HEITLINGER SMOOTH LEAF PINOT BLANC (2011)—falls short of distracting you from your very worst fears

My Fellow Inebriates,

Last night Fluffy tried to smother me with his fur. This was after my dad tried to smother both of us by falling asleep on the couch with us under him. When he got up, Fluffy stayed lodged on top of me—i.e., he tried to finish me off.

I’d been expecting Fluffy to escalate his sinister behavior so if anything this seemed overdue. Fluffy used to train his mind powers on our townhouse, causing weird creaks and bangs despite the newness of the structure. But the new LBHQ is old, and old houses are supposed to make noises. So when this place started creaking and crashing, I couldn’t be sure it was Fluffy or if the house was just doing its thing.

After all, for all I knew, Fluffy was no longer possessed. The movers could very well have shaken Granny out of him when they put him on the truck, or perhaps she’d remained attached to the townhouse. Maybe her dead spirit had been sleeping when the movers came and she missed the boat/truck.

I wanted to believe these things. But OMG, when this house goes thump, it goes THUMP—how could it be anything other than Fluffy?

I didn’t want to ask my mum again if she thought her dead mother was hanging out in Fluffy; it didn’t seem sensitive. So I asked my dad. I wanted to know if he could detect a paranormal other under his ass while he watched movies on the couch.


“Well, how about me under your ass while you watch movies on the couch? How about that, Dad??”

Clearly my dad has no psychic powers. For someone with the dog-hearing he has for stereo systems, his sixth sense is nonexistent. How could anyone watch an entire movie with two bears wedged under his can, one bear of which presumably has the power to leave the shell called Fluffy and travel right up his rectum? Last night my dad was playing with fire. He was lucky Fluffy tried to kill me instead of him (or maybe Fluffy just wasn’t interested in exploring my dad’s bowels).

I realized last night that Fluffy is at least as evil as Martha Stewart—maybe more so, because he’s never made Bing Cherry Mojitos.

I survived Fluffy’s assault only because I can hold my breath really well—some might say seven years and counting. But last night was an eye opener. Not only is my dad oblivious to the evil around him, but his ass sometimes compounds the evil. No question my dad is generally oblivious.

Case in point: Pinot Blanc. This is a pet varietal that Mum and I tend to break out when Dad goes on a business trip. But at Thanksgiving we had it in the house just in case our guests might like it, and my dad got curious about it. Now, we’ve had some kick-ass PBs before, and we were hoping this would be another. HEITLINGER SMOOTH LEAF (2011) retails for $17.99 at our government booze store where it’s been promoted lately as a staff pick and turkey-dinner match. Assuming my mother’s turkey dinner ended up tasting like turkey, it seemed like a good bet.

German PBs can go either sweet or dry, and HEITLINGER lands on the off-dry mark. The nose is orchardy and citrus with hints of a not-very-influential pineapple having been in the room. On the palate the mouthfeel is reasonably weighty with moderate acidity. The wine lingers on the back palate with a slightly confusing play of flavors, summing up simply and rather forgettably.

If you’re partial to food and you like socializing, HEITLINGER won’t distract you from either. This feature shouldn’t be underestimated, as there’s nothing worse than regaling your captive Thanksgiving dinner audience with one of your best stories, only to have someone break into your narrative to exclaim how freaking awesome the wine is. This won’t happen with HEITLINGER. While not reticent with its display of bright yellow fruit, neither is it wearing a Carmen Miranda get-up. It won’t upstage you, your meal, or that story about your prostate exam.

If, on the other hand, you eschew solid foods like yours truly…well, you might want to add some interest to this wine. You could read a book while sipping, or practice doing a sexy dance. You could think about freaky paranormal happenings or compare Martha Stewart’s evilness with that of other household members. And if your house is free of creepy things like Fluffy, she will certainly win.

Oh, Martha, I can’t believe you’re really evil.

PAUL & PHILIPPE ZINCK PINOT BLANC (2009)—On the agenda, if not P’s Show-and-Tell program

My Fellow Inebriates,

Even though my dad is too cool to tuck me in at night, I miss him when he goes away. So does my mum, although we both agree it benefits our beer inventory.

My dad wasn’t going to share his team-building golf week agenda with the bears but, when I snooped around in his luggage the night before his departure, I found a cheap bottle of Scotch (unopenable), oodles of electronic gadgetry, and no clothes. Either there is another bag (full of who-knows-what goodies) or this week’s team building will be done naked.

I also found a printout of a PowerPoint slide for a presentation my dad’s doing to explain his new role at the company. It has four quadrants:

  1. Current activity
  2. Upcoming activity
  3. Challenges
  4. Opportunities

Like a flash it struck me that I could justify my own activities similarly. Justifying the LBHQ enterprise might get me closer to the bar of my dreams.

These ideas were pinging back and forth between my two brain cells when Miss P proposed taking me to Show-and-Tell. This coaxed my mum’s head out of Facebook to ask pointedly: “What exactly would you tell your class about LB?”

Giggle giggle. “About how he loves wine.”

Damn straight I love wine. This kid knows me well and I’m sure she’d have done me proud at Show-and-Tell, advertising the existence of Liquorstore Bear to the spawns of a parental demographic often described as “Bible Belt.”

Alas, my mother killed the idea. “Why don’t you show your new bike helmet?” Then hastily: “But don’t let any other kids try it on! We have to be careful about lice.”

Killjoy! We might love lice! Maybe if we brought home some lice my mum would vacuum! Bleach the sheets! Wash the—OMG!—wash the stuffies, AAARRRGHHHHH!!! No!!! My brain had misfired again with that thought, but there was no changing things now.

So P brought the helmet, which was or was not a hit with her cohort—she didn’t say, having moved on by end of day to other notions.

“LB, your blog is utterly, utterly narcissistic.”
—my mother

Had I received my 15 minutes of Grade One fame I would have told the class about PAUL & PHILIPPE ZINCK PINOT BLANC (2009), purchased by my mum in a typically petulant “do it myself” Mother’s Day mood. She wanted something that would pair with peanut-lime pork and coconut rice, and my dad is flummoxed about white wine period, never mind white-wine/food-pairing puzzles. Since my mum is almost as much of a white wine rube, she leant upon our local booze shop consultant to recommend the pinot blanc.

Billed as creamy and structured with orchard/citrus notes and lingering spice, ZINCK PINOT BLANC is a no-brainer complement to delicate flavors. Now, if only my mother produced delicate flavors in the kitchen…

She doesn’t, so let’s talk about the pinot on its own merit.

ZINCK PINOT BLANC doesn’t disappoint the nose, although if anything the notes are more tropical than orchard-like. As it sits, deep straw-colored in the glass, it wafts faraway scents that suggest humidity, scorching heat and heady refreshment, sun-soaked naked bodies that don’t resemble my dad teeing off in his birthday suit… There is, in the distant background, a hint of ginger perhaps—just enough to make you wonder whether you imagined it.

My parents’ prevailing fear of trying white wines no doubt harkens back to surreptitious childhood sips of Domaine D’Or and Sommet Blanc. If their parents intended to poison them against white wine, it worked. So whenever we do get a white in the house, they’re gobsmacked if it’s any good. The main thing they suspect white wines are missing is substance. This made ZINCK PINOT BLANC a good choice, weighing in at a respectable 12.5% alcohol and exhibiting both heft and depth. Slightly off-dry, this pinot’s character develops as the wine edges up from fridge temperature, revealing mineral subtleties and a satisfying mouthfeel.

It was perhaps a little too substantial for a Thai food pairing. Definitely beyond my philistine parents—but nonetheless a hit all around.

The newest agenda item: get more of it.