I just landed in Chicago from my 5th flight in two weeks as I write this....who the hell am I? A shell of my former self at this point. I mean, I was quite literally trembling in my Chelsea boots as plopped into my seat on the plane back to Charlotte (ended up being the wrong seat by the way) just before its gate was about to close. While Tampa wouldn't have been the worst place to spend the night, it would have thrown a monkey wrench into my birthday plans and amplified an already wild travel itinerary.
Let's start at the beginning of this travel story, so you can better understand why this had me thinking of Cabernet Franc the entire time, specifically, the 2015 Domaine Langlois-Chateau Saumur Rouge.
I flew to Charlotte to Tampa to Charlotte to NYC in the course of 24 hours--------pure, unhinged CHAOS!
I was supposed to be coordinating this big wine, food & music dinner on March 25th, the day before my birthday, that unfortunately had to be cancelled due to some unforeseen circumstances. A close childhood friend had also had a wedding slotted for the 25th. I originally was unable to go due to the event, but now that it was cancelled....I impulsively booked a round trip, same day flight to Tampa, Florida for the wedding. I did this knowing I had a flight on the 26th from Charlotte to NYC for my birthday. Chaos was being served on a silver platter for me and I left myself no choice but to indulge in it. I held firm that my plan to attend the ceremony & hop on a plane back to CLT to catch yet another flight would not result in me missing either. Before you ask: yes, I tried to transfer the flights, so I didn't have to go through this song and dance.
The wedding ceremony ended at 6:30pm, my flight back to CLT was to depart at 7:40pm and it was supposed to take 30 minutes to get back to the Airport from the wedding venue. You can do the magic math on little time I had to make it on this plane. I was damn near in tears when the TSA agent scanned my passport & wished me a happy birthday. I'm sure she was thinking "he isn't gonna make it on that next flight" now that it was literally 7:35pm. By what can only be described as an at of God, I made it on that plane. All that adrenaline kept me wired for the entire flight back home & kept replaying in my mind the entirety of my next flight from CLT to NYC.
I'm recounting this story because friends had told me all those travel risks & money spent to be in Tampa for a wedding wasn't worth it. While my wallet & sanity agree with them, my heart simply cannot. I took that wild risk and even wilder journey because showing up for the people you love----friends, family, lovers------ can never have a price tag attached to it. They are always worth the risk. Now, would I want to relive this experience over again? Absolutely not. On the other hand, if another pivotal moment in life was occurring for one of those special people, I wouldn't hesitate. When I landed in NYC I stopped at this wine bar for a drink just to ease into my trip and it just so happened they were showing off the Cabernet Franc from Domaine Langlois-Chateau on the by the glass list. A friend who passed away in 2020 had gifted me the bottle because they knew it was my favorite grape varietal. The universe was trying to tell me something; teach me something. I let it.
I felt the world stop as the bartender filled my glass and as the scents drifting from the glass of wine cradled the deepest parts of my mind. I had this realization that Cabernet Franc often reminds me of those I cherish & those I've lost. The aromas of crushed gravel & purple flowers center me, and flavors of green bell pepper and strawberries bring forward the fondest of memories. It's the father to grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot, but not as popular as its offspring. Cabernet Franc possesses incredible longevity to age for years to come. When I hold on to a bottle of this grape to save for later, my heart is sent aflutter about which loved ones I'll share it with or which echoes of the past will comfort me as I drink it solo.
I show up for the people I care about because one day they won't be here. I don't want to remember the times I didn't share with them, rather, I want to celebrate all the times I did.
Chapter 27 has already been a deeply introspective one. As I share revelations I've had about life and the bottles that have connected me to those revelations, I hope you to learn more about how precious our time here truly is.
The Certified Wino