My Pillars of Recovery

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Sometimes I get messages from people who don’t know how to take the first step toward quitting drinking. I tell them that I didn’t do anything miraculous, I just quit and did whatever I had to do to keep it that way. Still, a lot of times they don’t buy it or still don’t believe they are ready. That’s fair, but I put together a highlight reel of all of the mundane things I did to get and stay sober. Since I don’t follow a traditional recovery program, I wrote a bit about my “pillars” of recovery. Your recovery doesn’t have to look like mine, in fact I think it should be a reflection of you. Recovery isn’t one size fits all, and don’t let anyone make you feel that you’re doing it wrong. So here’s what my recovery relies on if it helps:

  • Meditation and mindfulness practice: my deepest fear is being alone (Libra). I cling to relationships sometimes for the sole reason that I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts. This is why developing a meditation practice has been so helpful for my recovery and overall mental health. Learning to sit with difficult emotions is a skill we really need to be teaching people as kids. It’s an essential life skill that I’m not sure how I survived without for 30 years (I mean, I can point to quite a few personal disasters that were probably at least somewhat caused by my inability to do this...

  • Relationships that ground me: spending time with my daughter, my husband, my good friends and my family reminds me of what is truly important to my life and my happiness. Their opinions are the only ones I really care about. 

  • Sober community: I owe everything to my network of sober friends. I’ve met many of them online or through my recovery program, but I honestly don’t know what I would do without my people to check in, celebrate and cry with me. They’re everything.

  • An inclusive recovery program: not all recovery programs are created equally and I quickly found that I needed one that had women and minorities in mind. I found @jointempest in early sobriety and participated in Tempest Sobriety School (formerly Hip Sobriety School) starting at 60 days sober. It was integral to my recovery, helping me work through past trauma that kept me stuck in destructive patterns and learn new, healthier coping mechanisms. 

  • Art (poetry, music, visual art): For me to have a high quality of life, I need to feel inspired on a daily basis. Whether it’s reading Mary Oliver or Nayyirah Waheed, listening to Leonard Cohen, or walking through the modern gallery of the Nelson-Atkins, I surround myself with art because it helps me make sense of the world (again, Libra). I also recently realized that the times in my life that I’ve experienced the most creativity in my artistic endeavors have been when I wasn’t drinking. 

  • Spirituality/God: this has been the most difficult piece of the puzzle for me. I have a strong aversion to most organized religion (except crunchy reform and reconstructionist Jewish congregations, that’s my jam). So when I got to step 2 of the 12 steps, I read the description and immediately broke up with my sponsor and bolted. However, after spending months practicing meditation and developing gratitude (accidentally lol), I suddenly found myself open to things like prayer and a higher power, seeing that it doesn’t have to be dogmatic (and it really can’t be for me). My concept of God is just a presence of love and acceptance, one that transcends gender and any other social constructs people traditionally try to attach to deities. I don’t believe in sin or an afterlife, I just believe in love. 

So for me, that’s what is at the heart of my recovery. Hope it was helpful especially if you’re searching for a way out of this addiction thing.

Five Things I Wish I Had Known When I Quit Drinking


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I am so excited to be participating in the 1000 Hours Dry Challenge. If you haven’t heard of it, the idea is that you give up drinking (or any unhealthy addiction/habit) from May 1-June 11 (or indefinitely). I’m a little over four months sober, but I’m still focusing on giving up alcohol because 4 months is still pretty early in recovery. That said, I’ve learned a ton in the last 120+ days about what gives me the best chance at being successful in my recovery and minimizes the chance of relapse. I put together a list of just a few ideas of things you can do as you quit drinking/using to help you in early recovery. [Disclaimer: this is 100% my opinion as a person in recovery, not as a medical professional. Please consult with a doctor if you are physically addicted to drugs or alcohol and are looking to quit.]

  • Know that it will be hard: this probably seems so obvious but I can’t underscore it enough. I have been through many things in my life: losing my brother, having a difficult pregnancy, birthing a baby, but the hardest thing I’ve ever done? Giving up alcohol. Recovering from addiction is no joke and not for the faint of heart. That said, I recommend it wholeheartedly and would do it again 1000 times. But you need to mentally prepare yourself for a very difficult experience if you want to persevere.

  • Create a toolbox of resources you can use instead of using: you will be tempted to drink or use your drug of choice and will need some serious safeguards in place. First, get rid of all of your booze, drugs, cigarettes, whatever. Sell it, flush it, do whatever you need to to get it out of your space. Next, create a list of at least 5 things you can do when you want to use. Here are some of mine: reach out to a sober friend, get coffee/sparkling water (something about drinking something helps distract me), have some chocolate (dopamine!), take a bath if possible, do a guided meditation (love the Calm app!). Trust me, even if you have superhuman willpower, you’ll reach a point where you’ve got nothing left to give and you’ll be tempted to do what you’ve always done— use. Use your toolbox!!! (P.S. Holly Whitaker wrote an amazing piece about this!)

  • Educate yourself about addiction: to break the addiction cycle, you need to truly understand what it is doing to your brain when you use. Dr. Ruth Potee and Dr. Nora Volkow both have a lot of videos and articles that explain how addiction hijacks your brain and essentially holds you hostage. A personal favorite of mine is the interview with Dr. Ruth Potee on the Home Podcast. Also, The Temper has so many amazing pieces about the science behind addiction. Please know that your drinking or drug problem is not an issue based on lack of will power and it’s not a moral deficiency. Drugs and alcohol change our brains and eventually, it becomes impossible to simply will your way out of it. Go easy on yourself, you’re doing hard things.

  • Join a sober community: if you’re into it, try an AA meeting, but if that’s not for you, don’t give up on finding a sober community. I started engaging with sober people on Instagram and it grew into a really safe space for me. Other ideas: see if there is a local sobriety meet up (check Facebook or Google) or just find a group of people who are doing something other than drinking/using drugs. Join a community garden (AOC would be so proud!) or volunteer for a cause you care about. The Temper has an amazing piece on just this. Just avoid social isolation even if you are no longer socializing the way you used to.

  • Tell some people you care about: if you can bring yourself to, share with some trusted individuals in your life that you are quitting drinking or using. As helpful as a sobriety toolbox is, the emotional support you’ll need from humans is so crucial. If you can’t do this, rely on your sober community, but if you can find just one person in your life who you can be open about this with, it will be a huge help. Ask them to check in on you and if you can reach out if you’re struggling. Having a network of support helped me immensely in early recovery and is still key to my recovery today.

So there you go, just a few things I wish I had known when I started on this path. I’m sure there is a ton I’m forgetting but that’s the gist. Again, if you are physically addicted to alcohol (you have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use for an expended period of time) PLEASE talk to a doctor before you try to detox on your own.

"So how much were you drinking?"


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What a lot of people don’t realize is that, at the end of my drinking, I wasn’t really consuming that much. It was usually between 1-3 glasses of wine at night, with an occasional binge. Sure, this isn’t recommended any doctors but a lot of people are doing it. The thing that scared me more than my typical nightly wine intake was this propensity to lose control and that didn’t take much at the end. I never knew when these nights would occur but when they did, it was like someone else took over my brain and body and I just observed from above. I would see myself finish a bottle of wine, get fuzzy, have an anxiety episode, take a Xanax and then pass out. Most nights my drinking was more “controlled” but the fact that I couldn’t seem to predict when it would go off the rails really scared me. Eventually any amount of alcohol made me feel badly. I now know I that addiction had taken its toll on my brain and it required more dopamine than I had available to experience any sort of high or euphoria from alcohol. So that’s what my drinking problem looked like: 1-3 glasses at night and an occasional binge. I know that’s what a lot of women’s alcohol intake looks like because I’ve had many of them reach out to me about their drinking, and it usually looks quite similar to how mine did. I say this to remind you, to remind myself that you don’t have to hit a rock bottom to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol or other substances or even quit. We are so quick to blame ourselves for not being able to manage alcohol in our lives when it’s an addictive, toxic substance! There is nothing wrong with you if you can no longer handle it and want to be done. 

Many of the Women You Know are Struggling



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I took this photo on December 1, 2018. Despite the smile, this was in the height of some of my darkest days. I had been on maternity leave for nearly four months (two of which were spent with my daughter, Ellie, in the NICU) and was battling a serious case of postpartum anxiety. I was also drinking every night under the guise of calming my anxiety and helping me sleep. Even though I wasn’t drinking a ton most nights, I rarely went a night without at least a couple of glasses of wine. And then there were the nights with friends. Rare nights when a friend or two would come over or I would go out and would lose all control. I now describe my drinking as playing a game of Russian Roulette. It wasn’t that I was unable to control my drinking at times, it was just that I couldn’t predict when it would go off the rails and I would be left beaten and broken to pick up the pieces the next day. This got far more challenging once I had a child to care for.

The night I took this photo was one of those nights. I was going out with a friend to one of my favorite restaurants and bringing a great bottle of wine. I started drinking before my friend arrived which had become the norm. I had gotten pretty good at convincing myself that if it was afternoon and I wasn’t the only adult home watching Ellie, it was okay to drink a little wine. I was feeling great. My anxiety (which spikes at night) barely noticeable in my boozy haze. I held my daughter and took photos with her. My friend arrived and we took an Uber to the restaurant. At the restaurant the wine flowed. I was drinking faster than my friend (but I was used to this) and when the bottle was empty, I asked the owner, a woman who I met on instagram and bonded with over our shared love for wine,  for a recommendation on a wine by the glass. My friend hadn’t even finished her last glass from the bottle when two new glasses of wine appeared at the table.

This phenomenon happens sometimes when I drink, where I am loving the moment and the wine so much (and the wine feels like a key part of the moment) that I don’t want it to stop so I keep drinking. At this point in the night I was starting to feel less in control and couldn’t hold it together. I could tell that it was clear that I was drunk. I told the owner goodbye, maybe hugged her, I don’t know, and then got in an Uber to go home. That’s all I remember.

When I stopped drinking, it was because I was so sick of those nights that I lost control and the days after that I wasted feeling like shit, trying to piece together what exactly happened after I lost track or blacked out. I felt disgusted with myself that I couldn’t pull it together now that I had a young daughter. I had a great life, why did I have this “issue” and why was it so hard to fix? It was Christmas when my self-loathing hit an all time high and I made the decision I had always known was necessary, to quit drinking. Like many people with problematic drinking, I had tried to cut back many times but it never stuck. I decided that I couldn’t keep playing this game of Russian Roulette with my drinking and my life, I had to quit completely. Over the next few days, I wrapped my head around my decision as much as I could, approached some sober friends for help, sold my wine collection to a friend and declared on social media that I had quit drinking.

People had all sorts of reactions. Many thought it was an overreaction and that I was being dramatic. Others, who had seen the dark side of my drinking, avoided me completely. I constantly questioned why I felt the need to announce publicly that I had quit alcohol. My husband told me that he was so proud of me but that he wouldn’t have announced it like that. Well, hear I am some 37 days later and I have had no less than 20 people reach out to me on social media, worried about their own drinking. Friends and acquaintances have messaged me to share that they too have a problematic relationship with alcohol (or another substance) and either want to cut back or quit entirely. I was shocked by the people who reached out. A lot of them were people I didn’t know well and had seemingly perfect lives from what I saw on Instagram or Facebook. What stuck out to me most was that they were all women and mostly mothers.

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve grown curious about the idea of invisible labor. It’s this concept of the unquantifiable domestic and kind of miscellaneous work that mostly women find themself doing once married and especially once kids come along. While women still do the majority of domestic labor and childcare in the home, they also do the bulk of this “invisible” labor-- making the doctors appointments, buying gifts, taking kids to birthday parties, meal planning, calling the vet, the list goes on and on. Women are staying home with children less and less and yet they are still shouldering the bulk of the household and childcare work, and they are expected to do it smiling, reassuring others that they don’t need help. If you have any doubt about this, consult Instagram.  

At the same time, the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations for women between 18-24 increased dramatically between 1999 and 2008 and the rates of drunk driving arrests amongst women increased by 30% from 1998 to 2007 (both from Holly Whitaker’s amazing piece about women and alcohol here: https://www.hipsobriety.com/home/13thingswomenalcohol). I believe these things aren’t unrelated. That women feel the constant pressure to do it all (be successful at work and home, raise children who aren’t assholes, be good partners, be in shape, have an insta-worthy house, etc.) and need a relief. This often comes in the form of wine or another alcoholic beverage, which makes sense since entire marketing campaigns are built off of the “mommy needs wine” trope.

In fact, when I stopped drinking I saw how truly drenched in booze our entire society is. I was getting ads on Facebook for discounted t-shirts with dumb slogans about wine on them and invited to events like “yoga and beer” (what’s the point of the yoga?). It’s not that I judge people who do drink, it’s just that we live in a culture that makes it really hard to evaluate your own relationship with alcohol to know if it’s even worth continuing. If you want to know if alcohol is a problem for you, ask how it impacts your life. If it’s not much at all, maybe it’s not an issue, but if it is at the root of many of your other problems, maybe it is. Hell, if it’s the root of any of your problems, it’s worth considering. And it’s okay to have a problem with alcohol. It’s an addictive substance and if you use it long enough, you’ll become addicted.

I had spent years stuck in a cycle of problematic drinking because every time I questioned it, I was confronted with a million reasons it wasn’t an issue-- that plenty of people drank more than I did, that I had never lost a job due to my drinking, that I’d never had legal trouble, that I deserved to relax. The thing I wouldn’t admit was that it made my life worse and that was reason enough to stop. I was sick of feeling sick, sick of not being present in my life, sick of counting down the hours each day until I got home from work and could have that glass (or more) of wine.

I’m not trying to be a sobriety evangelist. I am not promising that by giving up wine, your problems will go away, mine certainly haven’t. But what I’ve found is that my quality of life has improved dramatically since I quit drinking and what problems I do have, I am more equipped to handle. I am not overwhelmed by self-loathing anymore and I’m not constantly distracted. I am clear and I am present. I was so scared to eliminate alcohol from my life because I thought it was part of my identity. I thought I needed it to combat my anxiety, but once I cut the shit and started dealing with the real issues I had, I realized I never needed booze in the first place and it truly made everything worse. I thought alcohol made me edgy, but in my opinion, the ones with real edge are the ones who don’t need to alter their state to be content and they are who I long to be with and like. If you don’t have a problem with drinking, keep drinking. But if you think you might, know that it’s okay. Just don’t be afraid to ask the question in the first place.


Sober

The last of my wine collection before I sold it to a friend

The last of my wine collection before I sold it to a friend

It’s 6:00 a.m. on January 1, 2019 and I’m making a pot of coffee that I plan to drink in its entirety. I just finished feeding Ellie and decided I had too much energy to go back to bed. I have energy because I made the decision to quit drinking 6 days ago after coming to terms with the fact that I had a problematic relationship with alcohol, always have, and that I was unwilling to let it continue to hurt me and those in my life. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Harder than pregnancy and birthing a child. That was natural and beautiful, this is an ugly ugly thing. My decision took a lot of people by surprise since I was the wine girl. Well, as much as I loved learning about and drinking wine, it was a great way to cover up a drinking problem and not get too many questions. If I wasn’t fooling you, then congrats, but no one really wants to hear that when they are getting sober and just trying to make it through the day without their drug of choice. So if I always knew I had a problematic relationship with alcohol, why did I continue to drink? There is a whole body of literature explaining that addiction is a disease and not a moral failure, you can look into it if you wish (I recommend the book Clean by David Sheff). Maybe drinking was a choice in the beginning but it quickly became a compulsion, an unhealthy coping mechanism I used to get over traumatic events that have happened (though it didn’t get me over them at all) and to assuage social and generalized anxiety. I never envisioned myself as a 30 year old with a seemingly great life, drinking multiple glasses of wine each night to numb the pain and self-hatred I still felt. I never would have chosen that. So here I am, in the new year (though my decision had nothing to do with that!) leading a new life and feeling better than I remember feeling in a long time. I’m not deluding myself into thinking this will be easy-- I had to fight like hell to make it this far, but I believe that I can do this, with a lot of support. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to lend support (so many strangers!) and tell me their stories and thank you to Holly Whitaker of Hip Sobriety, who gave me the courage to take the leap into sobriety. I’ll be back soon to check in.

Love,

Sarah

Resources that have helped me thus far:

On Reclaiming Boxed Wine and Rethinking Mommy Wine Culture

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I had an epiphany today. I always thought that boxed wine was mom wine, like late 90s-early 00s mom wine because that was what was in my friends’ parents’ fridges when I was growing up. Granted, there are actual good wines that come in boxes now but I still don’t buy a lot of boxed wines generally-- it always felt like a commitment and I’m a bit of a wild card! Cut to my new life as a mother of a NICU baby (more on this soon, I promise) and my tiny bit of adult time is the the hour or two I spend at home before I go to bed during which I watch reality TV and drink a glass (or occasionally two) of wine. Well, for the first time in my life I was having the issue of all of the wine going bad before I could finish it. I switched from bottles to cans but I still couldn’t finish the damn things in one sitting and in my husband’s words “the most depressing sound is pouring wine down the drain”. Then I remembered that boxed wine existed and it was like Dionysus himself had smiled down on me. And then I realized, maybe this is why all of my friends’ moms drank boxed wine; they were too busy and stressed from keeping a GD human alive to have more than a glass or two at a time. Also, you can’t exactly get drunk and take care of a kid (or you shouldn’t, probably). Then again, it was probably Franzia and they probably just had bad taste in wine and just needed something to survive motherhood. NO JUDGMENT.

Boxed wine has come a long way since I first saw it in my friends’ fridges 20+ years ago and even a long way since the next time I saw it-- in college. While I didn’t know anything about wine when I was in college, I thought I knew enough to avoid all boxed wine because it was shit (which was fair because at the time, it was essentially all Franzia). Funnily enough, the bottles I was drinking weren’t much better at all, but I was operating under the all too common notion that all boxed wine is massed produced and terrible. It’s not! I didn’t actually learn this until I started regularly purchasing wine from a wine shop and noticed they had boxes of wine. When I had learned a little bit about wine and asked about it, I was shocked to hear that there are incredible wineries and winemakers putting their wines in boxes.

So why boxed wine? Well, aside from the obvious things like, it lasts longer and it’s more economical, there are additional benefits. If you’re not an evil human, you might care about the fact that it’s better for the environment. Or if you do a lot of entertaining, you might like that you won’t have three bags of recycling the day after your dinner party (if your dinner parties are like mine) but either way, there is quality wine that can be found in boxes— you can even find it on good wine menus, I’m not kidding.

One of my favorites is the Jenny & Francois From the Tank. It comes in a red (blend), a white (Chardonnay) and a rosé (blend). I tend to get the red blend because, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really care about white wine unless it’s sparkling. It’s something I’m working on, but it’s low-priority. ANYWAY, the red is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan and it has all of the hallmarks of a J & F wine-- hand-harvested grapes and natural winemaking techniques all the way. I first tried this wine last spring after I learned that you could actually find good wine in boxes. The great thing about it is that one box contains three liters (over three bottles of wine). Whether or not you are a postpartum lightweight like I am, it is bound to last you a little while and create a lot less waste in the process.

On the nose, this red blend has notes of super delicious blackberry jam, like good artisanal stuff, not Smuckers.It also smells a bit like a berry candy or even fruit gummies. It’s hard for me to pull anything out that doesn’t have to do with berries and this could very well be because I haven’t been drinking wine regularly for 9 months. On the palate it’s tart and a little acidic but goes down so smooth. It has the best qualities of a big, bold red like Syrah but also the best qualities of a medium red like Grenache or Carignan. It would be hard to pick a meal that wouldn’t pair well with this wine. I could see it holding up to a KC Strip or a grilled salmon. I already ate Mexican earlier but I’ll probably have my leftover enchiladas tomorrow night and I bet it will pair nicely with that too!

I kind of joked about the wine my friends’ moms were drinking probably being bad and I know that that’s just probably this gross mommy wine culture we have permeating into my brain. It seems like so many wines and wine-related products (even products for babies and kids) are marketed toward women and moms simply because they are women and moms. If I get another GD ad for a bib that has some joke about how I love to drink wine, I might snap. Sure, I love wine, but my kid’s bib doesn’t need to reflect that. Also, most of the wines that are marketed toward women seem to be pretty crappy (and I’m guessing the marketing is done by men because none of it appeals to me or any women I know) and have everything to do with needing a drink because motherhood is hard and nothing to do with drinking wine because you actually enjoy it.

That’s the sort of fucked up thing about our culture, a lot of people use alcohol as a means to and end and don’t enjoy the process of drinking it. If I am going to spend what little disposable income I have left on an alcoholic beverage, it had better be good! Honestly, I think a lot of this is changing as we see more women winemakers and wine bar/shop owners in the industry. They are proving that you don’t need to have a glittery pink label to sell wine to women, you do need to appeal to their intellect and maybe even sense of humor though. I hope I can be a part of this sea change by supporting women in wine and writing this little blog because, hell, I’m raising a daughter and I will not have her grow up in a world where women feel like they have to drink shitty wine with cutesy labels.Life is too short for misogyny and shitty wine.

Rest in Peace, Tony

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This one hits close to home. I’m not sure when I started watching No Reservations, but it had to be like 15 years ago off and on and then more regularly (re: religiously) in college. Then came Parts Unknown, which merged my love for food and wine with my love of geopolitics. I have watched every episode multiple times, some I’ve watched probably 20 or more times (you can ask my husband). I still argue that the Jerusalem episode of Parts Unknown is one of the best episodes of television of all time and is one of the few sources that portrays the Israeli/Palestinian conflict fairly and respectfully. Am I surprised his life ended like this? Not entirely. Having lost my brother to suicide, I wouldn’t wish the existential pain he experienced on anyone. However, I can see it in others, typically creative empaths who are unable to create boundaries for what and how strongly they feel. Not only did I admire Tony for his food, storytelling and humor, I admired his advocacy for issues like women’s rights. He was beyond outspoken about Weinstein and the like recently, even getting himself into trouble with other male celebrities. I loved that he didn’t care who he would piss off by defending what was right. Tony introduced me to places I’ve never been, amazing chefs I may never have known and encouraged me to speak my mind, even if it would piss some people off. For all of that, I am thankful. He is so much more than how he died. I will remember how he lived, which is something we should all aspire to, as well as his love for his friends and family, especially his daughter. His memory will truly be a blessing in my life and the lives of countless others.

My Favorite Wines of 2017

I started taking wine more seriously (i.e. not buying it at the grocery store as often and supporting my local wine shop) in late 2016. In 2017, I started my wine blog, made friendships with my local wine shop owner and some of my favorite winemakers and importers. Needless to say, I had a lot of great wine in 2017. I tried to narrow it down to my top ten, and then top 12, but there were just too many so I ended up narrowing it to my top 17, but that makes sense because of 2017; get it?! These were procured from around the country (L.A., Dallas, Chicago, Dallas again) but mostly at Underdog Wine in Kansas City. I’m going to leave you with photos sans description because I’ve written on most of these already so if you want to learn more, check the archives. 2017 was a bit of a dumpster (or Trumpster) fire in many respects, but it was a great year for wine in my world. I hope that 2018 brings political change and more great wine. Cheers!

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Sparkling Cabernet Franc and Jewish Eggs Benny

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Happy Christmas! If you didn’t know already, I’m Jewish and my husband is atheist so we’ve never been super into Christmas. That said, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to enjoy the time off and the ability to become a shut in for 24-48 hours. Our Christmas tradition is to binge watch Harry Potter and make some really great food. On the menu this year is Jack Wife’s Freda’s eggs benedict for brunch and pulled pork for dinner. As far as the eggs benny go, they are basically the Jewiest eggs benedict one could make, with the poached egg sitting atop a base of a sweet potato latke, lox, and topped with a beet hollandaise sauce. I bought the Jack’s Wife Freda cookbook for my mother in law for Hanukkah and stumbled upon this recipe and thought, YES. Perfect for a Jewish Christmas.

I was unsure what wine to pair this brunch dish with until I went to my favorite wine shop, Underdog for a tasting on the 23rd. The real reason I was there was to meet Andrew Major (he’s a KC dude, did you know?) and try his new Gamay. In addition to pouring the Major Wine’s Gamay (more on that later) they were pouring several bottles from Broc Cellars. I fell in love with Broc when I was in Dallas for Thanksgiving. I tried the Old Vine Zin and rather than taking notes on it (or sharing it with anyone else) I savored it all myself and didn’t write a blog post about it. Oops. But when I told Ryan from Underdog how much I loved it, he promised that he would be getting in some Broc before the end of the year. Well the time has come and I was able to try four bottles. All were amazing, but one stood out to both my husband and me-- the sparkling Cabernet Franc.

This sparkling wine is 100% Cabernet Franc grown in Santa Barbara using sustainable practices. Total production was only 72 cases of this, their 2016 vintage. This is their fifth vintage of the sparkling Cabernet Franc. On the nose it is bright cherries and red fruits. On the palate it is cranberries and seawater. The acidity of the Cabernet Franc cuts through the saltiness of the salmon and latke and the richness of the egg and hollandaise perfectly. This was both my first time making poached eggs and my first time making hollandaise sauce so I’m super happy with how it turned out. I asked my husband if it was beautiful and he said, “not really, but it tastes great.” I disagree, I think the fuschia beet hollandaise is both surprising and gorgeous but then maybe I’m biased because I slaved away over it for an hour and some change.

This whole dish is a super fun take on eggs benedict and perfect if you’re serving pescatarians or someone who keeps kosher. Or it’s perfect for a Jew and an atheist to each on Christmas morning. Despite being Jewish, there are still some Christmas traditions that I enjoy, like listening to Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas album and watching Christmas movies. When I expressed this sentiment on Facebook and noted that I wish people would quit policing others’ Jewishness, some dude who I don’t even really know informed me that “he didn’t want to sound like he was policing me but Jewish law forbids Jews from celebrating even the secular aspects of Christian holidays.” I didn’t handle this well, as I tend to have little tolerance for mansplainers. I informed the guy that yes, this was the policing behavior I was talking about and I could decide if and how I celebrate holidays, including Christmas.

I’m over it now for the most part but seriously, can’t we trust other adults to make the right decisions for themselves and their lives? Oh well, I am going to go back to watching my Christmas movie and drinking this sparkling wine. Oh, and as I mentioned, we are eating pulled pork for dinner and I give zero fucks. I hope you have a very merry Christmas or Festivus or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate but whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re doing it with good people and good wine.

Dirty and Rowdy Mourvèdre

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Hi, remember how I recently said that although we’ve reached peak November, I’ve still mostly been drinking light-bodied reds rather than the traditional full-bodied reds I go for in the colder months? That’s over now. I’m not saying that I’m retiring light-bodied reds for the season but just that I’m going to dive headfirst into Syrah and Zinfandel on a regular basis. We just got back from Dallas and one of the trees in our front yard had dropped all of its leaves. It only turned about a week ago so I was shocked, however this tends to happen; go out of town and the seasons just change. Well, now all I want to do is put on camp socks, fuzzy sweaters and listen to Sufjan Stevens’ Michigan. Oh and drink big bold reds.

Enter the 2016 Mourvèdre by Dirty and Rowdy. This is a wine that I have been wanting to get my hands on for some time but haven’t been able to find in Kansas City. I decided I would be on the lookout for it when I went to my favorite wine shop in Dallas, Bar and Garden. Sure enough, I found it! I will note that this was about $33, which is more than I usually spend on wine, but I knew going into Bar and Garden that I’d be dropping some dough since it’s a rare treat to go there in the first place. I decided to wait and drink it until I got home to Kansas City since I wanted to have it when the temp was below 60 degrees and it reached 78 when we were in Dallas.

It’s an opaque eggplant hue in the glass, super lovely. Brambly blackberry jam mingles with autumn leaves on the nose while sage and bright black currant shine through on the palate. This has everything I look for in wine-- body with tartness and the right amount of tannins and boy does it pair well with Sufjan Stevens. I fell in love with Sufjan as a sophomore in high school. There are a handful of artists whose work has grown with me in life and mirrored mine in so many ways. While some of the older stuff is a little too religious for me, I still love it.

K, well I am going to continue to listen to Sufjan, light every candle in my house, cuddle with my cats and keep sipping this wine. 

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Turkey Day Wine

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My favorite place to spend my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) is with my husband’s family in Dallas. They are super low key and chill so the frenetic cliches of Thanksgiving don’t hold up at all. Dallas also happens to have one of my favorite wine shops in the country, Bar and Garden. Bar and Garden was our first stop when we finished the 8ish hour drive from Kansas City (well, we actually broke it up over two days).

I went to B&G with the intent of picking up some wines for the long weekend as well as finding some gems to take home. Boy did I find some gems! One of those was one I had only seen in magazines and on Instagram, the Partida Crues 2014 Garrut. I actually gasped when I saw this Spanish natty sparkling red chilling in the fridge. I grabbed it, winced at the $45 price tag, but bit the bullet and bought it because, hey, when was the next time I’d be able to find it?

Partida Creus is the brainchild of Italian couple, Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerosa, who moved from Barcelona to Catalonia in 2000 with the intention of making natural wines that were higher in acid and lower in alcohol than the traditional Spanish wines.

Garrut is the Catalan name for Monastrell or Mourvèdre, a grape originating from Spain that is often used as a blending grape. The Partida Creus Garrut is 100% Garrut however.  Garrut makes a full-bodied wine that can be likened to Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve mentioned that although it’s fall (peak November, to be exact) I’ve been far more into the lighter-bodied reds than their full-bodied counterparts like Cabernet or Syrah. So why am I️ salivating over just the thought of this full-bodied Spanish red? Well, this particular Garrut is lightly sparkling, made in the style of Lambrusco (one of my personal favs). I thought that the effervescence might cut through the full-body of the grape.

We planned to have the perfect traditional Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pie, etc. and I thought the Garrut would pair nicely with all of it. I looked forward to capturing photos of the golden, buttery turkey after it finished cooking. Minor detail, when we opened up the turkey to start prepping it, we discovered that it was just a breast, a big breast, but just a breast nonetheless. Oops. This isn’t a huge deal, there are only five of us but we had plans to make a turkey stock and turkey soup and turkey sandwiches. Oh well.  

The Garrut proved difficult to open with the wax top + a not so great corkscrew but we eventually popped the cork. I asked my husband and father in law (both beer drinkers) if they wanted a glass and they both shook their heads no. However once I poured myself one, they each said “yeah, I’ll try some.” It’s a cloudy garnet color and smells like apple cider vinegar and red currant on the nose. On the palate it is straight up cranberry sauce with orange zest and garden soil. Though it’s a Mourvèdre, it feels light-bodied and doesn't really remind me of Lambrusco as much as other natty Spanish reds I've had. It’s super easy to toss back but I’m trying to savor it since it was a little on the pricy side.

Well, I hope y’all are having a lovely holiday and are drinking great wine and eating great food in your stretchiest pants. In my friend Ellen’s words “don’t stress and eat as much as you want”.

Natty Spanish Wine and Hotdish ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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We have reached peak November in Kansas City meaning the leaves are all red, orange and yellow, it’s getting dark before 5:00 p.m. and I’ve transitioned into wearing nothing but cozy sweaters and clogs (with socks). It’s usually around this time of year that I dive head first into bottles of Zinfandel and Syrah like nobody's business because to me, a good Zin or Syrah tastes like the wine equivalent of a cozy sweater. However, I’ve been sticking to the lighter bodied reds for the most part, which has been surprising especially to me.

Last Thursday I went to a Spanish natty wine tasting at Underdog where they were pouring wines from importer, Jose Pastor. The way that Jose Pastor was first described to me was that he is the Jenny and Francois of Spain. How could you go wrong with a description like that? The wines were absolutely incredible. I’ve had a few Jose Pastor Selections bottles (I wrote about the orange one here) but I’d been aching to try more. I ended up purchasing three bottles from JP, one of which I knew I had to review. It is the Vidueño de Santiago del Teide by Chingao & Envínate. An interesting fact about this wine is that it is made with 50% white grapes and 50% red. Santiago del Teide is a small town situated on Tenerife, Canary Islands with super volcanic soil. Google it, it looks amazing.

The first thing you notice about this wine is the aroma. It is super funky to say the least and almost has a barnyard quality to it. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t translate to the palate where it is super herbal and floral-- the qualities of the Listan Blanco (the white grape) shine through though it still has some body from the Listan Prieto (the red grape). I decided to chill this, since I wasn’t really sure what else to do with a wine that is half white. It ended up being a good idea although I may have overchilled it. This has been sitting in my fridge for like 5 days and I should have let it chill (ha, but not literally) on the counter for a bit before I opened it. Oh well.

So what do I do when the season hits peak November? I’m glad you asked. I basically hibernate as much as possible, only leaving the house for essential things like work and Target runs. I also make a lot of comfort food. It was suggested that you pair this wine with roasted meat or a full flavored seafood dish and I am doing neither. I am actually pairing this with the most comforting of comfort foods, hotdish. Do you know what hotdish is? I had only heard of it in passing until I started religiously reading Molly Yeh’s food blog www.mynameisyeh.com. She is a North Dakota transplant who cooks dishes that fuse her Jewish, Chinese and now upper Midwest roots.I made her famous Chicken Pot Tater Tot hotdish from her cookbook, Molly on the Range (but you can also find it here). Oddly enough, the wine works with this dish.The hotdish is so rich that you need some acidity from the wine to cut through the creaminess of it.I never really thought of pairing a funky light-bodied wine like this with a casserole until I happened to have both on hand and it worked.

Well, it’s almost 5:00 and basically dark so I’m probably going to curl up in a blanket and watch bad TV (I’ve been rewatching The City, which is the spinoff of The Hills and it’ pretty entertaining). I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying this season, eating good food and most importantly, drinking good wine.

Fall For Orange Wine

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I love orange wines, but tbh, I’m getting a little oranged out. Don’t get me wrong, I think that orange wines fun are funky and I will always love them. However, it seems like KC finally got on the orange wine train and I can’t get away from them even if I try (a problem I never thought I’d have). However, I also feel like I need to taste everything, so when I see orange wine at a shop or on a menu, I usually try it. I first tried this wine at my birthday tasting at my favorite wine shop, Underdog. I bought a bottle and meant to review it but instead I opened it one night when I was already a little tipsy (which is no easy feat since the top is covered in wax) and crushed it. So here we are, nearly a month later and kind of feeling over orange wine for the season, but it matches the leaves so perfectly and like what did you think I was going to review for the fall, pumpkin spice lattes? No.

The Lovamor is made exclusively from Albillo Real grapes from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain situated in the central north. Albillo Real is grown widely throughout this region as well as in Madrid. Lovamor is organic, unfined and unfiltered (just the way I like it). The grapes see six days of skin contact, leading to an amber/golden hue. The winemaker who produces Lovamor is Alfredo Maestro, whose mantra is “Wine made with only grapes, well-kept vineyards, and healthy land.” Maestro employs natural and organic winemaking techniques, using old vines and neglected land. Maestro’s wines are imported by Jose Pastor Selections, which has been described to me as the Jenny & Francois of Spain. When I heard this, I knew I would love it.

The bouquet of the Lovamor is light but floral, smelling of lilies and honeysuckle. There’s a sweetness to it, but I’ve learned this is often deceiving when it comes to orange wines where the bouquet and the palate can be 100% different. The floral notes come through on the palate in such a nice way! It reminds me of the first orange wine I tried on a trip to L.A. It was a Georgian orange wine and was so light and floral, but still had a bit of body from the skin contact. It tastes like orange blossoms (don’t sue me for comparing an orange wine to actual oranges, I know they aren’t made from oranges) and there’s a grittiness to it in the best possible way, which could be due to it being unfined and unfiltered.

This would be the perfect wine for drinking outside on a cool fall day while listening to old-ish Radiohead, which is what I’m doing. Today I read that some dude on Fox News called Radiohead the poor man’s Coldplay. When I was able to pick my jaw up off of the floor I immediately burst into laughter. Radiohead is hands down my favorite band and has been for 10+ years. Since reading that, I’ve been alternating between listening to The Daily Mail/Staircase single and the Knives Out EP-- two of my favorites. The weather is pretty perfect, it is in the high sixties and sunny. If I had my way, I would do nothing but drink this wine outside while listening to Radiohead for the duration of fall. In reality I need to go inside and cook dinner. However, if you have some free time this week, I’d highly recommend picking up some Lovamor, taking it outside and turning on Radiohead. Oh, and I should mention that I stole the title of this post from a window display at a wine shop in Chicago. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If You're Drinking This It's Too Late

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Like every good Jewish girl I know, I love Drake. What choice do we have? He is beautiful, talented and an MOT. Oh and he loves his mom but doesn’t seem overly attached (cause that’s annoying af). When I found out that Drake’s birthday was just 12 days after mine I was like, yeah of course it is, because we have a connection. If you didn’t know it was Drake’s birthday then now you know, now you know. So on this day, I’m raising not just a glass but the whole bottle to Champagne Papi himself.

I decided I had to go with a sparkling rosé because he literally wrote a song about poppin rosé and generally if you’re poppin bottles, they’re sparkling. Some may say rosé season is over, but this is the time of year that my rosé-fatigue from said rosé season starts to dissipate and I can enjoy it again. And regardless of the time of year, I always enjoy a sparkling rosé because I’m kind of basic and don’t care. I’ll even drink a $5 sparkling rosé if you offer it to me and it’s not sweet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The way I learned about Drake is pretty nerdy. It wasn’t in a bar or a club, it was on NPR in like 2009; man, I’m talkin way before hashtags. I remember the host talking about this Canadian Jewish rapper and I was intrigued. I started listening and never stopped. 2009 was actually kind of a dark year. I was in a shitty relationship and had a lot of shitty friends (all I ever needed was the squad so that's what's up) so I spent a lot of time in my apartment doing French homework and listening to Drake. Don’t worry, that guy and I broke up eventually and when he asked me where I was movin I said on to better things. My favorite album dropped in 2015, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, and I still listen to it on the reg. While I like his newer stuff, 6 God will probably always be my favorite song and I also have a tendency to rap Energy to myself when people are pissing me the fuck off.

I suppose I should tell you about this wine. I went into my favorite wine shop and said “look, I’m writing a post about Drake, I need a dope rosé.” I was pointed to the Jansz sparkling rosé. The Jansz winery is based in Piper’s Brook, in northern Tasmania. The wine is made in what they call, Méthode Tasmanoise, which is basically sparkling wine made in the style of Champagne in Tasmania! Jansz was actually the first winery in Tasmania to employ this method to make sparkling wine. It should also be noted that northern Tasmania’s climate is similar to that of the Champagne region in France. It’s a beautiful rose gold hue and smells of apricots, rose petals and wet cement. On the palate it is bright but rich, tasting like lemongrass and pink peppercorn. It’s really delightful and would be perfect for day drinking. TBH, after a few glasses, this rosé got me feelin like the one again.

So here we are in 2017, still listening to Drake but in a much better place than I was in 2009. I definitely credit my friends and my husband with this and I can't really see another squad tryin to cross us, nah. I also have come into my own. College was a major learning and growing experience for me. I've grown a lot since then but man, who I was at 18 vs. 23 is insane to think about. 

Well, there you go. I didn’t have to pair a wine with Drake’s birthday but fuck it, somebody gotta do it. Hate if someone else did it. Fuck, I may as well do it.

K, thanks for humoring me by reading this but I’m bout to call your ass an Uber, I’ve got somewhere to be.

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Eat & Drink Chicago

Last week, Matt and I traveled to Chicago for my birthday. I was thrilled because we hadn’t been on a big trip together in over a year. However, the day before we were supposed to leave, I came down with a cold-y/sinus-y something awful that left me feeling drained and like my head was going to explode. I texted my friend in Chicago that I was sick and she asked if we were still going to go to which I said, “OF COURSE.” When I set my mind to something, I do it. I mean, sometimes with things I don’t really care about, I quit because I get bored, but I am serious about travel, so off we went.

When we got into town, we checked into our Airbnb which was in Wicker Park and close to tons of shops, bars and restaurants. After I downed three packs of emergen-c and some Dayquil, we headed out to meet my friend for drinks. She suggested this cocktail bar called Billy Sunday in Logan Square. They happened to be having a Campari event (have I ever mentioned how much I love Campari? I don’t think I have, but I could drink a negroni every day) so we ordered boulevardiers. Lots and lots of boulevardiers. They were delicious and I had convinced myself that the bourbon would help my cold-- I’ve watched Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, mind you. I ordered something else at one point, I think it was called a heart. All I can remember is that it had rum in it but it tasted like gin… Idk, I was pretty drunk.

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The next day was my actual birthday and it started with a fucking hangover which was compounded by my cold. Every time I coughed, my head throbbed. Matt and I made eggs and then decided to go get gelato because, hey, it was my birthday. I wasn’t really feeling well enough to go to the museums or walk around much, so after gelato, we watched a few episodes of really old Law and Order (Criminal Intent, not SVU). Sidenote-- did you know Jeff Goldblum was on Law and Order in the early 2000’s? I did not! Eventually we left the house to walk around the neighborhood. We hit up my favorite bookstore in town, Myopic, and then found a bar called Links that I decided I needed to go into cause that’s my last name. It was really great and Matt had some local beer whereas I had something from Prairie Ales out of Oklahoma. After drinks, we headed to an early dinner at The Winchester. I drank the Tendu red blend from Matthiasson, which I’d first tried in KC and loved. We also tried an Amaro flight and soon realized Amaro was not our thing.

By Friday I was feeling much better and we actually spent most of the day out and about. We went to the Art Institute of Chicago, where I haven’t been in probably 12 years. Their modern wing was absolutely incredible, especially their Magrittes. Contemporary was great too and impressionist was amazing. After the museum, we walked around Millennium Park a little bit and then decided to check out a wine bar I had heard about. We went to Webster’s in Logan Square, a wine bar that focuses on natural and low-intervention wines. I flipped when I saw their wine list and immediately got a glass of this Georgian orange wine by Do-Re-Mi. I fell in love with Georgian orange wine in L.A. and have been told it is impossible to get in KC so I was thrilled to see it on the menu at Webster’s.

Do-Re-Mi uses traditional winemaking techniques that have been used in Georgia for forever. The wines ferment in Kvevri, large buried clay vessels. The juice is left to ferment with its skins for quite a while resulting in a deep orange-red hue. While the Do-Re-Mi smells floral like many orange wines, it tastes nothing like it smells. On the palate, it is super funky and tart like fresh rhubarb and underripe cherries. It has a full body, even for an orange wine, drinking much more like a light to medium-bodied red.

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Matt and I decided to get a bottle so we skimmed the list and I think I shrieked when I saw one particular bottle on the wine list. It was the Cruse Wine’s Monkey Jacket, a Valdiguié blend from Michael Cruse that is hard to come by in general and nearly impossible in KC (unless you order from the coasts). Matt humored me and we got a bottle. Its bouquet was fucking beautiful. So bright and fresh, it smelled of red berry cobbler and juicy plums. On the palate, it is all currant jam and fresh sage. It is technically a blend of Valdiguié, Carignan, Tannat. Cruse is based in Petaluma, CA and focuses on sustainably producing natural wines. When I tasted the Monkey Jacket, all I could think was “holy fucking shit, this is good.” And that is the best feeling.

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I was told by multiple people that I needed to check out Red and White Wine, a wine shop that focused on natural wines. Our last night, we decided to check it out and buy a few bottles to take to dinner at our friend’s house. I was overwhelmed by the quality of the selection at Red and White. I saw wines that I had only read about in the flesh, which is one of my favorite things. The main one that had me freaking out was La Boutanche by Selection Massale. I’d read about these wines and had seen them all over instagram but was told they couldn’t be imported to KC. I picked up the Gamay since Gamay is a favorite of mine. It was only like $18! We also grabbed a bottle of Dao by Casa De Mouraz, a natural and biodynamic winery out of Portugal.

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The Dao paired nicely with the roast my friend made. It smelled like cranberries and pistachio while on the palate it tasted of anise and overripe bing cherries. It was so smooth and was just full-bodied enough to hold its own against the beef. We had the Gamay after dinner as we watched this Will Smith movie, Six Degrees of Separation (have you seen it? Super odd and interesting. Not what you would expect from Will Smith). The Gamay was so bright and fruity, smelling like fresh raspberries but tasting like watermelon and arugula, which sounds like the most incredible base for a salad. After Monkey Jacket, I would have to say the La Boutanche was my second favorite wine I had on the trip. It was just so damn drinkable (I may have even chugged some…)!

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All right, I feel like I just wrote a novel about a five day trip, but I have to say, we packed a lot of eating and drinking into it. Although I was sick the majority of the trip, I had an amazing time. Chicago is one of my favorite cities and probably the out of state city I’ve visited the most. If you make it to Chicago, you have to check out Webster Wine Bar and Red and White Wines. I already miss them both dearly.

Bichi Wines La Santa

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Mexican wine are two words that you don’t hear together often, at least in my neck of the woods (Kansas City). However, I read about this amazing-looking natty wine out of Tecate, Mexico on my wine idol’s blog a while ago and made a mental note that I should try it if it ever made it to town. Well, lo and behold, the day has arrived. When I saw on instagram that my favorite local importer had Bichi, I went full fangirl and messaged one of the reps asking where I could get it. He assured me that it would be arriving in my favorite wine shop before long.

After perusing Bichi’s website, I learned that Mexico has actually been in the winemaking biz for hundreds of years. In fact, conquistadors planted vines in Mexico in the 1500’s, before more well-known wine-growing regions like Chile and Argentina. Let’s be real, the Conquistadors fucked up a lot of shit and that is not okay. We should fight against present day colonialism and view the past with a critical lens. That said, this isn’t a history lesson, it’s a blog post and I’ll let you do your own research and activism on/against colonialism.  

The Bichi wine I chose was the La Santa. La Santa is made from Rosa del Peru (or Moscatel Negro), a grape that was also introduced in California in the 18th century but has become much harder to find. Upon first pour, it is very light in color. It smells like freshly cut root vegetables-- beets, squash, pumpkin. It is tart on the palate, tasting like cranberries and mushrooms which I know does not sound good, but somehow it is. I am pairing this with short ribs because, to be honest, I knew nothing about the varietal and just decided to chance it. Luckily, this light-bodied, acidic red cuts the fat in the beef so well.

Along with the short ribs, I’m pairing the La Santa with Transparent season 4. I’ve actually already watched it in its entirety a few times (including once the night it was released) but it is just so good. If you’re not watching Transparent you’re missing out big time. It is so interesting because while all of the characters are kind of deplorable in their own ways (especially the kids), I relate to all of them (especially the kids).

However, this season it clicked. I’m an Ali and I always have been. I’m super interested in religion and spirituality but have no interest in rules and kind of just do my own thing. I also took time before college to find myself and in college I was definitely unaware of my privilege until I started taking challenging social science courses. I feel like Ali would really dig Bichi. It’s funky af and a little irreverent in its packaging. It’s also delicious. Do yourself a favor and pick up some Bichi and binge Transparent. You won't be sorry.

Ask for What You Want

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Growing up I was VERY quiet. At 18, I learned that it wasn’t just shyness but an anxiety disorder. Either way, I rarely asked for what I really wanted and therefore often just put up with things I didn’t want, whether in a relationship or at the coffee shop. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I became more outspoken about what I did and didn't like. While this might seem trivial it is incredibly frustrating to constantly keep your opinions to yourself and put up with others’ shitty behavior for the sake of being nice. I think we condition women to think that by speaking out they will seem gruff or bitchy and no one wants to be called a bitch so we remain quiet.

It really wasn’t until the 2016 election that I realized how often outspoken women are demonized and demeaned, particularly by men simply for speaking up about their opinions. That’s when I decided that that was enough. I was going to stop putting up with bullshit mansplaining, whether I was at work or the wine shop (because yes, it has happened in both places as well as many others). I actually stopped going to a certain wine shop in town because I asked for what I wanted (a Pét-Nat) and was given a lecture about how all sparkling wines are Pét-Nats (uh, what?). I’m no somm, but I have a basic knowledge of wine and to be treated like an unknowledgeable consumer was frustrating and insulting.

Anyhow, asking for what you want at a wine shop seems pretty basic, but it’s actually hard for a lot of people, especially if you are just switching from buying your wine at a grocery store to a legit wine shop. It can be real intimidating when you thought you were a high roller when you spent $15 on a bottle. However, go often enough and you’ll develop a rapport with the staff/owner and if they ever make you feel like shit, leave immediately and find a new spot, even if it’s a wine shop in N.Y. or L.A. that will ship to you; no one deserves to be talked down to. Most places are cool though in my experience.  

Going to a legit wine shop, Underdog Wine Co. in K.C., rather than the grocery store for me coincided with the election and thus my deep feminist awakening (I was already quite feminist so post-election was like woah). After a few months of buying my wine there, I felt super comfortable with the staff and the owner. To the point where I said, “hey, I’m getting really into natural wine… can you get more of that?” And they did. I also took a trip last spring to visit my friend, Ursula, in L.A. and had so much good wine-- most of which was natural. As soon as I came back I showed the owner of the wine shop everything I tried, including one particular bottle that was life-changing and I had to have again. It was the j. brix Cobolorum Riesling Pét-Nat. So funky and volatile (see my original review here). I asked the owner if he could get it for me and guess what, he did! Sure, it took some time, but it is here now and it is delightful, as good if not better than I remember and maybe it tastes extra good because I ASKED FOR WHAT I WANTED AND GOT IT.

If you’ve always been outspoken, this post might not resonate with you, but for those of you that have stayed quiet on issues big and small, I hope you can gain some confidence and speak up for what you want, even if it’s just at your wine shop. It’s not always men that talk down to me, but let’s get real, it usually is and for some reason, I have a harder time calling them out than I do women. Here is a quote from Rebecca Solnit that helps me a lot, “Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they are talking about. Some men.” So stay strong and ask for what you want, at your wine shop and in life.