I learned something early enough in my career to make it a life philosophy: you should never underestimate the power of a bottle from the middle shelf. Or even the bottom shelf! Many of my favorite wines, believe it or not, I’ve found on shelves I didn’t even know previously existed.
One lonely night after basketball—I shoot hoops with a great group of guys from my neighborhood, once or twice a week—our power forward Perchik dropped a serious bomb: he was thousands of dollars in debt. My pulse quickened, and my palms were slicked with anxious dew. I couldn’t believe how much we had in common. Perchik had to feel it too, or else what I was about to do was going to be a huge misfire, but you know me! A runnel of sweat slid from the golden crest of a lobe down a severe Eastern European neck and I was, how you say, “down with that brown.”
“James, you’re always talking about how much in debt you are, do you know any cheap wines I can bring to my god-daughter’s christening party?”
I looked in his eyes and said, “I thought you were trying to make out.”
“What?” he asked.
“What.” I said, not with a question mark but a period, know what I mean? He looked at me really hard, in a way that made me really hard, know what I mean?
“Did you say something about making out just now?”
Then it was really quiet for a minute. Then he said, really quietly and never really raising his voice, “Um. Yeah, so, I know you review wines and you talk about being in debt and I thought you’d be the guy to ask. But uh…” And then he trailed off and I just kept looking at his sweat streaks and then a minute later he left, and I kind of stood there and walked around and eventually watched this poodle I found really porking a nerf football for what felt like forever. And it was looking at me the whole time I was there. But then I got down thinking that Perchik would probably not feel like tossing the rock my way anytime soon at hoops, but I always fall for other straight guys. I mean, I’m not gay, just some dudes get me going and I kind of can’t stop it once it comes, which is pretty tight, like being a werewolf. I made a dude friend feel unsafe AGAIN and it really got me down later, which of course leads to what I call the old “wine itch.”
I stopped off at Ralph’s and decided to give a try to some of the cheaper wines so that I wouldn’t run into this problem with Perchik again. When a guy asks you what a cheap wine is, you’re supposed to jump into your brain and pull something out… besides your huge balls! As my sister would say, “However cool they look, not everybody needs to see your huge balls, James,” but you know what she died.
Not everyone knows this little hack, but I highly recommend checking the loose, collapsible shelving towards the back that bears the banner, “Manager’s Special.” Much like the bazaars of the middle east, products come in at wholesale rates—sometimes even below!—and are stacked in a haphazard—and fun!—shitpile where a can of Raid splits its tract with a fleet of Tum-E Yummies. It works, because it’s about a billion good ideas all at once. Late the night of my indiscretion with Perchik’s hot-ass neck, I tried a discount Moscato called Party Wizard Party Size Moscato.
The Wine: Party Wizard Party Size Moscato, 2015
Party Wizard does one thing, but it does it well: they don’t want to hear your suggestions for improvement. “BBB, go to hell! Tell the wine rags they can screw, we’re doing our own thing!” is the kind of thing I like to think that they think, but they won’t let me in the building. Not even with my press pass, which is written on a Stop sign I found in my backseat during a car accident and signed by the fucking mayor.
The first sniff reminded me of the grease trap outside the ice cream shop my mom managed when we were still in Massachusetts. But when I got to thinking about how I treat people, it could have been the devil’s baked beans for all I could smell. I downed the bottle much too quickly, and it took me a long time to decide to get up when I woke up.
This moscato is real sugary. I think that’s what these are supposed to be like though. I didn’t like it, made me real pukey, if you know what I mean. I vomited a lot, part of the night on my own lap.
I give it 5 out of 5 wines. Definitely forgot about a LOT of stuff going on in my life, which was my goal.
So don’t be afraid to look in the back! You just might find a wine that helps you sleep at night ;)
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