Good Wine Softens the Blow

This is a sad post for me to write but I am doing it at the request of my daughter. The last weekend of August we traveled approximately 1,200 miles to Columbus, Ohio and 1,200 miles back to our home in a suburb of Dallas in four days. On the way to Columbus we had four passengers in our car and A LOT of “stuff.” On the way home we had three passengers and almost no luggage. Those of you who have been following my blog for the past few months know that my daughter was accepted and subsequently decided to attend The Ohio State University. Why you ask? She is a musician, a gifted French horn player. She auditioned and was accepted to several excellent universities and she chose to go to Ohio (much to the dismay of my husband who is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and me because Ohio is soooo far away). After a grueling year of college visits and music auditions she has now decided to change her degree path to International Business, while still playing her horn in ensembles and possibly marching next year if OSU can clean up their band program. Though I am so happy and proud for her and Ohio State is a welcoming school and very nice campus it is a sad experience I think for parents when their kids go off to college, and for me the vast distance has not helped my emotional state.


As I packed our snacks for our long journey I was unsure whether or not I wanted to bring wine. I called my husband and asked what he thought and he said we should because due to long hours in the car it is most likely we will get take out and eat in the room a few nights. He was right so I chose two wines to accompany us on our journey. At this point I must say I had no intention of writing about any of this or reviewing these wines; however, my daughter absolutely insisted that I write about these two wines to commemorate this important journey and recognize this new season in our lives. She is very supportive and encouraging and even technologically helpful regarding my blog. When we go out to eat she always asks me if I am going to write about the wine. When I say no she says she can quietly hear the wine crying! Teenagers!!!

Chateau Ste Michelle and Au Bon Climat

*Btw, you will notice we did not have wine glasses or plates so we used what the hotel room had to offer.

Chateau Ste MichelleChateau Ste Michelle 2012 Columbia Valley Riesling: This soft golden wine emitted aromas of stone fruit and pears. On the palate the slightly creamy texture pleased with flavors of apricot jam, and fresh peaches and pears; along with a touch of honey suckle and fresh cut herbs. This wine sat right in the middle of the Riesling scale of sweet and dry offering just a hint of sweetness but not overwhelming the palate. The touch of sweetness was balanced with a light acidity and a hint of effervescence that brought forth its soft and pleasing qualities. It was light in body and contained 12.5% alcohol. We chose to enjoy the Riesling as an aperitif to our dinner; however, it was certainly a very food friendly wine and would pair nicely with poultry or fish, as well as creamy cheese and fresh fruit. This was a good wine for hot summer evenings and would carry into crisp fall evenings. SRP $9.00. This wine is well distributed, to find it near you click here. Chateau Ste. Michelle sourced grapes from throughout their 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley to craft this off dry Riesling. To learn about Chateau Ste. Michelle and view their entire portfolio of wines I encourage you to visit their web site.

Au Bon ClimatAu Bon Climat 2012 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir: This bright ruby pinot noir met the nose with bright red berries, spice and licorice. On the palate the bright berries erupted with fresh clean flavors of red cherries, strawberries and raspberries. The fruit was the backbone but it was accompanied by baking spices and a hint of minerality and toasted oak on the back of the palate. This pinot noir lightly danced across the palate without overpowering the taste buds. It offered a medium body with a medium finish, bright acidity and contained 13.5% alcohol. I paired the Au Bon Climat 2012 SBC Pinot Noir with a hamburger made of 100% Kobe beef, lots of black pepper, truffle oil, blue cheese, and arugula. The burger was rich and delicious and the wine offered an elegant pairing; the acidity stood up to the burger without being overpowered and the creaminess of the cheese and truffle oil blended beautifully with the pinot noir’s bright fruit. It was a delicious meal; especially for takeout from a local Nashville restaurant. Au Bon Climat (meaning “a well exposed vineyard”) was founded in 1982 by Jim Clendenen, who is both owner and winemaker. Jim’s wines have received many awards and recognitions over the years as he masterfully crafts old world Burgundian style wines with a new world flair. His expertise was evident in the elegant restraint of the Au Bon Climat 2012 SBC Pinot Noir. SRP $22.00. To learn more about Jim Clendenen and Au Bon Climat as well as view their entire portfolio of wines I encourage you to visit their web site. You can order this wine direct or to find at a retailer near you click here.

dinner in Nashville

My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Columbia Valley Riesling and Au Bon Climat 2012 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir is Carry On by Fun. Truth be told I can hardly listen to this song at this moment; however, it is an excellent song to illustrate this next season in my daughter’s journey. As her mom I have raised her up and done my best to teach her to fly. Now is her time to soar. Furthermore, this song was quite the anthem for youth and the song of her graduating class. So, Avery this one’s for you dear:

Get your own bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Columbia Valley Riesling and Au Bon Climat 2012 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir and let me know what song you would pair with them.  Cheers!

17 responses to “Good Wine Softens the Blow”

  1. As an Illinois alum living thisclose to Michigans campus, I’m sad for her too. 😉 seriously, my niece goes to school here and I’m humbled by her personal growth to an outstanding young woman. I get to see a lot if others go thru that same transformation. So while this moment is sad, there’s also some great times coming ahead!

  2. Great piece–I love ABC Pinots and Chards. I am confident of two things: Your daughter will not only be fine, but she will thrive at OSU and the Band will get things straightened out–they are TBDBITL, after all.

  3. Michelle. I hope you daughter is as happy as mine. It is hard to be sad because she is so thrilled. As you know she is going to a school of her own choosing not mine. I saw her this weekend and she is so joyful. The last time I saw her like this she was on a soccer field which had to be 2+ years ago. I know your daughter and her amazing spirit all will be good. Prayers!!!

    PS: We often choose Chateau St Michelle to take to parties mostly for the lovely name but usually love the wine too!

  4. Michelle, I’m right there with you. We drive my son up to Oregon State University in two weeks, and, well, I just hope my uncontrollable sobbing doesn’t embarrass him. But, I also want to say that as an Ohio State University Alum, and a child of Cow-lumbus, mah home town, she will get so much out of it. OSU has a lot to offer, and Klumbus is a fantastic city. There’s Graeters Ice Cream, Schmidt’s and The Book Loft in German Village, Shakespeare in Schiller Park, Bernie’s Bagels, The Short North, Victorian Village, Franklin Conservatory, Columbus Art Museum, Jack Hanna’s Zoo, COSI…I hope she loves it. Go Bucks!

  5. I am so not looking forward to my turn with this moment (I still have a couple of years). And you did exactly what I would/will do — not leave home without some wine to provide a little liquid courage! College is a learning experience for both kids and parents alike. I know I grew up a lot in college. It humbled me academically and personally, and I think that’s a good thing. My mom and I truly became friends when I was in college. She’ll be fine . . . you’ll be fine . . . one day at a time!

  6. Oh Michelle, I know the feeling. Your daughter will do great I am sure at OSU, you will both be closer than ever and when she comes back for Holidays it will be so special. The wines sound terrific,

  7. Great story. Great song. We’ve launched two of our three off to college now. And our third will go in just a few short years. I already have lump in my throat when I think about it. Will pack at least a case of wine! Yet, I have to admit hearing of our kids adventures and excitement about all they are discovering brings me huge doses of joy. (and the wine doesn’t hurt either : )

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