The wind almost blew me off my bike, yet I arrived without incident. After locking my vehicle to the two-wheeled vehicle parking space in front of Astor Wines. I walked into the store, frozen, but came to life quickly because there is something magical about a wine store filled with people looking for help and it brings out the therapist in me. Though I was a miserable salesperson on the wholesale side, it turns out that I am brilliant on the floor where the extrovert in me sneaks out like Persephone from the other side.
I sauntered down Astor's Champagne aisle to see what they had these days.
I had been feeling out of touch and wanted to see if what I thought was true: that one cannot get a decent bottle under $30.
There is no wonder I am recommending sparklers from the Jura instead. Meanwhile, the champagne season is upon us and people will be wanting recommendations. So, while making notes what was available, I saw a slim, fashiony man in a short snorkel coat, fingering the Moet.
"Can I help you?" I asked him.
He was hesitant, and in a lovely Italian accent, tried to dismiss me. I insisted with uncharacteristic bravado, as if I was playing some grand role, "I hope you don't mind but I really would love to help you choose a wonderful bottle and I know this area well."
We perused the options in the under $41 category. Personally I would go for the Boulard Rosé ($39), which is wild and strawberry with a brilliant touch of volatility. Or the La Caravelle Blanc de Blancs ($36.), which I had the pleasure to have only once, last year in Louisiana, but was impressed with its clarity as well as nice squeeze of citrus. Either one, great deals. But I could see, he needed a box. There are sometimes that you need a box.
I directed him to the Roederer Brut Premier-NV @ $41. Sold. I saved him from a fate of Moet, and all was good in the world. And while another five dollars would get him the glorious B&B of Lassaigne, which can be found with its box, but they had none, sometimes you need a box.
Then he had a real question for me. "Do you know Bjork?"
Well, yes, not personally, but I live in the world and I often see her standing on Houston with mult-shopping bags of clothes hailing a cab.
"I'll be at her house on New Years Eve and do you have any suggestions? I was thinking of Dom Perignon."
Oh dear. First I had to steer him away from Moet, now I had to deal with the whammy of the 'DP' status. So I said, let's see if they have the 1996. That is the only vintage you should get.
Then I said, you know how Hermes is really about quality but LVMH is all about image? For all I knew, Arnault was his employer, but he understood. I followed up with , "Bjork is an organic kind of girl, if she or you ever saw the Moet vineyards, you'd swear you'd never buy another bottle."
Okay, he said. And we were off.
His budget was $200. I thought of a magnum, but I didn't like the options at Astor. (Had we been at Chambers Street he could have purchased a magnum of the Gautherot-Vouette et Sorbée NV (2007) Blanc d'argile for $175. )
Astor still has a good champagne lineup but it has never reached the greatness when Jeff Connell, now departed for parts north, was its prince. On Thurday, @ Astor, there was one wine to go for; and it had to be Selosse.
Not Substance because the Substance can be awfully slutty, but the Initiale? Now that is cut from stone. $129. (He could have also gone for the Paillard 1996 @ $199, great vintage, lovely wine, not that I had it recently, but let's just say I wouldn't kick it out of bed.)The thought process clicked in motion. "I thought rich, exuberant, flashy, but an element of eccentricity but not over the top, I didn't want to risk it, but the wine had to have lots of beauty and a story.
Never the less, I think the Bjork sensibility and the Selosse is a match made in heaven.
I adore doing this kind of wine matchmaking, something like I did for the Plumber. for one, I'm usually right. For two, I don't get blamed if the couple breaks up.
On this Christmas that fell on the day after the foggy moon, spend cleaning the bookshelves and the corners of my curly brain, I'll never know what the outspoken star thought of her bubbly, and that makes me sad. So if you happen to be at Bjork's this New Years, will you be my spy and let me know?