What will you be drinking tonight?


By Neil Offen

Please take a look at our wine list this evening, where you’ll find several stains contributed by guests who can’t hold their liquor very well, along with our special bottles:

A 2006 Corinthian chianti, leathery and full-flavored with good acidity on the palate and a hint of meniscus on the knee. Grown on the hilly side of the estate on vines chewed several times by neighboring dogs, this wine goes with everything except food.

A 2007 Slovakian gamay, or gamay not, with hints of goat cheese and leftover macaroni, and a finish full of crabapple and a satisfying aroma of drying cement. Great paired with the last Peppermint Pattie in the bag.

A 2011 Uruguayan malbec, an intriguing combination of undrinkable and insufferable. Note the notes of caramel and antibiotic, along with the beautifully balanced pamplonas, which are found only in the south of the bottle. Intensely colored, rich and sensual, it’s banned in 27 states.

A late January 2014 Maltese pinot grigio offers persistent hints of old cough drops and frozen pizza shards. A delicate sense of minerality, which we’re not even sure is a word, makes it ideal to drink with aluminum. When served slightly chilled, it will make you wonder why you didn’t chill it more. Best when opened first.        

A 2002 Latvian Bordeaux, bottled by elderly Latvians in the same manner their ancestors did generations ago, and frequently in the same exact bottles. Fruity and feathery, it is also funny, festive, fanciful, and fact-filled. Not to mention fine. Goes well with fish, fennel, fusilli and figs. Fortunately.

A 2009 Tasmanian de ville cabernet, which is produced on our own estate from well-blended and sociable grapes that have gone to a local Friends’ school and have learned to get along with other grapes and only speak when spoken to. Notice the greenish-yellow tone, reminiscent of the colors green and yellow. Pair it with extremely well-fermented yogurts 2008 found in the back of the refrigerator behind the moldy pickles.

A 2008 Yukon pouilly is fussy, very temperamental and occasionally difficult to deal with — particularly while talking politics — unless you have a good corkscrew and are willing to threaten with it. A wine that’s simple yet lively, high-strung yet deep-dished, manic depressive yet generally okay. Perfect with Cheerios. 

A 2013 Moldovan sauvignon blanc that dances on the palate, sometimes leading, sometimes following, depending on the music. Wonderfully fruity and fruitily wonderful, this wine compliments lighter foods and frequently tells them how nice they look when they’re going out to dinner. A very good year unless you spent the year stuck in Moldova.

A 2011 Cambodian chardonnay, full-flavored and fresh, with an intense color — sort of yellow, or maybe white-ish or just light brown — and a nose that reeks of Kleenex. A delicate and creamy finish that balances low-risk with high-yield and has out-performed the 20-year Lipper average.             

Or you can just get the house wine. If you don’t mind going back to your house and getting it. 

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has been a humor columnist for four decades and on two continents. He is the author of “Building a Better Boomer,” available wherever books are sold.

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