Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brutal But Fabulous

My weekend started much like everyone else’s, on Friday evening but unlike those of you that may have been home or out getting your party on, I was playing host, working still but…the host of another Champagne event at The Wine Country. The night was devoted to the rich, luscious Pinot Noir based wines from Ambonnay and Bouzy. Supple, weighty, amazingly voluptuous wines full of expressive fruit, silky textures and long haunting finishes, um…rawr.

A bit of drama prior to the event, (last minute cancellation, pissing and moaning that they didn’t want to be charged. Oh never mind the 8 people I had on a waiting list that could have come, and the money the store is losing by your no-show. You don’t want to be charged the “half the amount” we tell you about when you sign up…and is on the website, oh and is on the flyers you read about the class on…grumble) had me in a bit of a huff. I hate that kind of harsh reality before I am about to jump around in some magnificent Champagne. Not to mention what it does to the nerves of this horrifically shy, “Wine girl” that is about to step before a room full…less 2….of people that want me to like teach them and junk, grrrrr.

I was fretting about the pissed off guy, the fact that some people were running late, the constant churning in my tummy from the stage fright and I was worried that the wines were not cold enough, stinked. Just when I was wondering if I might need a shot of Whisky to keep going the coolest and most alarming thing happened…

“Hi guys! Rachie and I are here!” Amy arrived with her adorable, (but just as crazy) sister Rachel. Amy was there to help lead the event…and drink Champagne and Rachel had flown down from Northern California to party with her soon to be departing sister….and drink Champagne. My mood was instantly lifted, I was damn near cheery as I watched the attendees shuffle in for the event. “Are you excited about our big weekend?” Rachel asked with a giant evil grin plastered across her cute little face….fuck, I had forgotten. So you know this big holiday weekend deal, turns out I had to work the whole damn time, oh but that did NOT stop me from making plans with Rachel and Amy…how many brain cells does it take to open a bottle of wine anyway?

The wines that night, freaking remarkable. Each flight seemed to perfectly build on the last, the not-too-cold wines were shaking their stuff, flaunting their round bodies and ample fruit and seemed to put a spell on the whole damn crowd. Big, powerful and decadent in that fruit driven, not oppressively yeasty kind of way. I once described the wines from Camille Saves as, “A librarian…in fish nets” and they were working their intellectual, proper, (as in correct) flawlessness right along with that curvy, mouth filling, “Damn….” thing, they were brilliant but, I was wrecked…totally wrecked by the down-right slutty wines from H. Billiot. Where the Saves wines were flirty, the H. Billiot wines were nekkid, buck nekkid and doin’ it oh so well. They stole the show for me, the Brut Reserve, the Brut Rose and the Cuvee Julie…seduced, I was seduced by each one. So no wonder the rest of the evening happened right? (Oh for those that give a rat’s ass, these wines will be written up both here and in The Wine Country newsletter)

We finished the class, cranked the disco while cleaning up and I did my, “We rule” Sam dance once I checked the numbers for the evening…we did really well, okay we were fine but the wines did really well! A couple of regulars, (cough-Vicki-cough) that come to all my events, the ones that help me clean up for leftovers, yeah a couple of them were feeling so great they decided they were down for….The Vortex. Not just The Vortex but The Vortex with another Amy, holy Christ…poor fools.

We gathered the bits of remaining, (after the helpers had their share) Champagne, bought a bottle or two..just in case and headed over to Amy’s to keep the party going…right, right? I remember Champagne, I remember coming in from the outside where I was smoking to find that some smoking was going on inside, dancing…there was lots of dancing, (explained the chaffing rash the following morning. Always fun that) and by the time I left there was at least 2 people sleeping, or “sleeping”. Fell into bed at around 3 am to have the alarm scream at me at 7….had to open the store and prepare for a Paso Robles wine tasting…rad.

Trudged through the tasting that due to the holiday weekend was less packed than we had feared, tasted one or two things and can I just say, Paso wines after a long indulgent night, mean it was just mean….chopped cheese, cleaned up, assisted customers, all with this looping around in my head, “Goodnight Sam, can’t wait to do it again tomorrow night!” Rachel…sigh, Rachel. So after dragging my limp ass through a long work day after way too little sleep I had agreed to another Vortex evening, someone has GOT to make a cream for this affliction.

Sloppy Joes, (I love you Aims but, man I hate those things. Yours were the best I have had but I still hate them, it’s a loose meat thing) homemade fries, pasta salad, buckets of Rose, (the L’Hortus being the stud foe sho), some Saint-Bris and a corked bottle of Jobard Meursault later, the girls were sitting in the backyard, cloud of smoke building above us, and we were solving the world’s problems. Airing Obama’s speech in the classroom-SOLVED, female erotica and the lack thereof-SOLVED, sexual questions-SOLVED…we handled some shit back there for sure. Got home at a respectable 2 am to have the freaking alarm whaling at me once again, oh yea…working Sunday morning too.

“Don’t even bother calling me, I’m going home” was the last thing I remember saying to Amy before climbing into the hubby’s car for the achingly long drive home. Got to work and just barely made it through, dragging…and Sunday shoppers, not always the easiest. My supporting staff stepped up and took on much of the needy nonsense that I was in no shape for and just when I thought I was out of the woods…a text, see she didn’t call, “We have some people over, come over for a cocktail when you get off” Amy of course. As much I long to spend every second I can with her right now, I was spent. The only thing that sounded at all appealing to me was taking off my shoes, ripping off my work clothes and retiring with a glass of wine in my most comfy white T-shirt. I blew off the text with a, “Are you trying to kill me?” reply.

Got home just in time to read the newest text from my evil little muse, “Change of plans. Going to play poker in Hawaiian Gardens” that one I chose to ignore…be well my wild ones, this old bird needs a night off. I had no sooner settled into my uber chill, “I’m so done for the night” puddle on the couch than a neighbor came over….to play with the hubby and I. It was his birthday weekend and he had just returned from a night in LA with his lovely wife…sans kiddies, how could we resist? Truth is we dig the hell out of that cat, so I perked up the moment he came over, we talked and partied long into the evening…Oh and Todd, those stale ass fruit snacks you bought at BevMo, (May dude, they expired in May….bad store, come shop with me!) all I can say is, “That’ll teach you”.

So Monday morning I awoke to not a screaming alarm, just the humming of the bedroom fan. Such a soothing moment, cool air skimming my skin and nowhere to go for hours, I just lay in bed, humming…soothing, letting myself relax, bliss. I stumbled to the coffee pot, loaded up on caffeine and nicotine, listened to music and putzed around on my computer. Pretty much how the whole day went, aside from switching out the coffee for Pastis. Spent the afternoon resting up, well because…..we had another party that night.

“Lafon or De Montille Volnay for tonight?” I text Amy, “Lafon” she replied so I knew what I was bringing to dinner. We were being treated to a farewell dinner for Amy & Sexy Bitch by our friends, Nancy and Joahn. We got there a few minutes late, lots of traffic on holidays, and the Champagne was already flowing…you know those moments when you think, “Fuck it. How much more retarded could it get?” yeah, I had one of those. Sucked back the Champagne, moved on to the Lafon Macon-Uchizy and then into the 2000 Lafon Volnay with the Flinstonian steaks Nancy prepared for dinner. I was not going to muddy this “drunkard's confession” post with wine details but that Lafon Volnay, simply stunning. So elegant, flawless, complex but gentle. The wine splashed across my palate, thrilling me with black cherries, smoke and cooked meat seasoned with fragrant herbs. The mouth feel was so soft, creamy and delicate…the finish, ethereal, what a remarkable bottle of wine, seems too small to call it a bottle of wine, it was a moment.

From there we moved on to a 2002 Eric Texier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc that Amy brought, let’s just say that after one sip of that, dessert was so not needed! Rich, opulent and loaded with spiced peaches, fennel and honey. The wine was super weighty and held onto our palates with a death grip. Maybe a bit much for me while I was chatting and hanging, but the geek side of me was pinging. When the others were mid conversation I found myself obsessing over the layers in the wine, the way it stuck to the glass…oozing down the sides and dribbling down upon itself causing little ripples across the now still wine that had already settled. Flavor was “Meh” for me, maybe a bit too aggressive, but the texture made me insane. Can’t always be primary right, nor should it be….damn, I love this wine stuff.

Made our way home at a very respectable 11-ish, had a glass of something cold and fell into bed….SCREAMING, back to work today…oh, and did I mention it is deadline week for the newsletter? Wish me luck!!

Nancy and Johan thanks for a lovely meal, feisty conversation and for sharing your lovely view with us.

Vicki, Um, I told you...glad you had a chance to be, "Vortexed" before Amy moved.

Michael, thank you so much for the bottle of 2000 Lafon Volnay, it was loved by all.

Amy and Rachel, I love you two but Jeebus! Seriously, are you trying to kill me? It's Call-0 right, you guys are after my Call-o. Whatever, you have my love, laughs AND my liver.


Benito said...


Just think--if you worked in a Tennessee wine shop you'd never have to work Sundays or Federal holidays. Of course you'd have to put up with all the other crap, and our party scene might not be up to your specifications... ;)


Samantha Dugan said...

Good point. Probably could not even do a Champagne class in the store right? Just don't get those restrictions and wacky laws...okay to bring a gun into a bar but not pour wine in a wine store?!? Ah well, whadda ya gonna do right? Oh and somehow I'm thinking hanging with you amd Michael there would be plenty of party scene.

Merzie said...

I'm after your Call-O!!!!

Last weekend was nothing...football Sunday...I'm just sayin.

Samantha Dugan said...

My darling girl, what's mine is yours! I know, football Sunday, starting at 9:00 am.....sigh, can't wait!

Michael Hughes said...

Sam- If you lived here I think I might spontaneously combust...seriously

It would be such an enjoyable explosion!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I just going to sit here and imagine you drinking and dancing. Billiot's got nuthin' on you. OK, maybe a few spots, but nuthin' in the buck nekkid fantasy department.

Aargh--is it football season already?!!

I love you

Your HoseMaster

vickibarkley said...

Football Sunday? This Sunday? The Vortex? Is that what's nudging the foggy corners of my brain?

That Vortex'n was some fun insanity!

Samantha Dugan said...

One of these days one my trips to Louisville I will HAVE to come haunt you....what a way to go right?

My HoseMaster,
I am always Nekkid with you Darlin! I love you too you adorable thang you.

Brutal and fabulous that Vortex right? Glad you could make it even happier you survived, (was worried when you did not turn out for the tasting).

vickibarkley said...

Oh yeah, the tasting! Wabe tried to get me there. I was having none of it! I had a cheese hangover, and the thought of Paso was not pleasant! ;-)

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay blame the cheese, I've used the, "Flu" before so who I am to judge?

Nancy Deprez said...

So awesome having you guys over, and have to concur the wines were terrific, everything from that delicious Champagne I never remember the name of (have you got more back in yet?), to the Uchizy (what a terrific delicious bright and perfect Chardonnay!!!), to the 2000 Volnay (yum, yum, gimme some), to the rich, weighty, fleshy, but not severly alcoholic Chateauneuf du Pape blanc...... and back to Champagne.... life does not suck. :)

Hansie Scott said...

Champagne and wine, good food and maybe a Cuban cigar are all that make life so special. Cuban cigars are so fine that one will be forgiven to think that these are inimitable. That's what Cuban cigars are all about. You do deserve to check out the best cigars online.