Any port in a storm

Castello di Fonterutoli

Castello di Fonterutoli

This is not a plea for sympathy.

Quite the opposite, really. This is a song of gratitude for our deliverance during that wretched snowstorm Nov. 2. We know that many people suffered outages and inconvenience, that many were driven from their homes. These are the heroes. These are the ones who deserve sympathy.

Our own experience was quite other. At around 3, the lights flickered. But they kept burning. It was a bachelor night, as the spousal unit was off traveling with an older sister and the girls have grown up and moved on. So we had only self to look after.

We took inventory: Lights, check. Heat, check. Water, food, plumbing, check, check, check. Wine … Wine?

Oh God!

We found, in the fridge, less than half a glass left in a bottle of Actum 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Spain. Spain! What were we thinking? It was terrible. We’ve had root beer floats that more closely resembled Sauvignon Blanc. No wonder it was on sale (Hannaford, $8.99). All the good SB’s come from New Zealand, so this was totally our bad. We had relegated the Actum to cooking wine duty and had cooked it down to the final thimble.

In short, we had no wine. But this is not a plea for sympathy.

Despite a foot of heavy, slippery snow, we would have to venture out. Suited up in full Nanook, we were shoveling out the car when a neighbor walked by and mentioned all the cars that had slid off Oak Street.

  1. Driving was out. We would have to walk. But this is not a plea for sympathy.

We were chiding self for not maintaining a backup supply in the cellar. And that is when we remembered the bottle that the Wine Wizard gave us for Christmas. We had been saving it for a special occasion and had, in fact, forgotten about it.

We scampered down the cellar steps, laid eyes on the gift box and, heart bursting with joy, found the contents undisturbed.

Awe. Sheer awe. Like the opening scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when Indiana Jones approached the ancient Peruvian relic head in the sacred grotto. We hefted with care: Castello di Fonterutoli 2005 Chianti Classico. Rated “Excellent” by the Wine Enthusiast. Cost about $40.

We drank it with three-cheese lasagna, tossed green salad and fresh French bread hot from the oven. Castello di Fonterutoli has been the signature red of the Mazzei since 1435. A blend of various Sangiovese grapes and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is bold, elegant, delicious and to die for.

To die for. That’s pretty much when we remembered the unambiguous instruction we had received from our marital partner on that Christmas past when the Wine Wizard bestowed his handsome gift.

“You are not to drink this,” she said. “Let’s save it for our anniversary.”

Oh yeah. We done forgot. And it was, after all, an emergency. But forgetfulness and emergencies are not likely to cut it when she gets home and, sooner or later, notices our special anniversary wine has gone missing. A difficult interval will ensue.

This is a plea for sympathy.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]

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