The best things in life get better with age.
Such is especially the case for two of my favorite things in the world: wine and family.
My dad taught me everything I know about wine. We’re not wine snobs by any stretch of the imagination [I will gladly drink a 2-Buck Chuck should it be presented to me in a social setting], but we do have a shared appreciation for boldness, complexity, and character.
With each bottle opened, it seems a new memory is created, stamped in our mutual recollections by the label consumed. It should be no surprise, then, that some of our fondest moments together involve wine. It’s not that we have to have it when we’re together, but it’s safe to say that if we find one we love—one worth the second trip to the local store to secure a few more as mementos—we’ve enjoyed a memory to last a lifetime.
One of our most memorable wines, purchased in 2008 after a lovely dinner and opened again post-wedding in 2013
Which is exactly what happened this past weekend.
Dad decided to spend his first well-earned vacation in a year with us in Denver, allowing us ample amounts of concentrated bonding time. His visits are a rare treat and provide us with an opportunity to show off our favorite parts of the city without stress or fanfare. Sure, dad will always be up for a fancy steak restaurant, but he will also be as equally happy eating a Wild Boar hot dog from Biker Jim’s or trying Pho from a mom-and-pop hole in the wall on South Federal. All that really matters to him is the company.
Dad on top of Mount Evans!
Sure enough, we had some of the best quality time together in recent history. It was a refreshing and emboldening time for all of us, which got me thinking about how much has changed over the years — namely me.
I wasn’t always a great daughter, or a great wine drinker. Before my dad was able to exact his influence, my relationship with wine mirrored my early-20s college life: carefree, cheap, and inconsiderate. Value packs of white zin were standard. Selfishness reigned supreme.
All I can say is, thank God I grew up! Because just as time has the ability to age a bottle of wine to perfection, so it does on the human heart.
To clarify, our family has never been a model family. We’ve had our fair share of bumps and bruises and wholly unbelievable drama unfold in our lives. There was a time when I couldn’t see past the turmoil that I imagined would fracture us forever.
A decade-plus later, we are all far from perfect [especially me]. Drama still unfolds and pain still takes shape. But what I once saw as fragments are now more akin to those complexities in wine I love so much, unique to our terroir and circumstance and becoming more sophisticated with time. It’s especially true when applied to my relationship with my dad… as I become my own person, our relationship continues to strengthen. As I navigate life as adult, I find myself owning the characteristics I recognize as also my parents’. From speech patterns to musical taste and sneezing habits to wine affinities, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Instead, I raise a glass to them and give thanks for my unique familial terroir and for the time that has transformed us for the better. And thank you, Dad, for investing in my potential, loving both the good and bad of what I’ve become, and, of course, teaching me about wine.