I’ve been writing all my life and constructing this blog for several years now. To challenge myself and the status quo I am trying to change up some of my presentation styles. I’ve never seriously written in the third person except in collage writing classes, so I decided to give it a try. The characters in this effort all exist, but the conversation, not so much. I’d love all feedback, including literary criticism. Even at my age I keep learning and my readers comments help keep me young.
A Conversation with a Great Bottle of Wine
He sat in his study on a cool winter evening and thought about life and his in particular. He’d lived a good long time and done a lot with his life but somehow he still felt young and vital. With his good health, he knew he still had a good run ahead. As he sat there thinking it struck him, even given his expected longevity, he’d accumulated way more wine than he could probably drink in the time he had left. Even yesterday while browsing a local wine ship he bought a bottle of one of his favorites that probably would not hit its prime until he was very old. In his reverie he rose from his recliner and walked to his wine cellar, his pride and joy, and opened the door. Inside he kept some of his favorite friends, many old, some new, but all close to his heart.
In retirement visiting his wine became a regular pastime. Today he came to visit one of his oldest and dearest friends. He walked to the far end of the cellar and on a top rack he found the bottle he’d come to see, his prized, 1947 Fonseca’s Finest Vintage Port. The wine in the bottle was a mere bunch of grapes the spring of his birth. He’d found it in London some twenty-five years ago while on a business trip and while expensive even then, he bought it and brought it home to this cellar to rest for its eventual day in the sun. He planned for his family to open this bottle after his passing to toast, or roast him as they saw fit. It is after all a very celebratory wine which he hoped his family would feel worthy of his life. He, very gently removed it from its rack so as not to disturb any of its aged sediment, and carried it to the tasting table in the middle of the room where, again gently, he placed it in a silver serving cradle to rest a while.
Seated at the table he contemplated this great wine and thought “well old friend we’ve been together a long time and I’ve aged well and have a lot of good years left in me, I hope you do too”. The bottle just lay there staring back at him when he heard a little voice respond “I’m not doing so badly either, thank you for asking. Life roughed me up a bit before you brought me here, with my growing pains on the vine, slopping around in that oak barrel for two years and then bumping from wine shop to speculator and back for twenty-one years hoping for a permanent caring home. You’ve treated me well and this cellar suits me. Frankly a couldn’t ask for a better environment to age and grow old.”
The old collector checked up “in all this time not a word and now we talk?” He found himself wondering about his sanity as he actually verbalized his thoughts. He couldn’t really be talking with a bottle of wine, could he? His mind spun as he contemplated the moment and what it meant; insanity or a true out of body experience – neither seemed very comforting. His thoughts ended abruptly as he again stared at the all too dusty label of nestled in the server.
“You talk about the years you have left, well thanks to the environment in this wonderful cellar of yours I’ve got a good number left as well”
“In for a penny, in for a pound” thought the collector “has the cellar really made that much difference?”
“Oh! You have no idea” the old bottle exclaimed. “When you bounce around from pillar to post in all kinds of temperatures and different climates it really ages you fast. You have no ability to put down roots and get the rest you need to age gracefully. A bottle of wine mirrors the human condition more than you think. If you don’t get enough sleep you get unpredictable, irrational and pretty unpleasant – it’s not that different for us. If we don’t rest we can be just as unpredictable and unpleasant.”
“I knew aging made a difference, but I guess that with the modern wine methods producing wines meant to be consumed young it hasn’t occurred to me that aging conditions still really mattered.” The collector replied
“Believe me it does, some of us old fashioned souls still need to be cared for to really peak and become enjoyable. Sure you can drink a wine before it’s time and you can splash us into a decanter and bring out some of our potential, but it’s never the same as real old fashioned aging in a good cellar. Do mind if I as you a question?”
“No not at all” the collector responded in amazement.
“I’ve noticed you’ve come in and out the of the cellar a lot over the years and it seems to me that lately you have been opening more bottles with screw tops. In my world its cork or nothing at all, screw caps are for jug wine, not fine wine. Why have you switched to lesser wines especially since you have so many really good wines in here with corks?”
The collector smiled “you sound like some of my blog readers who still think that screwcaps means cheap. The wines you see in the cellar with screw caps are still really fine wines, and with the variation in cap liners available today some of them will age as well if not better than cork. You may have noticed that a lot of my newer wine with screw caps don’t get laid down but stand up on shelves. Why you might ask; simply because the liners don’t need to be kept moist like cork so they will age just as well standing as laying down.
Besides, there are a lot more people in the world today than when you and I got our start and a lot more wine being consumed and screw caps have an environmental impact as well If all of the world’s wine were closed with cork we’d kill of all the cork trees and then how do we close wine bottles?”
“I get that but promise never to pour me into a bottle with a screw cap. As young as I feel I am way too old to change my closure”
The collector heard his wife enter the cellar and turned to greet her “Oh I thought we had company, I heard you talking in here” she uttered with a curious look on her face.
“It’s just me and my wine conversing about old times and the state of with wine industry”
“I wonder about you sometimes, talking to your wine, but I guess I won’t worry until it starts answering” she said as she turned to leave. “By the way lunch will be on in a few minutes.”
“I’ll be along shortly” the collector replied as he turned back to his prized bottle and winked.
What a delightful story! I was enchanted from the get go. You asked for criticism so I’ll mention that the numerous typos distract an old editor like me. I constantly want to correct them! Stylistically, the discussion about the wine corks, while informative, changes pace with the reflective character of the rest of the story. Perhaps it’s that it changes voice as well. Heretofore, the voice is contemplative, a tad self-indulgent perhaps, satisfied, content in a life–and many wines–savored. I’m not sure how, but if you can find a way to tell that part of the story with the same bemused reflection as the rest, it will flow seamlessly and the reader won’t realize s/he is being educated.
Mechanical criticisms aside, an enchanting story indeed. You totally set the mood and with spare words put me in the room, in the armchair and in the cellar.
Thanks Kathryn, I appreciate the criticism (all good and appropriate). I took a stab at a style that frankly made me a tad uncomfortable. I’ve done a few more, but none related to wine so they remain un-posted. As to the typos, 45 years with the best assistant in the world makes a guy sloppy and lazy. Since retiring I’ve had to learn more care and the art of proof reading (hate it). I remain, at 69, but a work in progress.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ve been an editor of one sort or another most of my life, Robert, and I still find typos and gaffes in my published work, nearly every day. They’re so easy to miss, even when we look for them!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I really enjoyed this. It was not only fun but also quite informative. Now I feel like a glas of good wine.
Never drink when you feel like you need to, only when you feel like you want to and remember that the two are not mutually exclusive.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Very cute, what a fun read. Thank You.
Autobiography??? Enjoyed it, as always.
not really, just an inspiration for a character (the bottle of wine.
I enjoyed this story. I learned a little too. I know very little of wine so I imagine I will be learning much, as I continue to read your blog. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in such a creative format. I loved it!
Thanks Connie. Blogging 101 was inspiring and now I am just trying to assimilate a little of what I learned.
Thanks, I had fun writing it.
That was cute Robert! Fix the 3rd sentence from the bottom and two misspells.
Darn that spell checker!
I’m a terrible speller myself and would be lost without it!