A Simple Plan

In high school I had a plan to land a dream date with that girl who was way out of my league. The plan wasn’t foolproof. For it to work, certain things had to happen first. The list was as follows:

–She must be dumped by her boyfriend the day before. Oh, and as he’s walking away he has to say something like, “I’ll take you back if you go on a date with a tall skinny guy first.”

–All her friends have to date dorky guys the week before, and then spend the week saying stuff like, “Dorky guys are so awesome” or “I’ve never been happier since I started dating dorky guys.”

–She must know another guy with my same name. He has to be wealthy and handsome. She must confuse the two of us when I make the call.

–My picture must somehow mistakenly appear in the “Newest Millionaires” section of the yearbook.

–As I pull up to her house in my 1974 Ford Pinto, someone must mistake it for a Lamborghini and yell, “Oh my God! A Lamborghini! She’s so lucky!” (I would prefer this person to be a popular movie star but a parent she’s rebelling against will also do).

–The collective image of the ideal catch must change from striking, strong, and confident, to fastidious, clumsy, and plays the accordion.

If this list seems unlikely, consider the list of what must happen to create a good bottle of wine. Not only do you have to plant the right grapes in the right place, but you have to pick them at the right time, sometimes within a couple hour window. After the grapes are picked, they have specific potentials determined by the vintage and the skills of the grower. The wine maker then has to understand these potentials and be right about his/her decisions regarding blending, aging, and bottling, and all this has to be correct before you even touch the marketing and distribution challenges. Making good wine is a lot like asking out the impossible dream date: if your long list of difficult conditions is not met, you get the wine equivalent of “sorry, I’m washing my hair that night.”

This week’s recommendation:

Flipflop 2009, Chardonnay ($6.99): At seven bucks you don’t mind filling the woman’s glass who adds Mountain Dew to her wine because “bubbles are fun.” At the same time, you aren’t embarrassed to serve it to the snob who “doesn’t drink wine made for peasants.” This wine is creamy and fragrant and a wonderful surprise—like hearing your dream date say yes.

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