'Til Death Do Us Part. The Wine...

For me it's Chianti. Oh... I could go into great detail about why it will always be about Chianti... I'm not really one to kiss and tell, but it might simply be that you always want to hold on to that familiar, early love.

It has been my experience (wine or otherwise) that we tend to fall back to what we know is comfortable. Sure, early in the process, with our untrained palate, we think we know what we want. Our wine choices are simple, as are our tastes. Though, just as surely, we will outgrow that first true love as its flaws and shortcomings become evident. I mean, after all, our tastes change. Expectations change. Needs change. We want more. Days, months, years are spent searching for and, yes, sometimes finding better. Happiness. Satisfaction. True love.

And then... It's not. Heartbreak. And we once again find comfort and security in our good old standby. Oh, dear Chianti. And once again we convince ourselves that it's ok. I mean, there's no harm in the safety of an old flame. No unreal expectations. And that next epiphany is just around the corner. That "one" that has the best of everything you ever loved... all wrapped up in that perfect package. Pull the cork, sip, savor. Then ... bye,bye old flame.

As someone I love recently said to me, though not about wine, "It's as unreal as those guys on the Bachelorette". But our early love? The one with all the flaws? Still there!

So for me it's Chianti. Sure, I've had some of the classics. Legendary Bordeaux and Burgundies. Spectacular Sauternes and Ports. Rare and expensive California Cabs, amazing German Riesling and pre-war Hungarian Tokay. I've had wines that others have never heard about, with people I'll never forget about, in places most folk can only dream about. I've been blessed and spoiled. Been transported to levels of appreciation I didn't think reachable. Also had my heart ripped out by the one that didn't live up to its promise and the one that got away. You fall in love, but it just wants to be friends. You do the trophy dating thing. And then there's the ones your friends assure you are perfect for you. Wrong! Still, I always know I can count on my Chianti... Sometimes uninspired but, always... Safe. Reliable. Comfortable. No surprises.

Maybe it's the fact that Chianti was the wine I nervously ordered in a restaurant when I was old enough to go on that first important romantic date. The place was called La Trattoria and she was called Carolyn. The wine, Ruffino. Or, maybe it's the memory of the way my late father would occasionally pour himself a glass after a long day at work to accompany that steak and potatoes. Maybe it was as simple as the notion that a basket wrapped bottle with those drip candles would surely make me one of the cool kids.

Of course, if Chianti was a person they would probably have ugly feet, snore and occasionally fall short on romance. But who the heck cares! True love is true love. Right? Yes, I want to shout it from the rooftops... " I love you, Chianti!" And I'm not ashamed of it.

So go ahead and hold on to your hopes and dreams. Keep that first love close at hand. Be careful... You know, Pinot will tempt you with all her charms and wiles. Hold firm. Beauty is more than skin deep.


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