Tuesday, August 31, 2010
An Open Heart & A Shut Down Wine
I sheepishly checked the work schedule the second I saw the “Going to be in your area” email from friend and fellow blogger Another Day of Crazy http://anotherdayofcrazy.blogspot.com/ . I had been reading her blog for a couple months and she has been kind enough to be doing the same with mine. We had a very clear kinship and some freakishly similar parallels in our lives, not the least of which was a passion for wine and she had mentioned wanting to come by The Wine Country to do a little shopping while she was in town on a mini vacation of sorts. I of course was absolutely elated and wanted to spend some time with her….problem, her only time to visit was Saturday. Crud.
Saturdays at The Wine Country are our busiest day as I am sure it is with many retailers, the store is packed, we have our tasting and it is the day when all our buyers have the opportunity to tell people about their new discoveries and assist with gift buying, food pairing and whatnot. It’s a day when all hands are “on deck” as it were and having a lean staff means that taking a Saturday off is just a little too difficult…for everyone. Once I remembered that one of the team had a class that afternoon I knew that taking the day off was simply out of the question, the good news however was that I was not scheduled to close so I would be able, assuming that there was nothing needed of me, to cut out early and spend the couple free hours Another Day of Crazy had before her next commitment. Yay.
We made our plans and somewhere in the dash of back and forth emails there must have been some sort of mix up. I had mentioned that she should pop by around 3:00, that would give her enough time to taste through the wines we were pouring and seeing as the store is much more manageable after 4:00, when the tasting ends, I would be able to leave with her when it was over. Um, so like I said….little miscommunication and she arrived shortly after 1:00…when the tasting was just beginning. I felt a little pang of “Oh no” when I saw the tiny frame and sweet face come marching through the door. Head spinning and seeing a smirk, much like my own…go figure, spread across that face when she laid her eyes on me. I knew it had to be her, (She has no picture on her blog so she had to be the one looking for me not the other way around) and with my heart racing…both with the slight nervousness of coming face to face with someone you kind of know but have never met, and with the tiny bit of panic of knowing this poor woman had come all this way to meet me but the store was going to need me for at least the next three hours, I handed her a glass and simply said, “Welcome girlie”.
It ended up working out perfectly. Another reader/customer/friend was there and took my wee buddy under her wing a bit; introduced her around, took her to the table where the snacks were and as a long time taster just seemed to make Another Day of Crazy feel right at home while I was busy pouring and chatting up other customers. Before I knew the tasting was coming to a close, my visiting buddy was savoring the Barolo we were pouring and the mayhem was beginning to clear. Perfect. A quick scan of the sales floor assured me that I was fine to punch out and begin a real visit with the woman that had come there to meet me. She and I walked the floor a little and she picked up a couple of bottles of wine to take back with her but…well I just thought an occasion like this deserved a bit more of a celebration and I wanted to thank my other friend for being so welcoming to my newest buddy. How best to extend my gratitude to both of them, yeah you know what’s coming…Champagne.
I recalled Another Day of Crazy mentioning that she was not really a Champagne fan in response to one of my posts, but being the bubble lover I am I simply took that to mean that she had not had the good fortune to taste a really good one. Quick scan of the cold box and there it was. My Golden Ticket wine from a couple weeks ago, an icy cold bottle of NV Pierre Peters Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, fate I saw it being there as fate. I had just written about it, she had read it and my other buddy is an absolute fan, like I said fate. Standing there in the now nearly empty tasting room two Champagne lovers and one “Not so much a fan of” clinked glasses and toasted new friendships.
Absolutely thrilling for me to watch my wee buddy spin and sniff the Champagne out of one of our tasting glasses which is basically a Bordeaux glass, (and damn near bigger than she was) see her take it between her lips, watch as her eyes grew twice as wide. Shocked, she looked completely shocked. Now I suppose she could have just been yanking our chain when she told us how much she loved it but something in her face…the energy in her voice had us long time lovers of the bubble feeling like we had just witnessed a birth. As someone with a real passion for our little grower Champagnes it quite literally makes my heart soar when I can shine a light on or turn someone on to how truly fantastic they are. The Peters was showing brilliantly; roasted citrus, buttery pie crust, faint seashells and a very precise and powerful finish. One hell of a very serious wine….
“You know what she needs to taste now?” my other bubble lover said with a grin that assured me that I was in for quite the evening, “Billiot”. Knowing that Another Day of Crazy’s time was limited I asked a staff member to put the Pierre Peters and a bottle of H. Billiot Brut Rose on a hold ticket for me to pay the next day, poured the rest of the Blanc de Blancs for another customer that was milling about the tasting room, (was he elated) and for the staff as a refresher, chucked the Rose in my purse and we all headed over to, yeah you know what’s coming…Tracy’s.
Another Day of Crazy and I arrived first and chatted over cold martinis before the others got there. Truly amazing how reading someone’s blog does in fact build friendships, I felt as if we had known each other for years and our conversation shifted from niceties to the very personal seamlessly. Guess the Champagne probably didn’t hurt either. Other players now tucked in beside us at the table we got an ice bucket and flutes for the Billiot Rose….fucking flutes. Another toast, a quick sniff…nada, got nada on the nose, and a little sip and I was right back in my martini. All the sumptuous, curvy, mind-bending, sexy as hell, palate seducing fruit in the Billiot was reduced to fizzy pink stuff in a pretty shaped glass. Not only was the nose smothered the flavor in the wine fell way short when sipped through that tiny opening…sucked. For me to leave half a glass of one of my favorite Champagnes…like ever, choosing instead to sip away on the much more expressive gin in my martini, well if that is not a testament to glassware making a difference I’m not sure what is.
Another Day of Crazy, it was so very lovely to meet you, taste, laugh and talk with you. You are a very down chick and as was my assumption, I dug ya. Thanks for making the time to come visit, shop and taste at The Wine Country and for what I am sure was the ration of shit you ended up hearing after being late because you were playing with me at Tracy’s! You are absolutely adorable and I cannot wait to do it again….next time it’s Billiot out of big glasses for us.