Years ago a friend of mine, Mike, got a ticket to the concert where Bob Dylan shared the stage with the Grateful Dead. He was so excited he could barely speak. As the night of the show approached, Mike was determined to make this the best evening ever. To fit in with the Dead Heads at the show (the group that follows the band for an entire tour by setting aside petty annoyances like jobs) he dug out some old hippie beads and borrowed his sister’s tie-dyed shirt.
Upon arriving at the concert, Mike pushed through the turnstile, ran straight past his assigned seat, and headed for the best view of the show possible. Once on the floor, he figured why stop there, and with a light hop, vaulted over the three foot, wimpy fence that tour organizers somehow thought would hold back tens of thousands of rabid groupies. Everything he did just kept making the show better. That is, until Buford the security guy decided he would single-handedly restore order.
Buford wore a crew cut and a pair of zebra patterned Zubas and was moonlighting as a security guard so he could open his own martial arts studio in the suburbs. He didn’t like hippies or their music and no hippie was going to hop the fence on his watch. He grabbed Mike, and like a wolf carries a squirrel, escorted him to the exit and unceremoniously deposited him on the sidewalk outside. Just as Mike heard the first notes of “Sugar Magnolia” playing, the door swung shut.
So what happened? Why did the whole evening turn out so wrong? Simple: Mike went too far. He added one too many good things and by doing so the entire event was ruined. Wine makers do this all the time only instead of hopping a wimpy fence, the culprit is the addition of too much oak flavor. The oak comes from the barrels that the wine is aged in and is delicious—to a point. Time and again, however, the juice is kept in those barrels too long and it ruins the wine’s complexity. This week’s recommendation is aged in steel barrels and leaves oak out of the mix entirely.
Mallee Sands 2006, Chardonnay ($12.99): Think of oak as makeup: a little can be good but we can’t always go walking around looking like KISS. With the oak left out of this wine, a natural beauty is exposed underneath.