Friday, September 21, 2007

Decisions, Decisions . . .

It was supposed to be a brief stop at the wine store to see if anything good and affordable was on sale (nope), but on my way out I was stopped by an elderly woman who asked if I knew anything about wine.

“Just a little,” I answered. “Do you need some help?”

“I wonder if you could help me pick out a chardonnay,” she said.

I know more about reds than I do whites, but she looked worried so I figured I’d give it a shot.

“I’ll try,” I said.

“One of the best lower-end chardonnays I ever had was a Santa Carolina Reserve from South America,” I said, leading her to the imports. “Let’s see if they have that.”

They didn’t.

I scanned the bottles. None looked promising, or even familiar. “Oh, there’s a 2001.”

“Is the year important?” the lady asked.

“It can be, but it’s hard to generalize,” I said. “Two thousand one was a good year for zinfandel, for instance, but I don’t know about chardonnay. Sometimes the older wines taste better than the more recent vintages, but . . .” I could see that I’d lost her.

“Is the year important?” she asked again.

“No,” I said, “it isn’t.”

“This is so hard,” she said. “So hard.”

“Really, it isn’t that bad.” I tried to reassure her. “It’s a bit of a roll of the dice, maybe, but you could end up with a nice surprise at your dinner table. Are you serving chicken? Fish?”

“No, I’m serving beef,” she said.

"Beef?"

“If you spill red wine, that’s it.”

“Yeah, I guess it is.”

I spotted some special prices at the end of the row. “Let’s look down here,” I said.

I picked up a bottle. “This is a possibility.”

“What’s possible about it?” she asked, clutching her shopping cart with white knuckles.

“Well, it’s on sale.”

“I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do.” She shook her head.

I decided she needed firm advice. “Buy this one,” I stated flatly.

“Why should I?” she demanded flatly.

Okey-dokey, a new approach was needed. I read from the label. “Monkey Bay (see the monkey?) . . . It’s from New Zealand, and New Zealand has produced some good wines. I predict that for $8.99 on sale, you can’t go wrong with this wine.”

“Oooh, this is terrible,” she said. “It’s so hard. I can’t choose. I can’t do this today. I’m going to have to come back tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Or another day. I can’t make a decision in one day. It’s just too hard.” Although her hands still gripped the handle of her shopping cart, I could practically see them being wrung into a pulp.

I put the bottle back and rested one of my hands on her shoulder. “If I were you,” I said, looking into her eyes, “I would buy the Monkey Bay because it has a really cute label.”

She smiled.

I left the store, and I don’t know if she bought the wine.

But she smiled.

6 comments:

Helen said...

Some people can be so maddening, yet endearing. I hope you bought some wine; you probably needed some after that encounter!

mm said...

I thought the same thing, Helen. I know I would have needed a glass of something.

Susan said...

Hi guys! Actually, I didn't. I went in there to see if one of my lower-priced favorites, Casillero del Diablo Carmenere (a nice red from Chile) was on sale, as it sometimes is. They didn't even carry it.

I hope she eventually bought something.

Indigo Bunting said...

I have trouble buying wine too, but not that much trouble, thank goodness.

Mali said...

Oh dear ... sounds as if it was a VERY important dinner! Didn't the wine store have helpful staff who could recommend wines?

And you're right - the Monkey Bay wines have a very cute label ... never tried the wine but probably will now just out of curiousity!

Susan said...

Hi, Mali & IB! My local wine store had Jerry Garcia wine on sale today. The label talked about the label (a painting by Garcia), not the wine. I took that as a bad sign and didn't buy it.

I did, however, buy two bottles of Jake's Fault shiraz. It, too, was on sale. And I thought the description of the wine was clever. Gonna let it sit for a while before I open it, though.