I apologize at the outset of this posting for its misleading title. Anyone who has visited this website knows that it would be more accurate to call it “Troubles with a Particular Border Collie,” since Jack, the pompous, Anglophiliac canine who presumes to run my life, almost effortlessly manages to vex me on a daily basis in far more than a single way. In any event, I am going to publish my review of the splendid Verge Wine Cellars 2009 Rose’ of Syrah ($24) in the form of a dialogue between my humble self (henceforth “S”) and less-than-humble Jack (henceforth “J” – pictured below, at his insistence).
S: What I like best about this Rose’ is . . .
J: Excuse me. The provenance of the Syrah grape is fascinating, since most oenologists believe that its name is a variation of Shiraz, the Iranian city from which, at least indirectly, Crusaders might have brought it to Europe centuries ago.
S: What are you doing?
J: I’m establishing context; doing so will enable readers to more fully appreciate our comments on the wine that we are reviewing.
S: “We”? I don’t remember inviting you to help me with this posting.
J: Nor do you likely remember “inviting” me either to help you locate your keys this morning or to assist you in finding your way home from our afternoon walk.
S: All right. But you don’t have to dwell on the matter.
J: I never dwell, Sirrah – I elaborate intelligently.
J: Yes; it’s an archaic form of respectful address. Given your advanced age, I thought that you’d appreciate it.
S: It is not respectful, and let’s have no more age-related remarks.
J: As you wish, Old Sport. But the sooner you come to terms with the fact that you are in your dotage, the better off we’ll both be. Now let’s discuss this excellent wine.
S: Fine. But we’ll talk about this dotage business later. And don’t call me “Old Sport.”
S: What I like best about this Rose’ is that it is filled with luscious berry flavors that close in a refreshingly crisp finish. Therefore, while it is great for casual sipping, the wine also has more than enough substance to accompany all sorts of foods, and I think that it would be an especially wonderful complement to picnic fare.
J: I fully agree. In fact, this wine reminds me of the splendid Roses that I used to enjoy during my time in the South of France.
S: What? When were you in the South of France?
J: You know, I did have a life before I made the perhaps regrettable decision to quit my travels and spend most of my time herding you.
S: You perhaps herd, but you rarely listen. Get it?
J: Pathetic. I also like the manner in which the presence of a dollop of Chardonnay in the wine at once complicates and amplifies its charm.
S: Yes – in much the same way that strawberries do when placed atop my favorite cake.
J: That makes no sense.
S: Of course it does.
J: I presume that you are talking about strawberry shortcake.
S: I am.
J: Then the strawberries in this instance do not, in fact, either complicate or amplify anything – they are essential to the meaning of “strawberry shortcake.”
S: Listen, you supercilious mutt – I’m the one with two degrees in English.
J: I don’t see what that has to do with the matter we are discussing, but I remind you that while you might have acquired a patina of culture through your English-related studies, I am, by virtue of being a Border Collie, actually British, and breeding always trumps mere scholarship, Old Sport.
S: I asked you not to call me . . .
J: I apologize. It won’t happen again. Now let’s give the readers the bad news about this wonderful Rose’.
S: There is, alas, very little of it available, and so anyone interested in acquiring a bottle should contact Verge Wine Cellars immediately.
J: In short, like all good things, this wine is rare – rather as collies are rare, in contrast to, say, English majors.
S: I’ll let you deliver the good news.
J: And it is very good news, indeed: The winery still has some of its superb 2007 Syrah available, and it is offering the wine at a special holiday price. In fact, a review of this Syrah can be found elsewhere on “Food for the Spirit and the Soul,” and I suggest that all readers interested in obtaining a first-rate dinner wine should immediately visit either the Verge website or their local wine shop. Finally, Verge 2007 Syrah would make an excellent Christmas present for someone special on your gift list.
S: I could not agree more.
J: I have just decided that Verge 2007 Syrah will accompany our annual Christmas day feast.
S: Which will be?
J: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, of course. And please, no Zinfandel at table this year.
S: Why not?
J: Because what the enlightened people at Verge claim is true: Syrah is a thinking person’s wine.
S: And Zinfandel?
J: It’s fine – for peasants.
S: Peasants! Listen, you arrogant, classist. . .
J: Now, now, don’t lose your temper again. I didn’t mean to imply that just because you prefer a red wine that goes best with things like ox hoof soup or acorn-stuffed tortoise shell that it is an indictment of what passes for your character. If you keep letting your anger get the best of you, you are going to rupture some blood vessels in your brain, grow even more senile than you already are, and then soon you will become one of those demented individuals who wanders aimlessly among the aisles of grocery stores accosting strangers in order to show them pictures of his cats.
S: That’s terrible!
J: I agree, cats are terrible.
S: No, I mean . . . never mind.
J: Good. I see that it’s almost teatime. Why don’t you make us both a cup of Darjeeling, and then we can discuss the prospects for Manchester United? I think that the lads are going to be brilliant this year.
S: Fine. I’ll put the kettle on.
J: Splendid. And I wouldn’t mind it a bit if you were to bring me a small glass of Verge Syrah Rose’ to sip in the meantime.
S: Coming right up.
J: Thanks, Old Sport.
And there you have it, dear reader – a perfect example of my troubles with a particular Border Collie. I acknowledge that the shaggy brute is articulate, and also that, with the exception of his wholly erroneous assessment of Zinfandel, he knows something about wine, but he is nonetheless an insolent, provoking, altogether disrespectful cur – at least occasionally, and by “occasionally” I mean “most of the time.” I am especially offended by his baseless claim that I am senile, and I want to assure everyone that I am most definitely not the sort of person who would ever, under any circumstances, force strangers to look at a photograph of his cats, of which, by the way, I have two.