When I told my advisor today that my social life is good, he gave me the knowing smile and nodded approvingly. “Your social life is good, huh?” Wink, wink.
Shoot. Not what I meant. I’m still single, and happy to be.
When the year 2012 rolled in, there was a period when I was wondering if it’s time. You know, time to “find love”—whatever that meant. I even told a few of my closest friends that my New Year resolution is to “find love” and they all responded with, “Finally!”
Love is the main theme in every song, every movie, every novel, every poem. It must be something life-changing and awesome if so much literature and art is based around it, right?
But within a month from that tentative resolution, a bunch of my friends started getting their hearts broken. Long-time relationships were terminated, and I found myself spending day after day comforting various friends during their hard times.
So you’ll understand why that has made me wonder if this “fire of love” that everybody longs for is actually worth it. It doesn’t sound warm and toasty at all. It just seems painful and ugly. And totally not worth it.
My brother told me once that I can say that because I’ve never experienced love myself. Once you get a taste of love, he said, you can’t go back. You miss it, you crave the sweetness and comfort of it. That’s why people who’s broken out of a relationship usually look for another one. But if you’ve never been in love, well…you can’t miss what you’ve never had. I thought it made sense.
But you know what? Whatever. Seriously. Whatever. By now, I’ve decided not to let myself feel sore that I’m missing out on something special. Sure, life is probably more fulfilling having loved and be loved in the romantic way, but I also know that I’m happy being single. I don’t want to believe that being part of a steady couple says anything better about me. I love my independence, and though I may not understand this romantic love (yet?), for now I’ll just concentrate on enjoying the other kinds of love in my daily life.
I love God.
I love my family.
I love my friends.
I love food.
I love/hate school.
And then there are the more detailed loves in my life that I enjoy in moderation: a glass of good Rose wine, beautiful countryside pastures, travel to a new landscape.
That’s how my trip to San Diego ended. Joanna and I drove back up to Los Angeles in separate cars and stopped by Temecula on the way for a late afternoon wine tasting.
Temecula is a little city north of San Diego, a little more than an hour away from Los Angeles. It’s part of the Riverside County. I had a bit of a tough time pronunciating the word “Temecula” at first, but in the English way it’s pronounced Tuh-meh-cue-lah with the accent on the “meh.” It is a Native Indian word that apparently means something like “The Sun Breaks Through The Mist.”
Temecula has all the necessary urban necessities that make it a city, but it is mostly known as a fine but underrated wine country. It’s the home for many local wineries, thus making it a sweet spot to visit for a day or two’s quiet rest.
Now, the pictures you see…I took it while driving so they are kind of hazy. Ack, I know, I know, that wasn’t smart but one awesome aspect about Temecula is that the roads are so clean and clear! At least in the wine country area, anyway.
The landscape, for some reason, kind of reminded me of the Amish country in Pennsylvania. My family used to drive up north to the countryside of Pennsylvania once in a while. When you drive out to the wine country, the landscape seems rural; the villas and wineries dotting the hills look cozy and sorta Mediterranean.
Joanna was already waiting for me when I arrived. Our plan was to have a 5-glass wine tasting at this winery called Masia de Yaba Winery. It was a Spanish-style cottage situated up on a small hill on the De Portola Wine Trail, a seemingly never-ending road of vineyards.
Masia de Yaba is a cute place. It has a lovely outdoor seating, and it was packed with an older clientele than Saarloos & Sons winery that I visited in Santa Barbara.
I’m not surprised that it caters to the older crowd; its style is vintage and classic instead of hip and trendy.
Indoors, the floors are studded with stones and the walls are washed with warm brown tones.
I wonder if the fireplace works. It was a chilly day but I don’t think there was any heater indoors. Altogether, the mood was somber and pensive. Even the paintings reflected that ambience with dark colors and warm strokes.
I liked the way they set up resting areas with large barrels though, in keeping with the old-fashioned theme.
Cool, huh? I kind of want that for my apartment but it would look horribly out of place.
Okay, time to taste the wine! We started out with the 2009 Melbac Rose:
The wine list stated: “12.4% Alcohol. Beautiful in color with the aroma of rose petals. Blushy taste of strawberries, light cherries, perfumey and floral. Strawberry with cherry finish. Good acidity.”
Well, I can’t really taste strawberry or cherry in there, but it was definitely lovely with a floral aroma and just enough acidity to round out the mild sweetness.
Wine #2: The 2008 Garnacha
“13.2% Alcohol. Aromas of strawberries and raspberries. This dry red wine has bright acidity, hints of oak and a crisp finish.”
It had a slight bitterness, but had a smooth, refreshing aftertaste.
Wine #3: The 2008 Tempranillo
“13% Alcohol. Known as Spain’s “Noble Grape,” this wine has been aged 14 months in French, Hungarian and American Oak. Smooth and soft with fruit forward flavors of raspberry, strawberry and hints of vanilla. Leather in feel, and long lasting on the palate.”
I wanted a big hunk of steak with this. It would have been so perfect with a slab of bloody red meat!
Wine #4: 2011 Amor de Verano Rose
“12.59% Alcohol. Composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes. Delicious blend of strawberries, raspberry and a hint of kiwi. This berry filled wine has medium depth and beautiful clarity that finished with a splash of ruby grapefruit.”
Who the heck comes up with these descriptions?! It makes every wine sound like heaven! And although I couldn’t detect kiwi or strawberries or raspberry again, I could kind of, sort of, taste that “splash of ruby grapefruit” finish. This glass was wonderful.
(Ha, we look like we’re on a honeymoon in this picture.)
Wine #5: 2011 Viognier
“14.5% Alcohol. Aromatic nose of peach blossoms and ripe bananas. The palate is round and fruity with flavors of freshly picked peaches, apricots and a hint of pineapple on the mid-palate. It is crisp and lively with a long citrus-tinged finish.”
At the end of the tasting, we chose a bottle of wine to take home.
I went with the Melbac Rose, which was one of my two favorites from the tasting. The other one was the Amor de Verano Rose—I guess I just like pink wines!
Unfortunately, I was an idiot and swigged down my wine to the last drop like soda. Joanna took tiny sips of each and didn’t finish any. Five tastings later, Joanna said she felt slightly buzzed— um, how do you think I felt? I wasn’t tipsy or anything, but the sips of wine really loosened me up…definitely not an ideal condition for someone who has to drive an hour and a half back to Los Angeles.
Thus on the drive back, I kept dozing off—not good when you’re speeding down the highway. I was doing everything to keep myself awake, from slapping myself across the face to sucking on chocolates, whatever. It got to the point where my drowsy mind feared for my life so I stopped by a convenience store and bought some muffins to nibble on while driving. That helped tremendously and I was able to reach home in one piece.
So that’s the afterschool lesson of the day: don’t drive immediately after a wine tasting, even if it’s just a few ounces of wine. Or if you have to, control your portion. I’ll bet most of you are rolling your eyes and thinking it’s basic knowledge but I don’t have much experience with alcohol—or common sense either, it seems.
Anyway. The night ended with Joanna and I ordering take-out from Spumoni, a local “authentic” (or so they say) Italian chain restaurant. We went there because Joanna had bought a coupon from Groupon that scored us an appetizer and two entrees at half-price. While waiting, we wandered into the gelato bar next door for some gelato.
We got the raisin & rum and ricotta & fig:
It was really good! Not the best I’ve ever tasted but pretty decent. I’m still in search for the “perfect” gelato in Los Angeles. If you’re an Angeleno who knows a great gelato bar, please gimme a holla.
And that’s how the night ended. After a full day of hiking, farmers market shopping, wine tasting and hours of driving (with traffic), all we wanted to do was curl up in our nighties and be sedentary.
We watched The Stepford Wives starring Nicole Kidman while pigging out on ciabatta with calamari affogati (sautéed squid and sweet peas in spicy tomato sauce), spaghetti portofino (pasta with shrimp and artichokes in white wine and pink sauce) and fettuccine gamberi porcini e carciofi (pasta with shrimp, porcini mushrooms, artichokes and truffle oil).
I was slightly annoyed though, because the Groupon deal promised us a dinner enough for four people, yet between just Joanna and me, we basically demolished the whole meal.
Either Spumoni grossly exaggerated or we’re gluttons. I’m pretty certain it’s the former.
Question of the Day: What is love? Seriously, I want to know. And by love I mean the romantic love that every singer from Lady Gaga to Adele sings about.
San Diego recap:
1) First Night in San Diego: The Embarcadero and Gas Lamp Quarter
2) Next Day in San Diego: Torrey Pines and Little Italy Farmers Market
3) Out of San Diego: Wine-Tasting at Temecula