3 rules about wine labels, and what happens when you violate them

My Fellow Inebriates,

Last night an animal clawed through our garbage. Presumably it was a raccoon, but it could also have been Scarybear. Or it could have been the neighbors’ cat Cuddles, a monumentally dense animal that refuses to exit our driveway when Dad backs the car out.

One day the kids drew a chalk circle around Cuddles, who stayed within it for the whole afternoon and was still there when Mum called everyone for dinner. Trapped by its magic boundaries, Cuddles seemed indifferent and probably would have loitered all night, but I’m guessing Fluffy tapped into some higher evil realm and released her with his mind while the family was eating. Fluffy may well have empowered Cuddles to ravage the trash as well, although she seems a bit dumpy for that level of exertion. Scary isn’t known for physical feats either, and he doesn’t smell any more garbagey than usual, so it probably was a raccoon.

My dad’s job tonight is to stay awake until the raccoon comes back. If he can catch it in the act, slay it, and skin it, then Mum won’t need to buy stewing meat for the YELLOW TAIL bourguignon she’s planning. A barely touched 2010 Cabernet-Merlot has been languishing at LBHQ since our very good friends brought it over for dinner, unwittingly violating three rules about wine labels:

    • BEWARE OF PRIMARY COLORS

    • BEWARE OF ANIMALS

    • THIS GOES DOUBLE FOR MARSUPIALS

Call my parents snobs (not me! I wanted to drink it) but they avoided consuming YELLOW TAIL even at the cost of remaining sober throughout the evening. They’d better hope our friends don’t read this review, because they slagged that wine. This is what happens when you get picky about wine: it ruins your appreciation of cheap wine and turns you into a pretentious douche who decides to make beef raccoon stew instead of knocking the YELLOW TAIL back with your favorite little bear.

Let’s hope Cuddles doesn’t encounter the raccoon. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen Cuddles for a few days…

If my dad succeeds in catching the raccoon, justice will be served in more than one way. Not only will he punish it for strewing our trash all over the street and causing the garbage dudes to reject it (which means we have to guard it from raccoons for a further week), but he’ll punish raccoons as a species for shredding the swimming pool in the back yard of the very neighbors who brought us the YELLOW TAIL!

I don’t know what sort of weapons my dad will use against the raccoon. I don’t like thinking of its furry bandit face getting brained by a shovel or choked by a length of Monster Cable. Let’s hope he does it quickly so the animal doesn’t suffer. Dad probably doesn’t want it caterwauling in our driveway at 3:00 a.m. either, especially since we’re new to the neighborhood.

He’ll have to bleed it out properly so the meat doesn’t get ruined. Whether this is a family-friendly activity remains to be seen, but I’m guessing the kids will wake up and want to be part of it.

As for your humble bear, I will be nowhere near this action. I don’t eat stew. I sympathize with animals. I want to drink the YELLOW TAIL CABERNET MERLOT. Yes, it has a schoolhouse grape-juiciness, lacks any depth at all, clouts you over the head with tannins, and features a stylized kangaroo leaping beneath a crayon-blue banner. All these characteristics say to me easy drinking, fun, approachable, chill-out wine. To my mother they say (beef) bourguignon.

So it’ll be a big surprise for her when Dad emerges from his dead-of-night scuffle with a reeking freegan trophy. She’ll swoon when he plunks it on the counter for her to butcher. And she can tell our good friends with a wink, “That YELLOW TAIL did not go to waste.”

Why August is the best month to be a “freegan”

No doubt about it, August is the best month to practice freeganism. Sure, any time of year you can help yourself to the odd morsel of unlucky roadside raccoon (extra points if you bag-and-barbecue the one that clawed its way through our neighbor’s swimming pool). But even better than already-dead varmints are yummy blackberries.

Not even hard-drinking bears who eschew solid food can resist blackberries. The way they burst forth every August with their ravishing aroma…free for the taking for anyone willing to piss off a few spiders—ahhhhhh!

My cheap-ass mother swears things taste better when they’re free, and she might be right about blackberries, if not raccoons.

The berries are calling out to be taken. Today the kids put up with a whole 15 minutes of picking before crying boredom, which gave us (as it happened) half a liquor-store shopping bag of the wondrous little fruits. What shall we do with them, my fellow inebriates?

Citrus Blackberry Collins

We need citrus vodka and blackberry liqueur for this concoction. Odds my parents will do it? 4,143:1 against

Blackberry Crush

Once again, this calls for vodka. Odds? 853:1 against

Blackberry Cocktail

Photo: Jim Franco
Styling: Scott Martin

This calls for gin, which we have, although my mum is causing it to disappear. Even if there is any left by the time we get mixing, the recipe’s weirder ingredients (cucumber with mint) may freak my unadventurous parents out. Odds? 548:1 against

Blackberry Caipirinha

A long time ago a liquor representative emailed a tantalizing invitation to taste Cachaca, one of this recipe’s main ingredients. By all means, send it, I said, but alas, it’s not simple to send booze to Canada, and the hooch never materialized. Odds? Sigh.

◊ ◊ ◊

Screw it. My mum can make muffins or whatever the hell she wants to throw those blackberries into, and I’ll have a gin & tonic (before she takes it all).