He slid the thief into the barrel’s opening, gently as if not wanting the wine to know, to surprise it with a visit, a knock on its puddled door.  Pulling about 3-4 ounces, he put some in his glass, then Aaron’s.  The expected swirls, smells.  Aaron sipped, did the lip air-through-lips sound which he hated, then again.

He smelled, examined the color obsessively, then threw the wine around the corner, outside the garage and into that weird plant he bought down the street.

“What are you doing?  Is something wrong to you about it?” Aaron said.

“No, I just want to do everything but actually have it on my tongue..”

“It’s not ready yet.”

“I think it tastes amazing, you should taste it at least.

“I don’t need to.”


“I don’t need to.  I know it’s good.  I’m saving my first taste till after it’s been in bottle for at least a year.”

“Are you serious?  We’ll be releasing it when it’s been glassed for about six months, maybe sooner if we need the money.  Come on, you jerk, just taste it.”


“And you’re not going to taste the other three barrels either?  Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.  I just had the idea this morning, driving here and thinking about the wines and how they build themselves.. we have to let them build themselves, and I think we step in if there’s something wrong with that first impression, with the odor, or ‘bouquet’, or nose, or … whatever those idiots call it.  The wine’s telling me it’s fine, so we can move on.. and it can move on,” he said, walking to the other barrel.  Thief, swirl, admire, nose, dump.

“I can’t believe this…” Aaron said before tasting barrel 2.  Taste.. “Hey, seriously, you need to taste this one, this is better than 1, it’s more–”

“I know, I don’t doubt it.  Let’s go to 3…”

Thief barrel 3 and stopped Aaron before tasting.  “Just smell it, let it interact with you as IT wants to…”

Aaron swirled a couple times, looked at it, almost sipped but stopped himself then smelled more.  “Huh…”


“I can tell it’s good, maybe not as good as 1 but just as good, or actually quite better now, than 2.”

“What would you say about it?”

“You mean describe it?”

“No.  Not describe it.  What would you say about it?  Or, what is it saying to you?”

Aaron swirled again, smelled for a robust twelve to fifteen seconds.  “It’s deep…  full…..  confident.  I don’t know, there’s a lot going on.”

“Do we need to get involved?”

“No, I don’t think so.  No.”

He pulled from 4 and motioned for the glasses, Aaron first.  “Put it back.”

“What?” he said

“Put it back, it’s fine.” Aaron diplomatically growled.

“We should smell it, check the color and–”

“No, it’s fine.”

He released some for himself anyway.. swirled then smelled.  He stopped.  “This…” he said, “this needs to be its own.”

“Not part of the blend?”

“No.  It’s own. It’s different.”

This was a surprise.  To Aaron, to him.  To the wine, to it all.