Picture
Hill likes Crown and large lapels
This writer lives in Washington, DC, a fact not advertised until now. Commonly referred to as "Pollywood", Political Hollywood (high LSAT scores in these parts), locals enjoy capturing smartphone snapshots of their preferred cabinet members, cables news pundits or Jill Biden's latest boot shopping trip to Sassanova.  In the rest of the country, the celebrities of this town are primarily recognized by staffers, lobbyists and those crossing the threshold of the after-life.  If you can identify at least three PBS shows (Sesame Street doesn't count), running into the Speaker of the House or Prime Minister of India shopping for a loofa at Bed, Bath and Beyond can leave your own loofa a little moist.

Without shame, however, I still oggle and love to mention when I see a Person of Pollywood engaged in my favorite pursuits.  So when the proverbial doody hit the wind instrument back in July over Congressman Paul Ryan ordering two, $350 bottles of wine at Bistro Bis (awesome eggs benny), I needed to know: what was worth the political suicide (heard of these: 'austerity measures', Occupy Wall Street, 'recession'?) to do that in public?  Oh, Congressman Ryan is also chairman of the House Budget Committee and sits on Ways and Means, i.e., there's more prudence in a meth addict attending an orgy.

Congressman Ryan chose an '04 Echezeaux (prestigious Pinot Noir from, gasp, Burgundy!).  Twice!  Dumb and Dumber.  You spend that much AND you order foreign in public?  There is a prestigious Napa estate on the same wine list for the same amount, Shafer Vineyards.  Shafer's various bottlings are obscenely over priced in my opinion but definitely good wine and contain a ball busting 15-16% alcohol content.  Manhattan, anyone?

On the subject of Pinot Envy, I recall when President Obama celebrated his inaugural luncheon with obvious VIPs attending and the wine served was Duckhorn's Goldeneye Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley (CA avg.$55).  Not a personal favorite as I prefer softer, dirt driven Pinot Noirs of the Oregonian/Burgundian ilk.  Many were up in arms, but I ask you: because the economy sucks, our president's wine selection should consist of embarrassing ourselves?  If it's a Two Buck F*ck you want, the corner of K St. and Conn. Ave is but a few blocks away. And we don't need another American president throwing up in someone's lap.  When compared to Thomas Jefferson's nearly $20K wine bill (which he paid himself) upon exiting the White House (someone good with numbers email me an appreciation estimate), 'restraint' suddenly sounds like an optional term with plenty of space.

Wine remains the dress we wear to impress but it's the fit that seals the deal.  When selecting wine, consider the occasion, meal and general ambiance and strike a balance.  On too many dates, I've reached for the outrageous bottles and the only thing that got corked was a half-empty bottle.  Even an idiot knows nice packaging and could see I was eager.  Malbec is perfect for a first date but Champagne shouldn't show up until A. you've learned at least one silly/embarrassing trait about the other person or B. They've already given you the cash.