Yesterday afternoon was beautiful. I went for a walk in Balboa Park, just a few blocks from my house, and enjoyed the solitude, space and freedom of being outside for about an hour. I walked up and down hills, through open fields with new Spring wildflowers, past a cactus garden and the Naval Medical Center San Diego, and felt incredibly lucky to be alive and in such a privileged spot. Sadly, however, the city has now closed down all of its parks, even Balboa Park; apparently, they weren’t able to prevent people from congregating in small groups, so now I’m stuck at home for the foreseeable future.
Anyhow, I digress. There’s still food in the house, there’s still remote work to be done, and there is also wine, for the first time in many years, and I’m doing my best to parcel it out accordingly. I’m reaching into the shipping boxes and grabbing bottles at random, letting chance decide what to make of all of this bounty. Yesterday’s bottle was a bottle of white wine from Provence, from a part of the world I had thought was only known for blackcurrant liqueur. It is something of a miracle that a bottle from a tiny spot in France somewhere near Marseille could make it all the way to my house in San Diego, proof that globalization does have advantages. Of course, pathogens spread that way as well, from dieback in Western Australia to the novel coronavirus that claimed its first death in San Diego county yesterday as well.
I chatted briefly with an old friend earlier in the week, who was greatly relieved that he was able to get his daughter safely back home from a now-abandoned year abroad in Marseille, but again, I digress. What to make of this wine? It’s supposedly primarily Marsanne, but to me it just tastes soft, like inexpensive peach perfume, the kind of thing I imagine a Harajuku girl would wear (and believe me, I have no idea). Absolutely fine, fairly innocuous, and overall my primary impression was that this was a ‘you had to be there’ kind of wine – lovely in situ, but why go to the trouble of shipping it halfway around the world? I cooked up a frozen paella Valenciana, and noted that the packaging invited me to close my eyes of being in Valencia, which is something I did a lot earlier this year; while I was away for Christmas, my husband stayed at home and hung out with a couple of friends from Washington state who are seriously considering moving there. Sounds fine to me, taxes notwithstanding, so I booked us Thanksgiving week in Valencia, which I’m beginning to suspect might not actually happen.
I sat on our living room couch, with a bowl of reheated French paella Valenciana, a glass of Cassis blanc, a view outside to the sun setting on the senior citizens’ apartments down the way, and thought about what to do.
For now, there isn’t much to do except to wait. At my desk, there’s a Japanese himekuri calendar. It’s March 24; that means there are 282 days left until the end of the year; the calendar is still visibly bulky, an ominous symbol for the days ahead. I was planning on hiking the Via Alpina in September, but will I be able to stay fit enough to do so if I can’t go for a walk in Balboa Park, much less a longer hike nearby? Will Edelweiss even fly to Zürich at all this year from San Diego? Will the trail be open? What will things look like five months from now?
In the meantime, this is why I’m back writing at Full Pour: not because the world needs wine writing of any kind (really, it probably doesn’t), but because I’d like to remind myself of all of the good reasons to enjoy wine. For a short period of time, I found myself totally engrossed in a part of the world I’d never considered, looking up the winery on Google Earth, reading about the terroir, and frankly enjoying the mild buzz as a welcome distraction from onerous Big Questions like am I going to get this thing? and are my parents/friends/neighbors going to be OK? Is there a point to any of this? Not really, but there is still a definite magic to the physical experience of enjoying a glass of wine – and it’s (for me, at least) a way of feeling more alive, more connected to the world than usual. Cheers.