February 7, 2008


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Friends in spam
What to pair with a strange e-mail
By Tim Protzman tprotzman@sbcglobal.net

Ever wonder who is on the address section of your e-mail?

I never did until the other day when Debbie — glass of Bollini pinot grigio, $11.99, tart, acidic rounded citrus notes — sent me an e-mail called “Your Dessert Type.” It was a list of eight desserts and what it means psychologically if you choose, let’s say, brownies as your favorite. Kind of like a caloric zodiac.

Debbie wrote her favorite was Death by Chocolate, a dense rich chocolate gateaux with molten fudge sauce on top. What the dessert says about her is that she’s sexy, generous, with a bit of a cold exterior but very, very warm inside.

Now I just usually delete these things but this one was cute enough to forward. I sent it to Anne. We’ve been talking and corresponding lately because there’ve been some Hollywood deaths. It’s become a tradition to call or e-mail each other when a celebrity passes. She must have read it, e-mailed me her psychological dessert type “Carrot Cake” — quirky, fun-loving, extremely loyal with a punitive streak — and forwarded it off again. I only know this because I got the same e-mail back that I sent out. I figured I must be on her gang e-mail list. But when I got it back I noticed that each time someone had forwarded it, it left an electronic calling card: the addresses of everyone on the forward list. There were almost a hundred people in four rounds of forwarding. People with names like Terri Heart (not her real name but a nom de screen). People who work for Americarealliance, Gregor at Braeval — who makes ultra premium hunting shirts and wants me to design the label for his new single malt scotch — and somebody called snikpooh, which reminded me of OGPU, an early version of the Soviet secret police which became the KGB. A parade of e-mail addresses from people I’ll never met, places I’ll never see, just because I was curious about which psychological dessert type they fit in with.

First I was a little overwhelmed. Would one of these strangers do something that warranted a visit from a governmental investigational agency? Would they ask, “Do you remember receiving an e-mail with a picture of a kitten clinging to a branch with its front paws and the caption — ‘Hang in there. Friday’s coming!!’? And if so what is your relationship with Onionnut@wembley.com?”

The pressure was almost unbearable. That night I went home and ate my psychological dessert. Strawberry shortcake. Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. Can be very emotional.

I served the psycho dessert with a prosecco because I’ve been on a sparkling wine kick since the Barolo wagon ran out of steam. It paired well with the Florida strawberries even though they weren’t juicy and sweet like the native kind you get in June. The Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene $14.99 was the hit of the course. It brought out the fruit in the strawberries and was just yummy with the homemade whipped cream. It had sparkling white grapes fruit notes, a touch of ginger and a sweet crisp finish. The perfect everyday fizzy. The Valdobbiadene refers to a little village in the foothills north of Venice in the Treviso region where the cool nights and warm days gently ripen the pale, translucent fruit.

What if it were possible to send yourself round the world like an e-mail? It seems sort of straightforward. They do it on Star Trek all the time. Convert matter to energy. Send the energy to point B at the speed of light. Convert the energy back to its original solid matter state. And enjoy the vacation. Theoretically this is all possible, and they’re even doing it now with fiber optics and small subatomic particles like quarks. (If I were a subatomic particle I’d be a quark or a muon.)

Then I asked myself, which wine region would I visit if I could go right now?

My first thought would be Napa. It would be quiet this time of year, except on weekends when the vineyard tasting caravans roll. Burgundy would be very nice in February. Lots of time to talk to the cellar masters. Tuscany? Too despoiled by tourists, but Piedmonte would be quieter and colder. If I went to Germany I could stay ’til Ash Wednesday and get to celebrate Mardi Gras, which is called Fasching. But I’d think I’d opt for either South Africa (where it’s summer) or Australia (where it’s summer). In the end I choose Australia, Western Australia near Perth. Because of the remote beauty, the climate, the rustic sophistication of the wine they make and because Anne a.k.a. Carrot Cake called to talk about Heath Ledger. Another sad line in our Hollywood Passing dialogue. He was from Perth.

1/31/2008 Warm up the wine

1/24/2008 A drink to them
1/17/2008 Stalking the barking dingo
1/10/2008 Wishes and predictions
1/3/2008 Bit of bubbly
12/27/2007 Drinking blind
12/20/2007 Not fighting for the right
12/13/2007 The liquor store suite
11/29/2007 World of drinkin'
11/22/2007 Thanks for the Napa cabs
11/15/2007 Drinks with Diwali
11/8/2007 Candy Corn hangover
11/1/2007 Drinks with History Channel
10/25/2007 Schooled in Shiraz
10/18/2007 Spooky wines
10/11/2007 Location, location, location
10/04/2007 Shiraz history
9/27/2007 Ingenious appellation
9/20/2007 Small world of wines
9/13/2007 How not to get screwed
9/6/2007 Wine lover's shopping trip
8/30/2007 Bottle surfing
8/23/2007 Lobster goes red
8/16/2007 Emotional tasting notes
8/9/2007 Stop, wine thief
8/2/2007 Be your own sommelier
7/26/2007 You do know your wine
7/19/2007 Booze free association
7/12/2007 Raiders of the sidewalk
7/5/2007 A sustainable buzz
6/28/2007 We are the merlot
6/21/2007 Forgot Dad? Bring booze.
6/14/2007 Jack & Jill and a pail of wine
6/7/2007 Our lady of the Rioja
5/24/2007 Breaking the fast
5/17/2007 What the best bears drink
5/10/2007It's OK to be pink
5/3/2007 In praise of tastings
4/26/2007 Invention-tini
4/19/2007 More 'Mas'
4/12/2007 Futures in a bottle
3/29/2007 Uneasy glass of spring
3/22/2007 Chateau de blech
3/8/2007 Finding new beauties
3/1/2007 Infatuation or addiction
2/15/2007 The extraordinary ordinary
2/8/2007 A glass of sweetness
2/1/2007 A glass of sweetness
1/25/2007 Ham it up
1/18/2007 Cheating on wine
1/11/2007 Burning down the tree
1/4/2007 New Year's hangover
12/28/2006 Sins of the vine
12/21/2006 Kissing frogs
12/14/2006 Wine for horrible friends
12/07/2006 Like dregs in the wine glass
11/30/2006 Gift of calmer shopping
11/23/2006 YouTube for YouWine
11/16/2006 Welcome to wine
11/9/2006 Fine art, supermarket wine
11/2/2006 The geography of grapes
10/26/2006 Please continue to hold
10/19/2006 The trouble with reds
10/12/2006 Making new friends
10/05/2006 TiVo-ing the wine
09/28/2006 From an unknown battle
09/21/2006 Toast to turkey
09/14/2006 Wine for life
09/07/2006 What are Malpeques, Alex?
08/31/2006 Hanging out wines
08/24/2006 Falling into new wine season
08/17/2006 Where has that wine been?
08/10/2006 Bringing out the dead
08/03/2006 The birth of a wine fop
07/27/2006 Slow process of maturation
07/20/2006 The pain of adolescent wines
07/13/2006 Nice day for a white wedding
07/06/2006 Scoring goals with booze
06/29/2006 Beer, it's what's for dinner
06/22/2006 A drink fit for a czar
06/15/2006 A summer of beer and fried clams
06/08/2006 Keep your cool, fool
06/01/2006 The social lubricant
05/25/2006 Water, water everywhere
05/18/2006 Big fat greek wine tasting
05/11/2006 Drinking to the end
05/04/2006 Schooled in the art of wine
04/27/2006 Make a wish
04/20/2006 Immigrant wines
04/13/2006 A pain in the glass
04/06/2006 Got milk?
03/30/2006 Throw a dart and there's wine
03/23/2006 A life of good wine
03/16/2006 Honoring the dead soldiers
03/09/2006 What once was old i new again
03/02/2006 The taste of sibling rivalry
02/23/2006 Wine travels, doesn’t sing
From grape, to barrel to red-tape jungle

02/16/2006 Love and vine
02/09/2006 A dog-drink-dog world
02/02/2006 The winos' mecca
01/26/2006 Date-nite drinks
01/19/2006 Touring eastern wine country
01/12/2006 Wine, Cheese and Granny Smith
01/05/2006 Resolve to try new wines
10 Wines To Get Lucky With

Adventures in and past the Euro-Cave
A Do-It-Yourself Wine Tasting
A Red For Everything
A Red Wth Your Leftovers?
A Tasty Way To Put Wine To The Test
A Year Of Wine
An Around-The-World Holiday
A wine for every holiday

Basking In The Mondavi Light
Behind One Door Is Great Wine
Beware The Hot Bottle
Brandy and the nude beach
Champagne, The Other White Wine
Cheers And Whines Of The Vine
Days of wine and jelly beans
Deep in the heart of Texas
Drinking for your health
Drinking like a newspaperman

Drinking Whites After Labor Day
Finding A Great Medium-Weight Drink (I)
Finding A Great Medium Weight Drink (II)
Gifts for blood, love or money
Grill and sip, sip and sip. Finding the perfect wine for barbecue
Hey baby, stay cool
How The Corleones Saved Wine

In Praise Of An American Wine
In search of the girl next door
Keeping it in the family
Keeping up appearances
Looking back at the heyday of cheap wine
My Big Fat Greek Wine Tasting
The Best Drinks On A Budget
The Highly Drinkable (Mostly) Merlot
The Long, Strange Journey Of Wine
Old French grape in the New World
Olé! to a week in wine
Opening the Parker book

Our French friends — really
Our Northern Neighbor
Poker faces and wine

Presenting A New England Vodka
Presenting The Wines Of Spring
Rewarding Your Support Staff
Schooled In The Art Of Wine
Shopping for Wine Bargains

Sitting By The Fire And Dreaming Of Wine
Slipping A Little Sideways
Spending the holidays in NYC
Spirit World Tales
Springtime calls for wine and ice cream
Sudden ugly mood swings
The new face of fine wines
The wines of fall
Thinking ahead to the holidays
Time To Stay Frosty
Tipples for turkey day
TV worth drinking
What it means to miss N.O.
What To Drink When You Eat Wild
What's Your Wine Sign
White’s OK after Labor Day
Wine Between The Season
Wine for the NASCAR set
Wine is in at the Inn
Wine’ll make you crazy
Wine Works With Red Sauce