We met when I was quite young, my darling fermented liquid grape substance. You were always a staple at the holiday table. My parents would let me steal sips from their glasses. You were sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, always just a little taboo. Shouldn't every romance begin that way?
Though our paths crossed early, it wasn't until my senior year of college that we began seeing each other with some regularity. Friday nights, mostly. When my friends and I would laugh and sing and open bottle after bottle of you, somehow you made us feel classier than the much louder party downstairs. The one with the keg and the togas and the dudes who thought "nerd" had some sort of negative connotation. (Weirdos.)
Alas, in my early twenties, we had a tumultuous period. Much as I loved your red self, you caused me many a headache. I nearly forsook you altogether. Then, in recent years, a friend stepped in with some sage advice regarding "preemptive ibuprofen," and glory be! Malbec, Pinot Noir, Shiraz - welcome back, lovers!
Why do I love you so, wine?
I love you because you remind me to slow down. Even if I'm only having one glass, the act of opening a bottle, pouring it into a glass, sipping, savoring... it soothes. One doesn't chug wine; one sips. And as someone who often chugs my week, a few moments of sipping can feel like salvation.
I love you because you're diverse. Whether I'm seeking something sweet, dry, spicy, smooth, cheerful, moody... you can match almost any craving. You're also good in so many situations. Trying to seduce a writer? Check. Need a housewarming gift? Natch.
I love you for the wine and whine. Many a lovely evening of deep talks with the best of friends over a long-lingering glass. The wine and whine is a classic. You give permission for us to unload, while feeling elegant.
I love you because less is more. Not to sound too much like a responsible-drinking campaign, but I do love that I can enjoy you without having "too much," too often. And on the odd occasion when I do have enough wine to make driving or heavy-decision-making out of the question, I love the memories of couches, late-night living-room dances, and rides home from sweet sober friends.
I love you because you improve with age, and so may we all.
I shall now close this open letter, and open a closed bottle... and depending how many glasses I wind up having, this sentence will really disorient me later. Cheers, wine. And happy National Wine Day, y'all!
*I guess that depends on your definition of "eloquent." And if I waited to express myself 'til after having a glass or two, Good Lord, it'd get honest.