, Newburyport, MA


March 19, 2013

Pride and a cheap bottle of wine

I’m going to put it right out there — I am not a wine connoisseur. I would rather refer to myself as a discerning buyer of decent wine. In other words, I want something that tastes good, but doesn’t break the bank. Don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy an expensive, appropriately aged bottle, and I do agree that spending more money on a bottle might actually bring a person more palatable pleasure than a cheap bottle, but for now, when the supermarket wine section beckons, I follow its call.

So, there I am one sunny afternoon in a New Hampshire grocery store happily scooting my cart down the beer aisle on my way to the wine section. I would begin my search by identifying the “deal” bottles, namely the ones that boast an advertisement about the neck of the bottle for $1, $2 or maybe $3 off. As I am painstakingly perusing the shelves, an older gentleman approaches me wearing a sweater with a wine company logo and asks if I’d like to taste some wine he is promoting.

“Sure”, I say. It was late afternoon and I love wine, so I followed him to the makeshift bar and proceeded to taste four different varieties. He explained the subtlety of each wine and its pairing abilities with certain foods. “Very good,” I pronounced after each tiny swig, and then I asked the dreaded question, “How much is it?” “14.99,” he said. I bobbed my head up and down, knowing that although the price wasn’t astronomical, I still had no intention of buying a bottle. Luckily for me, another interested patron stood waiting for his turn, and as he filled my spot, I quietly slipped away, back into the dark recesses of the supermarket aisles.

I thought I had escaped until a horrible realization came over me. I thought, “I can’t go back to the wine aisle now, he’ll be there, and I will feel terrible about choosing another brand right in front of him.” So, I decided to let the thought pass knowing that I would eventually scheme my way back into the aisle at the opportune moment, carefully dodging the promoter, and snag a perfectly good cheap bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner later that evening.

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