Red, Red Wine


It seems my birthday is coming up soon and I felt like going to a movie theater to enjoy an afternoon matinee. There I was standing in line, wearing my newest Tommy Bahamas, and not wanting to announce to those behind me that I’m, well, old, I didn’t ask for a senior discount, so I paid extra for pride’s sake.


When it was my turn, I handed the young lady a twenty. She handed me a ticket and said, “Here’s your change for one senior ticket.” Doh! I’ve been betrayed by my gray hair, I thought to myself. The lovely lady, with her young eyes, saw that I was eligible for the “near death discount.” Only extra butter, layered on my popcorn could soothe the pain.


That hurt, but not as much as what happened shortly afterward. Man needs steak to live, and I had just ordered one – ribeye of course – at a fairly decent restaurant in town that shall remain nameless. Thinking a hearty red would best compliment this meal, I ordered a zinfandel. With a kindly smile, the server asked, “Will that be a white zinfandel, sir?”


The world stopped spinning on its axis. The week before the ticket-taker branded me as “old,” and now this. Did I look like a person who would drink white zin? I had brought with me a copy of The Los Angeles Times to read. This, alone, should have exempted me from such a question. “You have put an arrow through my heart,” I said, with a wink and a smile.


Red, red wine, you make me feel so fine, you keep me rockin’ all of the time. Red, red wine, you make me feel so grand, I feel a million dollars when you’re just in my hand. Red, red wine, you make me so sad, anytime I see you go, it makes me feel bad. (“Red, Red Wine” – UB 40 – 1983)


No, I was not trying to pick up on the cutesy, young lass; after all my wife was seated next to me. She probably just perceived me as a wine snob. But white zinfandel? It’s a cheap wine, made from sugary grapes. Oh, the humanity!


I read in The Times recently that white zin is making a comeback. So are Birkenstocks. It brings to mind what the social critic H.L. Menken said: “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”


Ironically, all this hubbub comes on the heels of last week’s Art and Wine Festival and this weekend’s Corks & Hops Fest. The New Testament says Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine. I would really be disappointed it was white zinfandel. Why, he would probably be turning over in His grave… Umm, if He was still there, that is. (Oh Lord, please don’t strike me with lightning… or even worse, white zinfandel.)


Red, red wine, you really know I love your kind of lovin’ like a blessing from above. Red, red wine, I loved you right from the start right and with all of my heart.


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott