Viewpoint

Friday Night at the Wine Bar by Mike Lynch While single life has its advantages--none come to mind--it was time for me to start dating again. It was a warm Friday night back in July. I showered, shaved, put on a pair of big-boy pants, and hit the town like it had never been hit before. My destination was a new seafood restaurant near the courthouse called Squid Pro Quo. With any luck I would meet the woman of my dreams--a woman with low self-esteem looking to settle. SPQ was packed with all the right people. Demographically it was mix of upper-middle to middle-upper. The lone lower (me) was offset by six full uppers. I traded the bartender $20 for a glass of wine, and waited for change that would never come. To the left of me stood an attractive, age-appropriate woman drinking a glass of rosé. Her lack of wedding ring was an invitation for me to "do my thing." "I once bowled a 237," I opened. "You remind me of my father," she countered. "Last year I rode in an elevator with William Shatner," I responded. "I'm getting married tomorrow," she checkmated. Years ago I realized "my thing" was an uncanny ability to say really stupid things to beautiful women at wine bars. Sensing another potential restraining order, I focused my attention on the woman seated to my right. "Grüner Veltliner," she called out in a loud, confident voice. "Grüner Veltliner?" I pursed my lips and whistled to show my admiration at her sophistication. "What are you drinking?" she asked pointing at my glass "Chardonnay." She stuck her finger down her throat either to dislodge a large clot of food or indicate her disdain for my selection. "You don't approve."

"Chardonnay is elevator music for a tone-deaf nation." "I don't understand," I said, not understanding. "Chardonnay is fast food. It's daytime TV. It's soylent green." "Soylent green…" Slowly I turned. Step by step. Farther down the bar I paused at a tall blonde. "Another Petite Sirah," she shouted at the bartender. I smiled. She smiled back broadly, revealing a mouth full of purple-stained teeth. "I have my own wine blog," she announced. Oh God, not a wine blogger. I tried to run. She grabbed my arm. "It was recognized as one of the top 10,000 blogs in the wine industry." "Top 10,000?" I mouthed. "The odds of that must be at least one in a million." "I'm meeting some fellow bloggers here in a few minutes. We get together once a week to discuss wines we've recently tasted." "Isn't that what your blogs are for?" My voice was nothing more than a dog whistle to her. She spotted her friends at a nearby table. They waved. She waved. "Follow me." It was not a request. Dutifully I followed. At the table introductions were made. They were Blake, James and Elena. The woman I had been talking to was Sonia. I told them my name was Lancelot. "What are you drinking, Lancelot?" "Chardonnay," I responded. In unison they stuck their fingers down their throats. Over the next 10 minutes, I listened as each of them lectured thin air about the ramifications of Biodynamics, alcohol levels in Zinfandel, the price of Bordeaux, Parker, the price of Burgundy, filtration, clones, Parker, terroir, obscure varieties, native yeast, deficit irrigation and of course, Parker.

Sensing a chance for freedom, I slid to the floor and crawled on my belly back to the bar. Free at last, I stood up, removed the chunks of food from my shirt, and took my place behind a woman in mid-order. "What'll you have?" asked the bartender. "Chardonnay, please." He handed her the wine. She turned around. We made eye contact. The chemistry was electric. It was like electric eye chemistry. "I once bowled a 237," I opened. "Last year I rode in an elevator with William Shatner," she countered. "What do you think of wine blogs?" I asked. She stuck her finger down her throat. Mike Lynch is a founding partner of Big Bang Communications, a wine industry PR and marketing company. His articles and short stories have appeared in Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine Spectator. Proving that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, Mike's cholesterol level and highest bowling score are both 228. He can be reached at mike@bigbangcommunications.com. To comment on this column, e-mail edit@winesandvines.com.