I swear it was THIS big ... with flavors of cassis, wild berries and vanilla.
Two white-haired men sat in the little boat on the edge of the pond they'd fished together since they were boys. "We were both just knee-high to a grasshopper," Charlie would always say when recollecting the beginning of his lifelong friendship with Dale. Dale would just nod his head and grunt in agreement. He wasn't the sentimental type.
The pond was once abundant with life, with catfish and trout so plentiful they'd practically jump into the boat. But now, the glassy surface of the pond lay still and undisturbed, not unlike these once virile men whose glory days had come and gone.
Occasionally, the slow clicking of the reel and the whirr of the cast fishing line would punctuate the quiet, followed by the gentle "plop" of the lure in the water.
"Not much biting today, huh?" Charlie would say.
"Hmmph," Dale would grunt.
And so it went, every day, from first light to sun down. Not a fish caught and barely a word spoke between these two old friends.
The bobber bobbed ever so slightly, as had Dale's head before a tug on the line interrupted his slumber. The old man snorted awake, rubbed the sleep from his eyes and squinted at the end of the rod, waiting for that telltale bend. And then it happened.
Dale yanked up on the pole and stumbled awkwardly to his feet, nearly knocking Charlie into the water and leaving the boat rocking. He reeled and reeled with all his might, and the two men peered excitedly over the side, eagerly awaiting the appearance of their first catch in months.
Charlie readied the net, leaned over the edge and then scooped it up as it surfaced. When he held up the bottle of Striped Bass Red, they both stood blinking in silent confusion.
Charlie turned the bottle around in his hand and read from the label.
"Says here that it's a 2007 dry, cool vintage with intense fruit aromas, complexity and great structure. And the firm acidity provides a long, delicate finish. Huh. Sounds nice. Bet Liza and Jean would like it."
Dale listened thoughtfully as his friend went on about the intense nose of black cherry, cranberry and boysenberry highlighted with cedar, black pepper and mint, and then gestured for Charlie to hand him the bottle. He considered the label for a moment and then chucked it back into the pond.
Dale was more of a beer man.
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