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Friday Fishwrap
I Broke A Bottle—Oh, The Pain

By Charles Olken

I broke a bottle. Just dropped the damn thing on the cellar floor. It shattered. I swore.

And that was the easy part. My wine cellar is not a pretty place. It was never meant to be showy. I don’t have a place to sit and admire my collection. It has the look of long hallway lined with plywood shelves and has just enough space to walk up and down. It is, in short, a working cellar with wine coming and going all the time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do have a second cellar for my personal stash. It is a quieter place but just has the same look. The only difference is that wine sleeps there for years and years until it emerges for special dinners and retrospective tastings.

But, what I am talking about here is the Connoisseurs’ Guide cellar. On one side of the aisle, I keep the wines in our tasting inventory. We are adding wine to taste almost every day thanks to the wineries and UPS and FedEx. And we are buying a fair bit of wine to fill out our tastings with harder to find bottles. Since we taste thousands of wines every year, and they all come and go out of the working cellar, it is a busy place. On the other side of this cellar are older wines kept to allow CGCW to come back to those wines as they age and to report on them to you, our readers, from time to time.

This was not the first time that I have broken a bottle in there during the CGCW years, but it was the messiest. Breaking a bottle of white wine is a cleanup job. Breaking a bottle of Petite Sirah has turned out to be a paint job. Or, to put it, more accurately, it has turned out to be two paint jobs. The first is the broad pattern of splatter that gets on everything and stays there when it dries out. And the second is the repainting.

It is probably true that people who handle wine break a lot of bottles in their lifetimes. It goes with the territory. And it is always painful. The first is the agony of the moment—dancing away from the spreading mess, the swearing and the destruction of old towels that refuse to come clean and no longer can be used to help wash the car. And the second is the aftermath.

And so, I have made a vow never to break a bottle of wine again.

Good luck with that.


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by TomHill
Posted on:8/3/2013 9:09:44 AM

Yup...feel your pain, Charlie. 'Cept...I don't bother to repaint. And I've been known to pick up a fragment of the btl that still cradles a few tablespoons of the wine, take it into the kitchen and pour it thru a screened funnel into a glass, and try it. Us wine geeks can be a bit obsessive at times.



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