This Friday night I will be hosting a wine tasting of Israeli wine at CBS. I’m no wine industry professional, but I learned a great deal about everything from the global wine trade to the evolution of wine terminology during a stint as a researcher for the SFMOMA exhibition How Wine Became Modern, which opened in 2010. I took a particular interest in wine from Israel, as the quality and number of wineries there has skyrocketed in recent years, and I had the opportunity to visit some of them during our past two summers. The irony is that, at the moment, I can neither drink wine nor can I taste much of anything.
I gave up alcohol for chemo; meanwhile, chemo returned the favor by destroying my taste buds. Bummer. It’s temporary, and it’s not completely obliterated, just muted, like the volume is turned way down. My tongue feels like it’s been sandpapered, then polished to a high shine, and all the flavors just keep slipping off. It’s incredibly disorienting, because smell is still there, and really smell is much more powerful, and my appetite is still there, but in between anticipation and satiety lies a gap where flavor used to reside.