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Lessons from an Airport

Airports. I’m tired of crying in them. I’m tired of being in them, really. This is the second time I’ve cried in the Santiago de Compostela Airport. This time it’s my fault. It’s raining. I look to my left, another girl is crying. She has someone holding her, though, so it’s probably for different reasons.

All the men in Galicia wear the same cologne.

This is it, the last leg of my trip. I’m headed to Barcelona for three more days and then home. What have I learned? I know how better to drink Gintonics. I know how to get gas, to order food. I can take a coffee, drive a car, kill roaches in a hotel room, buy groceries. I almost learned how to cook an octopus. Could I do all of that already?

In the last two days, though, I’ve learned 4 new varietals, I drank one of them out of a barrel. Yesterday I drank Ferrol out of a barrel with Luis Rodriguez. On Monday I tasted the wine I helped make last year at Fazenda Prádio. Last week I drank Txakoli like a champion and the week before I drank the wines of one of the funniest, foul-mouthed men I’ve met since my Grandma Jan. I’ve stained my hands making Ratafia. I’ve learned about mildew, about vine training, about planting vines on volcanoes. I’ve learned about sulfites and no sulfites and wind and drought. I’ve learned about solera systems, about making barrels and about aging in amphorae. About sacrifice and loss and replanting for the good of the region.

When I get home I’ll learn how to cook that octopus.

Spain is an incredible place. All of the people I’ve talked to, the winemakers I’ve met- each with different ideas but all with the same goal in mind. There is so much happening here I don’t know how many blog posts it will take to relay the message. I hope I’m the right person to do it. I hope a little Picasso and a stroll through El Born will give me inspiration to pull it all together. Otherwise, what the fuck was I doing here?

I think next I will learn how not to cry in airports. It’s so dramatic, really. Wildly unnecessary. A solid waste of time when I could be enjoying a Gintonic.

Perhaps I’ll start that lesson next time. See you soon, friends.

Blogged At: Santiago de Compostela Airport, Galica

Soundtrack: Tensnake 58 BPM

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On traveling alone

Traveling alone has its moments. One day you are inspired by adventure, coincidence and improbability and the next day you are getting kicked in the dick. My ex husband told me, after a few months of sobriety, the best thing about being sober is that you have feelings again…and the worst thing about being sober is that you have feelings again. I think this paradox translates to the process of traveling alone. Every day is a new experience I get to feel in its entirety. I get to throw myself out there, to make 100 percent of the decisions, to communicate with people in an area where I don’t even really speak the language. It is one of the most exhilarating feelings I’ve felt as a human being but, no lie, every once in a while it’s hard AF.

Today I miss my dog, I missed my flight and I’m missing my best friend’s 30th birthday. It’s a kicked in the dick kind of day. At the end of tomorrow I will have met up with some amazing friends from San Francisco, I will have seen them dance Flamenco in Sevilla, I will have gone out in a dress for the first time in a month and I will have (hopefully) forgotten about today.

So tonight, while I’m in this twilight zone region of Tenerife South, drinking a Brandy Alexander and eating strawberries, I’ll thank my lucky stars I have friends here in Spain, that I own this absolutely heroic MacBook Pro, that I have a mom that answers text messages and that I’m lucky enough to live a life like this in the first place. Tell you what, though, tomorrow can’t come soon enough. Vale, babies. See you soon.

Blogged at: Grand Muthu Golf Plaza Hotel LOBBY (There’s no wifi in my room:)

Soundtrack: Eels, Fresh Blood

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erin on Spain

The perfect specimen in the photo above is my dog, Kendall, in front of Lake Merritt in Oakland. In the past 8 months, this super fly pit bull and I have probably walked around this lake 100 times. I’ve probably hit play on Beyoncé’s Lemonade album 100 times and, if we are close, I’ve probably texted you in a state of anxiety or trepidation at least 100 times (love you).

Last September, when in a jet-lagged stupor I purchased a ticket to Barcelona, June seemed light years away. In reality, light years really have passed since then. I’ve been to Paris and LA, to Mexico and Palm Springs. I’ve spent quality time with my parents, I’ve seen friends have babies and I’ve watched friends simply slay in the workforce. I’ve been gifted a group of inspiring female co-workers I’m honored to call my family, and I’ve met people on the other side of the Birba bar I’m proud to call my friends. I’ve cried, I’ve watched a lot of basketball and I’ve started writing on the daily. And now, just like that, it’s almost time to fly. In less than a month, I’m headed to Spain with a one way ticket, and It Rains in Spain is about to get really real.

Fear not, I (probably) won’t be gone forever. While I’m there, however, I’m going to hit nearly every major wine region. I’m going to gather all the information I can from winemakers who have been working hard to change the game and I’m going drop this science on you on the regular- a goal of mine from the get go. I’ll be blogging with a vengeance and jamming the ‘gram with photos and videos of everyday life in the streets and the vineyards of España. In addition to the blog, I’ll be starting a full on website, with the intent to not only document my travels, but to get into the more wine geeky stuff like regions and varietals- hopefully in an interesting and approachable way. Needless to say, there is much in plan.

I try not to think about how much I will miss my people, my dog and maybe even the insane cat that lives with my parents. I have a wonderful, solid set of friends I met in Spain last year who will be helping me with housing, friendship and general support. I will take Face Times and What’s Apps and I will send post cards and letters. Most importantly I’ll be back- stronger, tanner and smart as hell. In the words of my amazing friend and boss lady, Angie, who makes me laugh every day- “I’m going on my YOLO.” Plenty of details to follow…much love.

Blogged at: Birba, Mom and Dad’s

Soundtrack: Kanye West, Life of Pablo 

 

Garnatxa Blanca and Terra Alta

Grenache Blanc has never been a favorite of mine. I’ve always found it a little flabby, slightly oily and lacking in the acid department. There is a special place in this universe however, called Terra Alta, Catalunya, where Garnatxa Blanca changes shape (is more fun to spell), and becomes a mineral, salty, slightly voluptuous little vixen that makes you understand why wine is a thing of place, and why we can thank our lucky stars somebody put it there. (more…)

Envínate and the Canary Islands

Located 70 miles off the west coast of Morocco, on landscapes that rival an episode of Star Trek, lie the Spanish-owned Canary Islands. It is the most tropical wine region in all of Europe, and boasts having never been affected by phylloxera- that pesky little aphid that destroyed most of the vineyards in 19th century Europe. Seven Islands make up the Canaries, each with its own soil composition and microclimate. It’s likely we’ll talk about every island at some point, but right now I want to talk about the island of Tenerife, and the very tasty bottle of 2014 Envínate “Táganan Parcela Amogoje” I just drank. (more…)