Maybe it's because Neptune and Saturn and Mars and Uranus are pulling their shots but after I came back from California, I thought someone was playing a joke on me. That person was Fred Dexheimer, past sommelier and present cocktail wine ambassador and he send me as message through facebook. "I am w/ Dr Jay Miller in NYC. He is tasting thru 700 wines this week. He mentioned you yesterday and wanted to meet for a drink! I am not kidding! Would you like to meet him?" I had been seeing Fred's updates telling of his tasting through Chilean wines with Wine Advocate critic, Dr. Jay Miller and when this note popped up I was positive Fred was kidding. If Jay Miller, one of Bob Parker's best friends wanted to meet me, he probably would pack a gun. I started to look for that flak jacket I bought after my anti-Californian wine editorial a couple of years back. Several more emails later, I realized both Fred and Jay were serious. 'Ten Bells!' I threw down the challenge, thinking at least I'd have some defenders around me. 'Ten Bells it is!' Fred wrote back, then added, as long as there was meat there, Dr. Jay would be there with bells on, he promised. I was intrigued. Like who wouldn't be? People think I view Parker as the 'enemy,' but this is far from the truth. But people have to see truth through plenty of projections, quite a difficult task. But what could Jay think of me, was I friend or foe or just the unknown? What could be behind this. Just curiosity? On a rainy Thursday night I headed south east to see Jay seated at the bar, sipping, purpled stained teeth from the hard day of work behind him. His glasses needed a serious cleaning and I almost offered to help out after we shook hands. When I asked him what he was drinking, he smiled and said, "I asked them for something you'd want. They gave me this cabernet franc." The Guion Bourgueil. Oops. I thought. Not Bob's favorite grape and very definitely an anti-flavor wine. I decided not to ask him what he thought but he muscled through, meanwhile I ordered Calek's Blonde. I looked around to see if the Daily News had sent out the paparazzi. How could we not get busted in this moment. As I waited for my Calek Blonde to arrive I asked, "Why did you want to meet me?" First he told me that he follows me, which surprised me. While he didn't read my book, he did read two chapters of it in an Oregon book store and liked what he saw. The big bond was that he likes that I have written pleasantries about Cristophe Baron. He was surprised because Baron's Cayuse is definitely full flavor wine but still, we had something in common. Then he added "I felt badly for the beating you got on the Winebeserkers after you roasted my Pesus review." While curiosity was probable, his stated motivation was empathy and I just about teetered off my stool. It was so sweet, I was unnerved. He went on to say he could see I wasn't persecuting him with my posting, which was true. After all I was mostly poking holes at the press release he sourced much of his material from. I suppose other than Cayuse, we had that in common to--being taken to task and perhaps, sometimes unfairly. Then he said something that probably will forever endear him to me, "You stand for something." Fred then joined us wearing a mischievous smile, like he really pulled off a good one this time! I imagine he did. True or not, the reason my name came up at all was while they were tasting the Airplane's White Rabbit came on and Grace sang, 'Go ask Alice.' The next obvious thing in the middle of Chilean merlot was, "So, do you know Alice Feiring?" When off duty he tends to drink what he reviews, and these are mostly wines I'd have a terrible time quaffing. We tried to order another glass of wine. I very much wanted to get him a glass of a pure and natural wine that would let him see the wines that excite me, but that night I felt Ten Bells was like a dog who won't roll over and show off. The WBG selection failed me. No beaujo. Thank goodness for the Pecina rioja, that's all I have to say. The bar's true strength is in the bottle not the glass. Oh well. Jay was a good sport, but I don't think he was won over by the cabernet franc.