Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cold Duck Specialist

Remember Cold Duck, the somewhat understated beverage that combined red wine with the sparkle of champagne? Whatever happened to that stuff? I remember many a lustrous evening sipping Cold Duck with a healthful snack of chips and sour cream dip. And now it can't be found anywhere on the north side of Chicago. Let's face it, trendy White people who decide what's best for the rest of us have gone crazy to omit this beverage from their culinary lexicon. It's these kinds of nobody-appointed-them-tastemakers who were responsible for the disappearance of Champale, another quality beverage that could hold its own against any peanut or chip-based food product. And more often than not, its consumption, much like Cold Duck's, was the preamble to an evening of romance.

This snooty wine "specialist" at Ernie's Fine Liquors laughed when I asked if they had any Cold Duck. So I inquired as to how he became a wine specialist; was there any college degree involved; did he own a winery? All I got was "the look," you know, the look that says, "don't bother the great specialist," like he invented the Dewey Decimal System or something.

I think these wine specialists should be looked into. They are parading around in a self-proclaimed world of their own making, passing themselves off as experts to the unwitting public. Just because someone remembers the names of a few exotic-sounding wines and some grapes that aren't in the produce section of the grocery store is no cause for celebration. At the very least, when asked, they should be required to offer some sort of wine credentials and not imply that the person asking the question should leave the store, and after further inquiries, not ban the person from the store so that the person has to wear a disguise in order to shop there (and use a fake voice, too).

Doctors give advice and they have certificates in fancy frames on the walls of their offices, so why should the wine specialist at Ernie's become upset when told that his certificate can't be found anywhere, not even in the bathroom which is "reserved for employees only." And surely, it can't be the job of the learned specialist to knock repeatedly on the bathroom door when it's obviously in use. What if a person has to use the toilet while shopping, do we just use the ice chest? A specialist should have answers to these questions, and the response, "perhaps you'd be happier shopping elsewhere," is not an answer, I can tell you that.

And another thing: a blue vest with an embroidered logo does not make a person a specialist. Of that, I'm certain.