Good Wine and Bad Tattoos

October 20, 2011

You’re tempted to ask the guy at the liquor store for his best under-fifteen dollar bottle of wine but you hesitate because you’re afraid of the Hard Cow Effect.The Hard Cow Effect is when someone sells you on an item which turns out to be vastly different than the sales pitch promised it to be. And when I say vastly different I don’t mean in a “you expected bran flakes but got fudge instead” sort of way. I mean in more of a “you asked for Disney World but got military school” sort of way. Yes, the HCE is always a huge let down.

The Hard Cow Effect gets its name from my friend Dave, whom I met while traveling in Europe. One night in Dresden, Dave split a bottle of whiskey with a skin-head tattoo artist who talked him into getting a tattoo. What could possibly go wrong? The tats on the artist’s face looked pretty cool and the thug was oddly convincing after half a bottle of Jack. My friend couldn’t quite remember which tattoo he picked out, or the artist’s name, or most of the ordeal for that matter, but he definitely remembers the skin-head telling him that the piece would make him look like a Jedi Pimp. Just before passing out on the table, Dave remembered the first touch of the needle and how excited he was to be the first Jedi Pimp in his family.

The next day we made it all the way to breakfast before I asked him how his tattoo turned out. The dim light of remembrance lit his face and he quickly pulled back his sleeve. First the right. Nope. Then the left. There it was: A strangely effeminate-looking monster emblazed on his forearm with the words “HARD COW” printed directly beneath it. In a whiskey haze, the artist meant to adorn the tattoo with the words “HARD CORE” but apparently felt the booze most during the writing portion of the piece and his penmanship wasn’t at its best during the “R” and “E” section of his work.

Dave was devastated after the skin-head gave him such high expectations. Likewise, every time the store clerk pontificates the virtues of that new wine, you just can’t buy it for fear of the big let-down, the disappointing sting of the Hard Cow Effect. Not to worry, this week’s recommendation will leave you feeling like a Jedi Pimp.

Argiolas Costamolino 2010, Vermentino ($14.99): You’ve probably never even heard of a Vermentino so if anything reeks of Hard Cow Effect it’s this bottle. But don’t let the strange name stop you. Its acidity and pineapple and honey flavors make it not just super tasty, but something you can pair with anything from fish to pasta to Asian.

When Your Love of Wine Gets Creepy

October 10, 2011

I called the liquor store twenty eight times just to ask if you were there. I hung up when the clerk recognized my voice. I don’t care. I just want to know that you’re still there. I want to know that I can still get to you. I still have the old bottle that you were in when I first found you. You didn’t know I kept it did you? It still smells like you. Sometimes I pull it out and smell it when I’m listening to Air Supply. That’s our band, you know. Air Supply.

Have you seen me slowly driving past the liquor store? Eleven times yesterday. I do it to see you in the window. That’s not weird is it? Think of it this way: I’m only looking out for you. I’ll always be there for you.

You took some good pictures for your web site. I printed some of them and taped them to my bedroom wall. And ceiling. And mirror. Some of them really show off your beautiful label. I think about your label a lot when I’m at work. I think about your dark cherry and anise flavors too. I try not to think about them when I’m at church, though. Nothing good can come of that. And don’t go sharing your voluptuous mouthfeel and your exotic liqueur flavors with someone else. I don’t know what I would do. Do you understand? I just don’t know what I would do.

Another customer almost bought a bottle of you. I talked him out of it. Then I bought the bottle myself. See? I told you I would always be there for you. I told you I was looking out for you. That’s why I’ve also written a thirteen-thousand-word manifesto explaining how perfect our love can be on the side of the box I brought you home in on that first perfect day. I really love getting close to you like this. Enough talk. It’s time to put on some Air Supply and pull out your old bottle again.

This week’s recommendation:

Bogle, Petite Sirah Port ($19.99): I know. Creepy. But it’s pretty much the way I feel when I become infatuated with a wine that so captures my full attention. Bogle Petite Sirah Port is one of those wines. It makes me want to build a little cozy room in my basement, buy a case of it, and lock us both inside so we can be happy all by ourselves. Forever.

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