Success.

This month’s wine writing challenge, Success, was selected by my BFF (that would be blogger friend forever), Loie of CheapWineCurious, as a result of winning last month’s challenge. I would like to interject that the BFF title was self-appointed by me.  I’m sure Loie is currently reaching for her phone to send my information to all law enforcement west of the Mississippi…

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Success is a drinkable bottle of wine.

I am a wine drinker.  And by that, I mean, I am not a wine collector.  Sure, I have a few very special bottles that I have saved over the years–but most of them are deemed special because the winemaker has signed the bottle for me.

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But I do not buy wine to lay it down for years and years, delicately babying it until the moment it is perfect to open and decant and blah, blah, blah.  Not that I think collecting wine is a bad thing, I just have no self control.  It’s like an open bag of M&Ms: it’s just not going to last, despite my best efforts.

Lack of self-control aside, the other reason I don’t save wine is because I don’t have a great place to store it.  I currently live in an old drafty house that’s a bit too chilly in the winter and way too warm in the summer.  I don’t mind, but it certainly isn’t conducive to keeping bottles for years.  And I think we can all agree there’s nothing more tragic than pouring a bottle of wine down the drain because it was bad.

When I choose to open the aforementioned bottles, I mentally prepare myself that it will probably be bad–that way IF it is, I’m not too devastated.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still very sad but I’m not openly sobbing and throwing myself to the floor bemoaning my tragic loss.  If it’s still good, it’s like a celebration and I feel like I should open another bottle!

There are three notable exceptions.  Granted, I did not buy any of these wines with the intentions of holding them for so long, rather I just knew I wanted to save them for a fabulous occasion.

Remember these posts about my very special Burgundy that I have been holding on to for years?

Wine Pairing     Savoring Life

What better occasion than drinking it with the one person on the planet would I knew would enjoy it as much as I would and in honor of a BIG birthday ( I hope you appreciate how I tied in this month’s writing challenge with my current topic of my Fabulous Not Forty birthday trips!).

I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous–first in getting the bottle safely to Florida and then in hoping that it would not be corked.  I couldn’t even bring myself to try the whole “think of it being bad, so I wouldn’t be devastated” ploy.  In fact, I was in full panic mode while opening it.  I knew that if it was corked Christi & TK were going to have to pick up a blubbering idiot off the kitchen floor.  Actually, they’d probably just leave me there for the night (hopefully throwing a blanket over me before they went to bed).  I nearly cried tears of joy when I realized the bottle was in fact, not corked. SUCCESS!  I may have teared up a little bit.  I certainly needed a moment while drinking it.

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The other two were both wines I loved drinking but as the vintage came to an end, I became a bit of a hoarder.  I moved up to New York with three bottles of each left.

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So far on the Becker Vineyards 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, I am 1 for 2.  The first bottle I opened last year–and honestly 8 years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me I’d be keeping this wine around for so long.  It was amazing.  Delicious and spicy: a big, bold-in-your-face cabernet sauvignon.  It was everything I remembered, but the spicy notes were more pronounced and the wine was overall very smooth.  I was so excited that it was drinking so well that I opened another bottle a few nights later, and alas–down the drain it went along with big, fat teardrops.  I have one more left and remain hopeful…

Happily, I am 2 for 2 on the Chisholm Train Winery 2001 Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Also a big and bold cabernet sauvignon, however, with a lot less spice and much drier than the Becker.  Both bottles were really smooth and opened up very nicely (thanks Paula!).  I will say that this wine has mellowed considerably.  Rather than being biiiiig with a very dry, clean finish, it is big and dry, but now with a lingering currant and blackberry finish.  I’m probably jinxing myself, but I’m actually excited about my last bottle.

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I am envious of those who collect wine, but personally it’s too stressful for me.  I want every time I open a bottle of wine to be a success.  And while I know that any bottle can be bad–for a plethora of reasons–in my brain, the longer it stays in my wine rack, the greater the chance that will happen.  Thus far my track record has been pretty good, so some might think my reasoning flawed.  However, I prefer not to take that chance.  You know, just like letting M&Ms go stale…

A Peep at My Sweet Tooth

One of the earliest memories I have is going with Granny to the nursing home to visit her father, Pa.  We never stayed long, just a few minutes (probably because she had a little rugrat in tow!)–just long enough to say hi, ask how Pa was doing and hand over a bag of candy.

My great-grandfather, you see, had a sweet tooth–and not just one either!  He could easily eat a large bag of candy in one sitting.  In order to make the candy last longer than 2 hours, Granny would give the bag of candy to the nurses and asked them to ration it out so the bag would last all week.  Of course, Pa was having none of that: once his daily ration was consumed, he would then start raiding candy stashes of everyone in the nursing home.  Apparently, Pa was quite the candy thief.

It is, therefore, little surprise that his great-granddaughter inherited his sweet tooth.  I’m not a big candy fan–I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like candy and will happily indulge–but I much rather prefer cake and ice cream and pudding and pie and cheesecake and cream puffs and…well, you get the picture: things made with love–not in a production line (although, yes, I will concede everything I listed can be made in a production line).

EXCEPT one thing.  It’s completely irrational and totally disgusting and why, why, why I love them I’ll never know, but I do.

Peeps.

Yes, marshmallows dipped in sugar.  I’m not proud, but there you go.  Take a minute to make that face.  Yes, that face–you know that scrunched-up-I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-hearing-this face you make it whenever you come across the rare individual that actually admits to liking Peeps.  You know, the same one you make when you hear that someone likes Vegemite. The BFF tries her best to indulge my predilection for Peeps (she will NOT under any circumstances acknowledge my voracity for Vegemite, except to say that I’m gross!).  She tries to get me Peeps for every holiday where they make an appearance (which, anymore is ALL OF THEM), such as for example:

HALLOWEEN!

HALLOWEEN!

And in case you’re wondering, NO, I did not eat the entire package in one sitting, much to Pa’s dismay.

Love You. Granny.

There are a lot of types of love in the world.  All of them special in their own way, but nothing–NOTHING–is better than the love you get from your grandparents.  I feel love from my parents, but it is nothing compared to the love that I see them display with my nieces.  It’s more than just love–it’s unconditional adoration. 

I am a very lucky person in that I had both of my grandmothers for 39 years; more impressive is that they both lived nearly 94 years and were both healthy until about a year ago. I see so much of myself in both of them, and for that I am so very thankful.  Perhaps I’m just lucky to have such amazing grandparents, but I don’t think that’s quite it either–I knew a lot of my friends’ grandparents and they were pretty darn special too (Grandpa & Grandma and Nanny, I’m looking at you!!!)

Just over a week ago, I lost my Granny.  She was truly the most amazing person I know (that’s not a dis on anyone else in my life, btw, my Granny was just that amazing).  She always had a smile, something sweet for you to eat, and always, always ended every conversation with “love you.”  She taught me how to bake and impressed upon me that the most important ingredient for baking is love.  She made awesome pies, kept in her freezer no less than six different types of cookies (every grandchild’s favorite), her cream puffs were divine, and her bread, well, if I close me eyes and concentrate, I can almost smell the daily loaf of bread baking in the oven.  But it was her smile that was the most amazing.  It was warm and it was always genuine. 

A few hours before her 94th birthday, the nursing home called to say that she was struggling to breathe and that perhaps someone wanted to come sit with her.  I can never thank them enough.  Momma, Teresa, and I held her hands, told her we loved her, said a few prayers, and let big, fat tears roll down our faces as she slipped quietly away from us.  It was truly the most beautifully heartbreaking moment I have ever experienced. 

But Granny wouldn’t want us to mourn.  Oh no, she was too practical for that.  She had a very long and very good life.  It wasn’t always sunshine and roses, but I believe that she made the best of it and all the while made everyone feel like they were her favorite…but of course, we all know it was really me 😉

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National Beer of Texas–Thirsty Thursday #3

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. I know this is a day late, but please forgive my tardiness–it’s been a crazy week and the interwebs at Momma’s house are a bit dodgy. So without further adieu, I finally present to you: Thirsty Thursdays!

When visiting home, I always make sure I drink at least one (or ten) Lone Star beers–I mean after all, it is the National Beer of Texas!

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My Bubba and Me!

This throwback Thursday isn’t very far back–about a year ago on a trip home (if you follow Epicurious Texan on FB, you totally would have seen the burgers from Alamo Springs Cafe).  Anyway, since tomorrow is his birthday (Happy Birthday Bubba!), I thought it only appropriate that this TBT include a pic of him 🙂  

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