Sometimes, wine country is “wince” country – as when one inadvertently refers to one’s sommelier as one’s “dealer.” An acquaintance had me over to preview galleys of his forthcoming aeronautics tome and offered me a glass of wine. This is standard procedure when dulling the critical faculties of those of us in the media and particularly effective, I’m sure he assumed, when dealing with me – or at least my besotted persona, which I had left drying out somewhere before it could hang me out to dry. When I declined, the author insisted. “My dealer says it’s a tremendous wine,” he said. I raised an eyebrow and countered, “You mean your sommelier?” The author claimed he had said “sommelier” in the first place. I reiterated. He did the same. Awkward silence. I accepted his wine before the creeping chill in our conversation overtook the room as I gamely thumbed through his spaceship book.
When gossiping with a woman I know from the medical profession (tales of patient woe sans names, of course), she recounted a situation in which a client stated his preference to take his pain medication intravenously. When he was informed that “shooting aspirin” would be inappropriate in his case, the client admitted that he sought the needles so that he might extract wine samples through the corks of bottles stowed in his cellar. The doctor declined but was curious and asked why the man needed to sample the wine. “To taste the future,” he said in a menacing tone, then slurped at his fingers for added drama before dashing out the door.