PABLO OLD VINE GARNACHA (2011)—And some musings about the kids’ future therapy sessions

My Fellow Inebriates,

If you’ve noticed the reviews are getting a little sparse lately, you’re not imagining it. A recent parental resolution has curtailed our tastings.

It’s not totally drastic, although it feels drastic. There’s been no decision to quit drinking. But there’s been a decision to quit drinking every day.

Some of you may be applauding this idea. After all, small children reside at LBHQ and would prefer their parents’ alert attention and consideration (as opposed to useful fodder in the form of psychological baggage for later creative writing or filmmaking careers, you be the judge). Misses P and V will not perceive the value of such baggage until well into adulthood, and, to be honest, my parents aren’t sold on it either. I lobby pretty hard to keep the alcohol flowing here, and to ramp it up to dysfunctional levels, but it never quite gets there. My paranoid mother is convinced that the world is winding up to sock it to the kids psychologically; that even without alcohol we have enough to do to get them through childhood without being shot at school, blown up at a parade, co-opted into Scientology, or enlisted as Justin Bieber’s concubines; and that they will still end up reciting their fucked-up childhood stories to some overpaid psychologist.

And they had this bear, right? This bear was there all the time. It was mangy, and they talked to it like it was one of us. They bought it alcohol and then drank most of it themselves…

But mainly the new LBHQ policy of not drinking every day is financial. My mum thinks an excessive chunk of our budget gets spent at the liquor store. Even though nobody’s getting drunk, those here-and-there beers add up, and she’d rather have that money for wholesome family-type pursuits.

If they ever had a highball, that bear would be on the table with it. They’d let it stick its face in the glass. It was starting to reek like alcohol…

Sigh. It does make sense. If two beers get drunk every day—one for each parent because, contrary to what the children will one day tell their therapists, they don’t pour one for me as well—that’s 60 beers a month. That’s $129, on top of which you can add four bottles of wine, and next thing you know—conservatively—$190 has evaporated in a delicious, hedonistic vapor.

All right, so $190 sounded perfectly reasonable to me, and my dad probably wouldn’t arrive at that number; he’d say we drink much less per month, but then he wouldn’t go through the exercise of adding it in the first place, so we kind of have to trust my mum, who unfortunately is a counter.

Dad and I have a visceral distaste for counters. Why he married one I’m not sure; perhaps she pretended not to be a counter while they were dating. But now she’s that person who, when one of the kids gets a birthday invitation, thinks: “How much did they spend last time they give us a present?”—then matches it or tops it slightly. Classmates come collecting for charity—“What did they donate to our last pledge drive?” Girl Guides show up with cookies—“I’m sorry, I cannot justify paying $5 dollars when Golden Oreos cost $2.99.” You get the drift.

She wouldn’t buy my friend S’s cookies because they were five dollars. Then she spent twice that on an Argentine Torrontes. She said that bear told her to.

Basically, my mum is totally hateful and cheap, and she’s decided to punish Dad and me by declaring dry weekdays.

Admittedly this has made weekends something to look forward to. Last Saturday, for instance, we decanted a bottle of PABLO OLD VINE GARNACHA (2011). The source vineyard was planted over 100 years ago in Atea, Spain and boasts “dusty, dry slate soils at an altitude of 1,000 metres,” producing lush fruit that has achieved some fame, especially at the price point. PABLO sells for $13.99 at our local booze shop and delivers 14.7% alcohol—a win-win equation to satisfy even the most stingy wine-buying parent to whom a bear might be shackled financially. But is it a nice wine?

pablo old vine garnacha

Out of the gate you get a slight yeasty aroma. PABLO is pretty young still, but it’s got a lot going on. That breadiness is a minor chord rafting along with blueberries, blackberries, spice, and floral notes. It’s hard to let it sit in the decanter, but that’s exactly what we did, and for almost half an hour, people. Under my mum’s new directive, we’d been jonesing all week for a glass of wine; a half-hour couldn’t damage us. Could it?

Well, maybe, but all the same it was rewarding to wait. PABLO hits the palate with intensity, cherries and black fruit coming to the fore and a well-modulated backnote of pepper. Not overly complex, perhaps, but hitting some winning notes and overdelivering on a moderate investment.

All those years, we’d be in bed, and out in the living room they’d be offering wine to that bear while making sure it had a good view of the TV screen.

I’m still not on board with dry weekdays, but being thumbless I have no choice. Happily, my dad’s not really on board either; he showed up with some GUINNESS BLACK LAGER after work. Mum went tsk tsk but still grabbed a swig from his glass, because apparently that doesn’t count. Review to come. 😉

I thought if I dressed the bear up in doll dresses my parents would realize it was an object—just a thing that I could manipulate, and not a drinking buddy. I wonder if they ever really got that.

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