We were set up by a mutual friend, who assured us both that we would “get along great.” This was good news, because said friend understood me well enough to know I wouldn’t want to date a White Nationalist with a penchant for a daily box of Twinkies. That said, she also knows me well enough to be able to give my date the inside scoop on me, which could range from personality misdemeanors like, “he doesn’t return books to the library on time” to full-scale felonies like, “he’s that special breed of narcissist that also has insecurities.”
Oh well. I didn’t get much of the skinny on Blind Date Woman, so perhaps she didn’t get much on me, either. I was told she was thirty-seven, “pretty,” and “just a really cool girl.” We arranged to meet at this moderately up-scale Italian restaurant. The type of place that says, “I’m not a cheap bastard, but this date has the potential to go south on a dime, so French Laundry comes later.”
She was quite attractive, which was surprising, because typically when a woman calls another woman “pretty,” it’s Girl Code for, “you’re fat but your face is passable.” She was already at the table, sitting there with memorably good posture in a spaghetti-strap black cocktail dress, her thumbs rotating like a Tilt-A-Whirl across her iPhone screen. I think I startled her when I walked up and introduced myself, but she smiled broadly, which I took as a good sign.
We dove right in to Restaurant Small Talk 101: Everything On This Menu Looks Great. She told me our mutual friend said I was “a wine guy” and therefore I had to order the wine. I was tempted to order the Berringer White Zinfandel and see if she flinched, but figured that was like third date humor. There’s this vague, grey area in which funny, creepy and stupid all intermingle, and I’ve found it’s best to err on the side of conservatism on first dates.
“So, I understand you have kids?” she asked. “How many?”
“Three, at last count,” I smiled. “But God only knows.”
She didn’t smile back. “What does that mean?”
“Just the three,” I assured her. “Three awesome kids, two failed marriages and a partridge in a pear tree.”
I got a glare which silently told me I had fully entered the aforementioned Grey Zone, and was waist-deep in the “stupid” part of it.
“Would you ever get married again? Have more kids?”
We ordered wine, right? Wine is supposed to be coming to this table very, very soon, right?
“No,” I said. “No more kids. I love my kids with the burning white heat of a supernova, but I think I’ve spread enough Taylor DNA out in the world now.”
“What about marriage?” she asked.
Still no sign of the God forsaken wine.
“Marriage,” I sighed. “Honestly, I would still like to believe in the idea of romantic love, and the notion that there could actually exist this mutually supportive and nurturing partnership, but I’m not sure if I need to get married in order to make the kind of…”
I lost her. Her head bowed slowly down until she was gazing at the empty plate in front
of her like it was the vast, loveless savannah of her soul. I wanted to be cavalier in the moment, to laugh and dismiss the whole episode as my inability to hear the deafening TICK TOCK TICK TOCK of her biological clock reverberating off the restaurant walls. But I couldn’t. The look of disappointment on her face was devastating. It ran a straight line from childhood dress-up days as Snow White all the way to jealously watching her best friend dance dreamy, languid circles to When I Fall In Love at her perfect beachfront wedding. With the turn of a phrase, I had become another bad reason for a beautiful dress, another tweet with #DateFails, another wasted night.
Her iPhone vibrated against the silverware. “That’s your rescue text, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Oh no,” she said, fumbling nervously with the device. “It’s nothing like that, it’s probably just my – “
“Take it,” I assured her. “Go ahead and go. Honestly, it’s ok.”
She looked at me with a sheepish half-smile, grabbed her purse and stood up. “You seem like a nice guy,” she said, then she walked out.
Love is lightning that explodes with thunder without counting Mississippis. Love is chemistry and mayhem. Love is unlimited free pizza delivery by unicorn. But love is also 14 hour workdays without end. Love is changing the diaper at 4 AM when you did it at 2 AM and 12 AM. Love is time and love is timing. Love is more than a willingness to trade Boardwalk for Baltic Avenue, it’s about wanting to play Monopoly in the first place.
Homeslice finally showed up with the bottle, a 2011 Valpolicella that was sure to be amazing. “Would you like to taste the wine, sir, or would you like to wait for the lady?” he asked.
“Life’s too short to wait,” I said. “Pour it.”
The Universe’s Uncompromising Clock That Dictates The Timing Of Love Pairs With: 2012 Grgich Hills Estate Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville, Napa Valley. The 2012 vintage in Napa Valley was hailed as one of the best in years, perhaps in a decade, and for good reason. One of those reasons was that it followed the 2011 vintage, which was gnarly and awful (with a few exceptions. Which exceptions? Ask ANY winemaker in Napa and they’ll tell you their wine). 2012 saw harvest volumes upwards of 20% higher than 2011, and the growing season was nearly perfect. The wines produced from this year were softly, beautifully balanced, especially the Cabernets.
Then came 2013, and everyone jumped ship. 2013 was lauded as being potentially the best vintage ever to come from Napa. Though only time can validate such a bodacious claim, the ‘13s are amazing AF. They’re certainly as good if not better than the 2007, and more deeply concentrated than 1997.
But what’s most striking about the 2013 Napa Cabs is that the aging potential is deliciously obvious. They’re balanced big: Heavy fruit, heavy acid, heavy tannin, literally like putting two rhinos on each end of a teeter-totter. They’re sensational now, but the tasting experience leaves you assured that there’s a good fifteen years left to go.
So where does that leave our 2012s? In my opinion, it’s time to drink them now, and not simply because of this contrast. I have long espoused the idea that Napa Cabs, though probably the best Cabernets on the planet, do not have the inherent long term ageability most people think. The vast majority will go ten years tops before breaking down. When you contrast the 12s with the 13s, the difference in structure is so clear that you know the 12s will not be competing in any beauty pageants against the 13s in the year 2033.
Don’t get me wrong: The 2012 Grgich Hills Estate Old Vine Cab from Yountville is gorgeous beyond words. Lush, multi-layered fruit, playful acid, soft tannins and the color of a mountain sunset. But you need to go get a bottle right now and drink it right now. It’s ready, it’s willing and it’s able, but I can’t help but think that the 2012s are the Charlie Gordons of Napa. They are genius now, but they won’t be for much longer.