Sunday, June 5, 2011

How Sweet It Is

“120 people. Heading home and in serious pain”

The text message I sent my husband just before loading a box of wine into my car, adjusting my seat trying to find any position that would quiet the screaming in my back, slipping the key in the ignition and melting into the silence of my warmed by the sun car. I slipped a James Taylor CD into the stereo and let his warm, creamy voice wrap around me like arms, scooping me up and letting me rest my harried head across its chest….the lulling thump-thump-thump of my own heart soothing me and causing deep chest filling breaths….audible sounds of utter relief to escape from my lips. Heading home.

To say that our Pink & Stink, (or Rose and garlic aioli) Fest was busy would be a gross understatement, it was a massive turnout and of the 120 people that showed, almost 70 were in the first hour. Whimper. The morning started out sane enough; had the wines icy cold, the stacks of featured wine full and ready for the grabbing, platters of pink lamb, tiny roasted potatoes and carrots tastefully arranged and bowls of Dale’s freshly whipped up garlic mayonnaise…thick, pungent and perfectly viscous, sitting proudly in the fridge making each of us that dared to open the door salivate and long to plunge one of those tiny taters into the bowl, dunk just a little too deep and pop the tender spud into our wanting mouths, feel the flesh give beneath our teeth, the luscious texture, the bite…the groan as the flavors of olive oil, egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic slithered across our palates. We were ready….or so we thought.

I was safely tucked away in the tasting room. I had opened and run through the wines, was confident about the order and felt prepared for the afternoon….that was until my second, My Merritt, came walking into the room, her big eyes especially large, sweet face both excited and a tiny bit panicked, “There is a line going out the front door, they are all waiting to buy a tasting sheet”. Any “cool breeze” feeling I had about being prepared was flung right out the window and my survival instinct kicked in. Started opening another bottle of everything, at a rather furious rate might I add, pop, smell, taste, spit, repeat. Pretty much how the whole day went.

The wave of glasses and faces kept hitting us, one after another and then twenty more. Was insane and any dreams I had about explaining or pontificating about each wine were quickly swept away with the undertow. Machines, we were basically bottle opening, platter filling machines…I swear Merritt grew an extra set of arms. She was like an octopus, pouring four wines at a time, reaching around me as I yanked corks and lunged to the fridge for another flight. The crowd was unbelievably compassionate and we heard more, “How ya holding up?” than any complaints or grumbling about the pace or the pack-ed-neds. Only had one ball breaker, a cat that fell in love with one of the wines early and wanted to just drink that wine all afternoon, didn’t get that we don’t do it that way, (you have 10 pours, one of each otherwise it throws the bottle count completely off) and no matter how many times I smiled and tried to charm him, explained that we couldn’t do it that way, weren’t a wine bar…well he was just a sour puss and verged on being down-right mean. But other than that, the crammed in folks that turned out, well they were amazingly flexible and seemed to be having a fantastic time.

The wines showed brilliantly and there was an across the board kind of appeal to them, a palate for each wine and I cannot tell you how thrilling that is for me. I love this shit, I really do. When I can pour a wine for someone, even a wine that may not be my personal favorite, and they get all lit up and excited….well that makes my job, no matter how harried or frantic at times, completely fulfilling. Screaming back, no lunch, grumpy guy….didn’t matter, the rest of the day was absolutely affirming.

Wines of the Day:

2010 Domaine du Dragon $14.99
As perfect a Provencal a Rose as we have right now. Light bodied, mineral rich, faint strawberry fruit and full of that sexy ass snap that makes your mouth water.

2010 Von Buhl $17.99
One of the first wines to sell out. So vibrant and fucking vibrating with life. Tart, tangy, little spritz of acid on the entry. Easy to love and even easier to guzzle.

2010 Chateau Canorgue $16.99
One of my wines of the day. Packed with herbal and almost pot like aromatics, tight body, palate gripping acid and a mouth watering tang that kept me reaching for the glass…didn’t, couldn’t spit this wine. Brilliant.

2010 Bergerie L’Hortus $13.99
A red wine lovers Rose. Nice meaty texture, deeper more succulent fruit, rounder in the mouth with a little junk in the trunk. Amazing with the lamb and substantial enough girth to elevate the broad range of flavors and textures we were offering. Best selling wine of the day.

Got home and immediately started preparing for my Sunday. I was chopping thirty cloves of garlic, squeezing the fifteen limes I needed and scoring the skin on the pork shoulder that was to be plunked into the garlic and citrus bath overnight. “Sam! Are you going out tonight or are you staying home?!” my wee boyfriend, at my door…sweet face and big blue eyes, eyelashes flapping and all…Gawd, he kills me. “Staying in tonight Ty” I told him, “Okay then I need you to close your door” he responded. As wicked charming as those five year olds are, they aren’t all that smooth.  I closed my door, for him of course, and found myself puddling as I nestled into my couch and listed to Tyler and his Mom as they decorated my stoop.

“I’n gonna make her candles. I’ll make five because I love her five days. No, I love her seven says so I will make her five candles cuzz I’m five” I was sitting, finally sitting after a crazy day, on the eve of my 40th birthday, back still screaming, hands wreaking of garlic and lime, head still adjusting to normalcy…Tyler’s big voice just outside my closed door, drawing candles for me. I tried to keep my shit together but as my eyes wildly searched for distraction they fell upon a card. A fancy card, adorned with a wine bottle and raised textures….the handwriting of the uncle that just found me, his sweet scrawl punctuating, “Here’s to the finer things in life” with a “Of which you are” tears. I sat here and the tears would not stop flowing….

A “Thump-thump-thump” on my screen and a, “Sam! We’re ready!” and I swiped my thumbs along my lower lashes, took a big sniff and opened my door to find….

I will remember this birthday above all others, Uncle Kim and Sweet Tyler… two cracked this heart wide open and on a day when I felt like I needed CPR, your love and extra effort made me feel like the most beloved woman alive. Thank you seems and sounds painfully small when compared to how gigantic you made me feel but….thank you. 

If my first day of forty feels like this…..then I have much to look forward to.     


chris said...

Feel love today and everyday.

May the next fourty hold blessings beyond belief.

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I can't compete with a five-year-old, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

You've been my Internet wife for two years, and you're perfect in every way. Smart, beautiful, sexy, kind, loving, brilliant, talented and, above all, compassionate.

I love you with all my heart. You have made me a better man, which, when you think about it, probably wasn't that hard considering... I know that your next forty years will be filled with love, success, contentment and great wine after great wine.

I'll stand under Our Moon tonight and kiss you, send my gratitude to the universe for your presence in my heart. Meet me there.

I love you!

Happy Birthday, Samantha! No one on the planet deserves it more.

Samantha Dugan said...

Not assuming I will make it for another 40 but I will feel loved this year and the next and the next. I am one profoundly lucky woman, having people like you in my life is one of the reasons why. Thank you sweet lady.

Ron My Love,
Well you could start trying to compete by saying, "Birfday"...melts the hell out of me that. Birfday aside, having you enter my life has been one of the most amazing gifts I could have ever been given. You humble me with your words, honor me with your love, inspire me with your talent. I get to be loved and in love with a personal hero....any idea how rare that is? Well I do and my feeble verbiage will never be able to articulate how powerful and astonishing it feels to be your partner/internet wife. I shall walk beneath the moon this evening, thinking about the forty years it took to finally meet you....raise my glass and revel in my luck in finding that, "I'm Baaacckkk" post. I love you too Ron Washam, you've changed my life...thank you.

webb said...

Happy Birthday sounds a bit lame after Ron...

But I do wish you a wonderful year. 40 is a great age! Truly it is.

Am going looking for one/some of these wines here in the East.

Samantha Dugan said...

Is he stealing my birfday wishes?! Damn him, first my heart and now this...
Thank you lady and I do hope you find one of those Roses near you, they are truly wonderful.

Marcia Macomber said...

Happy Birfday, Samantha! (I can learn from Ron's mistakes. LOL)

Welcome to the big league, Girl. The 40's go fast!

Your dinner sounds/smells divine all the way up here. (See how well you write? I can pick out all the details that make it scrumptious 500 miles away!)

To another fantastic 40 years!


Samantha Dugan said...

You are adorable. Thank you and I cannot wait to meet you in a couple weeks!

John M. Kelly said...

Happy birthday my dear! As I tell my guests about our wines: they don't get better or worse with age, they just gain experience. Your best experiences are still ahead. Like week after next.

Mmmmm... aioli. It's babysitter day so we're going out to eat, but I know what I'm cooking at home tomorrow. [drool]

Valerie said...

As Sam Jones would say on Sex and the City, "Honey, welcome to my box." These are FABulous years and I know you're going to rock every minute of them. Wishing you many happy returns, lady! xoxo

Sara Louise said...

I'm laughing at Valerie's comment! I love that line.

Happy birthday dear Sam, hope all your wishes come true :-)

And I'm totally stealing the name 'Pink and Stink' for a Sunday aioli afternoon at Chez Moi x

Samantha Dugan said...

Cannot wait for week after next, gonna be a blast I'[m sure.

Looking forward to this new box for sure. Thank you so much.

Pink & Stink still cracks my ass up for some reason. Feel free to use it and get your snicker on!

Joe said...

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but that event sounds awesome! Though I do like to talk wine with folks, and it can become a "wine buffett" sometimes.

Sounds like a great start to the birfday. Hope yesterday was relaxing and enjoyable and perfect. And other adjectives.

Got a particularly significant birfday coming up on Thursday, and I'm eager to commemorate it with one of those growers I've been disciplined enough to not-yet open. I appreciate your friendship and the decisive sensory schooling I've received in the field of high-end bubbly.

Cheers to you! Looking forward to 40 more years of your posts making my rancid corporate Monday mornings more tolerable (Let's hope I don't have 40 more years of this, though).

Thomas said...

Happy birthday to you;
happy birthday to you;
happy birthday dear Pinky;
Happy birthday to you.

I think you should adopt that kid. At 40, you're just ready for one more of them...

Samantha Dugan said...

Joe My Dear,
Not sure I even have another month left in me for blogging, 40 years?! Me thinks not but I do however hope that you and I will know each other that long, continue this friendship that I've come to cherish so. So tell me kid, which birfday is it and what are you gonna open?

Why thank you love, that was very sweet. Gonna take a pass on that adoption deal, first of all his parents aren't looking to unload him, (not that I blame freaking adorable) and second, been there, done that and it's my time. Can't wait to finally see that mug of yours in a couple weeks!

The Passionate Palate said...

Wow, do birthdays get any better? Congrats on the successful rose' tasting. My mouth was watering at the descriptions. I'll stop in next time I am down to buy some.

But really? The love from that little five year old would push anyone to tears!!! How lucky you are to be loved by so many. And take it from an over-40 year old woman, the 40s are fantastic. All of my friends agree - you care less what others think and that equals a lot more peace, joy and fun. Happy Birthday bella!

Joe said...

Sam - little Olivia Jane turns one on Thursday. Remember how I commemorated the birth with a magnum or Heidseick-Monopole Blue Top, spurring your bloody crusade to get me into some grower mess? It all started then.

To be fair, I insisted on a mag, and my options were decidedly limited in-market (basically, it was that or Boo Pecoche, so I'm sticking by my decision).

Yes, the little critter is one this week. I think the fact that we haven't dropped her yet (oh hell, knocking on wood like a bastard now) deserves a glass of bubbles for mom and I. I've got a Bruno Gobillard NV, a Billiot rosé NV, a José Dhondt NV, and an R.H. Coutier NV...

Samantha Dugan said...

Yeah, he wrecks me that wee one. To be so adored, have my day be that important to him, well I could not ask for more. I posted something about never feeling sexier in my life than I do now and as the leader of a all girl romp in the pool...clothes on and all, I can confirm, 40 rules.

Yup, been a year since I first adored you and ached to have you really discover what Champagne can be. I will buy a bottle of grower Champagne Thursday night, raise a glass to you, your sweet bundle and our friendship...feel grateful for all of it. Be sure to let me know what you pop and what you think!