Post #787 The End of a Quest!

February 18, 2021 at 4:19 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anyone who knows me longer than fifteen minutes, or has read the blog more than a few entries probably knows that I like wine. My favorite is Chardonnay, oaked, buttery and aged. But I’ve tried every kind of white wine imaginable, even the sweet ones. I used to turn up my nose at the reds, but I’ve started developing a taste for them in recent years but I’m more selective of those. I prefer the dry wines, and dislike the sweet ones. I won’t go near a “pink” wine; they’re just Kool-Aid with an alcoholic kick. If the wine is dry (not sweet) and has bubbles and is chilled to just this side of ice, I’m in heaven.

Years ago, I was working in Paris and we had mini-apartments. I was there for nearly three months and got to see the seasons change from late summer into fall then the start of winter. I walked my legs off in that city. Our hotel was about three to five miles from where we worked. I’d take the subway (Le Metro) in to work, but I’d walk home nearly every night. Sometimes, I’d take the metro to the halfway point where there were a series of shops, and I’d buy something cheap for dinner and walk the rest of the way. One Friday night, I decided to do some writing, so I stopped and got a baguette, a salmon filet, some butter, some cheese, a tomato, and I wanted a bottle of white wine. I went to the wine section and learned a lesson. France loves wine. The wine section was HUGE! And it was all in French. I wasn’t as familiar with wine then as I am now, and as I perused the selection, the back of my mind held on to the fact that my salmon was going to turn on me. I finally just grabbed a bottle of white and checked out.

When I got back to the hotel, I put everything away, and set the wine in the freezer to chill quicker. I set my computer up on the balcony and lit a candle since it was getting dark. Then I wrote a few hundred words on a short story. By then, I figured everything would be chilled or at room temp, depending on what was being done. I took the wine out of the freezer and set it aside. I melted butter in a frying pan over low heat and set the salmon, skin side down in the pan. I wanted a low, slow cook on the fish. While the fish was sautéing, I sliced the bread on the bias and spread it with more butter. The tomato I cut into bite sized chunks and sprinkled a few salt crystals on them. Then I opened the wine to let it breathe. Once the salmon was done, I prepared my plate, poured my first glass of wine, and sat on the balcony. The salmon was tasty, the bread was crunchy and good, the tomato was ripe and luscious. The first sip of wine I nearly spit out. It was sweet! Not the dry delectable drink I was hoping for. It tasted like Robitussin cough syrup. I managed to get two glasses down during the evening, but poured out the rest of it. After that, I learned the words for the various types of wine and made sure I got the right stuff.

So, during my days of wine and roses, I tried various wine openers until I found my favorite over time. This one:

The tiny knife cuts the foil around the top. The corkscrew goes into the cork. The fulcrum levers the cork out in two stages and makes it a simple 30 second process.

I’ve tried various stoppers and have quite a collection of novelty stoppers. My favorite is a metal stopper with a small rubber ring to keep air out and the stopper secured, and is topped with a simple wooden ball that’s been polished and finished to a gleaming shine. The ones I use most, though, are simple rubber stoppers that I used over and over.

I have wine carafes, and wine glasses of various sizes and uses. I used to buy wine glasses by the boxful, but now I just keep four of each kind/size. Way back when I was starting my wine journey, my brother bought me a wine set that I loved. It was made of wood, my favorite material. It had a heavy base to avoid tipping. It had an ornate side piece that held a small shelf about twelve inches higher than the base. The shelf had a hole near the side piece to hold a carafe or a bottle, and the rest of the shelf had four cut outs to hold four wine glasses bowl side down. The base had a small cut out to hold the corkscrew. I fell in love with the thing, and my brother was so proud of giving it to me. The glasses were the perfect size for a good pour of wine, and heavy enough to be stable, and had a simple and elegant design. There was just one drawback, that my college roommate found shortly after I brought it to our apartment. We had finished dinner and were cleaning up. Although we sometimes ate together, we seldom cooked together since we liked different things. I was a few feet away from him putting something away, and I turned to ask him something. He was drying something and as he turned, it flew out of his hand and in a perfect trajectory cleanly snapped every single glass right where the stem met the bowl then hit the carafe and shattered it. We both stared in amazement at the four stems swinging slightly in their holder for a few seconds. Then I started to laugh because from my angle it looked so funny. He was very apologetic, but what was done was done.

I managed to replace the pieces over time since they were pretty standard. I loved those glasses. I lost the other bits and pieces but I kept the glasses for years. Then, somehow, I lost them. I don’t really have a clue when I lost them but I went looking for them one day and they were gone. So, I went looking for replacements. They were not to be found. Other more popular styles and sizes had replaced them. By this time, I was divorced, living on my own, and still keeping my eyes open for them.

One evening, I had just returned from an international trip and a friend had called asking to meet me for dinner. We went to a nice restaurant where I ordered a glass of KJ (Kendall Jackson, one of my go to wines) chardonnay. A couple of friends of his chanced by and since he needed to talk to them about something, they sat with us and they had their conversation, apologizing to me for leaving me out. I wasn’t bothered since I was still pretty tired. My glass of wine arrived and it was in a huge balloon glass rather than a standard wine glass. Even in that huge glass, I could tell that the amount of wine in it wasn’t the standard pour. So I asked the waiter if he could ask the bartender to pour a little more into it since it was obviously not the right amount. He came back with the same amount and explained the bartender said it just looked like less due to the size of the glass. I replied that since I couldn’t get the amount I was paying for, I’d rather have water anyway since I was driving and very tired. I ordered my dinner and while I was waiting, a man came up to me explaining that he was the bar manager and wondered why there was a problem when they had explained what was happening. I told him there wasn’t a problem. I didn’t get the amount of wine I was paying for, so I decided I didn’t want wine anymore as I was driving. He left and returned with a glass of wine filled to the brim, just on the edge of overflowing. He set it down carefully so as not to spill it and said that it was on the house. I told him he might as well take it away as I wouldn’t be drinking it, and that I wasn’t a fool and wouldn’t let him make me one by even attempting to pick up a glass designed to spill all over me. “But it’s free!” he said. “I don’t care. I don’t want it anymore. Please take it away.” But the thing I noted about the whole transaction was that the wine glass was my perfect glass! (The incident didn’t end there with conversations with the restaurant manager, bad Yelp review, requests to change said review, offers of free meals, etc. But I remained firm and haven’t returned to the restaurant since. I don’t like being insulted.)

But seeing the glass at the restaurant gave me an idea. Maybe a restaurant supply house would have the glass? I went online and searched. Every place I looked had the glass, but the smallest lot you could buy was 36! It made sense given where I was looking, but I wasn’t going to buy $150 worth of wine glasses. So I kept my eyes peeled, and periodically asked at various restaurants if I could buy the glass, too. No one let me. I was hoping to score one or two that way.

A few years later, Partner/Spouse and I started dating, and one of the things we love to do is search through antique stores, second hand stores, yard sales, flea markets, etc. I’d been in this one a few times and thought I remembered seeing my favorite wine glasses, but instead of clear, they were a light purple. I decided since I couldn’t find them anywhere else, I was going to buy the purples ones if they were still there.

They were!! Yay!

I kept them stored on my counter and used them often. But somewhere, when I wasn’t paying attention, they disappeared again. I don’t remember when or how. And this time, when I started looking, they weren’t even at restaurant supply stores. I was actually going to bite the bullet and buy 36. I knew the name of the glass as it was called years ago, but couldn’t find them anywhere.

A couple of weeks ago, I was washing the dishes and one of them was a wine glass. I had found some glasses that I liked but weren’t my favorites. I mean, they were my current favorites, but not the ones I’d been search for. Over time, I’d broken all but two. As I was drying the glass, I felt it start to give and suddenly I was holding a large shard of glass in one hand and the glass in the other. Luckily, the whole mess was in the towel I was using so no cuts or blood was involved. But that left me with one “good” wine glass. So I ran a search on Amazon and put in the long remembered name of my favorite wine glass with no hope whatever of finding it. And I was right. No hope, and no wine glasses. Since I knew the measurements, I looked for some with the same measurement and style. I found some kind of close and figure it would do. They arrived two days ago.

I couldn’t believe it. These are them! I box of twelve for $20! I was thrilled. I washed them all, kept out four, stored the rest, and now I’m a happy camper.

So I hope you enjoyed the story of my quest. I enjoyed reliving it, and I really enjoy the wine I’m drinking in the glass.

So, has there been something like this in your life? Something you’ve looked for and couldn’t find, then chanced across it by accident? Let us all know. Feel free to share if you like!

As always,

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