NGW: Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2009   7 comments

My cousin married my uncle.  And we don’t even live in Arkansas. 

Actually, it was my mother’s brother and my father’s second cousin.  So there was no blood connection between the two.  Still, it was a strange alliance– but not for this obvious reason.

One thing the couple had in common was a shared sense of insane and oddball behavior.  They both had the crazy gene.  Though each expressed it quite differently. 

My uncle, a man ironically named Angel, though no one called him that, was a rough and tumble sort, street smart and a fan of the lowest forms of entertainment.  The kind of guy you would find wagering heavily at a cock-fight.  Lacking for a couple of aggressive roosters and pining for a little blood sport,  he had his son, Louis, use me to perfect his bullying technique.  His old man sitting back, enjoying the show, reveling in a contest that I was just trying to survive:

Louis, whom I have written about past, was a mere 4 months older than me, though he was always physically superior to me being at various times during our lives anywhere from one and a half times to twice my size.  And despite his size, he was also faster than me.  A Minotaur in miniature, his father could amp him up to come at me even though we were normally (and still are) very fond of each other.  The bumps, bruises, scratches and abrasions that I garnered from my tussles with my larger combatant quickly informed me of the obvious fact that I was not likely to win any kind of physical contest with Louis.  In the end I was cast as an uncomfortable, and tiny, Theseus. 

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Tripping backward onto the plastic slip-covered sectional sofa in my Abuela’s living room, I was cornered.  As I and lay on my back, he charged at me, all sweat and snot.  Bearing down upon me in full throttle, I instinctively put up my feet to shield myself.  As he came at me, I focused on his ruddy face chubbily confident in the victory that was at hand.  My knees now being pushed into my chest, my eyes widened in terror.  His chest pushing firmly against the soles of my feet, his blood-flushed face a mere few inches from my own– I kicked out to push him away from me.  The adrenaline must have been in full flow, because he went tumbling backwards across the length of my grandmother’s living room.  Landing on his butt with a  solid thud that shook the room, I braced myself for another charge.  I can’t recall if he started to cry, but I saw that he had lost his appetite for the scrimmage.  And this was the last time we ever fought.    

Although Angel, has unfortunately passed, from strong drink and fast living, his ex-wife, my cousin Nandy is alive (I think) somewhere in Arizona.

Nandy, brainy, well read, the first daughter in a family of musicians, was always quick with a smile.  She was in many respects the exact opposite of Angel.  I always found her to be kind and interested in the things that mattered to me, her 3rd cuz.  But once I became a teenager, I realized that there was something a little off about her.  Downright batty she was.  Married once before she exchanged vows with my uncle, she was still a legendary virgin coming into her second marriage.  I don’t think that the birds-bees thing was ever properly laid out for this forty-ish virgin who was taking a second lap around the marital track.  Though I only heard about this, she was also a shrew similar to the one in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate (click here).  Exhibit A: Husband numero uno– he was last seen running away from the house after she pushed him down a staircase that he was climbing with a new kitchen table on his back. 

All this history, my Uncle Angel knew as he exchanged nuptials with her.  But being a determined man, those warnings of sharp curves and rough road ahead seemed meant for someone else.  A match made in heaven?  What demon deity could have conjured this bizarre conjunction of the two trunks of my family tree?

Was the aging and virginal cousin de-flowered?  Naturally, the less than discrete Angel let on.  Though I imagine it must have been Caveman courtship: clubbed-over-the-head-and-dragged-off-by-the-hair-kind-of-thing.  It did not have the hallmarks of tenderness.  Shockingly, it was a short-lived marriage.

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These are two people who were destined to break stones– anyone’s stones, really, but especially each others’.  What better wine to celebrate them than with a few sips of Las Rocas– literally, The Rocks.

Image DetailLas Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2009 ($9).  Straight from up and coming Spanish appellation, Calatayud, this is 100% Garnacha that is a category killer in this price range.  With fleshy and ripe dark fruit that is supported by good bones (structure), this is a very accessible crowd pleaser.  And at this price, it should be snatched up whenever and wherever you see it.   I poured this recently along with another Garnacha from Cotes du Rhone at a friend’s party.  There were some seriously happy faces.  And seriously surprised expressions when I revealed the price!  Always gratifying.  Rated **1/2

The little guy in the photo at the top of this page doesn’t have a guilty bone in his body.  Neither should you.  No-Guilt Wednesday (NGW) is not about compromising on quality.  It’s all about drinking good wine that does not break the bank ($15 or less), eating good food and of course, it’s about sharing with the ones you love.

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Posted June 20, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in No-Guilt Wednesday

7 responses to “NGW: Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2009

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  1. SS, your writing still captivates! I thought I was reading Saul Bellows: “In the words of the Swedish Nobel Committee, his writing exhibited “the mixture of rich picaresque novel and subtle analysis of our culture, of entertaining adventure, drastic and tragic episodes in quick succession interspersed with philosophic conversation, all developed by a commentator with a witty tongue and penetrating insight into the outer and inner complications that drive us to act, or prevent us from acting, and that can be called the dilemma of our age.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Bellow

    Ah, Roosters; when I was a wee-lad, we had Polish neighbors that were picked-up (Farm and all) by aliens and settled a quarter-mile east of my family where they had a ‘guard” rooster that was almost as big as me; I learned to respect the feathered dynamo.
    Lots of great wine comes from rocky soil, it’s the fight to survive that sends them (roots) deep and lifts up the good grapes.

  2. Saul Bellow???? That man had more talent under the nail of his pinky toe that I have in my entire body!

    Funny you should mention aliens. Stay tuned…

    As always, thanks for checking out this Twistedness that comes from pulling many a cork!

  3. Wine and remarried and deflowered virgins makes our life seem a bit tame…..but great post..

  4. Speaking of roosters and unorthodox families, your story made me think of David Sedaris’s “You Can’t Kill the Rooster”. A bit (ok, quite a bit, actually) vulgar, but funny nevertheless:
    http://www.youcantkilltherooster.com/stories.php?story=10&disp=f

    Happy Wednesday!

    • I remember the first time I heard his voice and the way he spoke about his dysfunctional family on NPR many moons ago. I always felt that he had been lost by his family in a “Home Alone” way. Yet, it is clear that his love of family is what makes his stories resonate with so many people.

      I never considered my family unorthodox. But clearly we had some unorthodox stuff that went on. Aren’t all families like that? Everyone else’s family always seems to have issues. Yet I am sure there are people in my family who consider me to be unorthodox.

      As one of my bosses, who is now a good friend, put it to me: “We are all individuals.”

  5. P.S. I just noticed this is not the full version of the story..how annoying. Here is a link to the mp3 version:
    http://mp3skull.com/mp3/david_sedaris_rooster.html

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