I have often said that the best part of wine is sharing it with someone. As such, there are some wines and/or wineries that will always and forever remind me of a specific person, like Teresa & Grape Creek or Nerida & Chandon. Or even Matthew & Silver Oak–ironically not because we’ve consumed copious amount of Silver Oak, but because we arrived at their tasting room 5 minutes after they closed and I might have had a momentary meltdown that ended 4 seconds later with Matthew flatly informing me to get back in the car or he was going back to San Jose without me.
In case you’re wondering what this has to do with Hawaii: nothing. What it has to do with is that this month’s wine writing challenge (#34), as selected by last month’s winner Kent of Appetite for Wine, is MEMORY.
I was trying to figure out which wine holds the most memories for me, however, I realized that was a bit like picking a favorite child. Instead, I decided to pick a winery.
I’ve talked about the Chisholm Trail Winery before. I mean, any winery that can get me to love their merlot is quite special indeed–and their 1994 Merlot did just that. But their cabernets–spectacular: fruity, but dry with just a tiny bit of spice and oh-so-smooth.
But the wines aren’t the reason that I picked this winery.
Perhaps you might think that it has to do with winemaker, Paula K. Williamson, who is charismatic, has an infectious laugh, and is almost never seen without her signature black Stetson. But no, while Paula is fabulous and I adore her, she is not the reason either.
You might even think that it’s because Christi & I spent one hot August day helping Paula & crew pick grapes in the vineyard and then watched the bottling process while sampling some of the winery favorites. It was a long, fun-filled, exhausting day, but no. That’s not it either.
The reason Chisholm Trail Winery holds so many memories for me has nothing to do with wine at all. It is because the land where the winery sits used to be owned by my family. Specifically my great-great Uncle Hugo. Hugo was my grandfather’s uncle and we spent a lot of time at Uncle Hugo’s because he had the best fishing hole in the county. As a young girl I spent hours and hours at the creek behind the house, which now runs long the south side of the vineyards. I spent hours running around the old, gigantic trees scattered around the now-winery picking flowers for Granny, who rarely came with us.
It’s been probably 35 years since I last went fishing with Uncle Hugo, but every time I open a bottle of Chisholm Trail wine, memories flood back. I feel the sun on my face, the cool water tickling my feet, and can hear Uncle Hugo’s hearty laugh. There are many reasons to love Chisholm Trail winery and their wines. But for me, I love it because tastes like home.