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Graphics by hannah welch

Sailing With Charlie: Wines

Charlie loves wine. Ever since he got a touch of gout he slowed down on his beer drinking and took to wine. The French and Italians loved him more, the Germans and Brits made fun of him and the Americans were ambivalent. But Charlie never became a wine snob. In restaurants he even overlooked the rather ostentatious habit of tasting a drop before pouring for the table. Then, as he began to order a bottle of wine to accompany a meal, he noticed the prices were somewhat out of proportion. A drinkable bottle in the liquor store was $7.00 but was marked up to $45 on the restaurant’s wine list. A rip off, he thought. One night he took his own bottle and was told by a rather timid waitress that a corkage charge of $15 would be applied to his bill. “Corkage!” he said angrily, “it’s a screw top.”

As time went on Charlie understood wines and their qualities better and better. He knew that a full bodied wine was rounded and flavorful. He understood a white wine that was crisp and dry might well be good company for a heavy fish dish like turbot with a cream sauce or a lobster thermidor. A strong sweet wine might go well with a dessert.

perhaps it was described as an aphrodisiac because it made customers wish for something stronger.

One day Charlie came across a bottle of wine by a little known South African vineyard. The wine in question was ‘completely new’. Its name was Femme Facile. The wine was listed in a nautical magazine as being appropriate for clientele that frequented seafood restaurants. As a nautical man, it sounded just up Charlie’s alley. Then he read the wine taster’s expert evaluation: Delicate bouquet of oysters, a nose of fresh mussel, a full bodied flavor of tuna sushi, after taste of essence of clam with a whiff of Indian Ocean current. A single phrase summed it up: A fragrance of karma sutra.  It was described as the ‘ultimate aphrodisiac’ and ‘might even save the rhinoceros’. Charlie just had to try some.

He invited his favorite girlfriend to dinner at a seafood restaurant and ordered a bottle of Femme Facile. Well, to cut a long story short, she took one sip and immediately spat it into her soup bowl declaring it undrinkable. Charlie, who quite liked it, apologized and ordered her a martini, straight up, and then another, and then a third. She was happy and bubbly the whole evening and later on he had his way with her (and she had her way too).

Charlie pondered the evening and eventually came to the conclusion that perhaps it was described as an aphrodisiac because it made customers wish for something stronger.

Then, the other day Charlie saw a gleaming multi-million dollar mega yacht with many tiers of decks, helicopter pads, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, bars and restaurants, a submarine and an army of staff to keep the whole thing running smoothly. Charlie found out that the owner made his fortune dealing a well known brand of vodka: zillions from peddlin’ poison.

Charlie is now looking for investors in his new business venture; an international dealership for ‘Femme Facile.’

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