I have a fantasy. No not, that kind. I actually have one that's fit to print. I always wanted to be an advice columnist. The idea materialized over a glass of DeLille Cellars 2011 Doyenne Reserve Rose, which is all inspiration for great ideas. Someone joked I was a good listener, and we know I love telling people what to do, and poof! Worlds collide! Throw in a bottle or two and now I have the freedom to tell people what I really think, especially when they don't want to hear it (what!).
Brilliant. Let's get on with it.
Dear Teri: My roommate enjoys birds and keeps several birdcages in our apartment with parrots, cockatiels and finches. The cages are immaculate, and there is only one problem: This winter three of her birds died, and my roommate wrapped them up and put them in our freezer. It's a little bird morgue in there and kind of freaks me out.
Ooooh! This is juicy. Tell your roommate Huey, Dewey and Louie are no longer parked between the carrots and the ice cubes. In fact, they've had a dignified sendoff right into their final resting place -- a deep-dish baking pan. Olive oil, thyme and rosemary should mask any trace of freezer burn. Voila! You are in for one exotic evening. While I've never tasted parrot or anyone's pet for that matter, I have to believe that Gorman Cellars Pixie 2009 Syrah will be a lovely accoutrement to roasted peacock or the like. This wine is smoky and sedultry. It's dark, tarry and chewy. And a bite of this wine makes a fork full of cockatiel a non sequitur that pales in comparison. Is it that good? Indeed, it's that good.
Dear Teri: I have a 19-month-old and a 34-month-old. Our family was invited to the childless home of our friends, and when we arrived, I scurried around childproofing. I moved their expensive items up out of reach, but my friends insisted on putting everything back. When an expensive piece of art was dropped, they were peeved. I felt I did my best in policing the children but still feel I should offer to pay the insurance deductible. My husband says to let it go because they asked for it.
Wow, where do I start? First, unless your kid just popped out of your womb or you're describing wine in barrel, there's no legitimate reason to use months as a measure of age. Your kids are 1 and almost 3. Only really annoying people force a listener to do the math. Second, if you hit my house like a tornado, I'd be miffed. And lastly, a babysitter would have been cheaper than the deductible, and yes you should pay it. (Your husband is a doorknob.) Now, should I tell you what I would drink if I had annoying friends like you? Or should I tell you the best bottle to give as a gift if you want to save what's left of this friendship. Turns out they're one in the same: Thorny Rose 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, is dark and dense (oh, you can relate?) with blackberry and cherry rolled into dirty bits of dark chocolate. It's straightforward and uncomplicated -- with a 'leave your kids at home' finish. Trust me, you'll make the right decision next time -- if there is a next time.
Dear Teri: Yesterday, my neighbor told me they are moving out of state. We have been fine neighbors but not close. She asked whether we would let her 17-year-old son live with us while he finished his senior year. We barely know these people and are shocked they want us to care for their son. What should we do?
I don't know. Do you want to live with a 17-year-old boy in your basement? If he's the quarterback of the football team, it might be something to consider. He'll turn 18 soon, and you can ponder that over a glass of Burning Desire (what!) NV Estate Cabernet Franc. Wowza, this is a ripe idea that's built for comfort. With its wet earth and tobacco sensibilities. It encompasses you like the first bra your mom bought you when you were 9 -- I mean 13. A snap of plump plum and blackberry whips you back to your senses for now. More? Well, I don't see why not.
Dear Teri: I run a daycare from my home and am disturbed by my next-door neighbor who insists on sunbathing in her backyard in the nude. There is really not much room in between our houses, and it's a matter of time before the children see. I am embarrassed to say anything because it is her property. I'm not sure what to do.
Hmm. What to do. Keep the shades drawn? The children inside? Buy a higher fence? Maybe some bushes? And while you're sitting in the dark with swarms of children running through your house, turn fast to a glass of Sagelands 2008 Riesling, Columbia Valley. This Riesling plays well in everyone's kiddy pool. It's a golden explosion of light-bright crispness and a balance of lemon, melon and honey smoothness. It's a lovely way to get to know your neighbor -- naked or not. Maybe a quick conversation over a glass of this prettiness. What's the worst that can happen? Only that you succumb to your bi-curious ways and the state shuts you down anyway.
I gave it my best shot.
Epilogue: Many of these lovely wines were tasted at the Auction of Washington Wines Picnic event, which was HOT and fabulous. Tell all your friends to drink more Washington wine! And if they look puzzled, send them my way for a little advice.
With sass and attitude, Teri Citterman is a Seattle dweller and an eager wine enthusiast. She is the author of the latest edition of Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest and the Northwest Wine Journal. She writes An Urban Sip Wine Blog at anurbansip.com.
This story was originally published September 15, 2012 12:00 AM.