This has been a season of roiling sadness, with tragedy heaped upon tragedy, with the past several days particularly painful. On a very elemental level, one way to respond to all of this death and destruction and despair is to draw loved ones closer. Maybe even extend some kindness, no matter how small, to a stranger you come across as you go about your day. No, such small things will not silence guns or force hatred from hard hearts, but I believe that acts of kindness can at least change the human chemistry of your immediate environment, if only for a little while, and that matters.
I say hello to and sometimes compliment strangers in elevators, give my seat to elders, pay fares of folks who clearly don’t have it, no matter how deeply they search their pockets and handbags. Sometimes it’s just a young parent struggling with a baby carriage and all the gear that I used to travel with when I was a young mother. Where is that third hand that I need to find my Metrocard? New York City is awash in tourists from all over the world. If I see a family of them poring over a map, I, who have the world’s worst sense of direction, will offer to help, which means asking others with more seasoned expertise to help them. It takes a minute.
Most of the time, the people I’ve tried to help say thank you and it’s nice when they do, but I do it for me, not for them. I like to feel that in some tiny way, I’ve made something easier for someone else. Sure, we donate to charities and these tiny acts don’t begin to balance the scale in the wake of horrors like what occurred last week. But they do help someone on one day who needed help that I could give.
What does this have to do with wine? Not a whole lot in the scheme of the cosmos. Nevertheless, there are small ways to connect with people we care about and this, especially, is a good time to do it. We can offer them encouragement, actually talk, not text, with them; share a meal with them and yes, a bottle of wine. The other night, we had a bottle of 2013 Las Rocas Rosé from the Bodegas San Alejandro (BSA). Founded in 1962, BSA is a cooperative of 350 grape growers with vineyards in the hot in summer, snowy in winter, rocky, high-elevation, diverse soils of DO Calatayud, about 150 miles northeast of Madrid, Spain. The co-op itself is located in Miedes de Aragón, population 530.
Made from late-ripening Garnacha (Grenache) from juice that was bled off the skins and fermented in stainless steel, this pretty, pink wine tasted of strawberries and raspberries and minerals. Las Rocas de San Alejandro is an enterprise founded at BSA by Spanish, French and American wine people and its wine was easy and life-affirming, just what we needed.