Thursday, October 20, 2011

Soft Southern Touch Part I



“Kroger has proven unreliable. Roast beef sandwich is leveling though”

The text message from Suburban Wino Joe. The one that woke the husband and I up, and after rubbing my still makeup encrusted eyelids I could just make out the time on the clock, “Merde!”

 The three of us had rumpled a perfectly civilized evening into a night of dudes named Cyntrell with Lee Press On foil wrapped teeth, (who did give me the once over and asked me if I was married….still got “it” thank you very much) Jameson shots, Irish pubs, adorable new friends in the form of Adam with the big sweet grin and fish hook on his hat, (still have not gotten to the bottom of that there tradition. Will get back to you when I do) a kid around my sons age swearing that I couldn’t be forty, (again with the thank you very much…and Joe, shut up with the spouting a woman’s age, jackhole) and my insistence on buying Joe a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, aka Boo Pecoche upon hearing that he had never tried it before. I’m told I got a bartender’s invite to 11:00 AM oysters out of the deal but we had plans to see Benito who was wise enough to bolt directly after our two martini dinner at The Beauty Shop, (he was rushing home to cook for us…so he says) and missed the gloriousness of way more booze, fist pumping-barstool dancing to the classics like Erotic City and the oh-so deep conversation that nights like this inspire. He chose braising beef over pickled liver, go figure.



Slammed my cell on the desk and bolted to the shower giving the two water glasses of half consumed red wine sitting beside my untouched laptop a, “Huh?” face on the way. So you know those mornings when you are in such a panic you don’t quite notice the raging “I think I’m still drunk” voice that screams in your ears and thumps against your scull the second you tilt your head back to wash your hair? Yeah, it was one of those. I don’t say this with a proud pounding of my keys, it was an unfortunate night of Damn Old Chicks Gone Wild, the DVD is available through, “Don’t Be Mad, It’s Yo Momma” productions or as a gift with purchase of Zantac & bunion removers at your local Walgreens pharmacy. I’m not at all bragging and I half suspect that Joe will think twice about driving any distance to hang with this  end-of-the-night-red-wine-pushing, shot-ordering, yellow-label-buying doofus anytime soon.  Poor bastard.

Sent a, “We might be a little late” text to Ben as I fruitlessly tried to squish my bits back into place, (ever seen a sausage being made? Sigh…) in order to not look like Quasimodo which was a complete and total fail. Managed to wriggle into my jeans just as Joe knocked on our hotel room door, grabbed my upper coverings and headed to the bathroom to change, being sure to give Joe my biggest….full of shit, “I’m not in pain and I would so hate you right now if I didn’t know this was all MY fault” grin. Grabbed a big ass liter bottle of water on our way out the door and through lemon-faced squinched eyes assured both Joe and my husband that I did in fact have the address where we were going. Um. You know that fail thing, did it again. Through a series of phone calls and some very annoying husband huffing we turned onto a tree lined street to see Ben, glass in hand and apron fastened, waving. 



“Feel free to run through those bitters and make yourself a martini” there were harps and I’m pretty sure it was God himself reaching down, touching my shoulder…which gave me that same kind of pee shiver you get, erm, used to get, when you “went” in the ocean. The husband’s huffing squelched in the face of dealing with anyone beside his, “I thought that was the address” wife, the smell of bacon and gin in the air, a fistful of bottles and an opener in my front pocket. No matter how far I was from my comfortable little couch spot, this was home.

I slipped into the comfortable action of opening bottles between sips of the martini that I didn’t need, and couldn’t finish like I was dipping each leg into the snuggly softness of my most worn and life drenched pajamas. Joe’s nearly astonishingly beautiful eyes, the ones I had seen over and over again in the form of pictures he posted on Facebook of his beautiful baby girl, Ben’s instruction and introduction of the people that were meeting for the first time, the gracious woman, (Grace, we are now in love) who offered her home for this rather geeky event, and what we were to eat and how he thought it was best to start. Voices I had heard, in the virtual, now slipping through the wisps of hair that cover my ears and landing deep in the pit of my stomach, nuzzling into that space they have secured in my heart. Their voices, like actual voices, almost foreign…at first but the power and people behind them? The way Ben can ark my eyebrow and switch my tone, the way Joe can make me laugh so hard I fear I might shoot something out my nose, nearly felt something like settling down at Thanksgiving dinner.  Through opening my heart, yelling at times, oozing my me-ness through something as impersonal as a computer these people knew me, choose to welcome and embrace me and here I was, face to sweet, (theirs not mine, need I remind you I was in full Quasimodo) face with them.



Joe and I started popping corks and Carl chatted up the lovely ladies at the table while Ben bounced around the kitchen stirring, chopping, taking sips of his own martini. We opted, as most do, to start with bubbles, I placed the now slippery with sweat bottles on the table and grabbed the 2009 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Les Argiles that I brought for the “We don’t do bubbles” ladies. It was if the bottles merely being open started a form of intoxication, the conversations got just a little louder, the comfort level rising right up to our chins as we jumped into our shared passion, and geekdom with both feet. Hangover nearly forgotten as I put on my “Ohhhh what’s that?” hat and poured myself a taste of a sparkling wine from Georgia.



2009 Wolf Mountain Blanc de Blancs
We were, (as I almost always insist on, cuzz I’m bossy like that) drinking this bubbly from wine glasses not flutes so I can’t speak to the bead or fineness of bubble outside how it landed on the palate, which was gentle enough and reminded me of the better sparklers from California. Restrained fruit, in fact far more than I expected…being the snoot that I am, I had expected the wine to be fruitier even than California sparklers. In fact I got a nice bit of lemon cream, almost custard like that carried through on the gentle, if a bit one dimensional finish. Have no idea what this wine sells for but it was a nice, simple sipper that I think most would be thrilled with.

I tried to be cool but considering my hunchback status I wasn’t really able to pull that off and seeing as I had been eyeballing one of Joe’s wines since he posted it on Facebook, Extra Brut from a producer I had heard of but hadn’t tasted because of my particular feeling for the importer. I know, I know, jackass move but when there is so much great wine to taste, smell and sell, just can’t see going out of my way to promote wines from someone that had, in the past, been somewhat mean to me and people that I respect. Well now I was able to taste the wine on Joe’s dime, (thanks buddy!) and the second I dipped my nose beneath the rim of my glass….it was over.



NV  Ulysse Collin Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs
I was hoping to dash off some notes on my smarter than I am phone but as always, delightfully, seems to happen in these gatherings, well I was just caught up in the geeking back and forth to do so. The aromatics were simply breathtaking, that sultry combination of apple skin, baked citrus, seashells and warm butter, if I was alone I would have spent a good hour with my nose in the glass. Watching the wine evolve, shed some nerve and fatten in the glass, but I was trying to be all social and shit so I went for the sip. Fuck. I thought the aroma was bewitching. There was a severity to the way the wine trounced onto the tongue, not graceful or delicate, a mouth stomping power just rolled in and took over. More toasty, buttery notes on the palate but it was the weight and structure that made me this wine’s bitch. I ended up going back to it after lunch and found that it had in fact gotten bigger but there was a grace that was now emerging, reminded me of those old black and white movies where you would see a stunning woman appear, all sleek and perfectly regal through a cloud of smoke and the closer she got the clearer and more beautiful she became…it was like that. This thick, massive cloud dissipating leaving a sleek and gorgeous thing that you find yourself wanting to devour. I am going to be hunting this down and bringing it into the shop for sure.

The rest of the wines, for me anyway, simply proved as backdrop and lift to the fantastic Beef Bourguignon that Ben had prepared for us…while we were out get snockered, yeah, he’s a better person than I. The Dagueneau Blanc Pouilly-Fume was aromatically lovely and did in fact have the girth to hold up to the deeply braised dish but I found it still a little tightly wound in the mouth which proved to be a bit of a distraction. The Ostertag Pinot Noir, the wine that now wears the not-so-proud distinction of being my, “Bra Stainer” (don’t ask, I have no idea) which was opened post Irish bar and Boo Pecoche, simply lacked the weight and depth to hold up to the rich food. It was the Ronchi di Cialla, (a little wine I fell madly in love with while in Friuli last February) that I chose to hunker down with while eating. The freshness being just the thing I craved after slipping a heaping swath of rich broth between my lips.



The pace at lunch began to slow, the clanking of silverware a little less fierce and once again the voices began to bubble up. The conversation or conversations I should say, as they seemed to be happening around the table simultaneously as varied as the half-drunk bottles of wine. The hangover now replaced with that fuzzy feeling of warm food, succulent wine and delicious friendship. I thought of a very dear friend as I sat there, watching Joe and Ben laugh and Carl coo at the ladies, remembered the many times he shared his almost vitriolic feeling about all things internet based; blogs, Facebook even email at times and while I respect and somewhat understand that I couldn’t help but think, it’s kind of what you make of it...



When I first started blogging I tried to read them all, fuck was that boring as shit, and tried to comment as much as I could, both in an effort to support the author and, to be honest, get my name out there but….after a while it became nothing but a chore and I too began to hate it. Then I started weeding people out, getting rid of the garbage that bored the shit out of me, stopped caring how many people knew my name and instead focused on spending time, even over the internet, with people that truly brought something to my life. Showed me another side of things, taught me something about California wines, amazed me with their knowledge of fonts and scary black chickens, regaled me with Spam pairings and stops to sausage Meccas…made me laugh so hard my eyes would water and stunned me with their amazing gift to loop words together so brilliantly that I could feel their breath on my skin…from hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away….



Ben & Joe, you two have given me something far and beyond chuckles, scary chickens and sparkling wine from Georgia. You’ve become a part of my life and I simply cannot imagine not visiting with you, be it in Memphis, California or over the ether. I adore you both and I quite humbly thank you from the bottom of my heart.

25 comments:

Carolyn Blakeslee said...

Holy cow! What a great post. You can't spell for shit LOL but you are a BRILLIANT writer. Good Lord let this woman continue to mine her gift and to share it with the rest of us. P.S. I used to tease my oldest kiddo about her spelling too. She is a brilliant opera soprano / musical theatre triple threat. She spells even worse than you do, and I love to say to her, "It's a good thing you can sing." Well it's a good thing YOU can sing!

Benito said...

Shedding a little tear here in Memphis, darlin'.

For the record, I ditched Friday night's Irish bar festivities mainly to run home and let the old dog out since I'd been at work all day long and didn't get a chance to go home before partying. Plus you can't serve bœuf bourguignon fresh, it has to be at least 12 hours old. :)

I had fun hanging out with you and Carl last year during your visit, but this time it was ten times better... I had so much fun, and we had a great group for that Saturday gathering. All I'm asking at this point is that when you come to Memphis to see Grace, let me know if I'm allowed to attend.

Cheers,
Benito

Samantha Dugan said...

Carolyn,
Guilty. Can't spell for shit. Hated school and opted to hightail it out of that joint just after 9th grade. Grammar and my lack of comprehension of all that it is, is one of my many short comings. Thanks for slugging through, (which I know can be tough when errors hit you like white heat) and finding something pleasurable. This post was written in two pieces and honestly, I've had the worst fucking day....just kinda glad I was able to pound something out. Thanks for checking in lady.

Anonymous said...

Damn! You have a way with words lady! That's it...I'm speechless. Can't wait to see you Friday night.
xoxo, Heather

Samantha Dugan said...

Ben,
It was such a great time and I was absolutely bummed to leave the house that afternoon. I'm sure we would have finished those bottles and I can only imagine where the conversation would have gone from there. It felt very much like visiting family and as someone that never had much of that, well I can't thank you enough.

Heather,
Oh shut up. You know I already love you so no need to suck up. You were the very first person to walk up to me and tell me that you liked my blog....like face to face and that moment is always with me. You are the best and I cannot wait for tomorrow night!

Joe said...

worth the wait. summed up the events in a way Benito or i could never even begin to elaborate.

apologize for my lack of decorum with the age thing. I assumed that guy was a regular reader and already knew. Anyway, it's happened before and will happen again. As my wonderful/patient wife will tell you, "I am no gentleman".

I offer no apology for waking you guys up with my William Faulkner stream-of-consciousness texts. That's your own damn fault, Ms. Jameson shot (though I appreciate you ordering the proper Catholic stuff and not that vile Protestant swill).

You held your cards close on the Ulysse Collin. You've introduced me to so many amazing Champagnes. Thrilled I could return the favor. See if you can find his Blanc de Noirs while your at it.

Truly a lunch that will go not be forgotten. Carl is tremendous, and the same could be said for our hosts.

Don't be a stranger 'round these parts. We like having you two around.

Samantha Dugan said...

Joe,
Was a great visit and I mean it when I say you guys felt like family. You and I both touched on the same thing, (no, not the bottle of Boo) in that there can be a real sense of community, when chosen wisely, here through this somewhat amazing resource. I'm not a fan of friend harvesting and I fully understand why some people find this venue impersonal. The trick is, finding people you truly find interesting, have something in common with and actually look forward to spending time with....then it really is no different than hanging with your friends, like the ones that live in your city and junk.

Yeah, that Collin was fucking brilliant. I wasn't holding my cards close kid, just not one of those people that oozes and whatnot, least not in person. In fact I thought my wine recaps in this post were pushing it....

Can't wait to do it again!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Yeah, I'm the guy who disdains FaceBook and Twitter--hell, I don't even like cellphones. If I want to make friends, well, that stuff won't help me. I'd need a personality transplant.

I am genuinely envious of the friendships and love you've formed through your blog. Talent attracts interesting people, and, you, My Love, have unGodly talent. Spelling and punctuation are overrated, like indigenous yeast and unfiltered. When you get going, when you're in full Samantha mode, ain't nobody in the blogosphere qualified to carry your underpants.

I'd say I wish I'd been there, but I'd be lying. I mean the party, not your underpants. I do wish I'd been there. Benito and Ed (what the fuck is his name, anyway? though I love his blog, Subhuman Wino) had the sense to treat you as family, I'd have just been the white kid in the corner playing the banjo.

Somehow I don't think all bloggers have your kind of fan club. Most don't have any fan club. But we all can't believe our good fortune in having stumbled on Samantha Sans Dosage.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
That wasn't a stumble that landed you here....it was me tripping you as I just couldn't wait any longer for you to be here. Both in this place and in my heart where you belong. Great love, can at times, take a tremendous amount of work, for You...well I would sit here every night pounding away until dawn. You have changed my life in more ways than you will ever really know...now wanna play that banjo on MY knee?
I love you too!

Romes said...

Man, now i'm really bummed, I'm supposed to be there right now drinking, eating and just hanging out in our PJs. Instead, I'm in my office, hacking like a 60 year smoker, bummed to all get out that I'm not going to see you. I guess I shouldn't be totally jealous of the southern crowd, since I get to Long Beach more than most, but still, I'm freaking pouting - and my mom always said a rooster was going to poop on my lip when I did that - I'd rather some slippery red burgundies on my lips... Miss you - will find a way to see you soon.

Samantha Dugan said...

Jess,
You should have been there. Without question one of the best events we have ever done. Don't want to rub it in but, seriously it was unreal. Etienne was on fire, just charming as hell and bubbling with information. Michael was, well he was Michael and that is always, always a very good thing. The wines, fucking stunning. I might even have to post about it and I so wish you were here right now, both of us in our jammies giggling about what and amazing night of wine it was. Of course, I canceled on tearing up LA with them seeing I would have been alone, so if they are sad....your fault!

Joe said...

Subhumans are people too. Just a lower-grade of people.

After 3 years of this BS, I've finally been made fun of in a public forum by the Hosemaster.

Now I can shut this shit down and focus on my true passion: cat blogging.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Pounding away until dawn sounds great to me!!

The remarkable love we found in the blog world has definitely made me a better man, changed my life in ways I could never have believed. You're a remarkable woman.

I love you!

Joe, or Ed, or whatever you're calling yourself these days,

I quit HoseMaster before I had the chance to spoof SubHuman Wino, but you were on my list, right behind Bigger Than Your Microcephalic Head.

And you haven't got a chance to be a famous cat blogger. Have you even seen the competition? STEVE! on Pussy? It's fantastic.

However, I may be underestimating you. Samantha says you cough up a helluva furball.

Samantha Dugan said...

Joe,
I said no such thing. I didn't even mention the hot chicken.

Joe said...

Ron, provides that's a tasteful way to describe the hot chicken episode, then- yes- I "cough up hair balls" with the proficiency of a Szechuan hot-pot enthusiast.

Perhaps not appropriate for a classy joint such as this, but SubHuman Wino is all about the degenerate perspective.

-Jed (let's meet in the middle here)

Do Bianchi said...

Ronchi di Cialla! :)

So glad that wine is part of your life, Sam! :)

And btw, Carlolyn, I'm with you! The girl can SING!

Samantha Dugan said...

Joe,
Classy? I knew you were a skimmer!

Jeremy,
Because of you that wine is a part of my life. I love it and I absolutely adore you!

Marcia Macomber said...

Yay! Classic Sans Dosage post! I do loves me some scrambling Samantha to remind me we're ALL stumbling through this life as fast as possible. (And it's ever so much nicer to do so with those lovely wine descriptions. A bit of living vicariously thru Ms. Dugan in front of the screen.)Thx.

John M. Kelly said...

When can we get these guys out here to partay with us? We'd have our own Rat Pack. You'd be our Marilyn. Ron would be Joey Bishop. I'd be Sammy Davis Jr (OK I can't soft-shoe but I can COOK, man!). Everybody else choose your avatar.

Samantha Dugan said...

Marcia,
Stumbling doesn't even begin to encapsulate that day. Glad to entertain there lovely lady. The wines were nearly as delicious and the company.

John,
Gawd, I've missed you! How's harvest going love?

John M. Kelly said...

"How's harvest going?" - What? Don't you read all the other blogs and media? It's the end of California wine as we know it! Everything's going to be light and thin and tres Continental!

But seriously. It's late, and light. There was a little more Botrytis in our Pinot than I'm used to, and a little less in the Rhone varieties (so far). I just got back from punching down only 9 bins of Pinot (should have been, like, 20) and they smell amazing, heavenly.

My old sidekick left to work for HdV - more money for less hours, and he hopes he can score a gig at DRC if all goes well. Or at least another trip to Burgundy. The new guy is great but out for a couple of days dealing with personal stuff, so I'm not selling any wine just now. And I'm getting behind on paperwork. SSDD.

And I gotta hand it to that Ron Washam cat - he's writing all sorts of nice stuff about me and our wines at that new gig of his. It's blowing me up!

Miss you too.

Samantha Dugan said...

John,
You should know better, I don't read that prognosis bullshit. I get my information the old fashioned way, by talking with the people who are actually out there working the harvest. Silly me I know but I just have way more faith in the people that are doing rather than those guessing.

Glad to hear the Pinot is smelling amazing and I can't wait to hear more, you know how I love it when you talk wine at me....RAWR.

Eddie left?! Now who is gonna scope babes with you?! I hope it was amiable split and that things work out best for both of you.

So Ron's been pimpin' you real good huh? Glad to hear it and I hope you both made at least a little money on the deal. That Ron, he can talk one hell of a game, how the hell you think I ended up with fit-to-your-cleavage tastevin? Nice to hear from you kid...

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