Producer: Villalobos, Valle de Colchagua
Source: D-Vine Cellars
As is perhaps unsurprising considering that we are now a matter of days away from our wedding, Chris and I have been asked a lot about how we met. The answer is superficially easy – we met on Twitter – but becomes increasingly difficult to explain the more you delve into it. How exactly? What were you talking about on Twitter? And, the impossible question, how can you have gained so much joy from Twitter when you never seem to tweet? Umm…
So here’s the truth – I have a secret Twitter account. When I first joined Twitter, I wanted to see something other than work-based tweets, something different from and separate to the friends and family I followed on Facebook; basically something new. And like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, I fell head first into this alternate reality that I found, and have never looked back. This is where I have found my people, my friends, my love.
My secret Twitter is such a wonderful, eye-opening place! In amongst the dog pictures and ridiculous jokes, I found a bunch of people who talk about sex. They talk about sex and sexual liberation, about desire and kink and self-care. They talk about feminism, relationship structures and equal opportunities; about LGBTQ+ rights and rape culture and political activism; once I heard them, it was pretty hard to go back to how I was before, and even harder to keep quiet myself!
It all means I now think of myself as someone who talks about sex. Don’t worry – this is a family blog so I’m not going to start revealing intimate details about my sex life, mainly because the impact of this sexual liberation goes well beyond just who did what to whom! Much more important is the awareness I’ve gained of my cis, white, heterosexual privilege; how I’ve discovered my feminism and activism, and how this will change the way I educate my future children on gender and sexuality and consent – I have essentially become one of those millennials that Trump’s America and the Daily Mail so vehemently hate!
I’ve decided to write about this now for two reasons. Firstly, I’m following the lead of a fantastic group that I have joined called Scarlet Ladies – a women-only organisation that promotes free and safe discourse among women about sex and sexual freedom, particularly now during its #ITalkSex campaign. The aim is to finally erase the stigma that surrounds women who talk about sex – both to amplify healthy, positive messages about female sexuality, and because silence breeds ignorance and isolation, and this needs to change. I don’t want those potential future children of mine to be brought up in a society that blames women for sexual assault, or where they could make mistakes with their body or heart because no one has taught them about sexual pleasure or consent, or where they would feel afraid to be themselves if they are gay or trans or asexual or anything else.
I’m also interested in how quickly something new can become normal. How openness can breed openness, and the simple fact that Chris and I can (and do) talk about our sex life in an easy and routine manner can become such a defining feature of our relationship. It was only at my fabulous hen party last weekend, for which I cannot thank Hets, Ellio and KT enough, and prompted by some of the more risqué questions in a game of Mr and Mrs, that I realised quite how unusual we are in that respect!
That’s not to suggest in any way that my friends are prudes, nor that Chris and I have arrogantly found the secret to a long and happy relationship – it’s more that we both really value the way that these open and honest conversations have formed the basis of our relationship and so will help us weather the inevitable changes in our future together. Sexual incompatibilities, whether in libido, kinks or desires, are an underrated and largely unspoken reason behind relationship failure – it’s another example of the damage caused by an inability to talk about such an important area of romantic love. Why is it so taboo to admit that something as historically ‘trivial’ as bad sex is making us unhappy? How can we change things if we don’t – or prevent them from getting to that point in the first place?
I’m so grateful for finding my voice; for finding the words to talk about these intimate and sometimes difficult subjects. Not only has it made me feel much more at home in my body, but I am also much more comfortable with who I am at a fundamental level. I know who I am and what I want from my life – my sex life included – and this gives me such confidence. Even better, I found someone who agrees and wants the same things, and that is unbelievably wonderful!
And, no, I won’t tell you my other Twitter handle!
After reading about the Villalobos vineyard while researching this post, it’s on our list of places to visit if we ever make it to Chile!
From the producer’s website:
This 60-year-old, non-industrial, organic vineyard continues to be in its wild state, without any pruning, irrigation or the use of chemical products such as pesticides or herbicides. The vineyard’s distinguishing feature is its untouched wilderness where for over the last 40 years Carignan vines have grown side-by-side with native vegetation.
The vineyard is quite bio-diverse, hosting a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including culen, maiten, quillai, hawthorn and rosehip, among others. The vineyard’s unique surroundings are instrumental in keeping the vines pest- and disease-free. Our vines grow freely among the trees climbing them for structural support. In fact, you may come across vines making their way up four-meter trees alongside shrub-like vines three meters thick.
Bright and intense ruby-red wine. Nose has a hint of wild blackberry and elegantly defined maqui berry. Delicate, soft and round tannins on the palate with a food-friendly acidity bearing traces of cherry and strawberry.
This was a refreshingly different red from the syrupy, fruity wines we’ve drunk recently. It is unfiltered and this creates such a lovely, lively flavour. Orangey-red in colour, it’s freshness was evident immediately on opening. It had an almost underripe smell, and I had been warned on buying it that it might even smell corked. The flavour was much more complex and interesting than I was expecting – the first flavour across the tongue was very spicy but it developed an amazing appley aftertaste. The fruitiness swelled and became richer, but was definitely orchard-based rather than the red fruits perhaps more common in red wines.
All in all, the flavour was surprisingly light considering its strength and was just so interesting.
8.5/10, complex and unique
This is instantly recognisable as old-vine Carignan…in a very good way! Spicy, warm and rich, with something nice and earthy underneath, I enjoyed literally everything about it (right down to the cool label). There’s proper depth of flavour, even though it’s no more than a medium-bodied wine, and a lovely balance, so it doesn’t feel delicate or thin in any way – instead it just melts in your mouth. By and large, we’ve been so lucky with the red wines we’ve chosen/drunk during this challenge, and I’m pleased to report that the Villalobos belongs near the top of the list.