Mike thought there was something to his wine, his first couple releases, three bottles total, and he gave up and riled in victory, and here they corralled, his first visitors. 10:59, and 11. Open. 2.
“Hi, what are you pouring? Our B&B told us today was your first day, is that true?” the lady, sounding somewhere southern, said, looking around at the still shots on the wall then down at the tasting menu; SB, Merlot, Cab.
“Just those three on the menu there, and tastings are complementary, our first day..” Mike said, sipping his last little bit of espresso, from the machine he bought from the last crumb of budget.
“Oh.. that’s it? Just three?” she said.
“Yeah.. that’s all I got today, just those three. What kind of wines do you drink at home?”
“Well… I don’t really like Sauvignon Blanc.. do you have a Chardonnay?”
“No.. Just the SB and the two reds. Where are you from?”
“Oh well.. do you have a bathroom?”
Mike breathed, thought, then stopped his eyes in their bulbous roll. “Just past the painting of the cat, then right.”
She away walked, shaking her head.
“So what else do you have?” the man Mike assumed was her husband charged.
“Two reds, a Merlot and a Cabernet after the Blanc. You want to try them?”
“Sure. So today’s the first day, huh?”
“And how did you get hooked up with this winery?”
“I’m the winemaker and.. I guess owner. Yeah…..”
“Oh good for you. You know what, I will try some wine. How much is the tasting?”
“Nothing. Nothing… I’ll take care of it.”
“Oh well then let’s try some wine.. so Sauvignon Blanc, eh?”
“Yes,” Mike said, pouring, “this one I did in all oak, neutral oak, and just left it there to see what it’d do, what it’d soak up and here you have a white with a little more texture and pull but still quite clean……..”
The man sipped. Thought and looked at the glass, then at Mike. “Not that much in the jolt, eh?”
“It doesn’t jolt, ya know… ‘the jolt’. It doesn’t have a good JOLT.”
“But I’d drink it! It’s wine!”
Mike smiled and poured himself a little to sip with the man. Then she came back. “Why don’t we go somewhere where there’s Chardonnay, or wine we like there Harry?” she said.
The man put down his glass, empty, “Sorry buddy, you heard the boss. She still looks at me like her little brother, mama would have to laugh.” They strolled to the door, he looking back and raising his hand like he was saying goodbye to an old war buddy or something. Mike poured more of the SB.. he liked it.. soft but bright, light but luminous and with conviction you might get from a red, he thought. Then the Merlot… “How could anyone not like this?” he thought. What he enjoyed about its touch.. the blueberry and dark chocolate, it reminded him of dessert. Then the Cabernet, from Alexander Valley, some fruit he remembered getting dibs on at the last minute, the very last minute. He thought it could be bigger but maybe the wine didn’t want that, didn’t want to be seen that way. Maybe that’s not what the wine wanted to do. So he sipped it, respected it, more than the Merlot and SB for standing its ground and going against that Cab stereotype of hyper-aggression and offense; it was that dark musical syncopation; its own jargon and jolt of joy.. “Jolt,” Mike thought, “this has jolt.” He was tempted to close his room, run out to the plaza and look for the man, to show him what wine is when it has that jolt he wanted.. when it has true life.. when it’s truthful and not contrived.. what Mike wanted he understood now was always what the customer or sipper wanted. And here it was. But he was gone. So Mike poured for himself. Room empty. Glass kept full.