Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Monday, October 03, 2011

Ageing: me, my kids, my wine

Pearl Jam's Ten turned 20 this year. I went and saw them in concert recently; they put on a tremendous show, but the whole time I was thinking, "what's with all these old people?" I mentioned this to Hubby, who laughed. "Hate to tell ya, hun, but WE'RE one of those 'old people'."

Ok, so maybe they weren't *that* old. Not even 'old' at all, really ...

I've come to a shocking and sobering realization: I am ageing. The Pearl Jam epiphany struck a deep chord in me (as did the 20th anniversary of both Metallica's black album and Nirvana's Nevermind. I also just decommissioned the stereo I've had since Grade 9. Dual cassette player and everything. Now that's old school.)

There exists a distinct and profound gap between my generation and the next. I've been flummoxed by technology, said "huh?" more than once at the text-speak of younger people glued to their smartphones, and watched as everything awful I wore in grade school re-appear in the "cool" stores (stores which I can no longer frequent, because - alas - I am too old.)

Shoud've seen it coming, what with my daughters hitting 6 years and 15 months, respectively. Doodle bops along to Justin Bieber in the car now and I'm chuckling to myself in the driver's seat, remembering Milli Vanilli, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson and ... yikes ... Michael Bolton. (What was I thinking?) The Smurf is building up both her vocabulary and leg muscles, well on her way to conquering a couple of firsts sooner than we think.

So I'm getting older, my kids are getting older ... and my wine is getting older. At least that last bit doesn't incite panic or send me into a melancholic funk. Some wines just taste better after a few years' hibernation in the cellar.

We had a cousin of mine visit a couple of weeks ago, so to toast the unbreakable blood-is-thicker-than-water ties, we opened up a Maleta 2003 Meritage (Niagara). It slowly unfurled its graceful elegance in the decanter, expressing a redolent perfume of muted blackberries, coffee and cocoa. Each sip slowly caressed my tongue with soft, round tannins. More than a drink, this was an experience.

On another night, with no real reason to celebrate other than the wine itself, Hubby and I shared a Bodegas Cannau 2004 Ysern Tannat (Uruguay)Loads of chocolate-covered blueberries, Welch's grape jam and cassis, with smooth, subtle tannins, balanced acid and this moody, smoky charcoal barbeque finish.

Both wines clearly benefited from ageing; any earlier, and the tannins would have left the palate parched, the fruit would have been all over the place, overwhelming and alcoholic. Time was good to them. It doesn't always happen that way, but with these two, we lucked out.

I felt a slight pang of loss when they were gone. Guess that's life in a nutshell; the moments we cherish are altogether too brief, but delicious and sweet. We age, we get a bit softer and rounder, we mature in many different ways. Sometimes the results aren't that great, but most of the time we have enough sense to enjoy what's in our glass, in our hand, right now.

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