other woman he was seeing was thrilled that he was getting divorced. Learning my, “be careful what you wish for” lesson early on has served me well. Wanting things is natural, desire is intoxicating and healthy but the “Ownership” part…well, now I find that just a little creepy!
My husband and I are often teased about how long it took us to get married, (we were happily together for 11 years before we took the leap) gawd if we had to hear, “well you two sure took your time” or “just wanted to make sure it was right huh?” one more time…uggg! We felt no need to get papers on one another. We don’t “belong” to one another, we choose to be together and from that we get trust, freedom and the feeling you have when you know that you are truly loved for you, not because the other is bound to you by law.
In the end we ended up making the choice to get married but the reasons were more practical than passionate….Carl had been a Father to my son in our eyes but doctors and the school system, whole different story. So much easier now I have to admit and not having to deal with the whole, “So are you married” question is just an awesome bonus! That wedding band is like a magic repellant man, guy walks up looks at my finger, walks away….I feel like Wonder Woman! “Back away bad man I belong to another” ….as if I didn’t before….whatever.
The point I am trying to make, (see this is why one should not wake at 5 am and start trying to make a point….staying on track is an issue) is it seems that the human desire to own and posses things and each other is completely outta whack. It seems like “ownership” part is a greater motivator than the “pleasure” you get from it and nowhere is this more glaring than in the world of wine, or so I thought.
Amy and I were recently treated to one of the most amazing wine days either of us had ever had. It started with a trade tasting put on by Beaune Imports where we tasted through the wines from Domaine de Montille, Maison Deux Montille and Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, three of our favorites from Burgundy. We tasted through the current releases and in true “Sullivan”, (Michael Sullivan of Beaune Imports) form we were treated to some older vintage wines, not available for sale but brought for our enjoyment….god I love that about Michael.
After sampling through some truly remarkable wines a handful of us made our way down the street to a restaurant and ordered a bottle of Champagne, (NV Gosset Grand Rose) a giant seafood platter and piles of crispy French fries. There we sat munching on the so-so seafood, wonderfully crispy fries, (could have used more salt) and sipping on the delicate Rose. A grand day wouldn’t you say…..uh yea, not even close to being over my friends! Next up, tasting with a collector.
I have no idea how we got so lucky but Amy and I were invited to join a wine collector and taste a few things with he and some of his friends, this was my first invitation of this kind and my answer was, “Are you freaking kidding?! Of course we’ll be there!” We made our way into a little room that was stuffed with couches and chairs and were graciously offered seats and a chilly glass of 1996 Salon Champagne. Amy and I looked at one another and without a word passing between us expressed a shared understanding that we were smack dab in the middle of a truly great wine moment.
The others in the room sipped and chatted, and chatted and chatted and it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, “Could you kindly shut up…this wine is talking to me” but instead I just buried my nose in the glass, let my eyes fall shut and took deep lung filling sniffs letting all the doughy, seashell, lemon rind and minerals make their way to the back of my throat which instantly made my mouth water. On the palate the wine was delicate, refined and hauntingly elegant. I savored my one glass, taking my attention away once in a while to look at Amy and shake my head.
Once the glass was gone I thought, “How very cool of him to share that with us, what a treat” but just then arrived the second bottle, 1982 Krug Champagne….a magnum. I tried to look cool, nonchalant but I fear the foaming from the mouth a constant rocking back and forth in my chair may have given me up…not cool at all. I had never even seen a real bottle of vintage Krug and never one this old….and a magnum?! Yea I could have cried. Amy went a better route, she simply shouted, “Oh My God!” Everyone else in the room seemed like it was no big deal and kept chatting away.
Once the bottle was open we got some feedback from the rest of the crowd, “Not cold enough” said one, “Better than when I last tried it” said another and then right back to talking about other things….I felt like I was on another planet. How can you not give your full attention to such a magnificent treasure? The second the glass of Krug was near my mouth I felt like I was alone in the room, the wine stole all of my attention and an elephant could have walked in for all I cared. Still full of life the wine was rich, bready, loaded with graham cracker crust and roasted nuts. On the plate it was explosive, powerful packed with dense nuttiness with a finish that was un-shakable…not that I wanted it to leave anyway! I sat there and I could see the others around be in deep discussion but all I could hear was my heart beating and the sound of my own breath entering and leaving my body.
Time to move on to red, next up 1961 Chateau Palmer Bordeaux, another real treasure. The wine was lovely, plenty of earthy, sexy animal notes but I could not stop thinking about that half full magnum of Krug sitting in the sweating ice bucket. More bottles popped, briefly discussed and there it still sat….”They are just going to leave it there?” I thought…how can you? Why would you? You saved it all this time to have one glass and let it just sit there? What the hell?!! I just felt so sad, it was if this person just liked the owning of it….not the pleasure of tasting, drinking and discovering it. My heart was breaking, my palate longing to have more and my own desire to posses it was overwhelming….then it hit me, “Who the hell am I to tell this man how to experience pleasure?”
I was so ashamed of my behavior; here I was getting all huffy at someone that was gracious enough to share all of this with me. Thinking he didn’t understand what passion was, what pleasure was, how could I be so self righteous….maybe this was the pleasure he got from the wine, sitting around a roomful of people enjoying something he was able to offer us, maybe just walking past the bottles nestled away in his cellar brought him pleasure unlike any I have ever known. More importantly as someone that has spent her whole life fighting against people’s “ideals” about what others do, here I was imposing my ideals on him…
This one afternoon, with this one glass of 1982 Krug Champagne I was knocked off my “the way wine should be loved” high horse. I would never try and tell someone how to live, who or how they should love….just where did I get off trying to act all holier than thou about wine?! In thirty minutes I had tasted two of the most beautiful Champagnes I had ever had, tasted Bordeaux ten years older than me and learned that pleasure from wine comes in many forms, all of which should be respected, celebrated and honored.
Desire is a powerful thing be it that of a 4 year old wanting candy, a young woman longing to be wanted, a man and woman wanting each other or the yearning to share the pleasure that can be found in a bottle of wine….to want is healthy, to work hard to attain the things you desire keeps us driven and the lessons we can learn from all of that are priceless.
Next Stop…..Dinner with Michael Sullivan, Etienne Montille, Amy, Chuck (Of Beaune Imports) and Sonya Chun (former sales rep from Beaune Imports and one of my bestest friends) aka Best Wine Day Ever!
Fontodi’s wild ride
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