A Whine Connoisseur



Product name: 50 Shades of Grey “White Silk,” a blend of Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and the screams of strangled penguins.

Found at: BevMo Van Ness, San Francisco

OMG WTF quotient: 87

Price: Six dollars? $35? I don’t remember. My eyes were instantly melted shut by the searing flames of insidious capitalism. I hope no more than $7.99 because otherwise you should be even more ashamed of yourself than you already are, even to be seen touching this.

I get ALL my salacious sayings from the bottom of cheap wine labels

Product tie in: The quite terrible-looking movie version of one of the worst-written, poorly imagined mega-bestselling books in any human language in all of world history, and that includes Left Behind and The Alchemist and Twilight and The Secret and every single Chicken Soup for the Soul title, ever. Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Terror threat level: Reddish-beige. Seeing something like this in a major retailer in a serious wine market like San Francisco fully three weeks before the movie even opens means the marketing department at Focus Features is whoring themselves to new levels of We Really Just Don’t Give a Damn, and hence you will soon see all manner of “snobby,” “rich perverted frat bro with a jet” product hacked into little pieces of very white trash as fast as possible, right up until the movie flops, spectacularly.

Translation: Expect 50 Shades silk ties and panties (Sears, TJ Maxx), 50 Shades “naughty floggers” (Starbucks). 50 Shades Xanax (Walgreens). And etcetera.

‘White Silk’ tasting description: Top notes of fermented Fruit Stripe gum and old Sour Patch Kids candy are followed by potent whiffs of you gotta be f-king kidding me. Your breath will hitch and you will bite your lip suggestively, until it starts bleeding, because your face has suddenly gone totally numb.

You stay classy, sad housewives of America

A few sips in, and overpowering notes of literary shame are followed by a deep and crushing sadness that you actually went into a wine store and purchased this WTF viticultural abomination, and Dionysus himself – never mind Pauline Réage, or Anaïs Nin, or any of 10,000 other, far better writers of far better erotica – did not smite you on the spot.

Once decanted, an unsettling bouquet of embarrassingly unimaginative BDSM fantasias collide with lumpy adjectival clauses, vinegary syntax, repetitive imagery and multiple disagreeable notes of appalling sodomy techniques, leaving you with that feeling you get when you sit next to a mentally unstable stranger crying on the bus for 20 minutes. Also, pink grapefruit.

Ratings & reviews:
“Minus 10 million points, and never call me again” –Wine Spectator
“Why can’t I feel my face?” –WineSnob.com
“Makes 2-Buck Chuck taste like Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and if you know what that is, we need to talk” –Thomas Keller, French Laundry
“OMG so yummy!” – Pi Beta Phi house, UC San Diego

ADDENDUM: There is also a 50 Shades red wine, of course. Because when it comes to wine, you only need the two colors, really. It is called Red Swill. Satin. I mean Red Satin. It tastes like shame feels.

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Wild Geese



You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

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