A sound I hear several times a day, at least and each time can evoke a very different emotion, and I’m not even taking into consideration the madly quick “Zip” of tearing at the fly on my jeans, mostly because I don’t bother, I’m a wiggler-outer from way back. I’ve carried a backpack as a purse about as long as I can remember, (this here is where I like to remind everyone that doing “girl” really isn’t my strong suit. Before backpacks I had bowling bags, a wicker basket, a plastic lunchbox and even a toolbox for a bit…a metal one. Yeah, girl =’s fail) mostly because I do lug my laptop around but also being a mom you get used to having gigantor sacks to carry yours and other peoples crap around in. I look at those thin, shiny, clutch dealies and find myself muttering, “Don’t even think I could get my Chap-stick and wadded girlie stuffs in that!” so backpack it is and has been.
I plop my laptop in my backpack on my way to work and the “Zip-zip-zip” holds with it whatever I'm feeling about going into work that morning, the hangover and only one day off “Zip” less titillating than the “I gots me a bunch of appointments lined up and new wines arriving today” one. The sound of my zipping this blasted wheezing machine back in the sack for the trek home, again depends on what’s happening but the end of day one always carries with it a slight freedom or relief in that my day is done and I get to slip back into my home, wiggle out of my still zipped jeans and start preparing dinner before sloshing back some wine and nuzzling into my jammies.
I confess that there are days when I barely notice the zip, coming or going. Life has a way of filling your ears and mind with other details and worries. A way of shutting out the tiny emotions that can come when we just pay a little more attention. The one “Zip” I can never ignore, the long rectangle one. The fluid, “Ziiiipppp, ziipp, ziiiippp, ziipp” and jingle of the slider as is falls against the side of the bag. The luggage “Zip” also comes with a wide range of feelings, always better when it is your fingers releasing the slider, going somewhere, coming home…hearing someone else zipper up to leave, whole other feeling right? Little deeper heart sinking when the leaving zipper whispers its song.
For many years the worst was hearing Jeremy back in his childhood room, packing is huge duffel bag and luggage to head back to Kentucky for school on the other side of the world…a million miles from the heart that was missing him every day. I used to hear that, “Zip” starting the mornings he was leaving and no matter what shift I was working, I was busting my ass to get out the door. No long goodbyes and no mom at the airport, nope, no sir, couldn’t take it. I heard those teeth locking up tightly and I felt my jaw doing the same. My eyes narrowing as I set forth to not hear, not see, not to feel and most certainly not to say goodbye. Bad “Zip-zip-zip”.
When it’s my pudgy fingers tugging the slider, shoving all my junk into a bag and heading out to Europe, Kentucky, Northern California and even coming home, that “Zip-zip-zip” is one of the greatest feelings there is. Not even a sound anymore, it’s a sensation that brings with it excitement, anticipation, its own brand of sadness but more born of feared loneliness than that dreadful left-behind nonsense. Yeah, I love it when it’s my “Zip-zip-zip”…
I hear a zipper against leather and I can recall slamming my car door as a tiny girl, my mother’s over-sized bag containing a jillion unpaid bills, tissues, hidden bits of the chocolate she saved for her and her alone. The tobacco and lint covered wintergreen life-savers, packets of Jack-in-the-Box taco sauce…fuck, just thinking of those bags now I can smell that cacophony of ink, spent grease, sweetness and cigarettes. I hear that zipper spread open against a leather bag and that smell comes rushing back to me as well as the sound of my mother cursing as she dug for the little holder that contained her smokes and lighter. Slightly melancholy “Zip-zip-zip” but one that feels like a sweet kiss on the forehead…like a visit with my long ago.
“Are you sure?” the shaking voice of my first boyfriend. I could hear his heart thumping and feel his breath as it swished the hairs against my base of my neck, but it was the painfully slow way I pulled at his thick zipper, like we could hear each tick of spreading teeth, our very young bodies so not ready, but ready, that is with me to this day. He was so much taller than I was, his body thin, long, muscular and always with a sheen of fresh, fragrant sweat as he had ridden his bike like five miles to see me, always when we knew my mother would still be at work. I can remember the form fitting tank-top under the slippery and glossy bomber jacket he always wore. The smell of his skin, my breath, his eager question as I un-zipped, my anything-but-sure affirmation as I let go of the slider and bloomed beneath him. The unzipping of a woman, the feeling my teeth spread apart as I learned who, how and the way I wanted. That kind of “Zip-zip-zip” sexy, sweet, makes my neck go flush with the remembrances of misplaced kisses and muffled physical and emotional burgeoning.
Last week at the store I listened as forty something people asked with shaky voices, sat back, let me spread apart their teeth and let us pour my passion across their throbbing palates through the wines that I have spent the past 15 years of my life unzipping and exploring. Rather electrifying moment watching a group be seduced and persuaded. Seeing them reaching for more, sitting up high and tight when we passed with the next wine. Hearing the group groan as I tugged at their clinched teeth and opened them up to wines that were so vibrant and sensual that it left them speechless in a way I’ve yet to see in all my years doing these events. I took my pink-cheeked bow, smiled and reminded them of their special event pricing, thanked them from the bottom of my heart for letting me share, expose myself and my love, preened as they lapped it up before zipping up and heading over to my Champagne racks where they devoured those wines like teenage lovers. Unreal. That kind of reaffirming “Zip-zip-zip” well it is new one to add to my playbook…feel myself unzipping just thinking about it.
Friday night I poured both Brut Rose and Pinot Noir based grower Champagnes and the response to the wines was fucking remarkable. I had people hovering over the racks, mouths agape, tasting sheet slightly scrunched in their still tingling hands, “I…I don’t know what to do. I loved them all. Like each and every one of them” the words slipping from their Pinot Noir scented lips and working their own fingering on the zipper I try and keep locked up tight, the one that hides my pride and ache to be appreciated and understood. Those people returned the favor, they spread me wide open and now have me salivating…I want to give them more.
N.V. Gonet-Medeville 1er Cru Brut Rose ($54.99) One of the first wines to sell out, when I get it back in and you feel it spill across your palate and fill you with melon, citrus, the still wet stems of fresh cut flowers, well you will totally get why. The delightful texture and grace that the Chardonnay, (of which this wine is 70%, along with 27% Pinot Noir and 3% Pinot Meunier) lends reminds me of a wonderfully cut bodice of a gown, lifts and showcases all the best parts without letting it all hang out.
N.V. Saint-Chamant Brut Rose ($59.99) This was my “weird little wine” of the night. Comprised of 92% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier this was a mineral driven wine that for me, sort of stuck out in this setting. There was a ton of minerals and bits of aggressive yeast and while I do like that style I was craving more fruit here. I think Saint-Chamant makes heart-thumping Blanc de Blancs and their Rose mirrors that refinement and tang.
N.V. R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut Rose ($57.99) So this was my second to last Brut Rose and I poured them in this order because, well because the wines were Rose and yet most of them were made of mostly Chardonnay. Thought that was sort of cool actually. The blend is a little closer here with Chardonnay making up 55% and Pinot Noir picking up the rest and you can feel the weight and junk in the truck the second this wine fills your mouth. Peaches, apples, some yeast and toast but again a more restrained and delicate wine but it is that mouth filling that reminds you, this is Grand Cru, and isn’t letting you forget it.
N.V. Coessesns Brut Rose, ($74.99) The wine with the highest price tag and yet, still sold out! Made from 100% Pinot Noir this was when I was able to talk about what Pinot Noir has that Pinot Meunier will never, regality and length. Pale pink in the glass the wine seemed like it was just waiting for you to lean over for a sniff, the second your head is within its reach, it nabs you. Glorious layering of red fruit, brioche, spice, flowers and more red fruit. Not as dominating as say Billiot or Saves, but there is something woefully sexy happening here, and I want to unzip and learn more.
N.V. S. Coquillette 1er Cru Carte d’Or ($42.99) These wines are ridiculously underpriced and if I weren’t such a Champagne pimp I would keep them to my damn self but, when I think of people spending this amount on some sour, washed out, tanky Veuve Clicquot, Moet or Taittinger, well I have to keep sharing. Pinot Noir is again the biggest percentage here at 66% again it is the richness and texture, the mouth feel that grabs you and won’t let go. One of the toastier of the bunch this wine straddles that fruit to savory line, and does it perfectly.
N.V. S. Coquillette Grand Cru Les Cles Blanc de Noir ($47.99) This wine stole my heart at last year’s Champagne and Fried Chicken tasting so I worried that it wouldn’t preform as well sans salty nibbles, I was wrong. The 100% Pinot Noir damn near has fingers that come reaching from the glass, grab hold of your face and pepper you with tart red cherries, cooking spice and warmed sweet cream. Loves red meat so don’t be shy, drink and eat up…
N.V. Coessesns Blanc de Noir ($54.99) Blanc de Noir lets you know that we are once again talking 100% Pinot Noir here and we are talking Pinot Noir poured into a sundress, or a baggy pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, whichever makes your heart thump around in your chest. Power, edge, fruit, minerals…balance and this wine is always in charge. Doesn’t get too much sexier than this.
N.V. R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut ($39.99) Yeah, look at that price and where this wine lined up in the tasting, it’s that good. Not a shy or coy wine by any means, in fact it is another powerhouse that demands you notice it and I’d like to think if you even tried to pour this curvy, masterfully produced wine in a bullshit flute that it would slap the shit out of you. Yeast, dark fruit, melted butter and toasted nuts all with a chewy mouth feel. Crazy how undervalued this wine is.
N.V. H, Billiot Grand Cru Brut Reserve ($58.99) Another seller-outter that night and a wine that I was gratefully able to nab another case of. Deeply saturated, astoundingly rich and palate staining as the layers of toasted bread, slowly baked apples and melted butter fight for your attention. Billiot goes all over the place and I fall in and out of love but right now, it is hot and heavy this thing with Billiot and me…
N.V. Camille Saves Grand Cru Carte d’Or (72.99) Game Changer. Always is and the new release is the same. I often refer to the wines from Camille Saves as “A librarian in fishnets” and odd as that might sound to those of you that have yet to, feel that sensation, the ones that have are already nodding along. A stunningly intellectual wine that is also as sexy as they come. Imagine the sexiest person you can…now imagine them talking politics or quantum physics. Kinda leaves you speechless no? Yeah, so does this wine. Broad, full, expansive fruit that washes along the sides of the mouth and refuse to let go, not that you want them to. The finish is relentless and with your heart thumping away in your chest you find yourself feeling fucking appreciative of its stubbornness. You may never want it to leave…too bad there isn’t too much to get. Grab them while you can, trust me.
After a night tasting these wines, feeling myself being spread apart and exposed for the lucky wine slinger I am, I have to ask....
Care to be unzipped?