The art of celebrating eludes so many of us these days.
It could be because we’re inundated with marketing messages that urge us to throw our hands in the air like we just don’t care for everything from a used car sale to buy-one-get-one grocery coupons. Or maybe it’s because every holiday on the calendar now enjoys national-event treatment complete with glue-gun crafts and its own Peep creature mascot. Or perhaps the punishing pace of life today gives us little time to look up from our to-do lists and revel in a sense of accomplishment. We fear that taking time out to celebrate will distract us from accomplishing even more. The clock is always ticking.
I recently had cause to celebrate the achievement of a professional goal that had been in my sights for a while. And after taking the news to Facebook and soaking in the congratulatory messages and huzzahs, I felt at a loss. What to do next? As a wine lover, it occurred to me that I should have had a special bottle tucked away somewhere, just waiting for a moment such as this. But I’d been too frazzled of late to do anything but quick-pick my way through the wine aisles, with no time to pause and deliberate over the choice of a grand-occasion wine.
This is a classic sign of a life misspent – when busy becomes paramount and the blur obscures the details. As I considered that, I wondered what else I might have been missing.
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One thing I’ve noticed since I paused to look around: It turns out a sea change is underway in the conventional wisdom about beer drinkers vs. wine drinkers. Everyone knows we’re living in a golden age of craft brews, and the Triangle is a hot spot for cool suds. Announcements of new brewery openings spin through the news cycle here as often as Hillary Clinton’s campaign missteps. And while this is good news for beer lovers, it’s also good news for wine lovers, because these days, beer lovers and wine lovers are often the same.
A 2013 tracking study done by the Wine Market Council found that those of us who drink wine more than once a week also drink liquor and beer with similar regularity. A bigger wine market is a better wine market, and North Carolina can celebrate that, too. One example: North Carolina-based Mims Distributing Company announced recently the addition of 10 California and Oregon wines to its portfolio. The wholesale beverage distributor re-engaged its wine division in October 2014 and has grown steadily since.
Wine lovers in the state should be on the lookout for new offerings from Bien Nacido Vineyards, Black Kite Cellars, Burgess Cellars, J. Wilkes Wines, Keever Vineyards, Left Coast Cellars, Palazzo Wine, Poseidon Vineyard & Obsidian Ridge, Volker Eisele Family Vineyards and Witness Tree Vineyard. It’s not the kind of news that’s going to make the front page, but the fact that these winemakers, many of which are family-owned and estate-based, are coming to our market is reason to raise a glass, no matter what’s in it.
Another reason to celebrate: Our wine shops are full of knowledgeable, fun, friendly merchants who can help you if you can’t figure out exactly what you need. Jenn King, manager at Seaboard Wine Warehouse in Raleigh, is one. As soon as I told her I was looking for a special bottle to help mark a celebration, she led me right to a 2009 Tegernseerhof Loibenburg Riesling Smaragd. Grown in rocky soil at high altitudes in the Austrian region of Wachau, it melds the minerality of the earth with the wide, sweet flavors of stone fruit and citrus. It’s the kind of wine, she said, that I should have kept around for a special occasion. And she was right, which gave me yet another reason to celebrate.
Amber Nimocks is a former News & Observer food editor. Reach her at amberwrites.com.
In my world, it’s always a good time to drink pink, but now is an especially good time with the arrival of the spring rosés. One to try is the Bieler Père et Fils 2014, a Provençal blend that balances the gravitas of the region’s reds with the brightness that characterizes our favorite rosés. It’s a gateway wine for those who consider pink beneath them.