You grab the winemaker by her flannel shirt and you hiss: “I want to drink THE POWER.”
It’s been days since you last laid eyes upon another man, woman, or child. Weeks since you crossed the rugged borderlands between the U.S. and Canada. Perhaps it’s been years since you began your attempt to live off the land — you have no way of finding out since the battery in your Apple Watch Hermès died and you forgot the charger at home.
You enter a lush and verdant valley, the air humming with cicadas and/or traffic from Interstate 5. Before you lay row upon row of dusty gray grapes, the bunches sagging with the weight of their juicy, eyeball-like flesh. You flash back to that fateful Halloween, 24 years ago, when you first touched the “bowl full of eyeballs”–– before you knew they were nothing more than these pale beauties, skinned alive for the tactile enjoyment of squeamish children. But not I, you think. Not I…
Sticky juice runs down your hand as you realize you’ve squeezed the life from a whole fistful of these miraculous little grapes. What future would this bunch of pinot gris have enjoyed had they not met such an untimely end? Were they destined for a delicate and spicy Pinot Noir? Or perhaps a crisp, clean can of… the exact same Pinot Noir? (But in a can!)
“Nah, these here are the runoff grapes,” the acres of fruit shout back in perfect unison — or no, wait, it’s a person! A woman emerging from (or perhaps created by) the grapes. The legendary grape woman, mother of the California singing raisins.
You are so awed be her presence and/or alarmed that she can read your thoughts that you can muster nothing more than a meager “… what?”
“Those grapes. You probably don’t want to eat ’em, right? ‘Cause of the runoff from the power plant.”
Turns out the mystical valley woman actually owns the winery (though she still may be made of grapes), and she just wanted to make sure you didn’t kill yourself by eating tainted fruit. Of course, that’s what they would say if they didn’t want you to eat the fruit… If this fruit was actually the very thing you’ve been seeking. The enlightenment you felt so close to as you walked into this valley — the glow on the horizon that “science” says is light pollution from Portland but that your heart knows is light pollution created exclusively for your benefit. Light pollution with a purpose. Of course you can’t reveal any of this to “the winery woman” (if that is her real name), so you let her take you in. You dine with her wife and children and multiple Australian Shepherds. They feed you dinner and laugh heartily as you regale them with your tales of hardship, hunger, and woe. Perhaps they think you are telling a joke? No, they’re just out to get you. They’re out to get you like they all are.
They see the truth reveal itself in your eyes and they offer you a glass of their finest homemade Pinot Gris. The wife insists that you’ll love this rich, full-bodied white wine made with the same grapes as Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio.
“No,” you say, pushing the glass away. “I want to drink the runoff.”
“The what?” they say, as if they don’t already know.
“THE RUNOFF,” you bellow. “The wine of the runoff grapes. The grapes you never wanted me to touch!”
“I told you those grapes are tainted!” she screams through tears.
You grab the winemaker by her flannel shirt and you hiss: “I want to drink the power.”
Note that at this point in the evening the winemaker’s wife cocks a very large and very loaded rifle while the entire family quietly backs out of the room. The children don’t make eye contact and no one even says goodbye–– not even the wine woman when you let go of her shirt and try to salvage the situation by commenting “that’s a nice pattern. Is it from Uniqlo?” But then some people are just rude like that.
Thankfully it turns out you can find the wine you were looking for this winter at Trader Joe’s as part of their limited edition Petit Reserve collection!
- Nose: Lemon zest baby wipes.
- Taste: Like a dry cider went flat, got left out, then someone put some ice cubes in it, then those melted, and now this is what we’re left with (and honestly, I’m going to finish it).
It’s actually not terrible!