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.

Bloomer Creek Tanzen Dame

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I originally saw this bottle on the manager of the Union Hill Underdog’s instagram. I asked if it was for sale and he said yes but he had one bottle. I promised him I could come in that afternoon if he would save it for me. I got my hands on it and I was so excited. Bloomer Creek is a winery in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York (where my husband’s family happens to be from). I toured some Finger Lakes wineries back in 2013 and drank my fair share of dry Riesling but knew little about wine. We have been back since to visit my husband, Matt’s family, but haven’t had time to tour wineries. It is my dream to go back to Upstate New York and visit Bloomer Creek. They are a natural winery that producing amazing unfiltered wines, such as the Tanzen Dame Pét-Nat.

I saved this wine for about a month before diving into it with my friend, Meg. I wanted to open it because I think you should open special bottles of wine and not just leave them to sit for forever. So I had my friend Meg over to watch a true crime movie and drink this funky white. It was a little volatile upon opening as many Pét-Nats are, but once the bubbles settled, we poured it and took a sniff. It smelled of apple cider vinegar and lime blossoms. On the palate it was straight up limestone and lemonade. I’m not even sure what limestone tastes like, but I would imagine that it is chalky. I went to the University of Kansas where our slogan is “Rock Chalk” after the chalky limestone found in our state.

This wine made me oddly nostalgic for college although it is from Upstate New York. However, we visited Ithaca, home of Cornell University in 2013, and it felt so familiar. It was liberal and had lots of eclectic shops downtown and I felt like I could have been in Lawrence, Kansas. College towns just do something to me. We were recently in my husband’s college town of Norman, Oklahoma and it made me want to go back to Lawrence so badly. It has been five years since I graduated from college and yet it feels like no time has passed at all.

A good wine can take you back or forward in time, sometimes to a place you’ve never been. But the best place you can be transported is to the place of nostalgia and the Tanzen Dame does that for me. It simultaneously takes me to Lawrence and Ithaca. You might not think that Kansas and New York would have that much in common, but I’d invite you to visit those two towns. You should also drink the Tanzen Dame if you do.

Rosa, Rosé, Rosam & the 2017 Eclipse

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There was an eclipse on Monday, did ya know? Of course you did because people wouldn’t shut the fuck up about it! I wasn’t originally that excited, but then I realized that I would have the chance to put together a charcuterie plate and pop some good wine and I changed my tune. My husband and I were out of town up until the day before the eclipse so I didn’t have time to go to the wine shop and purchase a bottle. Luckily I had the Rosa, Rosé, Rosam by La Grange Tiphaine on hand. I thought to myself “I was saving this for a special occasion” and then I realized that a total solar eclipse was like kind of special so I decided to bring it with us.

The area just north of Kansas City was in the path of totality for the eclipse meaning that the moon would completely block the sun and we would experience a few minutes of total darkness. We decided to head up to a state park in Kearney, MO. I know nothing about Kearney except that when I was 18 I briefly dated a guy from there. He was nice and I think I stole his Band of Horses CD. Oops. The traffic wasn’t too too awful and cheese and wine were a good motivation to keep on keepin on. When we made it to the park, we found a big grassy field to set up in. We had three types of cheese, two were from our favorite local cheese producer, Green Dirt Farm. We also had assorted smoked meats and a ton of crackers. As I opened the Rosa this dude walked up and said “wow, y’all know how to picnic”. I took great pride in this compliment since there are few things in life I take more seriously than good wine and charcuterie.

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The Rosa, Rosé, Rosam is technically a Pét-Nat which I was super excited about because a. that is probably my favorite style of wine and b. I had never had a rosé Pét-Nat before. The Rosa smells like bright red berries, more specifically like fresh strawberries and raspberries. On the palate it is all cranberries and hay and a little barnyard-y. It’s delicious and funky and like all of the best qualities of rosé and Pét-Nat combined. This particular rosé is a blend of Grolleau, Côt, Gamay and Cabernet Franc. It is a fuller bodied rosé which I’m not always the biggest fan of, but with the effervescence, it really works. My husband is more of a beer drinker and he turned to me and said “I think this is the best wine I’ve ever had. I REALLY like this.” It is definitely one of my favorites as well.

I was originally going to bring a full-bodied red wine and that would have been a huge mistake because it was muggy AF out. The Rosa was so refreshing and perfect with the charcuterie plate. Both were a great accompaniment to the eclipse. It was super strange watching it progressively getting darker until it eventually looked like sunset. Then we reached totality and could look at the eclipse without our glasses. It was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. As the moon kept moving and the sun started shining again, a rooster started crowing. It was so bizarre to hear at just after 1:00 p.m. Eventually it was full sun again and we packed up and headed back to the car. I hadn’t mentioned this but it had been storming all morning until just about 20 minutes before the eclipse and it started up again just after. I felt ridiculously lucky that we were able to experience a cloud-free totality.

The traffic sucked on the way back and the clouds rolled back in. I desperately wished we had more Rosa and charcuterie. My friend texted me “I miss the eclipse” and I totally knew how he felt. It was so cool and so short and impossible to capture with my camera. It almost made it cooler that I couldn’t get a good picture, I’ll just have to remember what I experienced. Apparently there is going to be another solar eclipse in 2024 and both Dallas and upstate New York are in the path of totality (we have family in both). In my fantasy, I will be watching the next eclipse from the Bloomer Creek vineyard in the Finger Lakes, drinking one of their Pét-Nats. Oh, and in this fantasy, Trump will have been impeached by 2018 and Elizabeth Warren will be on her second term in the White House.

Just before totality 

Just before totality