When I saw this bottle on Percy Selections' Instagram a couple months before it was available retail, I knew I had to have it. A small-production Fleurie cuvée from Lilian & Sophie had to be mine. And to be called "Californie" of all things. I almost went back to nail-biting I was so anxious for this wine. Because like the lofty daydreamer that I am, I was already convinced this was my wine. A BEAUJOLAIS CALLED "CALIFORNIE"?! HOW COULD IT NOT BE MINE!!!
I don't recommend this type of thinking to anyone. It's unhealthy, arrogant, and nearly all disappointments in life come from having any expectations at all, let alone the expectation that a wine you haven't tried can somehow represent your entire being. It's fucking stupid, and I know it. And what may be stupider is that, I needed to think that way.
The last four months have been some of the hardest of my life. If selling the book was hard, finishing the manuscript was like dragging myself through hell with two corkscrews for hands. I isolated myself, working twelve to sixteen hours a day, and had never felt more alone. I had this incredibly huge project on my hands-- a fucking book, being written by a college dropout who never has done a long term project in her life-- plus the big California piece for Bon Appétit and that whole full-time writing job, wedding planning, family emergencies, realizing that many of my friends really aren't. It's been a fucking lot, without any time for anything else. Not even time to write here, which is not only my passion, but also my escape.
So, yes, I had put a lot of feelings into a bottle of wine. Stupid, for sure. But I needed something to look forward to. I needed to know that after the manuscript was in, I was going to be able to sit down with a wine and love it, and feel loved. To remember why I do what I do, and how all this happened. Because I love wine.
AND I FUCKING LOVE THIS WINE.
The "Californie" tastes like one of those idyllic days that slowly transitions into a magical evening, one of those Saturdays that feel like its never going to end but you know it will eventually, so you do your best to drink up every last minute of it so you will remember it forever. It's bright, gluggy and a bit salty, like a long afternoon full of laughing. You know when everyone is laughing so hard but no one even remembers what they're laughing about anymore? And your laugh goes totally silent as the tears pour down your face? That's what it tastes like. Like you're catching your own laughing tears on your lips and washing it down with some cranberry lemonade. But there is a warmth and a softness to it. It's slightly spiced, and it is enticing. It's your lover's sweatered shoulder you could bury your face into until the end of time, under the stars you just now realized were out and shining.
I love this wine so much because it reminds me of well, love. And I don't necessarily mean "love" like significant other status. "Love" isn't always this heavy serious thing between two people. Often it is just having fun, with people who make you feel good, and remind you that you are alive, and you're all alive together. It's an all-encompassing energy; it's laughing and hugging and dancing and singing and sweating and swearing and eating and drinking and kissing and talking. It's welcoming, it's exciting, and it's comforting, all at once.
And that energy is what this wine tastes like. Real love, baby.
Tasting Notes: Tart, poppy and saline cranberries and red currant, with hints of spiced vanilla and dusty sun-dried bougainvilleas, with a lemonade finish. I drank a whole case of this wine; suffice to say it tastes fucking great.
Ross Test: PASS, IN FACT SOMEONE PASS ME BACK THE BOTTLE PLEASE