Have Yourself a Noiry Little Christmas...
P. Noir, Napa Valley Private Eye in: The P. Noir, Napa Valley Private Eye Christmas Special
The snow beats down on the roof that hangs over my burnt out burnout’s apartment. I take an icepack out of the freezer, or try to, but I remember that I had to pawn the ice pack for wine money. Instead I just flop back down and rub my head where the brute hit me, cursing myself for going anywhere near the Russian again. I barely got out with my life, let alone that bottle I snagged.
But the Russian, and the bottle, are just sad lonely substitutes for a girl I spent a Christmas with a few vintages ago. Rosella. Those deep red eyes. Rubies. Thinking about her, all of a sudden I’m back under that mistletoe and I smell her perfume, plum and red cherry with notes of toasty oak. In the mouth, the flavors are full and beautifully focused with a rich, silky texture and a long concentrated finish. In the heart, well, that’s a trickier issue. In mine she was a warm rug by the fireplace. In hers, the icicles shiver. But they’re damned beautiful icicles, I’ll give ‘em that.
I remember her, alright. Back when my world was full color, instead of sepia. When busting grapes and listening to vines was a job instead of a life, when hangovers were the tax on a good time, not a morning ritual. The days before Phat Goose or the Iron Horse Gang or the mean old bastard who runs the Cellar.
But this is Napa, and nothing lasts forever. Time makes us all bitter, and there’s no putting the cork back. Same can’t be said of the corkscrew, as it turns out, and I still have the scar on my back from where she stuck me with it before she skipped town for the Santa Lucia Highlands.
I think often of driving out there, tracking her down. Whether to kiss ‘er or kill ‘er I couldn’t say, but I never go. To get my mind off it, I head over to the rack, and pull out a bottle I remember. 2009 Bernardus; a real Pinot, a wine after my own heart. I get out two glasses before I catch myself, but a wry smile later and I’m pouring both of ‘em. One for me, one for Rosella. And as I’m enjoying myself for the first time all day, I start thinking about how close we really are, how quick a drive over to the Santa Lucia Highlands and her long red hair and sharp green eyes. It is Christmas Eve, after all, and if there was any time of year where the big grower in the sky would let love bloom one last time…
Nah. Forget it, P, it’s Wine Country.