It started on Christmas Eve `07 as an act of defiance. I was lonely, depressed, on dialysis and determined to write about every bottle of wine that I opened. If the world thought I was sick, well, I was going to show them! I wrote a few paragraphs about a bottle of wine from Trader Joe's: Osborne Solaz `04 *** $3.99. Holidays can be highlights that see you through the rest of the year, filled with love and happiness or they can be solitary, depressing and conflicting times. I've been on both sides of those extremes, and 2007 was as extreme as I ever want my life to be - I don't think that I would have survived emotionally had I not been able to cook, eat and drink in a fashion that turned mealtime into a ritual - it was the height of civility, when I was at the depths of discouragement.
I wrote about over 70 bottles of wine while I was on dialysis. Laurent Perrier in London 9/08 was the highlight of my first year. Then on 11/02/2008 everything changed. I was no longer going home, sticking two needles in my arm and being kept alive by a machine. I received a deceased donor kidney transplant, trading my five time a week dialysis sessions to a simple regime of twice daily medications and multiple doctor's visits, living in hope that my body won't reject my new boy kidney too soon - I'd like to get 10 years from my boy kidney - fingers crossed. After my transplant, I took a break for a month. That is when I had my one and only guest post.
In my second year, I think that my favorite post of `09 was Drinking on Vacation (3/09) and let's face it, I am happiest at an airport going somewhere. This was when I realized that I could not only learn about wine, but I could learn about flavor and pairing. My hobby became one level deeper when I wrote that post. It was then that I realized that pictures added a new level of description. This was also the year that I started taking wine classes at Bacchus in NYC. As soon as I started learning, I realized that I have a lot to learn. But it is FUN!
Now, I am in my third year. I was lucky enough to have a wine tasting on the anniversary of Dr. Belding Scribner performing the first chronic dialysis treatment (thus paving the way for me to still be alive) as luck would have it, Dr. Scribner was more into wine than me. He collected unblended Cabernet Sauvignon. I commemorated the occasion by buying two really good bottles of Cabernet, that are still waiting to be consumed and reviewed. I'm waiting for a special occasion. By August `10, I had moved and the quality of wine I have been drinking has skyrocketed (Chateau Montelena `88 anyone?). This is with no thanks to my buying prowess, mostly thanks to my benefactors, as I am living in "grace and favour" for the time being with some friends who happen to have great taste in wine and food.
For all my defiance in the beginning, and all of my "I'll show you who's sick"... ultimately, the joke is on me - did you know that studies have shown that drinking moderately can be good for people with a kidney transplant? Really. Here is a link to the study, and a link to a video of an one of the doctors who was in on the study (fifth interview. h/t to Bill Peckham from DSEN, a place where I wrote a lot about dialysis and transplant). As for dialysis, unless you are on frequent nocturnal or high dose home hemo, you are fluid restricted. Drinking wine is to be in tiny amounts and every drop needs to be savored. For amazing support for living with Chronic Kidney Disease, see I Hate Dialysis, the most amazing on-line support group I could have ever found.
I'll finish up 2010 with a few more bottles of good wine and sally forth into 2011, a year with some amazing potential. A couple of highlights should be the 2011 Wine Blogger's Conference in Charlottesville, VA in July and Argentina in October-November 2011 to drink some local Malbec. I'll be blogging all along the way.