Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Three Bottles

 We've been a wine-making mood. Trouble is, we make it far faster than we drink it. What's wrong here?

 Wine is not something we regularly have with meals. I tend to drink a small glass infrequently at bedtime and that's about it. I enjoy making it, love the bubbling sound on the kitchen counter, love walking by a jug-in-progress, thinking of those busy yeast cells lapping up sugar, spitting out alcohol and carbon dioxide. It's an entire manufacturing plant that fits in a gallon container.

 Mom, meanwhile, has seen fit to "make room" for our recent production. We have an area under one kitchen counter that is tall enough for large bottles and it is where we store items from the grocery - cranberry juice, vegetable oil and the like - until they're ready for us. It's the perfect spot for bottles of wine: cool, dark, undisturbed.

 So while I'm sitting on the sofa reading, I hear bottles clanking. Mom's emptying that space, sitting groceries on the counter top, pulling out older bottles of wine, Rock 'n Rye and white lightning, and putting them aside for dusting and eventual relocation in the same space. It pays to rotate the stock.

 That's when I walked to the kitchen to see what she was doing. With the outside light flooding through three bottles of apricot wine - all made in 2008 - I was taken aback by their beauty. What a lovely gold they've become! The wine was placed in old bottles, each thoroughly washed, and labeled crudely. They were never planned for long-term storage. Most have become gifts.

 They are, perhaps, first a feast for my eyes. I picked up each bottle, felt its cool glass, dusted it before sitting it back down. Mom will organize our stock, place the oldest to the front, tuck the newest grape to the rear where we'll pull them to the light years from now. Unlike me, each will become better with age.

 Perhaps I'll learn a lesson and the newest wine won't last three years? Last evening, I lifted a small glass down from the kitchen cabinet, poured a few ounces of the dark purple liquid in it and carried it to the sofa where I pulled the quilt across my lap, opened my book and enjoyed the exquisite quiet. The latest wine is medium dry - perfect in my estimation. I don't want a dessert at bedtime.

 And so, I think the current wine isn't going to need the space for long. I'm enjoying it first with my eyes but a warm belly at bedtime is a close second.

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