Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beauty And The Beast

I’ve said it a million times. I’ve written about it here, bent customer’s ears and frankly bored the shit out of the people that spend any real amount of time with me with my almost compulsive need to point it out over and over again. I site it when I make my arguments about blind tastings, about any tastings really and have seen with my very own eyes people change their mind about something they thought they knew because of it. Wine is almost never just about what is in the bottle, it’s never that simple and for me that is one of the most compelling, interesting and sexy parts about it. What you are eating, your mood, the people you’re with….each of those things can add another layer of, seasoning if you will. More complexity, more intensity more “flavoring” of what is in the glass by what is on the plate or who is around the table. Sexy as hell to me but every once in awhile that element of trying to pair a wine to a situation….well it can backfire.

I recently had a long awaited moment, a profoundly important meeting an intricate blending of complex personalities that I felt warranted an equally complex and important bottle of wine. I even picked a restaurant kind of known for its simple, (read bland but fine) food…like an old school prime rib joint, one of those places that still serves shrimp cocktails and texturally unsound side dishes. I chose it because I knew there would be nothing on the menu that would interfere or fight to steal the attention away from the wine or the conversation, a place where the people and the wine would be in the spotlight. So yeah….backfire.

You ever one of those moments in your life where you can hear and feel yourself saying and doing things that are so unlike you, so hurtful and cruel that even while the hum from saying them is still vibrating in your chest that you simply cannot believe what is happening? Like some tweaked out, demonic brain cells have taken over and everything that passes through your ears gets so twisted by the time it reaches the little bastard that has taken over your brain that is has been turned into something completely different...something that causes the demon cells to flip that switch from civil to evil? Well it has happened to me maybe three times in my life; this long awaited night was one of them.

I brought one of my absolute favorite wines, a 1993 Hubert de Montille Pommard Rugiens a wine full of grace and regality….a wine so lovely and pure, a wine that was everything that I was NOT that evening and a wine whose delicate nature was obliterated, destroyed and eventually lost beneath the bile and ugliness of the situation. I was horrified by my behavior, my momentary loss of my sanity and civility…still am actually and to this day I cannot tell you what inspired or triggered my lunacy, not sure it matters really…it happened and there is nothing I can do to change that.

I have since been forgiven for being a nutbag that evening, matter of fact it seems that I was the one most hurt and the most devastated by the way that night unfolded, the way I unfolded and I am doing my best to just chalk it up to a, “Well everyone loses it once in awhile” thing. I’m working on it but little flashes of my snarling, snapping and frankly being a wicked bitch still flash on me along with pictures of my beloved wine being basically chugged down, used for its numbing abilities….trying to act as anti venom to the fierce flick of my tongue. We might as well have been drinking Rodney Strong Cabernet for all the attention we were paying….ugh.

My wine sacrificed to a situation…
Like I have said a million times, wine is about more than what is in the bottle and even a remarkably beautiful wine, a high scoring wine, a much coveted bottle of wine cannot compete, make or save every situation. Poor little Pommard….


John M. Kelly said...

OUCH! Rough going. Sounds like that will be one of those moments that haunts you at night when you can't sleep, thinking about the most humiliating events in your life. Let it go if you can - seems like the other party has?

But that really was a brain fart taking the de Montille to a rib joint. That's a "meditation wine" if I ever met one (term I picked up from the back section of the wine list at Enoteca Pinchiorri). Let's see - outdoor cafe with a light sea breeze, slanting afternoon light, a wedge of brie d'Affinois, slices of Bosc pear and apple, an airy baguette with butter and thin cru ham, maybe some spring radishes with sea salt. And a Pastis after the wine is gone.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

You can probably imagine that I've been known to ruin some lovely evenings with my own form of stupidity. If there's a wine involved, well, sadly, its reputation also sours. And, yet, the reverse is true. I recently experienced a new and amazing Champagne in a situation that has made it my favorite Champagne of all time. The company I shared it with was so amazing I barely remember what it tasted like, yet I am now deeply in love with it for it will always bring back memories of the occasion I first tasted it, felt it making all my boy parts tingle.

So it works both ways, I guess. And if the person you were a nutbag around has forgiven you, then you are blessed to be so loved and accepted. There are thousands of great wines in the world, but few great loves. The great loves are far more important.

I love you!

Your Ron (formerly HoseMaster)

Thomas said...

Cretins is cretins, but kindness even to them is warranted.

Live and loin, heh!

Samantha Dugan said...

You are correct my friend, I do in fact have nightmares about that night and find myself cringing when I think about it but I am trying to just let it go and do my best to learn from it. As for the brain fart, yeah no shit kid and if I had another bottle of that Pommard I would save it for a moment much more akin to the one you so beautifully paint here.

Ron My Love,
The person that took the worst of my lashings has in fact forgiven me and for that I will be forever grateful and connected to them for their spirit and true understanding of me. It is a great love indeed and I am beyond lucky to have such a forgiving and compassionate soul in my life. Oh and congratulations on the bubbly...and tingly bits!

A cretin pretty much sums me up that evening....ugh, but I am as you say living and learning.

Benito said...

I've got a hard and fast rule. If I get angry, if I'm in a bad mood, if everything is falling apart, it's time to hide the wine. Pull out the cheap liquor. If it's not yours, offer to replace it later.

You can't enjoy wine while angry. Pouring, sipping, tasting, drinking, it just doesn't work.

Samantha Dugan said...

Benito Baby....where were you when I needed your voice of reason?!

Sara Louise said...

Oh Sam, just reading this made me cringe as it brought back memories of my past where I stepped out of my body and watched as my evil twin went all bunny boiling nutso. In your case this time, maybe you can blame it on a bad plate of bland food, because it's certainly not because of the wine ;-)

Samantha Dugan said...


Just trying to go with a "Yup that happened" attitude and as I said I think I took it harder than anyone but each day away from it (along with some very sweet people assuring me that sometimes crazy just happens) makes me see that one night in the giant scheme of things is....just one night. Cannot spend too much time trying to figure it out or thump myself over it. Still pissed off that I ruined my wine though...argh!

Marcia Macomber said...

Dear Sam,

For a recent, long-awaited and long-anticipated meeting which I had thought through minute by minute, I declined the proffered glass of wine for a tall glass of water -- to keep all my senses in line. Just as I was trying to get into the meat of the meeting I deftly whacked the full glass over and water quickly flew across the table. It just barely managed to miss the poor guy's laptop. (Thank you to the powers-that-be.) He graciously mopped up the mess with reassurances of no-harm-done while I apologized profusely for being a clumsy oaf. Any chance of the meeting going as I had run it in my head vanished. Sheer disaster. I sounded like a complete idiot for the remainder of the discussion. Haven't done something like that in a couple of decades...but something just takes you over sometimes.

I was glad, however, I didn't spill a lovely wine. That truly would have been deadly.

Do Bianchi said...

@Samantha I just cannot begin to express how much I love this post. Its honesty and its brutality, the things you've said and the thoughts left unspoken... I think that posts like this really capture what great wine blogging is about: part inner catharsis, part informational, part soul-searching, and mostly revealing how wine is part of our lives and the fabric of the vicissitudes of life...

I was already a fan of your blog... but now? SHEESH!

Samantha Dugan said...

Awe thanks so much! This one was not as much fun as the Worth The Wait one but there is something about bearing your soul or sharing with people that seem to give a rat's ass that goes a long way in making you feel better. Getting gushed on doesn't hurt either...so thanks again.