A Bit of Happy-Black Magnolia

Can wine make you happy?

It seems like a ridiculous question. Since most of my readers are wine lovers, there is likely a resounding response like, “OF COURSE! What a ridiculous question!”

Since I have other readers who lean more toward the esoteric, there is likely a more cynical, “Of course not, things don’t make one happy. And what is happy anyway? How does one measure ‘happy’?”

After a long day filled with one of my least favorite parenting rites of passage to date (I’ll spare you the details), I needed some happy.

A few weeks ago, I received two bottles of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, Black Magnolia. My first thought was that I liked the simplicity of the label, My second, “Is there a Black Magnolia?” And my third was, “Oh, there are two of the same bottles in here. Perhaps that was a mistake.” I reached out to the PR rep and her response was that she wanted to provide one to sample and one to enjoy later. My first happy from Black Magnolia.

We opened the first bottle on a warm night on the deck. I thought it would pair well with our grilled vegetables. It did and caused us both to pause mid-meal. “Wow, this is a really good glass of wine.”

I try to save some to see how it holds up after being opened a day or two. Still, wow, this is a good glass of wine. It had lost a bit of its brightness but there was still plenty to carry the glass.

Which brings me to Thursday. After all of the frustration from the day, I had no more room for disappointment. I needed a glass that would bring me some joy.

Just watching it pour, it glistens and reflects violet and ruby, can put a smile on an oenophiles face.

We grabbed our glasses and my notebook and headed into our room for our nightly unwind, which,that night, meant a movie in bed. It is a luxury to just sit and evaluate a wine, a well deserved one after my day.

The nose abounds with red raspberry, dried rose petals, smoky burned sugar, and fresh herbs (sage perhaps?). The flavors continue and expand to Ranier cherry, a touch of rhubarb, a bit of cola. the tannins are subtle and remind me of a cherry pit (odd, I know, but true). The finish unfolds elegantly.

A few sips in, my husband said, “Now, that is a good glass of wine. If you ordered a glass of this at a restaurant, you would be really happy with it.” I concur.

I don’t look at the website or tech sheets prior to tasting. I go in with an open mind. But when I sat to write this morning, I kept thinking about his comment. “That is a glass of wine you’d be happy with.” I read through the site this morning and smiled when I read the following:

“We are so appreciative of the amazing response that Black Magnolia wines have produced so far, and continue to work hard to make fabulous Pinot noir at prices that make everyone happy!”

There’s that word again.

So I looked up the price. $22. Which of course made me even happier.

I finished the bottle last night, watching the Phantom of the Opera with my children tucked in close. I smelled my daughter’s hair and locked fingers with my son. They asked five questions between every sip, entranced by the music and the costumes. I thought of how the glass of wine gave me a little happy moment of self-care from a day of difficult parenting. I thought of how moments like these so immeasurably outweigh the hard days. I drank in their curiosity and was grateful. For moments of happiness, however we can get them. And even more, for the absolute joy in being their mother, hard days and all.

{This wine was received as a media sample. thoughts and opinions are my own and I received no other compensation.}

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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

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