Gifts and gratitude

We’re heading right for it. There’s no escaping it. Get ready!

That referenced “it” is the national season of giving, getting and, hopefully, gratitude.

How do you accept a gift? Do you do the Minnesota Nice thing and say something like: “Ah shucks, you shouldn’t have!”? Or do you accept the gift like it was expected — no big deal. Perhaps you accept the gift with sincerity, excitement and with graciousness.

How do we show sincere gratitude after getting a gift?

I like to think a gift is given out of a shared interest and that commonality can be family, a shared interest, a friend or a co-worker. Further I like to think we accept a gift in the manner it’s given — with the knowledge that the person giving the gift is saying something like “I was thinking of you and…” and, a simple smile of acceptance will further cement that shared interest.

It’s when the gift is totally unexpected when one is humbled. For example…

About a year ago, a lady began to work in the same building in which I work. Technically we aren’t co-workers but that’s a very fine line to define since we are both in the business of serving people. There came a time when we had a talk and I discovered she came from Oregon. From that point, the discussion began to flow like wine.

We soon realized a common interest in wine and, over the following months and as we passed in the hallways, that common bond became a gift to me. I enjoyed those brief wine-filled talks.

Then one day she mentioned she had a gift for me. I immediately checked my calendar to ensure I hadn’t missed my birthday, Christmas or some other reason for gift giving — nope, nothing missed.

I walked into her office and was presented with a bottle of Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo. No big deal, right? People give gifts everyday so why was this one special?

For two reasons: first, the wine was given out of a mutual interest and respect for wine and, secondly, I didn’t expect it. It was a surprise!

Abacela’s winery is located in southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley and its Fiesta Tempranillo is an award-winning wine (2017 Sunset Wine Competition Gold Medal) and has a wine rating of 91 points. That’s no slouch, folks!

Tempranillo (pronounced temp-rah-nee-yo ) is a grape variety from Spain and this U.S. grown wine is on the same line of latitude as the Spanish grown grapes. That sense of terrior (geography) is critical to this wine. About 80 percent of the world’s Tempranillo vineyards are in Spain and it’s an understatement to say Abacela’s owners and winemaker have achieved their goals of bringing this terrific wine to America.

I couldn’t wait to taste it. The wine is a gorgeous dark garnet color and has a beautiful cherry and vanilla aroma. When tasted, the wine literally filled my mouth with a velvety softness that I’ve tasted very few previous times and the delicious taste of cherries, plums and vanilla lasted well into the slightly spicy finish. The wine just kept on giving to me and it was a fantastic tasting experience.

In Spanish, Abacela means “she/he/they plant a vine” and I am very grateful for the owners and their crew for crafting this wine. If you’re looking for a comparison wine, I would suggest a very luscious Cabernet Sauvignon — perhaps one from the Paso Robles region of California. The Spanish typically age their Tempranillo for about six to 12 months in American or French oak barrels — Americans may or may not do so.

During this season of giving and getting, let’s not forget how important it is to give and, similarly the importance of getting in a meaningful manner. The gift doesn’t always have to be “something” — there are times when one’s presence is enough. Beneath every gift, there is a message that says: “I was thinking of you and…”

In the case of my co-worker, let’s just say one good turn deserves another — stayed tuned.

Next week, T-Day is upon us!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!