[The auction for this Significant Object, with story by Jeff Turrentine, has ended. Original price: $0.25. Final price: $50.00. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds of this auction to 826 National.]
All wines were stored at 55 degrees and decanted for one hour before being poured into the same glass (pictured) — which, as regular readers know, is the only glass I ever use.
Marques de Riscal 2004 Rioja Reserva ($29)
Explosive cherry notes, which gently yield to black pepper, vanilla and tobacco. Assertive but not overbearing tannins. When I was ten months old, my mother made my father breakfast one morning, kissed him on his way out the door, then grabbed me and her packed suitcase and loaded us both into an airport-bound taxi. By the time he returned home that evening, we were halfway across the country, in Oregon. I didn’t see him again for sixteen years. This wine will cellar beautifully, but can be enjoyed now: think red meat, roast chicken, or even pizza.
Guenoc 2005 Lake Country Petite Syrah ($17)
Super jammy, heavy on plum and blackberry. Less astringent than other young Petite Syrahs. So the story went, my dad was a real bastard: verbally abusive, wholly uninterested in fatherhood and all it entailed, an incorrigible and unapologetic skirt-chaser. My mother withstood it for as long as she could, until one day when he became enraged over the electric bill or somesuch and she feared, for the first time, that he might actually hurt her, or maybe even me. No reason to get too fancy with pairings here: a perfect companion for burgers or red-sauce pasta dishes.
Bertani 2002 “Catullo” Veneto ($20)
Wow. Stunningly bright fruit (especially cherry and blackcurrant), moderate acidity. They were officially divorced a year later. Whenever I would ask my mom about my dad, or wish aloud that I could meet him, she would say that every time she tried to arrange for a visit he balked at the last minute, citing some work-related or personal conflict that couldn’t be avoided. I spent my childhood believing that my dad just wasn’t interested in meeting me, much less being a part of my life. I served this with some re-heated Chinese food the other night and drank the whole goddamn bottle by myself, it tasted so good.
Provenance Rutherford 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)
When I was sixteen I went rummaging through our garage, looking for my old baseball mitt, and I found a cache of letters, dozens of them, all from my dad, and all of them pretty much boiling down to the same plea: Come back, Barbara. Please. I know I love you more than he does. I forgive you. Please come back and bring my only son with you. I confronted my mother, and she tearfully admitted that she’d been lying to me my whole life. This wine is just okay. Personally, I wouldn’t pay thirty dollars for it — but then again, I don’t ever pay for wine. It’s delivered to my door practically every other day. My dad wasn’t a bastard at all. My mother had left him because she had convinced herself that she was still in love with an old boyfriend back in Oregon. Her marriage had simply been a huge mistake, she said. When I finally met my father a year later, he told me that he didn’t contact me, didn’t ever let me know the truth, because — his words — he didn’t want to destroy my relationship with my mother. It was better that I grow up hating him, since I would never have another mother, but it was possible that I might one day have a new stepfather. You know what? I take back what I said about this wine. As I drink it, right now, in my favorite glass, it tastes fantastic. It gets the job done, and in the end, that’s what counts.