“Of wine and whining” Maysara Arsheen 2016


My Master Angler Awards arrived yesterday, a celebration of the dinosauric northern pike I caught on a fly rod last month. (If you missed that post, you can find it here: https://itheewine.com/2018/04/29/gone-fishin-buehler-vineyards-estate-cabernet-sauvignon-2014/ .) At any rate, I harbor ambitions of framing them, along with the fly, but anything that isn’t urgent has to be put on the back burner right now. I got one academic article finished, revised, and submitted this week, and have another due next week. This morning, I received an email from the editor of yet another volume, asking for revised back matter for a book chapter I wrote. And in the past two weeks, I’ve written over one hundred cards and letters to students, as we prepare to depart for summer and — for many, college. I spent much of yesterday writing a test and grading papers, and much more devoted to preparing for taking the helm of the cross country team of which I have recently become the head coach. My lawn needs mowed. I told my father on the phone yesterday that I had had one of those days where I knew I was extremely productive, and yet the mountain in front of me seemed somehow not to be diminished. He got it.

My friend Pete once said, to no one in particular as I remember it though he easily could have been talking directly to me, that “Everyone is busy. Don’t let that be an excuse not to get your job done.” That has stayed with me, and as I find myself compelled to whine about the immense workload that I always find myself with this time of year, I am cognizant of the fact that you, dear reader, are likely also very busy. What am I doing writing a wine blog right now? And what are you doing reading it? I suppose we all have our releases. Thanks for reading. Read on.


Also yesterday, I ran into one of my students, crying in the hallway. We spoke at length, and ultimately I was informed that it was stress about grades that were the issue. Gently, I reminded her of two things she already knew: first, that my grades in high school weren’t good, and yet somehow I survived and managed to get through university and land a job I love. And second, that her support group, her friends and family, is strong, and that like me she can rely upon them for support. She was smiling when I left her.

The support group piece is huge. I know her family and many of her friends, and I was confident in saying what I did. But I know from personal experience how important that is. Last night, after my very busy day, I got the kids from daycare and pulled up at home where my beautiful Sonja, who knows how much I have on my plate right now, was just finishing making dinner. By the time I had changed clothes and changed Titus’s diaper, we were sitting down to a wonderful meal of pan-seared chicken in mushrooms with asparagus on the side. It was a break, one less thing to do, and just what I needed. I grabbed a bottle of wine from the fridge and we…


…had a meltdown. My son, Titus, is about as good at dealing with his emotions as I was when I was ten times his age, so I tend to cut him a little slack. That said, the dinner was “yucky” and “I want you to leave” is something he hollered repeatedly to me, to Mollie (who ate his dinner when he threw it on the floor, causing still greater anguish), and to Cookie Monster, who had also been hurled to the floor, where despite Titus’s screaming requests, I left him. Everything was wrong in my little boy’s life. Everything was bad. Sonja and I talked over him for a bit, but that never lasts.  At one point, I threatened that he would never watch Paw Patrol again in his life. Then I got him some cheese, Sonja got him some bread, I let him smell my wine, and pretty soon he settled down. I guess that for Titus, mommy and I make up his support group.


The wine that tamed my monster son was a Pinot Gris from Maysara, vintage 2016, called Arsheen. Sonja and I had been sipping at it and remarking upon it for quite some time whilst Titus was being belligerent. A light, pale golden hue, the nose is floral with notes of lime and minerals on the bouquet. On the palate, the wine is extraordinarily vibrant and full of life. The flavor of lime and citrus persists, commingling with delicate mineral qualities, tart, underripe stone fruits, hints of pine, lemon zest, and more. Sonja, whose palate is enviable and who identifies wine with consistent accuracy, thought at first it was a Riesling for its lightness, character, and depth. Named for an Archeamenian Princess from the 6th Century B.C., this biodynamic wine is sourced exclusively from the Momtazi Vineyard in Oregon’s McMinnville AVA. I was extremely impressed with the wine from start to finish, and highly recommend it as a great, budget-friendly white heading into summer. Titus begrudgingly approved of it as well.


After dinner, Titus calmed down, while the wheels in his sister Zooey’s head turning almost audibly: Wait a second, if I behave very badly I will get more attention and I will get cheese? — we took the kids up to bathe them, I read a few stories to Titus, and Sonja and I finished our wine. We sat out on the front porch, and I looked at the lawn, well-watered from spring rainfall, and felt at peace with the idea that it could wait to be mowed. We’re all busy, yes, but we needn’t work ourselves to death. My days that end on the front porch with a bottle of wine are typically my best days, regardless of what else may be going on, and I need to remember always to make time for that, and for my family. So thanks for reading my whining, and thanks more importantly for being a part of that all-important support group that gets me through the hectic and exhausting days. I’ll raise my next glass to you.

Cheers to those who hold us up,


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