I’m always the one who invites people over to dinner. My friends and former students, family, fraternity brothers, fellow writers, Sonja’s friends, people off the street — I’m the one who arranges the Gudgel Family social calendar most of the time. So when Sonja asked me a few days ago if it would be okay to have someone from her “Mom’s group” stop by for dinner last night, I didn’t hesitate. Of course it’s fine. I was glad to see her reaching out like that.
Briefly, I’ll explain that a “mom’s group” as it were is a social media group of women who were all simultaneously pregnant, now parents. It’s sort of a support group, and she talks about them a lot. They ask questions of one another, share experiences, support one another through the inevitability of postpartum difficulties, and so forth. It serves a purpose and fills a niche that I’m unable to help with, the added element of empathy being key, the convenience of social media making it far easier for them to connect despite the obligations that come along with little kids. Oh, and these moms, they’re from all over the country.
The person Sonja had invited over was in town briefly doing work at Creighton University, but lives, I don’t recall, probably on the East Coast. New York I think it might have been. Though not quick to host, Sonja is a gracious host, and had rejected my offer to cook, herself preparing a wonderful meal of baked paprika chicken, seasoned cauliflower rice (it’s way better than it sounds), and a fresh garden salad. I asked her to grab a Sauvignon Blanc to chill in partnership with all of that, she she did, selecting one from a small Napa Valley winery we stayed at a little over a year ago. I could tell Sonja was excited for this woman to visit us because she had chosen one of our most memorable bottles.
The Salvestrin LeBlanc Crystal Springs Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is a really wonderful wine. A beautiful, hearty, yellowed straw color and a nose full of tropical fruits make it stand out immediately. On the palate, though light and crisp, it is not cutting, and has an almost rounded quality about it, with bright stone fruit notes and prominent, tart pineapple helping distinguish it from the crowd. It paired beautifully with Sonja’s meal, and brought back some wonderful memories as well. I highly recommend this wine, and if you’re in Napa, I strongly suggest you arrange a visit to Salvestrin. It’s a wonderful place.
I am utterly astonished these days by the blazon rudeness that some people so unapologetically exhibit towards others. While Sonja was finishing the meal, the person who had agreed to meet at our home at 5:30 texted to say she thought it would be more like seven. Excuse me? What on earth is wrong with you? In the end, I’m not sure if it’s unfortunate or not that Sonja’s mom-friend stood us up last night. The good part of that was that I got to drink her share of this terrific wine, and there are leftovers in the fridge from a terrific meal. That said, I feel awful for my wife, who I know was excited to meet one of the people she has been communicating with for so long.
I’ll end by saying that one of the things I love about wine is that it brings people together. It compliments conversation as we sit around a table, on a patio, at dinner, or on a couch. I truly believe wine binds humans in a social manner, in a manner that little else can. That said, you have to get there first. In an age when people would rather message someone on Facebook than text, rather text than call, and rather call than have a face-to-face conversation, all of us need to set our stupid smartphones down and drink a bit more wine. Together.
Cheers to the people we drink wine with, face-to-face!