So, like most other Danes, I got a tax refund yesterday which is a good thing because I have a lot of debt that needs paying off.. But we can’t all be all serious all the time, can we? So, in what was literally a spur of the moment decision, I decided that I wasn’t gonna let a vacuum cleaner be my only impulsive purchase of the week, and that I’d got spend parts of my tax refund on something good, over the top and slightly crazy.. It took me about another five additional seconds to figure out exactly what this good, crazy over-the-topness had to be..
In case you have not noticed, I’m a wine guy.. Well, okay, I’m a wine, spirits and beers kinda guy.. But since I own more rare beers and top shelf spirits than I do fancy wines, I decided to go visit my go-to wine guy and ask him to show me just what the upper echelons of French wine had to offer.
So I set course for my wine guy’s shop where I arrived about five minutes later, stepped into the door and was greeted with a “Hello Hannibal!” (?!) and a glass of Barbera d’Asti which was thrust into my hand. “Umm, okay..” I countered and toasted with the people present, sipped my wine and started walking around the store taking in the sights, chatting people up and waiting for Kresten, my wine guy, to finish his entertaining so I might talk to him.. Which lasted a while to say the least.
Actually I ended up spending about 20 minutes just hanging out, relaxing and sipping wine, before I realized I had an appointment with my mother at the train station and had to flee the store and sprint down towards the railroad with a “thanks for the taste, Kresten, I’ll be back later!” – which left him looking a little amused and his other customers looking more than a little confused. Oh well.
After finishing up my business with my mom which included seeing her off on the train and picking up some organic free range eggs and some onions in the process, I returned to my business of getting some good wines and, as such, to my wine guy as well. While I’d been frolicking around town, the sun had come up and the temperatures had risen. As such, I’d taken off my jacket, and was now, in true Johan fashion, entering an upscale wine store wearing my usual uniform of blue jeans, Ramones t-shirt and an iPod blasting the newest album by British hardcore punk band Gallows (which comes highly recommended, by the way). Again, a pretty familiar sight for my wine guy, but apparently again somewhat of a shock for his other customers who were more of the blazer/tie wearing variety.
Kresten was, not surprisingly, still very busy entertaining various customers but through sheer luck, I ran into another open wine bottle and another tasting of Italian wine. I also ran into an old work colleague, Finn, who was apparently also hanging around drinking wine. We had a good talk, a few laughs and a few more odd looks from other customers. All in all, not an entirely bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.
By the time my slot in the queue came along, Finn had managed to piss off Kresten at least once with his not to classy behavior and I had somehow managed to gather quite a following as everybody seemingly wanted to know what this weirdly dressed young man wanted. I explained my mission to Kresten, saying that I’d gotten a pretty good tax refund and wanted to spend some of it on some really good French wine. I asked him to first show me a good French white Burgundy, and was immediately asked by a couple of other customers if they could please just tag along for the ride around the store. Sure, why not. I’m all about the show, after all.
For the white, Kresten suggested a 2006 Domaine Bernard Morey Saint-Aubain Les Charmois 1er Cru, describing it as an absolute epiphany of a wine which intrigued me, then discretely coughed up the price tag of DKK 350 which immediately made some of the innocent bystanders go “Oh fuck no, I’m outta here!”, apparently thinking the price a little out of the league they were looking for.. Me, well, did I mention I got a pretty big tax refund? I was pretty much more interested in knowing whether Kresten thought the wine was worth the hefty price tag. He told it was worth every penny and since he’s never really let me down, I opted to play his game and asked for one of the bottles. Again much to the shock of the bystanders who were now whispering things along the lines of “Who the fuck is this guy?” to one another.
“Now then,” I asked: “What about a Burgundy red to follow?” – “No!,” Kresten countered: “I’m not sure I’m gonna let you do that.” – “No?,” I inquired. “Well,” he reasoned, “I would of course, but in this range, I think I’ve got something better for you.” He then went on a long rant about a very special bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape red he had lying in the cellar. Apparently a special reserve made only in really good years from the oldest vines (70-100 year old ones to be exact) from a smaller well-renowned producer and good friend of Kresten’s. Now, I’m already a pretty big fan of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines, so the very personal story and fondness of the wine and producer alike related to me was pretty much enough to have me sold. The fact that the bottle wasn’t even on display and was taken from the personal stash in the cellar with great ceremony and pride on Kresten’s behalf of course didn’t make it less of an interesting purchase.
While Kresten went downstairs to get the wine, a middle aged gentleman who had been watching the whole show over my shoulder, inched closer to me and posed the inevitable question: “Can I just ask..? Are you like some sort of wine guy? Or just ever so slightly eccentric?” Well, to be fair he didn’t exactly use the word eccentric, but it was pretty well implied by his choice of words. Thinking I’d play along, I just sorta shrugged and went “a bit of both, I guess.. But I do know a thing or two about wine and quite enjoy trying new ones.” – with so much fun and commotion going on, why would I spoil it? The fun and commotion only increased as Kresten returned from the cellar, bearing his highly prized Chateauneuf-du-Pape and spawning various oohs and aahs and creating a small gathering of people wanting to have a look at the bottle. It was all quite amusing, really. But then, it was quite a spectacular bottle of wine. And a rather pricy one to say the least.
Having pretty much stolen the show for some 20 minutes, I let Kresten take care of a couple of quick walk-in customers and once again took to hanging back, sipping my glass of wine and chatting randomly.. Partially coz that’s how I roll and partially because I was apparently the star of the show that afternoon and a lot of people wanted to know one thing or the other about me and my weird ways. When Kresten finished up, we went to pick out my last bottle of the day which I decided should be a bubbly because that’s apparently my new obsession. Kresten suggested Champagne this time around, of the Cattier variety to be exact which he offered me at almost half the price of Moët and argued it would be a much better wine. I’m pretty new in the game but unlike most Champagne aficionados, I do like Moët, so again I went with his recommendations.
With the final bottle picked out, we went to the register with a surprising level of ceremony and a considerable following, rang up my purchases, pulled the money off my worn debit card, shook hands on the deal and exchanged formalities, smiles and good wishes before I grabbed my coat, waved goodbye and set out the door, clutching my three bottles of very expensive French wine, Gallows once again blasting in my ears and The Ramones’ trademark chant of “HEY HO LET’S GO!” proudly displayed to the dozens of confused eyes staring at my back as I walked off. Eccentric?? Moi? I’m sure people buy Premier Cru French wines while wearing jeans and worn band shirts all the time!