Wednesday December 25, 2002: Chevy Chase, Maryland 

It was a still morning, 36 degrees Fahrenheit, and the smell of my mother’s mahogany balsam 3-Wick Candle filled the air. Christmas morning, bitches. Few moments in life are filled with more excitement and anticipation than the Christmas mornings of your youth. But this year was different. This year there was a craze sweeping the nation. This year Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire hit stores. I had sent St. Nick an analytical paper detailing why exactly I deserved a spot on the nice list. It was perhaps my greatest work. In return I had asked for one of the two games. Truthfully I had a preference for Ruby but I was in no position to be picky. So that morning, filled to the brim with enthusiasm, I immediately ran towards the Christmas tree. Within moments of shredding the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer wrapping paper, I knew. Underneath that exceptionally crafted exterior laid a brand new Easy Bake Oven. Underneath that exceptionally crafted exterior laid disappointment.

  Sunday, August 25, 2013:  Dewey Beach, Delaware

The surf is soft as you wake Sunday morning, mouth tasting like crab cakes, heart heavy. You’re two weeks from starting your freshman year of college—you applied early to Dartmouth, but bygones...The broken air conditioner of your family’s timeshare, two blocks from the beach, clangs. Its noise is not why you slept poorly the night before. Love, or rather love lost is why you slept poorly the night before. Erica. Hell, did you ever love Erica?  It sure seemed like it just two nights ago when you shared a Marlboro Gold with her under the boardwalk, enjoying the relaxed curfew earned at age 18. She was back in town from her freshman year at The New School, grown up, sophisticated, cultured. You thought this was your break. That’s when you asked the question, “So, how do you feel about long distance?” For three summers you talked with her at beachside barbeques, yearning for stolen kisses, late night confidences. There was an awkward silence in the air, each second feeling like an eternity, and then she responded “Sorry kiddo, I’ve got a man in the city.”

Monday, November 28, 2016: Brunswick, Maine

It’s past starting to get cold. It’s downright chilly. It’s dark. Our guts are heavy from a week of binge eating. However, our spirits are high. We arrived at Bootleggers, over in Topsham, with dreams of finding the perfect pre-final paper mood elevator. Copping a bottle of something toasty to cuddle up with. We were prepared to fork over more than the standard $10 for something special. We were overjoyed to find that for $12 we could get something exciting, though slightly a-seasonal: an ostentatiously packaged Falkenburg Riesling from 2014.

As wine columnists we’ve striven to toe the party line: wine is a pretty dang good thing. We’ve waxed poetic on how it can help set the atmosphere on a melancholy evening alone, how it makes you want to sit in the back of a Wraith with the starlights on the ceiling, how it is simply tasty and an object worth enjoying.  We expected, when purchasing the Falkenburg ’14, to be stunned. The German wine comes in a 1.5L bottle stretched to resemble a cross between the majesty of the Saturn V rocket and the modernist je ne sais quoi of Brancusi’s Bird in Space.  Loyal readers of the column will know that empirically, the cooler the bottle, the better the wine.  Well, now we can say that’s not always the case. The ol’ Falkenburg is gross. A disappointment greater than that of Easy Bake Ovens or unrequited love. It is hardly worth noting flavor profiles. There isn’t much to say other than: were we you, we would not buy this wine.

Additional Notes

Tonight's Soundtrack: "Everybody Hurts"-R.E.M.

Justin: "I'd like to thank my parents for getting me all the Pokemon paraphernalia you could possibly imagine."

Will: "I feel like Yu-Gi-Oh! doesn't get as much shine as it deserves these days."

Nose: 1/5

Legs: 2/5

Mouthfeel: 1/5

Taste: 2/5

Bottle: 5/5

Overall: 1.5/5