So you’ve come back. Do you really think you can just come traipsing back into my life again after leaving for an entire summer? You want me to just pick you up again as if everything was fine? Am I really supposed to just take you back?
Sorry Honey. I’ve moved on. I’ve met so many fantastic white wines after you left that I barely even remembered you. I met a Torrontes from Argentina. That’s right. We saw Shakespeare in the Park together. Did you know I spent some time on the beach with a Sauvignon Blanc from California? Yup. That was in June and I’ve had that same wine three times since then. Uh huh. Unlike you, it’s crisp and it’s bright and it refreshes me like you never did.
Did you hear I met a Viognier for the first time this July? Well I did. I even brought it to my family picnic. Guess what? They loved it. I might even take it over and introduce it to the guys on game night. So don’t even try to weasel back in like you and me got it goin’ on.
Did you know I had to put the big red wine glasses away after you left? I should have known you wouldn’t be around once the weather got nice. I was so stupid! And I have no doubt that you’re probably showing up in other people’s glasses right now too. No! We’re done! Things are different now. We. Are. Done.
Don’t get me wrong. I wish you well. I mean, you always did go well with steak. Do you still go well with steak? I bet you do. Remember that night at the cabin? The night of two bottles? You were amazing. You’re always amazing on a cold night. We were good together, weren’t we? It would be fun to do something like that again. We have so much history together. It would be a shame to just turn our backs on so much history. Okay, maybe I’ll have just one glass. For old time’s sake — but I’m not taking you back.
This week’s recommendation:
Guglielmo Private Reserve, Petite Sirah 2007 ($24.99): With flavors of smoke, chocolate, and leather, Guglielmo tastes like something we love to reminisce about but are careful not to talk about. This wine is big and meaty and buxom and delicious and a great way to welcome back the big red wine season. Grab a bottle and create some history.
To read more of Kris Barber’s insights on wine, visit his blog at www.winerogue.wordpress.com.
We will serve no wine before its time…that said, I’m also the same guy who would serve no high calorie snacks during the football game, and that didn’t pan out so well.
We will serve no wine before its time…but then again, we’re all drunk and I didn’t expect the beer to go this fast.
We will serve no wine before its time…and while I’m at it, I will serve no sushi again at the all day, fun-in-the-sun company picnic.
We will serve no wine before its time…oh, and coffee enemas are out too.
We will serve no wine before its time…unless you’re on death row and it’s your last request. We might consider it then.
We will serve no wine before its time…but if you do happen to get some before its time, discontinue use if rash or irritation occurs.
Nerds: the untouchables of our society. We like having them around because they make us feel so much better about ourselves. I know how politically incorrect that sounds but I also know you secretly agree. Don’t believe me? Okay, do this: think of two nerds fighting each other. Now, imagine one is wearing a “Black holes are out of sight” t-shirt. Good, now imagine the other wearing a t-shirt that says, “3.14% of seafarers are Pi-rates.” You’re smiling now, right? You’re feeling better about yourself somehow, aren’t you? Yeah, me too. Maybe it goes all the way back to junior high, watching them walk down the hallway with a Bridges of Madison County lunch box in one hand and a clarinet in the other (more commonly known as an “abstinence horn” by those residing higher on the social ladder). Seeing them there spoke to our ego, convincing us that for some reason it was better to be one of us than one of them.
But why would someone be thrust into an entirely different social class for simply playing an abstinence horn or carrying a somewhat feminine movie themed lunch box? Especially considering how well the movie was scripted and cast. The rules and complexities determining these hierarchies are often ridiculous to anyone outside looking in. For example: in the world of competitive bicyclists, if you tell someone their saddle looks too low, you’ve just called them a nerd. Or did you know there are certain brands of binoculars that die-hard bird-watchers would not be caught dead using because of how it would make them look? And even nerd circles have their nerds. For example, when you play Dungeons & Dragons do you use a character sheet to help you remember your powers? I hope not.
Sommelier: Good evening. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the wine list. I believe the last sommelier you spoke with failed you, and if you take my advice, I’ll get you back on the right track.
Me: Uhm. Wow. Okay. Well, I’m having steak and she’s having the pork. Can you recommend a good Californian wine?
Sommelier: No. American wines have gone to pot. We need to get back to making wines like our forefathers.
Me: That sounds serious. Okay, what about an Italian wine? Could you recommend an Italian wine for us?
Sommelier: If you keep drinking Italian wine, in two years America will have a deficit of nine point two bazillion bottles and three out of every four bottles we produce will go to just paying off the Italian producers. That’s why I’m implementing my three point plan to bring America back to American wine.
Me: But I thought you said American wines have gone to pot.
Sommelier: You took that out of context.
Me: But you just said it.
Sommelier: It depends of the meaning of the word “have”.
Me: Okaaaay, will it be American or not? What do you recommend?
Sommelier: I don’t think the American people want to hear about my views on wine.
Me: Why can’t you just answer the question? Why can’t you recommend something?
Sommelier: Because if I’m going to be your sommelier, my number one priority will be to repeal the corkage fee. Did you know the corkage fee costs patrons two hundred million dollars a day?
Me: But what do you recommend? I’m asking for a recommendation!
Sommelier: If you take a look at my record, you’ll see I’ve already recommended something.
Me: That’s it. I’m going to alert the management.
Sommelier: It was a sommelier who alerted the British.
Sommelier: That they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our wine, uh, by ringin’ those bells.
Me: I give up.
Sommelier: Mission accomplished.
No skirting the issue or dancing around the subject with this week’s recommendation.
Talbott Kali Hart 2008, Pinot Noir ($16.99): Let me just speak plainly: This Pinot Noir is one of the best I’ve tasted. Talbott takes every flavor profile known to wine and stuffs it into the light body of a Pinot Noir the way creationists are crammed into the front row at a Palin rally. This quality is often not even found in a bottle twice this price.
To read more of Kris Barber’s insights on wine, visit his blog at www.winerogue.wordpress.com.
(or “What Not to Order in a Lumberjack Bar”)
Before I was aware that some drinks have gender, I walked into a bar on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota, a bar filled with lumberjacks and steel workers, and ordered a pink squirrel. I know, it should have been obvious but I grew up in a home without booze and was new to drinking so I ordered the only drink I was familiar with–the one my friend’s mom drank. For anyone who tells you that it’s never too late to change your image, I can tell you that in some cases, it is. In this case there was no recovery and in spite of quickly recognizing my error and adding “and make it in a dirty glass!” my masculinity could not be saved that day.
Now anyone who reads this column knows that I don’t really believe that a drink defines you. I repeatedly preach that you should drink what you want. But there is a perception out there in the general public that begs the question, what determines whether a drink is male or female? To help you sort it out, here are a few basic guidelines.
With only one day before the rapture, I realized I had to hurry to taste all the wine I had left in my cellar. By taking one sip from each bottle, I could sample everything. Below are the reviews entered into my tasting journal on 5-20-11.
8:00 am. 2004 Brunellos: These have aged well. What a great vintage for Italy. Good structure and use of tannins. Finding it difficult to keep samples to one sip.
8:30 am. 2002 Burgundies: Delicious! Still young but what potential! Great power for such light body. Must try harder to keep samples to one sip. Lots of wine to get through today.
9:00 am. Woo Hoo! On to the Bordeaux! Who gives a crap about fruit and balance! All I know is these wines are AWESOME! One sip samples blow!
10:15 am. CalifoooorrrrnnnniiiiaaaWiiinnneeess!!!! This is MARLBOROUGH COUNTRY!!! Finally figured out how to keep samples to one sip: DO ELEVEN OF THEM!!! HAHAHAHAHA!
Advisor: “I see you’ve put together a budget. That’s good. Let’s have a look at it. Savings…good. Retirement account with company matching…good. Roth IRA…good. I see you’re diversified, that’s good too. Hmmm, what’s this? I see you’re pretty heavy on this entry–this “W” entry. What is that? Are you investing with William Blair? Winston Hill? The Woodbridge Group?”
Me: (Shifting uneasily in my chair) “Uh, no, that’s my wine allotment.”
Advisor: (Long pause as he stares at me over the top of his glasses the way my math teacher stared at me when I explained I didn’t need to show my work because I did all the work in my head) “Your what?”
Me: (Feeling more uncomfortable now) “My wine allotment. That’s…what I’ve…been setting…aside for wine…” (trailing off).
Advisor: (Still staring) “Kris…” (Another long pause and I recognize the face of someone struggling for words to describe the lunacy of my poor judgment. I recognize this face on people instantly now thanks to a lifetime of lunacy and poor judgment). “Kris” (repeated for effect), you can’t continue on this financial path. You’ve really only been contributing significantly since 2003.”
“I bought him the most adorable Phoenix Suns shirt,” my friend said, as he calmly stirred his coffee. I hadn’t seen him in fifteen years and I couldn’t believe my ears. This coming from the guy I partied my way through Europe with. This coming from the guy who squandered most of his twenties with me as a ski bum in the Bavarian Alps. Coming from his mouth, it couldn’t have been more at odds with how I remembered him than if he started the conversation with, “Ya know, the great thing about cancer is…”
This guy had been the human equivalent of the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. He was the guy you invited to your party to help get it going but then secretly hoped would leave before he set your closet on fire and convinced all the other party goers to dance around the blaze while beating on your pots and pans. He was the guy whose exuberance, mirth, zeal, and outright madness could not be contained in a simple name, and had to go by a nickname. And now, fifteen years later, there he sat, The Whip, right across from me, tame, and talking about his child. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, I mused as his little boy turned a bag of sugar upside-down on the kitchen floor.
I just bought another Power Ball lottery ticket and I have a really good feeling about this one. I know I’ve said that before but this time I mean it. I’ve not won this game in something like eight straight attempts so what are the chances that can keep happening? Here’s a short schedule of how my life will change after Wednesday’s number picks:
Day 1) My first purchase will be new socks and underwear.
Day 3) Winner’s press conference. The lottery holds this event to let everyone know that if a schmuck like me can win, you probably will too. My plan is to wear a fruity Carmen Miranda hat, big Elton John sunglasses, a wrestling singlet, a feather boa, and while holding a poodle that’s been dyed pink, I’ll look straight into the camera and proclaim that this money will not change me one bit.
Day 4) This is the day I’ll begin my long descent. Drunk with wealth, I’ll forget my friends and begin to only hang out with the famous and social elite. I’ll attend endless parties, get caught intoxicated and naked in my neighbor’s shed, get filmed trying to steal a llama, and be arrested for doing a Southern Baptist snake-handler dance at a children’s petting zoo. During one of many arrests, I’ll take the most unflattering mug shot ever by the rich and famous (and I’m including Nick Nolte’s).
The Nissan 270Z was developed in Japan by a group of young, hyper ambitious engineers. Each of them had the goal of performing the engineering equivalent of castration on the others. Given the task of creating the meanest, fastest, most wicked sports car on the road, they used their ambition, their youth, and their zeal to do just that. If they failed, plenty of hungry, young engineers eagerly stepped over them to do it right. Failure meant remaining behind with the hari-kari knife during the company picnic.
Right from the first line on the sketch pad there was anger and aggression. The poster on the office wall read, “Remember Hiroshima,” and this spirit seeped into the car’s plans. When sitting alone in a room next to the blue-prints, one often felt nervous as if in the presence of a menacing entity.
From design process to assembly, more aggression spilled into the prototypes. Menace grew during every stage and came to a crescendo in the final production where factory workers turned the screws in a way that spoke speed, applied lube in a manner that reeked of revenge, and sprayed paint with the samurai’s spirit of victory fresh in their heads. Weaker models were crushed into scrap right in front of the victorious models. The car was born with an aggressive, ruthless soul that hungered for victory.