The Perpetual Ambassadors

Written by Al Drinkle

I rode over to Rotary Park to see the fireworks on Canada Day. It was quite the rager this year as many of you must have witnessed.

At one point, a raggedy skater guy on my left noticed that I was taking pulls out of a bottle of palo cortado and made it known that if I was inclined to share a sip with him, he’d be willing to compensate me to the tune of a cigarette. The cigarette in question would be unlit and I could thereby smoke it at a time of my choosing, making the offer all the more enticing. I weighed it in my mind; a savoury and piquant 25-year-old wine or an industrially-made stick of carcinogens, awaiting incineration at a time of my choosing. I politely declined but as I sipped the palo cortado, I also got to enjoy my interlocutor’s second-hand smoke – a win win as it were.

But wine, like second-hand smoke but unlike the saliva of strangers, is for sharing, so in an act of boundless generosity I saved my new best friend the last tug from the bottle. I thought about my friends at Metrovino, all perpetual ambassadors of meaningful wine, and how any of them would do the same. The gentleman thirstily, even lustily, raised the bottle to his jaundiced nicotine cave and as a fleet of girandolas erupted into the night sky, the haunting wine cycloned into his face. “Hooooooly! What is that, whisky?” he exclaimed as burning palmetto leaves danced in the sky, certainly analogous to the psychogenic pyrotechnics that one’s first sip of Palo Cortado  ignites in the brain. “No, it’s actually sherry, a strange and beautiful type of wine from Andalusia in southern Spain,” said I, and his reply was perhaps the best tasting note that I’ve heard in a long, long time: “That shit is fucking awesome!”

Indeed, and I have to admit that I feel self-conscious about the fact that even though a considerable part of my job is describing wine to people, a shaggy philistine came up with one of the most epigrammatic and convincing descriptors that I have ever heard. But as a tireless promoter of good taste, maybe I can take some credit as the catalyst for his excitement?