To be or not to be? That was the question. Whether ’twas nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of a screaming hangover or to take arms against a scene of utter chaos in my hotel room, and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep it off….
Let’s rewind. After spending Friday in St. Helena with one of my oldest, best friends in the world, and then having to see her leave after less than 24 hours together left me in a sour mood Saturday morning. Though it wasn’t too bad, I was going into San Francisco to pick up my cousin. He and I never fail to do it up right, and I figured any blue feelings I had would become unadulterated glee shortly.
My building excitement waned as I hit traffic around Berkeley. Normally a 2 and a half maybe 3 hour round trip turned into a 6 hour one. Frustration, stress, and self-loathing from being too nice to tell him to get a cab built up inside me. As we finally made it back into St. Helena, we decided to take a break. While carelessly playing bocce, drinking a blend of Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle from 2000, and listening to a mix consisting mainly of Journey and Ke$ha, we were intruded upon by people wearing blazers and bow-ties. Lame. I suppose we had to get ready for dinner anyway.
After debating the individual merits of wearing a sweater vest, a sport coat, or a sweater vest in conjunction with a sport coat, we headed to the hotel bar. Arriving in the wake of some celebrities, we settled in at the bar and started with a couple glasses of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Dom Ruinart is arguably the oldest house in Champagne, and their vintage Rose is my favorite champagne in the world. Yes, I know Dom Perignon is thought to be the oldest Champagne house; but while Dom Perignon the person made wine starting in 1670, and he indeed did revolutionize Champagne making, it was never actually a Champagne house until Moet & Chandon produced the first vintage of ‘Dom Perignon’ in 1921. Gosset was founded in 1584, but as a still red wine producer. I realize all of this is pedantic, but that’s why I said arguably. Either way, good cocktail factoids.
The sommelier then recommended us Failla Viogner. Awesome wine; floral, a little sweet, very light. Perfect with cheese or by itself. Failla is a teeny producer owned by the winemaker from Turley. If you get a chance, try both Failla and Turley, but definitely try to get your hands on Failla if you can.
We then went to dinner and had the tasting menu. A lot of organ meats. The wine a was a little shaky there, if I’m honest. They didn’t have the white I wanted and the sommelier talked me out of the red I wanted. We settled on 2004 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc and Orin Swift’s Prisoner 2007. The Rayas was the suprise hit of the evening, and the Prisoner was awful. The Rayas had great spice: white pepper, cayenne, and cocoa beans. The Orin Swift tasted like a dreamsicle. In a bad way. From there it gets a little fuzzy.
Now we arrive at the opening soliloquy. The curtain rises with me waking in our smaller-than-average queen size bed to find my bed-mate and little spoon with his glasses on. Of course, he wasn’t wearing them the day before. Further inspection down the rabbit hole revealed many befuddling things about the scene, as well as strange and alien images from the previous night of debauchery. The fireplace had ash in it. A brilliant plan on our part to light a fire the night before, no doubt. We find an ice bucket next to the fire place about half filled with water, because as we all know, a deadly blaze can easily be subdued with a glass’-worth of water.
As my cousin awoke, we, a crack team of forensic scientists, began to piece things together. He remembers some women from Utah celebrating a 40th birthday party (they still and will forever hate Jordan for this). I remember some guy who looked like Agent Smith from the Matrix walking in with a crew of cartoon characters of Napa socialites. We continue our scouring of the room; among some of the strange goings on include: 3 cigars (for, as far as we know, only two people), half a decanter full of wine but no wine glasses, 2 hangers that don’t match the ones the hotel provided for us, a brandy snifter with whiskey in it. Missing a shard out of the side. The shard nowhere to be found.
The coups-de-grace of the whole ordeal was, of course, a tasting I had to attend that morning at 10:30. While the wine was great, the combined effort of keeping my eyes open and not throwing up on the delightful woman who was seeing me on a Sunday really spoiled it for me.
As many of us can attest, an overflow of good does indeed convert to bad. And while the bad is debilitating and slightly embarrassing, I know, for one, those are some of my favorite and funniest memories. In my opinion we should all try make a couple more like that. In the end, while some of the night is still a little fuzzy, what would we really have remembered it if we had just went to bed? I don’t think there’s anything worse than being ordinary.
Oh, by the way, here’s a list of the wines we had and a brief score (of course, please take them with a grain of salt):
2000 Napa Valley Reserve: 96
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc: 90
2007 Failla Viogner: 93
Roderer Brut: 89
2002 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc: 93
2007 Orin Swift, The Prisoner: 87
2007 Kongsgaard Chardonnay: 94
2000 Leoville Barton: 96
Coming Next Week: My budding infatuation with Savannah Cats (look it up), embedding random and powerful quotes from great movies in my posts (can you find this week’s? Leave a comment with your guess on the quote and the movie it’s from. Free bottle for the first to get the hidden quote. Get ready), me dealing with the backlash of my family chastising me for my sinful career path.
Until next time, live life well,
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