“Dost thou smell gas?” Writer’s Block Cabernet Franc 2015

“Do you smell gas?” my wife asked me as she walked up from the basement.

“Hmmm?” I replied. “In the basement?”

“Yes,” she responded.

“I’ll go check,” I told her, and I did. I barely got into my man cave when it hit my schnoz like a right hook. A nose that’s used to savoring the floral bouquet of a nice Pouilly Fume’ doesn’t do so well with gas fumes.

Back upstairs: “Yep, gas.” Sonja called the power company who told us to evacuate immediately, so Sonja let the dog out and we went over to our neighbors’ house. Eventually, they arrived and told us that there was a leak and that they had to fix it, but that it wasn’t dangerous at the present. I went to get Titus from daycare and Sonja stayed home with Zooey. I dropped Titus off and headed off to a meeting.

The next thing I know, I’m getting home from my meeting, the street is blocked off, and there are a dozen helmeted minions in my neighbor’s yard, tearing it up with a back-ho while a jackhammer put a ten-foot deep hole in our street. One of their trucks was blocking my driveway; they didn’t even look me in the eye as I walked past. I got inside and Sonja explained that they were going to turn the gas off, which would turn the heat off as well as the stove, and that they’d likely be traipsing through the house for a while, moving the box from the inside out to “get it up to code” I guess. Furthermore, at some point they intended to take a drill to the foundation of my 113-year-old house — this, of course, after digging up my front lawn. Apparently, the city has an “easement” on, well, freaking everything, so they can do this whenever and however they want to, never mind that the national championship game is on or that my kids are in bed.  I needed a glass of wine far worse than I often do (that’s saying something), and in honor of the fact that I start back in tomorrow by teaching Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, this wine seemed more than appropriate.

The 2015 Writer’s Block Cab Franc is a nice wine, though it took me an extra moment to realize that. While normally I swirl and sniff, hold a wine up to the light to observe its color, ponder it deeply, try to have a conversation with it… in candor I will admit that I started this one off with a gulp. Then I started swirling.  As it opened up, aromas of lavender and black cherry lured me into a palate of beautifully balanced fruits, ranging from bright and vibrant red fruits — strawberry, raspberry, and currant, to darker purple and black fruits — black cherry, blackberry, and plum, with hints of black pepper and perhaps some very subtle vanilla in the mix. A bright ruby hue supported by mild tannins, the wine is pleasantly in balance, easily appreciated, and made to drink now I believe.  Maybe that’s just what I needed to believe as Al came through my door with his toolbox and descended the steps to my basement to tear out my gas meter.  I poured another glass and started texting apologies to my neighbors.


Sitting at the kitchen island, getting colder while thinking about tomorrow and staring irritatedly at the label on this bottle of wine got me to wondering: what would Shakespeare say about an episode like this? I wracked my English teacher brain, and remembered that the Bard had quite a bit to say on this subject, actually. For example, in anger, he once asked a a group of senators: “Who is a man that is not angry?” — a worthy question, I say. He also advised Kent to “Come not between the dragon and his wrath,” if I recall. And my old pal Malcolm once suggested to a recently widowed husband that he “Let grief convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.” Shortly thereafter Macduff guts the man who is responsible for his widowing. I could go on. Apparently, anger is an emotion at least as old as Shakespeare, most likely much more so. I wonder if the Bard ever had a gas leak.

I know I should be counting my blessings. The house didn’t blow up. Presumably the city isn’t going to send me a bill for this (I’ll be writing their own Shakespearean tragedies for them if they do.) My kids are slumbering upstairs, my wife is contentedly editing her weekly picture of Zooey, and I? Well, I have wine. And as a friend once said: “Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.”

The next time Sonja asks me if I smell gas, I think I’ll just say no.

Cheers to the Bard,



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