Friday, September 11, 2009

This Wine's Got Legs

"First drink the wine. Then try it with a WASABI BEAN."
We laugh, but he's entirely serious.
"Just try it, and tell me it doesn't taste of buttery popcorn. You just try it."
The girl next to me squeals even before the bean hits her tongue. It's sort of sweet that despite living for years in the Trader Joe-d, Whole Foodified city she's never had wasabi before. I tell her the story of how I ate a spoonful of the stuff the first time I ever went to sushi. She's too busy glugging the wine to smile.
"It certainly takes the burn off. I'll say that much."

In the end, after being bribed with cashews, grapes dirty from the vine, and three varieties of chocolate, it's the rose we buy.
"We grow all our own grapes. Not many people do that. Not that I blame them. Look at my hair!"
We take the cue and laugh. The words are worn and shiny with use, like the wooden poles down in the basement where the grapes are beaten out of their skins. There must be a kind of bravado involved in taking them out yet again for another sceptical public. It's easy to laugh at the owner, with his heavily accented English and his unpalatable wines. A little too easy. The mother and daughter opposite me are making fun of the way he says "tort" instead of "tart". I want to ask them how many languages they speak, how many words of this man's native tongue, which we keep on trying to guess.
"He'll be Czechoslovakian." The mother says, ending the argument. "He sounds just like my gardener."
I keep quiet, and empty my glass. Really it isn't that bad, even without the wasabi bean.

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