Apocalypse, Nowish (In Regards to Wine, That Is)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wow, it's been a while since humanity really had a good show of stupidity in my presence and I guess that, like the dollar, our morals and economic views are depreciating as well. People are becoming a bit more frugal with their spending and (god forbid) now attempting to live within their means. As such, we're resorting to old budget meals we haven't used since the college days, adding a bit more water to our soups, clipping coupons, and aiming for leftovers. Indeed, it has been a while since I broke out doing fried eggs with green onions and soba. An oldie, but a goodie, and at around 25 cents per serving a damn fine bargain.

Furthermore we're choosing our wines from shelves that are much closer to the floor. A economic vertical shift (one of many in the wine industry as of late) that has forced most wine drinkers to take a southward glance when it comes to their selections at the store. I believe 2-Buck Chuck is going to make a resurgence in popularity, and home grown viticulture will probably take more root. Still, for those of us not inclined to brew our own wine we have to resort to blue light specialty wine. I would attempt to make my own, but my innate lack of self-preservation and general clumsiness would lead me to distill some sort of burgundy colored swill requiring two priests and a hazmat team to clean up.

So while at the Whole Foods checking out their specialty low price wines (read: < $7), I noticed a couple price checking a few bottles. She was a ex-pat Orange County woman; bleached hair, boob job (even I know God doesn't make breasts like that), Monolo Blah-nik personality type. He was about 30 years her senior, Armani loafers retiree and seemingly self-taught wine snob; the kind that probably sniffs plastic corks and abhors wine in boxes or with screw caps (Viva la Screwcap!).

Anywhose, back to eavesdropping, I sort of listened in on their conversation. It was a practical discussion of what wine to have with dinner and it seems they were able to afford shelling out a few twenties so good for them. As I don't really know much about wine I moved on to selecting my bottle, a simple white wine for dinner that was going for $6. I knew it went well with spicy food, and I prefer white anyways so it was a happy occasion for me.

"OH! You should try THIS Pinot Grigio, it's really TO DIE for."

I turned to find the woman looking at me with her Trish McEvoy laden face and gesturing towards a bottle on the wall. I glanced and noticed the $22 price tag. Looking back to her I cordially replied in earnest, "It's allright. I actually really enjoy this wine. It goes well with curry and it's more in my budget," in which I laughed to suppress my financial pain and to end the conversation.

"OH! You should NEVER buy a gris that's less than $15. It's just BOUND to be tacky." Unsure where she found this bit of fortune cookie knowledge and unclear as to what exactly defines a wine as "tacky" I smiled back.

"Well, you know, bad economy and all. Have to cut costs somewhere. Could be worse, could not be able to afford a bottle of wine at all."

"OH! OH! I TOTALLY understand. We stopped buying THIS brand," pointing with a well manicured french tipped finger to a $50 bottle of red wine. "It's fiscal TRA-GUH-DY! Like the money-world-apocalypse-NOW of wine!" Older husband looked over and nodded in agreement and then, I shit you not, grabbed a bottle of it anyway and popped it in his basket along with the non-tacky, previously mentioned white.

So I guess, for them, it's not quite the end of the world. Some thought must go into the purchases now before going along with them regardless.


  1. And THANK GOD for them! When I start making wine commercially (thanks for the shout-out, BTW), I will need these people in times like these...

    ...But for the record, I have had perfectly fine Pinot Grigio for $8 a bottle. It is not a very complicated wine, fer chrissakes.

    Next time find a Gewurztraminer or an off-dry Riesling to try with curry. I like that match better; Pinot Grigio is too austere for me with spicy food. I drink it with simple fish.

  2. I love the posts in which you tell stories - people can be truly, astoundingly thick-headed.

  3. Oh yes, they TOTALLY understand. Ugh. I've been buying cheap wine my whole life; it's TOTALLY possible to have great cheap wine. I'm not really an ignoramus when it comes to wine, but you don't have to put out the major dough. Luckily, the store near us occasionally has a 'Wine Clearance' where a ton of stuff is on manager's special. Those days are like Christmas!

    P.S. Hank, that's a wonderful idea to pair a Gewurztraminer with spicy food. I'll need to try that, like tonight!

  4. Fabulous, funny...teehee...I love people!

  5. I;m really happy to lve in Europe right now, where a great bottle of wine (100's in fact) can be found for 4E and people think I am profligate when I spring for a 10E bottle. BTW, I like a Gewurz with Chinese- that's been my go to match for years.

  6. I guess if you can afford it, go for it, but I've had many very, very good wines for little money!

  7. I LOVE this post. When I worked in a local wine bar, everyone ordered the Silver Oak. Totally a label thing in my opinion. I found their wine to be ridiculously overpriced. I would try to steer them to something different, with out status, but they were unwilling.

    And I am with you...our wine choices have moved south. Recently we have been picking up Chilean or Australian wines. Nugget has some great choices and the prices to match. And they have an awesome Sauv Blanc from Pomelo going for 8.99. Great with spicy food!!!

  8. Argh, clueless people with no social graces.

  9. Garrett, was it possible, you actually bumped into Lovey and Thurston Howell III? ;-)

  10. Funny post, Garrett. It's getting so hard to be a vapid princess these days! ;-)

  11. Next time you go shopping let me know. I want to follow you around just for the entertainment value. In fact, I can probably get a group together and we could even film it!! Kidding. Great story.

  12. And really, what could be tackier than telling a stranger at the store that their preferred wine is tacky? Some peoples kids....

  13. What a great post!

    There is a skit on Saturday Night Live called "Two A**Holes go to..." (You can look it up on YouTube for a laugh, if you haven't seen it, yet.) It sounds like they went to the market this week, and you were their drive-by victim.

    You know, in this economy or any other, that couple's behavior was completely vulgar.

    It's clear that the poor plastic woman has a dreadfully empty life. She sold out and married for money instead of seeking a more fulfilling life that would provide her any genuine sense of self, and it has probably brought her absolute misery and loneliness. So, all she can do is try to flaunt her wealth in such an obnoxious and imposing manner, to somehow feel justified in her very poor choice of lifestyle. So sad.

    I doubt the woman could tell the difference between any of the wines on the shelf in a blind test. Why else would she refer to a wine as "tacky" for heaven's sake?

    How ironic that a woman who clearly bought her look from Mattel would even use the word tacky. Even more ironic is the mere fact that her tactless and ridiculous statement proved just how tacky she actually was.

    Not only can money not buy happiness, it also cannot buy class.

    I hope you enjoyed your wine immensely!


    ~ Paula


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger