Friends

Unabashedly, this is a testimony to friendship.

Be forewarned that you might be challenged to think of friendship in a different way because, for me, the comfort of friendship goes beyond the human element.

For most of us, a friend is that someone we look for when we’re in a crowd. When seen, we are immediately relieved (at least we know one person in the crowd!), happy (that person brings a smile to our face.) and, it’s all because that person is your friend.

Also, friendships share commonalities. Maybe that common thing is a gene, a hobby, shopping habits or the love of just being together. I believe friends are made by reaching out to one another and finding that commonality that is shared and enjoyed.

Perhaps that friend of yours is someone who, when they ask how you feel, actually listens to your reply with their full attention. They want to know how you feel and are prepared to help in someway. They not only hear your words — they hear your voice and I repeat…they listen to you.

Allow me to share a couple of stories — both a result of sitting down with someone over a cup of coffee — no wine … yet!

I’ve known a certain person for over two years and during that span of time, a different kind of friendship has come to me. This person has great capabilities but we have a common need to serve others and recently we began to periodically sit down together. It’s during those sit down sessions that we dig into each other’s brain to find answers for the things that are bugging us.

Over a recent cup of coffee, our conversation centered on having trust in another person. I listened to my friend’s challenge and, then, I was listened to as I replied. Our conversation was rooted in trust, a wish to be inclusive and a mutual respect for each other.

Another example is a person I’ve worked with on a number of endeavors over the last few years. Over that time, I’ve discovered a deep sense of mutual interest in seeking solutions to the challenges we all face with an aging population. In this person, I find energy, humor, compassion, intelligence and a deeply engrained gift for helping others.

Both of these friends resonate with me. Even though their respective passions are different, they’re alike and I can find commonality with both of them. As I was thinking about them, I wondered if the wine they would enjoy mirrored their personalities. Since I consider certain wines as my friends, I began to think how different varieties of wines would relate to different types of friends. So…

I have good friends who are always there for me and give me pleasure without a lot of fanfare. The wine I would partner with such a person is a good clean chardonnay — such as Bogle’s Chardonnay. It’s easy to get along with and is always enjoyable with its crisp nice light fruit flavor.

I have nutty friends. You know, the type who always seems to be on the edge of doing something stupid but never does. Sometimes their humor bites a bit but you keep returning for more — like a good Viognier. Peirano Estate Vineyard’s Viognier is such a wine. The acidity will bite you but the finish is smooth so you keep coming back for more of it.

I have bold friends who take me to places I never thought I’d go to. They have the ability to convince me that everything will be fine if I just stretch a bit. A wine from Spain does that to me. It’s Evodia — a Granache from the high altitudes and stony soils of that country’s northeastern region. It’s aged five months in French oak barrels and that aging softens some of the punch of the new wine but leaves enough full body black fruit taste and spiciness to make you want to stretch once more to refill your glass.

I really enjoy my funny friends and there’s only one wine that equates to them — a bubbly white wine. So, let’s grab a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry Champagne and let the crisp apple taste and bubbles make us laugh.

Hmmm, as I look back on all these types of friends, I wonder if they all don’t combine into one type of friend — your best friend. It’s that person who will always be there for you, who will be a bit edgy at times, who’ll give you the ability to stretch into unexplored areas of life and who’ll most likely make you laugh all the while.

What’s my best friend in wine? So far, Edna Valley’s Cabernet Sauvignon is my best friend because it brings together all the elements I have mentioned in this column and I love every sip of it.

That’s what I like about my two noted friends — I’m lucky to have them in my life and look forward to testing my hypothesis of matching friends to wine varieties. Laissez les bon temps rouler — let the good times roll!

Next week, on a journey…

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

Cheers!

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