My naivete about wines goes back many years but I will say I have gotten better. When I was living in Missouri I only knew about certain wines based upon what a server at a restaurant would recommend (sometimes that being the expensive stuff not the good stuff) and when I would visit state wineries and sample their wares. One winery that will always remain dear to my heart is the St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri. Why? Because the last years of my fathers life were spent at the veterans home in St. James, Missouri… just on the other side of the highway.
Every time I would go visit him (an almost two hour drive from where I was living) I would drive right past the winery so of course I just had to stop and taste and bring home a bottle or two or three. They made some great grape juice which the then kids would inhale; I had to take to hiding bottles from them to make it last until the next visit to Grandpa. I started out enjoying their sweet reds and then moved slowly up to the semi-sweets and then dry.
Wine shock happened when I moved to Ohio and discovered that not only did they not carry my then favorite wines but that because of certain laws I couldn’t even order it. Woe was me. I have since learned so much more about wine and have developed new tastes but whenever we would drive to Missouri I would stop and pick up a few bottles of my old faves and bring them home. Since we fly more than drive that has pretty much come to an end. I love to visit the wine section at the local stores when I am home for a visit and smile at the St. James bottles. Shopkeepers probably think my cork is a bit loose but I don’t care. I’ve experienced wine shock in reverse now; some of what I enjoy in Ohio I cannot find in Missouri. How interesting.
On this most recent visit home I saw this display and was sorely tempted to try it but I didn’t have anyone to share it with (not to mention I don’t really like sweet wine anymore) so I just smiled remembering my visits to my father and walked away. Lately, I’ve found that one or two of the wines from St. James are available locally but they are the too sweet for me varieties but whenever I pass them on the shelves as I go scouting for my favorite Cabernet, I pause and say hello.