Yesterday, on August 27, we found ourselves harvesting the first grapes of the season. It’s just somerset, a seedless table grape––the wine grapes won’t be ready till around the 9th––but harvest is officially upon us at Mitchell Vineyard, and that means it’ll soon be time for my annual wine-movie-viewing-and-homemade-wine-drinking tradition.
First, though, it’s time for my much more frequent tradition of driving myself to drink by way of overbooking. Thinking harvest wouldn’t be for another fortnight, I picked up a few shifts at Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier and took on a few extra story assignments this week. So.
I now find myself writing with a bottle of cava, which I can’t resist after a day at the chocolate shop (the carbonation hits the spot after snacking on truffles). Juvé y Camps brut nature reserva de la familia 2008 caught my eye at the Jenny Street Market and I bought some cheese to pair with the truffles I’d selected at work to accompany it.
The nose is nutty, bread-crusty, and almost oxidative (in a pleasant way), with an herbal but extravagant palate of lime, chalk, and white plum. I loved it with Port Salut cheese, raspberries, and hazelnut chocolate truffles, along with a viewing of The Birdcage, the first Robin Williams film I’ve been able to watch since his death. From the first time I saw him, in Mrs. Doubtfire as a child, I found Williams a desperately sad figure. Even as a foil to Nathan Lane’s uproarious Albert in this slapstick comedy, when he utters lines like
Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middle-aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that.
You get the sense that for this man pain and laughter are not at all separate. And I get that.
And I raise a glass to him as I watch this brilliant performance and prepare for the days ahead.