Fifty Shades of… Autumn?

by Debra Chappell

View from The Deck (Lake Tahoe):

  Mood Reading:  ZZZ’s (Morning came a bit early after dutiful wine tasting last evening.)

Like the last drunk straggler at the New Year’s Eve party who is finally ushered out by the polite but exhausted hosts, it looks like Summer has reluctantly taken the hint and decided to slip out the back door quietly after all.

Though I have thoroughly enjoyed the warm evenings and lingering clear skies, I find myself longing for cooler temps and even a shower or two, which would certainly be a novelty at this point.  I know, I know… there are those who would say “bite your tongue woman!” (as someone already has on my facebook page recently) but honestly… I’m over it.  My flowers have been nibbled to the quick, the watering routine every morning has become a chore, the landscape is parched and so is my skin.  And well… Butternut squash risotto, pumpkins on the front porch, planted pots of cabbages and mums, and crisp apple tarts just aren’t the same when it’s a blazing 88 degrees outside as it was only two days ago, the official first day of Autumn .  And since these are some of my favorite Fall traditions, I say let’s get on with it already!

My other favorite thing about fall is the grape harvest and wine crush in nearby Amador County and by extension thereof, our local wine co-op.  We’ve been hard at it all week, hauling grapes over the hill and crushing 3 varieties so far for the 2012 vintage. As a little thank-you of sorts, John (the wine wizard) had us up to his house on Lake Tahoe last night to enjoy the view, the last of the mild summer evenings, and some killer Roussanne and Barbera if I do say so myself.

When the co-op was created 3 years ago,  John provided the facility, the know-how, and regular access to the sacred fruit via Cooper Vineyards in Amador County. What he was lacking at the time was some spirited compadres to help in the grunt work. Enter yours truly. I was able to round up a few friends, prior clients, coerced some of my extended family and an otherwise rag-tag crew who could be easily bribed with the prospect of all the Zinfindel they could drink and voila, the co-op was born.

Last night, as the current and reigning social director, den mother, and agitator supreme over this lauded group, I was most honored and flattered to be presented with a specially created, new custom personal label designed by the master wizard himself.

With a nod to my keen interest in modern literature and recent foray into literary pursuits, he has labeled our latest Primotivo “Fifty Shades of Purple”, and I have been promoted to Chief Whip (presumably minus the chains). I look forward to undertaking my new duties with dedication, enthusiasm and diligence, and will therefore be ordering and reading the 2nd and 3rd volume in the Fifty Shades trilogy (having already read the first) for some further research and atmospheric inspiration. I will savor both the volumes and the Primotivo with a discerning taste, examining both closely for vivid color, boldness, full body, jaw spiking flavor, and with any luck, a satisfactory and climactic finish.

A time consuming undertaking for sure, but a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good.  It’s the least I can do.