Time: A Few Years Ago
Location: A Poorly Stocked Wine Store in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur
The Players: Bill and Roberta, Dave and Mary Jane, Numerous American Retirees, and One 30-Something Yuppie Store Owner Undoubtedly from the American California
“This is one of Baja’s best wines,” he said, indicating a dark red bottle. “Can I pour you a glass?”
“How much?” I asked.
“For a case?” I teased him.
“A glass,” he countered.
“At that price, it must be good,” I replied.
“You’ll love it,” he said. “It’s an artesanal wine.”
“What does that mean in the land of beer and tacos?”
“Small batches. Hand-crafted by dedicated wine people who know their terroir.”
“Sure,” I said. He poured for Roberta and me. I sipped.
“Notes of blackberry,” he announced. “A subtle balance of intensity and spirit.”
Jug wine, I thought, this is even inferior jug wine, but kept silent.
“What do you think?”
I glanced at Roberta, who was trying to keep from laughing while she sipped the same thing.
“What do you think?” he repeated.
Three-Buck Chuck is ten times better entered my mind. Roberta shrugged and winked, waiting for me to cut this pretentious ass into small ribbons of sour grapes. I took a smaller sip just to be sure. Mary Jane looked over, expecting me to ask the guy if this was the first red wine he had ever tasted.
“Wonderful, isn’t it?”
I almost said, If Thunderbird ever made a red wine, I would buy it instead for two bucks a bottle. At least I didn’t spit it out all over his counter,
He waited for me to rave about it. Instead, I stared at him for a long five seconds, gently set the nearly full glass in front of him, turned, and walked out of his shop without a word. Roberta, Bill, and Mary Jane followed me, grinning.
“Let’s go home and have some real wine,” Roberta suggested, looking to see if I was angry.
“Great idea,” I said, smiling, and we all walked to the car.
I sure have matured in my old age, I thought. Don Rickles slowly revolved in his grave.