It’s nice!

What would life be without surprises?

Allow me an answer: without surprises to periodically enlighten us, life would be, well, kind of boring.

The other day it was cloudy and dreary like so many of our days have been lately. A group of us were worried that a planned outdoor event would be rained out and that wouldn’t have been a nice thing. The decision was made to proceed no matter the consequences and then it happened.

Surprise! Suddenly, the sun burst through the clouds, a nice brisk breeze marched through the park and all was well. Smiles were everywhere, laughter was heard all around, people met people, folks were walking freely and all went according to plan. It’s nice when Mother Nature is nice!

It’s also nice to get surprises from tasting wine. For instance…

I like Pinot Grigio wine with its usual nice lemon/lime tartness. So, I was a bit surprised when I recently tasted two Pinot Grigios from Sicily.

The first to go across my taste buds was a bottle of Villa Pozzi Pinot Grigio and as I waited for the lemon/lime tartness to kick in, it didn’t. Instead, I tasted a creamy peachy wine with a bit of sweetness. Pleasing, yes, but a surprise! Naturally and only in the interest of scientific research, I had to test another bottle of the Sicilian wine.

The second bottle was Settesoli Pinot Grigio. Upon pouring a sample, I smelled some minerality. Ah, the wine was telling me of its volcanic roots! A sip of it excited my tongue with a touch of lemon flavor, but again, there was that peachiness. And, then it was gone — a dry wine! Thank you, Sicily!

Another surprise came to me in the form of a no problem travel experience. It seems that when we fly to Chicago or New York City, the weather is waiting to surprise us with, well, here are some of the elements we’ve encountered: six inches of snow, five inches of slush, rain storms, buffeting winds that re-routed our flight to Des Moines, Iowa, and flights canceled at the last moment. Mother Nature is not always nice!

However, we recently traveled and had no problems with weather. As a matter of fact, our flights were ahead of schedule! So nice…

Speaking of so nice, I was gifted a couple bottles of Svöl Aquavit — one made in a Danish style and the other in a Swedish style — and was pleasantly surprised by the differences between the two spirits. Of course, the Danes and the Swedes would wonder why I’m surprised because, you know, they are two very different people anyway, right?

The Danish style had the required caraway taste but included a nice blending of lemon and woody tastes. Not to be outdone, the Swedish style of the spirit burst forth with caraway, dill and fennel tastes. Both of them are delicious and it just proves those nice Scandinavians know their Aquavit.

Another gift that came to me was an absolutely beautiful book titled “Dali: The Wines of Gala.” It’s a book that weaves together the paintings of Salvador Dali and stories about wines and wine regions from around the world.

If you know anything about Dali, you know his paintings are sometimes weird but usually fantastically wonderful. Hence, it’s really interesting to read about various wines and how Dali’s paintings add to the stories of the wines. Naturally, and again, in the interest of artistic scientific research, I had to have a splash of wine to fully appreciate the nice gift — a glass of Bogle Vineyards Merlot.

As I drank the nice cherry tasting wine, I wondered what kind of painting Dali would have created if he had been able to taste what I was just then tasting. I wondered how his tendency to create paintings using human bodies would meld with the wine or how his eclectic style of painting would’ve told the story of the wine.

Something tells me Bogle’s sales would skyrocket with Dali’s paintings on their bottles.

But, for a minute, let’s go back to Italy and think about its iconic wine — Chianti. Being a Spaniard, would Dali have liked an Italian wine like Bolla’s Chianti? Again, in the interest of scientific research, I had to open a bottle of Bolla Chianti and try to determine if Dali would have taken to the fruity black cherry and raspberry tastes and aromas. It would be nice to have that answer but the only person who could answer that question is not currently available.

Oh well, I certainly enjoyed the nice Chianti!

It’s always pleasing to come across a nice surprise — may your day be filled with them!

Next week, too much!

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

Cheers!

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