Bottle in Bordeaux



by Bruce Memblatt

I am Louis Supree. I am five feet and ten inches tall. It’s no accident the vineyard I own in Bordeaux is the most successful vineyard in France. I humbly submit I have an incredible sense of smell which allows me to blend and break down the nuanced aromas of each wine to produce the highest quality vintage in the region. I’ll tell you how good my sense of smell is, my nose is insured by Lloyd’s of London. It’s true, for five million dollars. Wine is my life; I can ascertain the intensity and development of any wine in an instant. My love for wine has brought me happiness and many comforts like the exquisite home I own that overlooks the vineyard. The house is a very old house and it was built by a Duke. It’s hard to grasp how good times were in this dark hour, but I can still remember the fragrant days, the banquets, the grapes filling the fields in the sun, but you don’t want me to talk about these things. You want to know how I got here. All right, I will tell you.

My vineyard is large, acre after acre of rows of leaves seem to stretch forever. The rows are perfectly spaced; from the house they look like walls, but wait, I should tell you more about myself first, no? I told you I’m five feet ten inches tall but I didn’t talk about my eyes. My eyes are black, and my daughter says they’re very intense. My nose in addition to the attributes I’ve mentioned before is narrow and fairly short; you’d never know to look at my nose how impressive it is. My mouth is pleasant and perfectly set on my face, people have told me it’s kissable, but I don’t know. And my hair, although it’s graying now used to be a quite an impressive shade of brown touched by red. Since I’ve told you my hair is graying you’ve probably guessed I’m not a young man. That’s correct, I turned fifty- nine in January. Fifty- nine is not so old. But when the tragic time began I was fifty-eight.  It was at the end of spring during Vinexpo. Vinexpo is a wine trade exhibition held every year in Bordeaux. The people come; all the wineries open booths and open their doors to wine lovers from all over the world. It’s a special time. You feel a sense of rebirth as the wine aficionados’ enthusiasm can be quite inspiring. It was after dinner, I hold a special dinner every year and I invite the owners of all the other wineries in the region to attend as a way to demonstrate my gratitude for all the blessings this region has provided, and to keep relations good with my neighbors.  It’s true we’re competitors but we have goals in common. We want to see everybody here prosper. Or, at least, I thought that’s how the way things were.

It’s very cold in this cellar and there’s such sadness in my heart which corresponds to the bleakness born by my misfortune. Most of the time I feel like weeping, but I’m so sorry, pardon my selfish interruption, I should continue. When the Anginada’s arrived I was excited because they were new to the region. They took over my friend Pierre’s vineyard after he died. He had a fine vineyard, not as unique as my vineyard, but his wines had a nice earthy body. When they entered the house I greeted the Anginada’s as they walked past the art deco statue of the ballet dancer I have in the hall. The wife was beautiful her name is Angelina, Angelina Anginada; doesn’t that flow off the tongue like wine? Just like a good wine, I think. Mr. Anginada’s name is Caesar, as you would guess they’re from Italy. She wore a red dress. I remember it now; she winked at me and smiled. How was I to know? I flatter easily.  Let me tell you something; all men take compliments freely; a man will believe any praise you shower on him and that is a natural truth.  During dinner she winked at me again. Her husband didn’t seem to notice, or if he did, he didn’t seem to care. I thought, perhaps it was her nature to be flirtatious, and he was accustomed to her ways. But I was certain in my mind that there was something more to her wink than a friendly gesture. I didn’t think deeply about it as I was flattered and curious. My wife passed away ten years ago. I don’t have any obligations, but I tell you even if my wife were here, I still would have followed Angelina. It pains me mildly to confess I wasn’t the most faithful husband in a sexual sense, but it embarrasses me somewhat to talk about my exploits. Some men like to brag about their adventures, I prefer to keep my affairs close to my heart, but this one was different, of course, because it led to the tragedy. That night after dinner, we served the most succulent veal; much to my surprise Angelina slipped a note to me on a small piece of paper.  In the note she said she would meet me later that evening in front of my house. She would be waiting at the hour of eleven by the door. If I wanted her I was to open the door and if I didn’t she instructed me to leave the door closed. If I left the door closed she would disappear into the night, and all would be a forgotten. I opened the door.

As if it were possible she looked even more fascinating in the moonlight. As I led her up the stairs to my bedroom she began to speak to me.

“You’re home is so beautiful,” she said, and I immediately thought how impersonal the comment seemed after her romantic overture, but then she continued, “It takes a beautiful man to create such beautiful surroundings.” And her words went to my head. Really, I felt like a boy on his first date, awkward, and even shy.

But I was enchanted and I responded, “My surroundings pale in comparison to your beauty.” And she smiled; I didn’t know if my response was perhaps too much, you know? But she seemed to like my words. Still the conversation seemed too formal to me. I was curious, I wanted to know more, so I continued.

“The note you left me, Angelina I was so surprised when you handed it to me. No one has pursued me like that before. I find it intriguing. Perhaps I’m insecure, but I don’t see myself as the object of a beautiful woman’s pursuit.”And a curious expression appeared on her face. It reminded me of a song I once heard about a girl who fell in love with a beast. I don’t mean to imply I resemble a beast, but her expression contained a hint of pain, as if I had somehow insulted her sensibilities, because my assumption was her interests were purely physical. Angelina was very clever as you will see, but she said.





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