My aunt was making star-shaped cookies with her grandson, a present for his friends.
One broke, and my aunt was afraid they’d have to throw it away, and they wouldn’t have enough.
“Uh-oh,” said my aunt. “We’re one short–it’s broken.”
Her grandson picked it up, studied it for a minute, and said, “Grandma, it’s not broken. It’s a butterfly.”
Thus was born this drawing, a request of my aunt, which she will turn into a t-shirt. She was so touched by what her grandson said (wouldn’t you be?) that she wants to spread the message. It’s a new philosophy.
“It’s not broken, it’s a butterfly.” Whatever knocks you’ve taken in life don’t make you broken, they make you that much more colorful and complex of a butterfly.
The time you were embarrassed on stage in third grade makes you more compassionate for shy people, the time you were heartbroken over your high school sweetheart makes the time you spent with her that much more precious. We are not broken bits of glass mashed into clay, but strong, glorious butterflies.
Today I am drinking a Côtes du Rhones Villages, 2015, from Famille Perrin in France. It smells like the polished wood entryway of an old university building when the radiator is going in winter, and muddled cherries.
The palate is blueberries spiked with horseradish. It’s also “crunchy”–it has the saliva-producing and teeth-chomping effect of crunching into a crisp apple. Yes, some wines make you want to chomp your teeth. No, I’m pretty sure “crunchy” is not official winespeak. “Chewy” for sure, but I may be making up crunchy.
Despite these unusual observations, this is an ordinary table wine valued at $12.
Côtes du Rhones is an AOC (official growing region) in the south of France, specifically in the southern part of the Rhone wine region. “Villages” wines come from the better sites in the region, much like Chianti Classico in Chianti.
This bottle is a mix of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, a typical Rhone blend, though the winery doesn’t reveal the percentages on its website. If I had to guess, I’d say Grenache is dominant, a) because Grenache often has a crunchy mouthfeel, and b) because southern Rhone blends are known for being Grenache-dominant.
Grenache originated in France, but now also finds expression in California and Australia. Many wine critics still find France’s the best–one writer compared California Grenache to a puppy jumping all over you and licking you–all exuberance and no art.
I find it mildly pleasing and reliable. The crunchy texture is the most notable quality for me–other than that, a good table wine. However, tastes change over the years, and I’m hoping one day to get why so many critics love this region.
What are you drinking and what are you doing?