"While from his lips fell the words..." ~ Jane Eyre
If romance is a wine to be tasted, you want a deep red.
You don't want a rose. Its too light and sweet, resembling a college romance where you see love through glasses the color of the liquid. You don't want a white, either. Not only is it too light, but it lacks body and layers that make it a wine just apropos for a fleeting summer romance.
Nope, you want a red. A deep red. One that is musky, round, and has a hint of berries. It has aged for a long time in solid barrels, slowly but surely developing its flavor and complexities.
The first kiss tastes like Nero D'Avola. I want to drink more, but this Sicilian gentleman gives me a small taste. We are both late to family dinners...very late. I wanted to stay at this wine bar with him until the very last drops of early morning arrived.
He leads me through Astor Place Wines and I feel intimidated. He overwhelms me, as does his knowledge about Italian wines. He is patient in his tutelage, but I am not paying attention to his words and feel rather awkward since I have never spent more than fifteen dollars on a bottle of wine; the ones he talks about are at least thirty. He knows each region of Italy and navigates perfectly as I continue to get lost in his blue eyes. They are rather intimidating.
I take my sandals off; my toes match the color of the red wine I am sipping at Gallucio Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island. A soft breeze comes across the grape vines. I can't see his eyes since his sunglasses are on, but I watch his mouth drink in between the time he speaks to me. What he sips is a shade deeper than my red, rich and full. I pause from sipping and ask him if I can have a taste.
"If we go to France," he says, " take a refresher language class before we go. Do you still remember any?" "Oui monsieur" I say into his ear on this early spring morning as we are enveloped in crisp white sheets, "J'etudie la francais pour sept ans dans l'ecole." "Good," he replies, "you can do all the talking and I will just gesture." "D'accord," I say, "but only if you agree to take french wine classes so one of us knows the grapes." "Done," he says. I close my eyes and make a mental note to find a wine book just on french regions and grapes as soon as possible, though I will hold on to it for a few more months before presenting it to him.
Garnet Wine Store is his favorite, and I tell him that the name is apropos given that garnet is a perfect shade of red; it is my birthstone. He shows me each corner and crevice of the Italian wines, and I ask questions in hopes of learning a bit more. At one point we venture to the Australian wines. They do not have the Layer Cake Shiraz he has been wanting to taste; he is disappointed.
Raeder's Wine is my favorite, and I tell him that I want to take him there one day to meet the older Italian gentleman who works there and knows everything about wines. I walk in there on a bright spring afternoon amidst a crowd of middle-aged couples purchasing a case of assorted whites, for the summer no doubt. I ask if they have the Layer Cake; they do, just two bottles left in the back of the store. I take both. "I have a layer cake for you," is texted to him as I wait on line. I then daydream about how much I would enjoy feeding him a real piece of layer cake with a fork.
Although a table is ready at Otto, we agree that we want to do some sipping first at the wine bar. I stare into his blue eyes from across the raised bar. I usually order the Bastianich rose, but I have no desire for it at the moment. So, I order a Barbaresco and it tastes much better than the rose. Red wine is more conducive for locked eyes, I realize...