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RED Splash

Sonoma County
St. Francis Winery
Santa Rosa, California

It's been a long time.

PAY ATTENTION PLEASE. If you would like a sure thing wine to bring to a friend's house who may have slightly discerning tastes when it comes to red wine, bring this. It will cost you $11, but it will easily taste like you spent $20.

This beautiful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel was so worth the smaller amount spent. This is my new favorite red wine for the buck. In the past, my cheap go-to has been given to McManis,Cupcake, and Root: 1. This outweighs those.

It has heat. It is peppery. But it also has a warm, lasting finish with earth tones and wood spices. The finish really lingers and the flavor stays with it.

I have always gravitated towards blends. I absolutely prefer them in general.

I devote this post to my grandmother. I realized this week, as I sat in a hospital recovery room with her, how much she means to me. She is my last surviving grandparent. But, more than that, she is so very endearing. She has changed much over the years - all for the better. She is gentler, kinder, more compassionate, emotional, and filled with gratefulness. She is also VERY beautiful. She is 91 years old and I don't think I could ever say that about any other 91 year old woman.

I walked into that recovery room and spotted her immediately. She was still somewhat out, with her head bandaged fully and wrapped under her chin (she had skin cancer removed from her scalp, and leg too). She insisted on going in with her lipstick on. I saw this beautiful, bandaged woman with the rose petal lipstick lying with a peaceful, childlike look on her face, eyes closed, and my heart just melted. It melted because I immediately saw my great-grandmother (her mother) and all my old memories of my great-grandmother GGB collided with my more recent memories of her daughter, my grandmother lying in recovery. I could never fully explain to someone who doesn't know her just how special she is. She speaks her mind. She is resilient. She insists on being independent. She is classy. She is flirtatious. She is a cat lover. She is life-educated. She knows how precious life is. She is respectful of those who are in return respectful. She has Skype and answers E-mails. She never stops learning. In short, she is truly amazing.

She talked candidly with me the night before surgery as we sat in her living room. I arrived just before nine and she should have been in bed, but she wanted to wait up for me and see if she could make me something to eat. Always the hostess. I just wanted water and we sat on the couch. She told me she figures she's got about 3 years left to her life. She is not emotional as she speaks of this. And I am sad as I sit and listen and realize how incredibly courageous she is. She is matter-of-fact. Yet she acts so young and still has her wits about her that it is difficult to comprehend her not being here for at least 10 more years (and if anyone can do so, she can). 

She is not sad, she is grateful - for the life she has had. She was married to my grandfather for over 50 years and she spent 10 years as a widow upon his death in 1995. Then she met her wonderful second husband who I loved so much. They were perfect together. She was 89 and he was 90-something when they married a few years ago. He died last year after a brief encounter with skin cancer that had metastasized to his brain. So both my grandmother and I were once again cognizant of his struggles as she followed somewhat the same path of skin cancer removal and testing at the same hospital he had been at. Her news is good - they got it all and it was Squamous, not Melanoma. 

The hospital we were at, besides being the hospital that cared for her recently deceased husband, was also the hospital my grandfather (her first husband) had an office in. He was an OBGYN there and spent many years in those halls. I went down to the cafe at the front entrance during my grandmother's surgery and sipped an iced tea and just stared at the lobby and thought of my grandfather coming through those doors for so many years. I walked the same halls he walked. And now his wife lay upstairs on an operating table. I found myself praying to him, and her second husband, and God as well. 

Initially, as we went through all of the pre-op questions and visits from nurses and the doctor and then the anesthesiologist, she would ask each new employee we encountered: "Did you know my first husband?" (It wasn't that long ago that most people in the medical field affiliated with the hospital did indeed recognize his name.) Sadly, everyone said no. But then, the anesthesiologist surprised us. He did not work with my grandfather at the hospital, but he did know him, and he knew her. He lived in a house with an apartment that housed my great-grandmother (my grandmother's mother) for a bit. Not only that, but he was the one who called my grandparents one day when my great-grandmother fell, over 40 years ago. Finally - a connection! Her whole face lit up as she remembered that day, and him, and I felt as if it was a visit from my great-grandmother herself and I just knew that everything was going to be all right.  

And, indeed, I knew she was a-okay when, as I was feeding her ice chips she exclaimed in a raspy, tired voice: "I'd feel a lot better if you'd give me a Rum Tiddly instead"!!!! :) 

But seeing her bandaged and coming out of surgical fog, was emotional for me. For so many reasons. Mostly, I realized how in awe of her I am and how much I hope I can be as strong and determined as she is if I should live to see that age. She is inspiring to say the least.

It's been a long time,
Since you wore your pillbox hat
It's been a long time
Since we drove your Po-o-o-o-o-ontiac

--It's Been A Long Time--    CAKE!

8.25 out of 10
$11 / 750 ml. bottle
14.5% alc. by vol.

This post first appeared on What To Drink Tonight, please read the originial post: here

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RED Splash


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