Nikki and I have a not-quite nightly ritual on weekends that involves heading to our local grocery store, picking out whichever red wine most appeals to our particular fancy, and polishing it off during dinner and evening TV. Tonight’s toss-up was between two California Cabs–an Estancia 2014 and a McManis 2015.
As is usually the case, our decision came down to a physical bottle comparison: the McManis featured a beautiful textured label, a gold twist-off top and a delightfully chime-y glass exterior; the Estancia’s label was positively demure by comparison and tearing slightly at one edge, and the fingerprint-laden bottle had something of a sickly green sheen.
It was at this time that I shared with Nikki a valuable lesson I learned in a film once–none other than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In the film’s climax, Jones (the source of inspiration for my several “Dr Jones”-related social media handles) has to choose the Holy Grail from a wide assortment of goblets and chalices; the right choice will save his injured father, but the wrong one will bring him instant death. Jones watches as the greedy Walter Donovan drinks from one of the most heavily embellished cups and succumbs to a grisly fate, then carefully considers the ornately decorated cups that remain. And then he sees it–the Holy Grail. Among all the jewels and gilded goblets stands one unassuming cup, molded crudely of clay and worn almost past use. “That’s the work of a carpenter,” Indy remarks, knowing he has chosen wisely.
Sometimes things are more than they appear. I suppose Shrek would have been an equally appropriate analogy.
In this case the Estancia, with its partly torn, inauspicious label and fingerprint-smudged glass bottle may indeed be that Holy Grail of Safeway wine selections. Within that humble exterior might reside the sweet, sweet nectar of Paso Robles’ finest, the culmination of years of blood, sweat, and tears of a master vintner at the top of their craft.
Maybe we’ll find out next weekend, because we went with the McManis.