The Hangover Diary – Part Two

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I reached the bar shortly after 7pm on a Saturday evening. Not just any Saturday evening; this was Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Now after living in Waitsburg for the past six years, I more or less know what to expect of the town on a holiday Saturday. But the joint was jumping, even more than usual.

There was a party setting up in the adjacent space that Jim German calls Heaven. As is customary, Jim was in the midst of preparing a massive paella. Guests were out in the garden in back, sipping wines. I drifted back out of idle curiosity, and bumped into Chad Johnson of Dusted Valley, who was hosting the party for a group of visitors from the midwest. Merf and Lynne Anderson were there also, and we chatted aimiably for while. Chad mentioned that some older wines would be opened with dinner, and invited me to come taste. Intending to do so, I returned to the bar and a bite of food, along with a glass of white wine.

An hour or so later, armed with a stomach full of Claire’s special potatoes and a bite of crostini, I rejoined the party in Heaven. There were some lovely and rare wines indeed. What I best remember are the 1995 Glen Fiona Syrah (first vintage for that wine), the 2003 Dumas Station Cabernet (also a first vintage I believe), and the 2002 L'Ecole Apogee. All were in fine condition, as was I.

Returning to the bar, I was offered a pair of Amaros to sample. Generally I like to end the evening with Amaro, and these were new to me. The names have not found a permanent resting place in my memory, but I remember the flavors. The first one I liked – it was dark and bitter with licorice and coffee flavors. The second was sweet – too sweet – but I killed it anyway. At that point my evening should have drawn to a peaceful close.

Instead, we ambled across the street to the Anchor Bar, Charles Smith’s new emporium. Here the party was in full swing. A mix of locals and Walla Wallans were stretched across the bar, and as I sat there the Johnson party came in, and to my surprise, Kate Morrison and Phil Lynch (the B-Side) joined us.

An older woman sitting next to me started up a conversation, which went something like this: “You’re that Paul Grag-what person, aren’t you?” “No, that’s not me.” “He writes about wine or something.” “Yes, I’m often mistaken for him.” “You look just like him, only with long hair.” “OK, I’m busted. Yes, I am me.”

After awhile my friend Larry Davidson, who manages the Anchor, came up and insisted on buying me a drink. Here is where I really lost my bearings. It was post-Amaro so too late for wine. Beer? Too many calories. “What have you got to sip?” I asked Larry. He pulled out a bottle of Pyrat XO Reserve and poured me a generous glass.

“The Enlightened Ultra-Premium Dark Rum” it’s called. The website notes that “in tribute to the true Pyrat spirit of social enlightenment, each bottle is adorned with the image of Hoti, patron saint and protector of fortune-tellers and bartenders.” Sadly, Hoti did not offer any protection whatsoever to wine writers and bar flies. By the time the evening finally wound down, and the ever-patient Mrs. G gently grabbed my arm and steered me to the car (she is always – always – my driver if I have had a drink), I had enjoyed the charms of a second Hoti, and was feeling absolutely no pain.

The evening ended well. I even posted a happy little note on Facebook about it, and trundled off to bed. But when I woke up the next morning, I knew that the line between a pleasant buzz and a full-on hangover had been breached, and no amount of water was going to fix my queasy gut and throbbing head. That’s when I remembered the samples of hangover medicine I had tucked away. Like a drowning man reaching for a life ring, I opened the drawer and pulled out the package.

To Be Continued....


3 comments:

Terry Christiani said...

Well, if you are going to tip over the line Pyrat is a fine beverage to do it! A big thank you to Mrs. G! Oh, how we love our DD's.

Larry Olson said...

Hah! I am pretty damn sure at this point that Mrs. G is your patron saint, my friend.

Oh, and that hangover medicine is crap. ;)

You know what they say...nothing like a magnum of champagne to put you right again.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you are back! You've been missed. Now talk Gary V out of this retirement crap and balance will be restored to the wine universe!

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