Back in Old Chatham, preparing to travel to Provincetown in the morning, so Margaret can attend the week-long writers’ workshop there, we opened our second bottle of 2008 Saladini Pilastri rosato. We had drunk the first bottle with Carol and Ken a few weeks ago and thought we’d give it another try.
As with our first tipple, accompanied by weisswurst, we found the wine sturdy enough to stand up to tonight’s lasagna with meat sauce. It was fruity and nicely acidic up front, and pleasantly tannic at the finish. But what was that in the middle? I took another sip and reached for a descriptor, finally settling, without conviction, on fig.
Then the phone rang and Margaret disappeared into the kitchen; I continued to sip and search my taste memory for the exact flavor. While fig had an exotic quality that would not be out of place in an Italian wine, there was something softer, more mellow, going on between the fruit and the finish. Unaccountably, my mind jumped to sake, Japanese rice wine that is not really a wine at all, more like an un-carbonated beer. From there, it took no great leap to conjure up the little glasses of plum wine we were often offered at the end of a meal at one of our local Chinese restaurants.
I was feeling pretty smug when Margaret finally hung up the phone and returned from the kitchen.
“Plum,” she said.
This is what happens when you’ve been married as long as we have. Thirty-six years of shared experience – drinking from the same bottle, so to speak – carves out similar neural pathways, associations, reactions, until it is impossible to tell what is an original thought of mine, and what Margaret plants there, telepathically, for me to find.