PETER LEHMANN WEIGHBRIDGE UNWOODED CHARDONNAY (2011)—Equipping us against a barrage of questions
My Fellow Inebriates,
The Tooth Fairy managed belatedly to grab P’s tooth from beneath her pillow this morning without her seeing it. P had seen only the coins and the red-tinged water glass and thankfully not thought to double-check the fairy’s thoroughness in securing her dental booty. It was a good save, and P’s belief in fairies survives yet another day.
At breakfast she said, “My classmate W doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy. In his country it’s the tooth mouse.” This did not cause P any apparent conflict; she says there’s not just one tooth fairy but many, some of whom are boys, some of whom are girls, and some of whom are—oh yeah—mice.
It’s a perfect illustration of how Mum and Dad are missing their window to indoctrinate P with some religious mythology. She is a perfect canvas of credulity—perhaps more so than her little sister V, who evinced some skepticism when she asked what happens when you accidentally swallow a tooth.
Mum: “It just comes out in your poo.”
V: “Are you sure?”
Mum: “Yeah, teeth are so small, they just go right through you.”
V: “It doesn’t get stuck?”
M: “Well, no. You might have to drink a glass of water, but—you probably wouldn’t ever swallow a tooth anyway.”
V: “How do we get it out of my poo?”
M: “Well, don’t plan on swallowing a tooth.”
V: “Does the Tooth Fairy go into the toilet and get it?”
Mum has no answer.
V: “Or does the Toilet Fairy get it?”
However accepting P is of the Tooth Fairy and any other numinous characters she might be told about, V can be counted upon to hit you with a bunch of lawyerly questions. Her cross-examination continued until she erupted in chortles at the idea of a Poo Fairy pawing through her shit to find a precious tooth. V is a five-year-old cynic, and she will be the one who debunks Santa for seven-year-old P, unless she astutely reasons which way her bread is buttered and goes along with the fantasy until she’s a teenager. The kid is a nut, and she will tire all of us out before our time.
When you’ve finally managed to get a child like V to submit to bedtime, you have no choice but to pour yourself a drink. Our poison? PETER LEHMANN WEIGHBRIDGE UNWOODED CHARDONNAY (2011). Not the super-stiff drink we probably needed, but much more bracing than any of the whites we’ve been drinking lately, this Chardonnay boasts young fruit and honeydew/peach aromas uncomplicated by the usual oaky finish. Our tastes have run to off-dry whites that tease the palate—not crisp zingers, so the first glass was a bit of a shock to the system. On to the second, then.
You really should never review a wine without drinking the whole bottle, or even two. That way you get to experience the wine going down and coming up. Unfortunately I don’t make such portioning decisions at LBHQ, so we settled for two glasses. Write off the first as a shock to the system. How does this Peter Lehmann number really add up?
Disclaimer: I wanted to dislike it after reading Lehmann’s bio: “never shirking the opportunity to challenge a norm” (much like palpating a five-year-old’s turd to find a swallowed tooth, I would imagine). But this unwooded Chardonnay is competent stuff—not as buttery or mouth-filling as I would have liked, but serviceable after a hard weekend with nutbag elementary-age kids. It’s more than inoffensive; it’s quite tasty if not overly interesting or sophisticated. Chardonnay grapes are tricky because they lend themselves to so many winemaking styles; you often have no idea what you’re in for when you pull a cork (or unscrew a cap). Without oak influence, Chardonnay’s fruity notes stand crisply on their own, unmitigated by vanilla or buttercream chords, and a certain roundness is lost. What’s gained, sometimes, is definition, and perhaps more bang for your buck. After all, oak casks cost money, and when they’re not involved in production, that $13 WEIGHBRIDGE price tag arguably goes a bit further.
After I got used to it, I liked Peter Lehmann’s unwooded Chardonnay. It’s well behaved, reasonably complex, and has a decent finish. As for the 11.5% alcohol…it’ll do. We need to be sober in the morning to cope with young interrogators.