I was told that Pluto has finally moved on from my astrological chart, and I was safe. But the wine in my glass was pernicious. Was it Pluto's last gasp? Hah, and I thought that the widow Clicquot was as bad as it got. I was wrong. There was worse.
I am here to share a scary experience I had last night. Oh, given the devastation that can really happen right now, the tragedy of last night was a stupid minor one. Laughable, really. So keep that in mind when you read this trivial moment.
You know there are times when I show up and am not in control over what ends up in my glass. This happens even though I come laden with bottles that I do want to drink. Last night, three stood erect in the fridge,while all too quickly, one that I wanted to avoid was already in my glass. I was observed. A friend was waiting for my approbation. I turned my back, best not to be scrutinized.
I could not sip without tasting the scorched earth viticulture that still exists in Champagne.
This shit was all sulfur and sugar and bubble. It was cynical. It was false. It was a traitor.
Called a Brut it was sickeningly sweet, it must have had the maximum allowed 12 dosage. I now am positive, it is possible to make something called Champagne and for it to be grape free.
I discretely walked to the bathroom to slip the impostor down the drain.
Sham champagne. It was like veneer sold as solid. Like pancake syrup instead of maple. Okay, if you can't tell the difference between a sham champagne like the above and the real deal, does it matter? It does. Because the public is being taken advantage of.
If one needs to drink real champagne on New Years, and I do believe they do, there were bargains to be had for the first time in quite a while. Pierre Moncuit rosé was $31. The serviceable Brigandant was $27. Hell, and was a fluke, right after Thanksgiving I picked up the Vouette et Sorbée Fidèle for $44. One good bottle is a far better expenditure than three bottles of plonk.
When I reemerged the friend flashed a smile and said across the room, 1999!
I slipped, "That can't possibly be a vintage champagne," I protested.
He said, "Not vintage, the price at Trader Joe's."
Trader Joe's? Where's the Better Biz people?
Bottles like Charles de Marques are the ones that make me reconsider my conviction to stop writing about wine by 2017. Not because I so desperately want you to drink well. Well, I do. And I want there to be better wines and for people to care more for their vines in a responsible way.
But more to the point, it hurts me that people are snookered into buying crapola like this. Just because their palate's might not be discerning, does it mean that they should be deceived? Selling bottles like these feels like fraud. And if I stop jumping up and down on the apple crate saying, "J'accuse!" Who will? I'm waiting. Will someone please step up so I can go back to stories that made me a writer in the first place?
While I wait, I'm going to contemplate these events and the past and the future and celebrate the shooflying away of Pluto from my whatever. To help it along, I'll pop a bottle of Clémence LeLarge's, because sometimes we need to reinforce the real and the optimism in life.
Happy New Year to you all.