I picked up “The Interestings” at the LA Times Festival of Books a while back and have enjoyed escaping into Meg Wolitzer’s intricate, human, and damn funny world. “The Interestings” starts in the summer of 1974 with a group of 15 year-olds huddled together in a teepee at an art camp called Spirit in the Woods. This newly formed crew vows to fulfill their creative destinies as grown ups, calling themselves “The Interestings.” In their trajectory into adulthood, as it does for many, creative dreams work out for some, and not for others. Wolitzer’s humorous and witty take at what it means to face reality as an adult makes for a great read. Add a glass of wine from a bottle designed by Proof Wine Collective and you’ve reached perfection.
My wine pairing with “The Interestings” has nothing to do with the actual wine, but rather the bottle. I look to Proof Wine Collective, a very hip design company that creates killer wine packaging and labels. San Luis Obispo based Proof Wine Collective started with wino artists Josh McFadden and Philip Muzzy, who make true works of art out of their wine bottles.
You initially think you hate it but you don’t really know why. The truth is, you never really gave it a fair chance. A good lesson to teach yourself always is to question the ideas you clench so tightly to your chest. We adapt and change constantly even though we’d like to think we have ourselves figured out.
I have heard people say many times, “I HATE chardonnay”. It’s almost like saying you hate country music. There is certainly some really good ones out there and you’re not doing yourself any favors by dismissing a whole genre.
I grew up with the Beatles. They created a soundtrack that was the background of my childhood. At some point, I heard that Yoko Ono was the reason that the Beatles broke up. Her voice sounded like a child, she looked like a witch and I always saw pictures of her just hanging around John Lennon. I hated her, but I didn’t really know why.
This was until I read through her book published in 1964, Grapefruit. It reads like a series of poems that are equally uplifting, hopeful, inspiring and innovative. Grapefruit makes me love art. The thing that makes me so sad is how many people dismiss her out of pure ignorance. In order to set the record straight on this and another brilliant misunderstood one I would like to pair my favorite book with California Chardonnay.
Winemaker, Steve Matthiasson, makes a Chardonnay that makes me love Chardonnay. It achieves a balance that is so elegant and full of finesse you would be surprised to find it coming from Napa Valley (with prior judgements in mind). You would also be surprised that this wine is a little over $20 a bottle.
I’ve always been mystified by a pretty package. Even though I can’t afford to pay my never-ending list of parking tickets, I am guilty of buying $10 chocolate bars made proudly in Brooklyn. I think, if it has a well-designed package the contents must be good, right? Not always.
This grillo made in Sicily offers the other side to this argument. Fuori Strada Off Road Grillo by Monte Bernardi comes packaged in a box, a tetra pack to be exact, the stuff your coconut water comes in. It tastes way more expensive then you would expect and the reason is, it actually is more expensive then you would expect. The winemaker, Michael Schmelzer, told me how he is able to save on costs with shipping the wine since the package is lighter and more travel-friendly then a case of bottles. He is able to offer the consumer a better quality product existing in a not-so-attractive package.
One thing that is a plus or minus depending on how you look at it is this:
the wine is ready to drink now. Since it is not in a bottle it can’t be kept in your cellar to open when that special time comes along. I would suggest drinking it immediately with no reason. One time someone said to me, “oh, you work at a wine store…you must collect wine” and to this I replied, “no, I drink it”.