As a blogger with literally gazillions of page views every day, I face two major blog-related life issues:
1.) I have no good stories for my friends because they’ve already read about it in my blog. This results in friendships that are more efficient, smoothly bypassing all “catching up” conversations; but that haven’t quite caught up with this new turn of events, thusly including long awkward non-conversations before settling into our friend routine.
2.) I face a dilemma every time I find something I really like: if I write about it, my ten gazillion readers will come stampeding into my favorite stores and put their desperate meaty hands all over my pretty things. For this reason I still won’t reveal my favorite clothes-shopping store.
But today, like Jesus, I decided to make a major sacrifice and share with you, dear readers, a little story about my favorite wine store: Mondo Vino in the Highlands.
The people who work at Mondo Vino could probably move to the top of the music industry in a second, or become spies or Presidents. They’re the kind of perfect employee who’s almost robotically committed to doing their job well, but in a really warm, friendly way. Yesterday I experienced something I’ve never experienced before: I got to walk around Mondo Vino and actually look at the wines. The only reason for this departure was because it was jam-packed with people at the wine tasting, which featured the actual winemaker dude fresh off the plane from Italy, just hanging out….but I digress.
It felt weird because normally when I walk in within seconds, a really nice friendly and professional employee approaches me and asks me if I need help finding anything. They’re all very warm and likeable people and they make pleasant conversation but not too much conversation; they give my doggy Iggy Pup dog treats every time he comes in; and they don’t look down on me when I simply ask for help fetching a vintage case of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Every Friday and Saturday night they have free tastings; on Fridays it’s wine, on Saturdays it’s beer. These typically evolve into a bustling vignette of Highlands-neighborhood characters: several sort-of-hip-in-a-straightforward-way people on the brink of settling down but not quite there yet; two babies – one of which is wearing hip baby clothing; three dogs (mutts, usually) sniffing around; a couple of artsy old people; and inevitably one older, socially-inept-yet-extroverted drunk.
They let you taste four different wines and two cheeses from St. Kilian’s next door – the type of place I would shop at if I weren’t destitute. It’s amazing. They tell you all about their wines, and they don’t judge you if you bring up Boone’s or, as Timmy T. did, say you’re in a hurry and could you please get all four wines in a to-go cup. (They politely declined)
Last night they had the winemaker from Italy, Filippo Antonelli, hanging around in a suit, chuckling and talking with all the neighborhood people. Here’s a little background about his winery from the Mondo Vino newsletter:
“We are tremendous fans of this winery and their classicly styled vino. Their home state of Umbria is an underapprciated area who’s wines, especially the truly unique sagrantino, are a window into Italian viticultural history. Nestled into the hillside this small winery has been crafting authentic wines since 1881, with a focus on rich wines with a sense of place.”
Isn’t that nice?
So it was super crowded around the tasting bar, and the place was buzzing. I wanted to buy one of his wines so I asked one of Mondo Vino’s finest for a bottle – the one that says “Grechetto: denominazione di origine controllata; Colli Martani, 2007″ (aka “the white one”). Would you like for the wine maker to sign the bottle? they asked me. Fuck yes, said I.
*this is not at all what the man looked like.
Filippo Antonelli ambled over with his shiny silver pen poised, with a mischievous glint in his eye like many Italian guys have – where you’re not sure if they’re about to say something creepy. He just asked me my name. “That’s my daughter’s name, too,” he said, and we had an “Awwww, that’s nice” moment. Then he added secondarily: “She’s terrible.”
That guy was awesome. We’ll see how long I can hold out on not opening the bottle – I’ll be rich!
So here’s the deal: too much of the general public has already found out about Mondo Vino’s wine tastings, because yesterday they started pouring smaller glasses – small sips instead of shot glasses full. My wine intake is already being cut down here. So if you decide to come to my favorite free wine-tasting activity next Friday, the least you can do is push me to the front of the line – I mean you wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for me, right? And don’t you forget it.