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Another Reason I Love Portland July 8, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I dialed the number to the liquor store, asked the guy who answered if Nolan was working. “Hold on,” he said, and put Nolan on the line.

“Nolan, this is Indigo,” I said. “I’m from Vermont, and sometimes I stay at the hotel next door.”

“And you’re looking for Cinquante-Cinq Viognier,” he said.

“That’s right.”

It had been three months.


I’m not completely surprised that I could jar Nolan’s memory as to my identity (but wouldn’t have been surprised if I couldn’t, either). He grew up in Vermont, and we’ve talked a couple of times. But I was impressed that he could immediately connect me with that particular bottle. More than impressed. He’d spent some time on it before, but he must spend time looking for lots of things for lots of people.


For a few years, there was this nice Viognier I would order by the glass at the bar of one of the better-known upper-end establishments in town. Not too sweet, not too flowery. I would try to find bottles to purchase, but to no avail. No one in Portland had it, and no one in Vermont seemed to be able to get it. I tried to mail order it a couple of times, would put it in my virtual basket, only to be told that they didn’t have it in stock after all.

It turned out that the Portland bartender was pretty much buying all of it from the distributor (he ended up telling me as much). A glass cost almost as much as the retail price of the bottle (an inexpensive bottle, obviously)—would that one could actually purchase a bottle. Which one could not.

A couple of times I walked into that bar and said, “Give me glass of that wine that I can only get here,” and Greg would silently reach for the Pichon and pour.

A few months ago, though, it turned out that the wine was no more. The winery had revamped things, or somesuch, and Greg had a different Viognier (possibly from the same vineyard—I can’t remember the details exactly). I tried it and liked it. He showed me the bottle.

“I saw a bottle of that today,” I said, pleasantly surprised.

“Where?” he asked.

“Oh no,” I said. “I’m not telling you. I’m going to go buy it.”

I was convinced that Greg was going to bogart this wine too.


Right after dinner, I went to the liquor store and picked up the bottle. Nolan thought there was more; there wasn’t. He told me he could order a case and get it in before we left town.

But the next day, I got a call, and it turns out there’s none to be had. He said it was very strange.

Mmmm hmmmm.

“Next time you’re coming into town, call about a week in advance,” he told me. “We’ll see what we can do.”


OK, so it wasn’t a full week in advance. My bad. I’ve been busy, distracted with other things. If I’d called a week in advance, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

When I called yesterday, Nolan said they had a couple of bottles. He’d check on the case, and if he couldn’t get one, he’d save what they had for me.

Within twenty minutes, he called me back.

“It’s the funniest thing,” he said. “Ever since you left, we’ve been getting regular shipments. Now they don’t have any. We just got a case in last week.”

And he only had one bottle left, which he pulled off the shelf for me.

He said he’d check around to see if anyone else in town had it. Or maybe they could get it next week. Or maybe once they do get it again, he’d set aside a case for me (but of course, it may be months before I go back).


So it’s possible that Greg hasn’t bought up all this wine. I tried to find some in April, after my last trip, but again, there were no places claiming to have it that would ship to Vermont (possibly one in Colorado—but the shipping costs nearly equaled the case price).

Maybe this is Bacchus’s way of keeping me in check.

I wonder if the wine’s as good as my memory of it. Perhaps I’m merely obsessed with the hunt.


1. Bridgett - July 10, 2011

I love this story.

2. Bridgett - July 10, 2011

We hunted down a wine ourselves. Took us almost 10 years. It was as good as we remembered and is now the only red I will drink…

indigobunting - July 13, 2011


3. helen - July 11, 2011

You are a loyal customer. And a good teacher (up to now, I’ve only ever heard “bogart” associated with Humphrey).

4. Lali - July 11, 2011

There’s a lot of wisdom in that last sentence.

Helen, Tasha Tudor used to paint bogarts in her illustrations of children’s books. Is that where you got the word, Indigo? Curious now.

5. Deloney - July 12, 2011

A bottle a day keeps disaster away.

6. indigobunting - July 13, 2011

Helen, now Lali is the teacher. I didn’t know about that use of the word bogart (or boggart, apparently). No, I’m most familiar with it from the drug sense of the word (eg, bogart the joint).

7. Mali - July 14, 2011

I loved this story. And the comments. I learn something new every day.

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