'Fancy, a glass of wine?" he asked, as his springtime thoughts turned to her. He pulled the slim green bottle from the stream. It was a Saturday, in May, warm and sunny, when the formal tourist blossoms were over and the wild tulip trees splashed large orange petals along the creek.
Fancy had forgotten the food. Food was not Fancy's forte. But it didn't matter. The '79 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett, Bergweiler-Prum, was enough: a wine that was at its best without food. Light in body and alcohol, fresh, with a little "spritzig" bulle on the tongue, fruity but not sweet. The fruitiness of a crispapple. He refilled their glasses.
"These '79 mosels are really good in the kabinetts and qba's," he said. "You know, the drier ones. It was a good year, compared to '77 and '78, but they had a small harvest. There won't be too many of the late harvest one. You know, sweeter ones: spatleses and ausleses and all that stuff."
Fancy's interest was devoted to the bee that was hypnotically attracted to her brightly colored toenails.
"The same goes for the rhines." Splash. He hooked the brown bottle. "You know, the British call them hocks, the wines from the Rhine, because Hockheimers were Queen Victoria's favorites."
Fancy's interest in royalty began and ended with Lady Di's haircut, but she was beginning to enjoy herself. The '79 Niersteiner Kranzburg Riesling Kabinett, Franz Karl Schmidt (Rheinhessen), was soft and smooth, with a fragrance and fruitiness that reminded her of peaches, and summer. Head back, eyes closed, she was no longer even slightly concerned that he was spending this money on her.
He'd left the price tags on. A little tacky, but he was so serious about everything. Maybe he'd done it on purpose, to show her that he cared? Anyway, $6 for each bottle was not exactly a fortune. The way the prices of cheese and cold cuts were going, she was glad she'd forgotten the food. The wines were fun on their own. He could take out out for dinner afterwards.
He was enjoying himself. Summer was coming. Summer and picnics. Summer and Wolf Trap. These '79 kabs and qba's were ready: light and elegant, but not the fruit and acidity to guarantee they would be long-keepers. Good to drink this summer. Or today, beside Rock Creek, with the sounds of Mass Ave mingling with the noises of Saturday afternoon bikers, joggers and cars on the Parkway.
Perhaps he'd misjudged Fancy. She may not know a kabinett from a cabernet, but she certainly approved of his wine selection. Perhaps they'd go to the wine store and buy a couple of the excellent '75 and '76 spatlesen and auslesen that were still around and take them back to his place. He could give her some cheese and cold cuts. a
Here are some more 1979 German fancies for this summer: From the Mosel: Klusserather St. Michael, qba, Ulrich Langguth, $3.99. Graacher Himmelreich Risling, Kabinett, S. A. Prum, $5.99. From the Rheingau: Kiedricher Sandgrub Riesling, Kabinett, Schloss Groenestevn, $5.99. Steinberger, Kabinett, Staatsweingut, $5.99. Johannisberger Vogelsand Riesling, qba, Hessiches, $4.99.
Rauenthaler Steinmacher Riesling, qba, Staatsweingut, $4.99. From the Rgeinpfalz: Wachenheimer Mandelgarten Reisling, Kabinett, Freudenmacher, $4.99.