Yesterday marked the first official snowfall of the holiday season here in Ol' NY. I witnessed its coming: from the tease of flurries on my face as I walked to the train on my way to work, to the full on falling of flakes as I emerged from underground, and the whirlwind of white that greeted me as I exited work. I really do love snow when it first falls and begins to stick. It's so pure. It glistens like flecks of glitter in the moonlight and everything looks clean, white, simple.
To me, a snowy Saturday night is a perfect excuse to crack open a bottle of wine and wrap yourself in a blanket After much debating with myself (while trying to stay warm at work), I decided I would pay a visit to the wine outlet by my house (how convenient!) and treat myself to a bottle of warm red goodness. This would be categorized as an unnecessary expenditure, but I have been working hard with only sporadic days off, and I deserved a little holiday cheer. Plus I have recently discovered the joys of Argentinian wines, particularly Malbec's. I grabbed a bottle with my friend Brittany a few weeks ago and was blown away by its complexity, especially since it only cost $7.99! Usually I find wines at the price to be a bit one note, that hit you hard in the mouth when you first take a sip and then quickly die therafter. Don't get me wrong, I will still drink them, and happily, but I like my wines to give me a little something to think about.
Jürgen and I have heard from several sources that Argentinean wines are one of the "best bets" in the wine world today. Not only because they are producing some great tasting vinos down south, but you get a lot of bang for your buck, as a great majority of them can be found for twenty dollars or less. This is music to my wine loving ears, because with a rent payment looming and holiday shopping, any extra change is scarce. I have now committed myself to trying many varietals from various vineyards. I shall report back. This will be very. hard. work.
Back to the story at hand....I braved my way through the growing blanket of snow on the yet unplowed streets of Queens and headed to the liquor store, conveniently located right off of the train. Once inside I perused the Argentinian section, was was pretty impressive, and settled on a bottle of Auka, a Malbec from 2007 with a price tag of only $9.99. The frightful weather outside wasn't going to get me down, I was armed with a bottle of wine, and plans for a rockin' solo Saturday night (Jürg was at work). So, with the snow falling vigorously on my back, I trudged along home.
Once inside, I slipped off my snow-caked boots (red UGG's, not appropriate snow weather boots FYI), changed into some sweats and dried the snow off my hair. I fed the kitties, pulled the bottle from the bag and began to settle into my Saturday night. I was met with only one small problem: where was my wine key? I began to search in the natural places: the kitchen all purpose drawer, the utensil caddy, under the bathroom sink, you know, the usual. It was nowhere to be found. I was utterly confounded when it hit me-Jürgen had it. He is required to have one at his new job, and has been taking ours to work with him. What was I to do?!?!
I plopped myself down at the kitchen table and mulled over my options: I could either forgo the wine drinking for the evening, and save the bottle for another day. Or I could suit back up and head outside to battle Old Man Winter once again in search for a wine opener.
(Apparently I also had a third option, which would have been to take a knife and jam the cork down into the wine, but this didn't occur to me, because after all, I am a lady.)
Well, nothing gets between a girl and her wine, so it was back into the trenches for me. I decided to turn right outside my doorway first, as I recalled a small convenience store of sorts not too far down the road, which could help me in my quest. The snow was still falling and drifts were beginning to form, but I bounced over them and walked through the streets, as no one was driving. I must have looked like a little bounding sleeping bag in my ankle length down coat, but I am telling you, this coat is my winter savior, and makes battles like these possible. I asked the man behind the counter if he sold any wine openers. No dice. I held back the urge to tell the man he needs to re-think his inventory.
The only option now was to head back to the original point of purchase: the wine outlet. It's a little over five minute walk, which is made much more difficult when you have to walk into the blustery snow. Those little fluffy flakes I waxed poetic about a few paragraphs ago, well they are little bastards that stung my face with each step. I tried to cover my face with my hands, but my gloves were now wet with ice and made my lips burn. There were a few times I opted to walk backwards, letting my back take the brunt, which slowed me down considerably. I saw another woman doing the same, and I couldn't help but chuckle and maybe start to cry at the same time. It always amazes me how harsh weather brings people together. No matter what walk of life you come from, when you are out braving the elements with others you are suddenly all on the same page. I recalled times in Chicago, when huge gusts of wind would almost knock down and entire train platform of people, and you would literally hear a collective scream from the crowd. Weather doesn't discriminate.
Like a hawk searching for prey, I was determined to have my wine, and when I walked through the outlet doors I was a woman on a mission. I opted for a wing corkscrew, as opposed to a waiters cork screw. I have never been particularly proficient with that tool (many a cork has seen it's demise by me and my wine key), and headed back out, one final time. The walk home was, for some reason, much easier. The weight of the wine opener in my left pocket encouraged me with each step, and I took the time to notice the snow once again, apologizing for cursing at it earlier. By the time I reached my apartment a small mogul had formed and you couldn't even see the front step, but a kind man opened the door for me and I stomped the snow off my boots as I walked up the stairs.
Back inside the comforts of my home once again, I made a beeline for the kitchen, where my bottle stood proud and ready to be consumed. I called home to regale my mom with stories of my journey as I began to pull out my cork, but another cog had formed in the wheel: my brand new cork screw began to crap put on me and get itself stuck.
This battle was getting ugly.
It only cost me a few bucks, and certainly wasn't the definition of fine craftsmanship, but it seemed sturdy enough. However I would twist the coil through the cork and about halfway through it would give up, for no reason other than it wanted to smite me and keep me from enjoying my night. I started to twist, then push the arms, allowing the cork to move up a few centimeters, and when I would try to twist again it would only push it back down into the neck of the bottle. The vicious cycle continued, and I even called the situation a "disaster" to my mom, who was on the phone listening to my struggles. Breathing heavily, I looked at the bottle, cork half in, with a pathetic excuse for a corkscrew sticking out of the top, and I began to wimper at the thought of having to wave a white flag and admit defeat. I couldn't push the cork in, and the coil was too far into the neck of the bottle to break to the cork in half. finally I pushed the two wimpy arms back down, gripped the entire opener in my hands, steadied the bottle between my knees, and began to slowly, methodically pull the cork out. I moved my hands lightly from side to side, while pulling up at the same time, and magically I bagan to feel the pesky cork give way and eventually eject itself from the neck with a loud "POP!"
Eureka! Victory at last! Wine would be mine! I breathed a sigh of relief as I poured the beautiful deep purple juice into my glass. I cuddled up on my chair, with a glass in one hand, a remote in the other, and partook in the joys of Iron Chef America and a snowy Saturday night. The wine was tasty, no comparison to the wine I shared with Brittany, but still all the more sweet after such a hard fought battle.
I'll say it again: Nothing gets between a girl and her wine.