Your roots, my roots

It’s not your age or experience that guides you. It’s your roots.

Like many of us, I never thought about my ancestral roots while growing up. Normally, we are more interested in toys, classes, games, whatever or whomever. However, there are those places and people we should never forget — those who helped form us.

I will never forget my third grade teacher. She was so nice to me, and helped me in so many ways — from encouraging me in my English, math, and always to read. My ninth grade English teacher urged me to read, read, read. Yes, there was that grammar thing, but she always directed me to a book.

There comes a time when one realizes that there are family roots — your heritage. Unfortunately, for some of us, we start our family root searching too late because we’ve lost our primary connections. But we should always do that search because it tells us a lot about ourselves.

I always knew I had Norwegian roots from my paternal grandfather’s side of the family. But I seemed to forget there were three other grandparents, too. Ignorance is so blind. As time went along, I realized there was an English side to me and it needed exploration. So I completed one of those ancestral testing procedures, and it opened my eyes to me.

Similarly, when wine became a strong interest of mine, I noticed some really deep and beautifully complex wines. Those wines that caught my attention seemed to have one thing in common — old vines and deep roots. I wondered what the heck that was telling me.

Naturally research always includes primary and secondary aspects, so it was necessary for me to read about such vines and to sample them. Research can be so hard sometimes. I learned old vines are typically over 50 years old with some being over 100 years old. Because of those deep roots, the vine produces a limited amount of grapes that are highly concentrated in flavors. Those roots reach deeply into the soil and bring up tasty notes from the depths. The result is a highly fruited and very complex tasting wine — a joy to drink.

My first old vine wine was Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel. The deep peppery taste caught my attention, and I enjoyed the liquid’s depth and spicy notes – punctuated with some nutmeg flavors.

Gosh, if this is what an old vine wine can bring us, I wondered what my roots would tell me.

After taking the ancestry test, I learned my heritage is about 37% Norwegian, 16% Irish and the rest includes England, Wales and Scotland. That was pleasing to know, but so what?

Fortunately at one point, I visited Norway and spent time with my Norwegian family. Like a good old vine wine, I realized the depth of my heritage and the specialness of it. So this is why the North Country always appealed to me — like when I drove through the fjord country of Norway and felt my roots. That’s why I enjoy lutefisk. Ah, not really on that statement!

No wonder I am partial to Irish music, history and authors. Oh, that bit of me that likes Scotch? Is that a bit of Scottish heritage nudging me?

Attempting to fully understand all this root business, I delved into a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel. I loved it dryness, and its full bodied taste that was laced with dark fruit and cherry flavors. And, the vanilla flavor was a welcome surprise — just like my awakening to the deep roots of my rural upbringing.

I will never forget my time walking our family farm fields, and holding the rich black soil of Minnesota in my hands. I’ll never forget the lessons learned about how one must preserve in hard working conditions. The respect for the land is deeply rooted within me, and I am better for it.

Your roots, my roots are deep and vital to us. To a large degree, they make us who we are today. Yes, sometimes our history is blotched a bit. But, that’s alright. It’s not just the good history that formed us, but also the not so good part of our history. Our roots urge us to reach out and embrace other cultures and people.

Likewise, reach out for a new wine. Try a bottle of Spanish Pallas Old Vine Granacha wine. As you sip it, notice the pleasing and spicy flavors. Search for the cherry notes and that always present bit of pepper. The vines that produce this wine are well over fifty years old, and go way down into the soil to bring up these flavors. Rejoice in the heritage it’s sharing with you!

We are complex people with notes of vanilla and spice. It’s who we are so why not enjoy a wine that reflects the same complexity and sense of heritage that you possess?


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