With six hours to Election Day, we’re walking through the door to Cam and Mar’s home.
Their other baby (apart from Amplify) is a wonderful human named Miles. He’s sixteen months old and running around, screaming with joy as he darts between the legs of adults, tables and chairs. Not quite as rambunctious as the Carignan, but he’ll get there.
Mar’s grandma is whipping up something intoxicating in the kitchen. Her grandpa greets us warmly, with a shining face. They’ve been married sixty years. (“I’m tired!” he jokes.)
In the background, Wolf Blitzer is blaring on TV, prophesizing Hillary’s win, and someone shuts him off so the real show can begin:
Chilaquiles, wafting bliss and meat and spice spooned over steaming Oaxacan corn tortillas... made thin and cooked over a hot flame (in Oaxaca they’re made on the floor to be the size of pizza pans). The secret ingredient is fresh epazote, a squeaky clean and floral herb, added at the very end after the tomatoes have simmered down to a luscious pulp. Mar’s grandma brought it from Oaxaca to plant in their backyard.
“You can have some,” she says, to my astonishment, as she prepares a generous heap. Topped with lime, onions and queso fresco, it’s a fever dream of flavors and textures, obscuring the stress of tomorrow’s verdict.
Cam and Mar have four of their babies on the table: Duke & Ella (Viognier/Muscat blend in 2015, soon to be Riesling/Muscat in 2016), Muscat, Carignan and Merlot. The more they drink, Cameron says, the more it becomes all about texture. Sure, aromatics are nice but “the way a wine feels is really important to me. And I think a lot of what are considered natural wines lack that."
The wines we enjoy have a freshness from that acid but have that textural gravitas where there’s some more depth there. It’s not something that just disappears on your palate.”
It sure is some of the most food-friendly juice we’ve ever slugged, and they all go insanely well with the chilaquiles on our forks. The Duke & Ella lifts the flavor, taming the onions. The Muscat and Merlot are like a hammock, gently catching all the textures. The Carignan, with its light tannins and high acid, lassos the spice. Magic chilaquiles wine.
They rarely, if ever, drink wine by itself. We can get behind that—wine is like salt. It needs food and food needs it. “These are fuckin’ Amurikan wines,” Cameron jokes as we slurp down our meals so quickly our stomachs start to hurt.
Mar’s grandpa whispers something to his wife. Mar leans toward us with a twinkle in her eye. “My grandpa just said, 'If Trump were to taste these chilaquiles he wouldn’t dislike Mexicans as much.'”
The table erupts in laughter.
—Nipomo, California. November 7, 2016