Every couple of months when my normal grocery store just won’t do, Whole Foods plays its siren song and I come calling.
I often approach going to Whole Foods as most would going to the fair or other fun weekend event. If I’m going to tear myself away from my laptop and make the hour drive to buy wild salmon and black rice, I have to plan it out.
I wander around slowly pushing my little half grocery cart. You know the one. I can never figure out whether it’s a basket or a cart. Then when I realize it’s a cart, I have to walk back to the front of the store, and get the basket so it can actually hold my food.
So I found myself on a Friday afternoon exploring the wine section. I planned to buy four bottles of red wine each from different countries.
I’ll have you know this is all in the name of research. How else could I write wine reviews for you?
After exploring Argentina, I stumbled upon the Chocolate Block red wine from Boekenhoutskloof made in the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
I freely admit to being a label whore and the bottle caught my eye. It stood out tall with a shiny silver head, the confident font captured my interest, and the tagline when I Googled it on my phone said, “the wine with secrets to keep.”
Any wine that admits to keeping secrets can get in my circle of trust and stay there. That way if the secrets ever come out everyone’s going down.
I couldn’t wait to have my go-to couple Kelsey and Tim over to drink with. It’s a little pricey around $25 a bottle, but well worth it.
I stared at the Chocolate Block Wine for a week as it sat on my countertop. It made knowing eyes at me. It teased me. It said, “Get the corkscrew, no one needs to know. This will be our secret.”
Instead, I waited to share it with my friends. Finally, on a random Sunday we drank the Chocolate Block wine, ate homemade steak tacos compliments of yours truly, and discussed relationships.
Tim asked unexpectedly, “I don’t understand Alexandra. Why don’t you have a boyfriend? You aren’t hiding him from us, are you?”
“No. My latest boy toy experiment has run its course. I’m good. Work is my boyfriend. He doesn’t snore,” as I poured us another glass of the dark burgundy wine.
I stopped to smell the notes of currants, plums, and hint of allspice. The Chocolate Block wine has a smooth mouth feel. There’s a soft underlying layer of cocoa to it that appears in earthy notes.
It’s barreled aged in French Oak, which gives it a pleasing smokiness and accentuates the subtle chocolate flavor.
Our keeper of secrets wine is made from Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, and Viognier. The Syrah gives the wine a lovely dark berry taste, the spice, and oak settle in later on.
“Well you’re beautiful and so is Shauna,” Tim said through half-closed eyes. Clearly, he was feeling the effects of the whisky he drank earlier.
This wasn’t becoming awkward at all. No let’s keep going shall we?
Shauna is our other friend who like me is divorced and very single. So, I’m assuming Tim was trying to group us together for his benefit. On the other hand, maybe he was trying to make sense of this madness.
How on earth with the surplus of men available, could two attractive women possibly remain single?
Kelsey gave her husband a dirty look that translated to, ‘You need to shut the hell up now.’ I sat back, raised my eyebrows, and silently drank my wine.
“Why do you think that is?” I asked after a minute of silence.
Tim’s mental wheels were spinning and I wanted to know what a man who’s been my friend for several years now thought about the case of the single divorced lady. That would make a horrible book title by the way, just saying.
He stared thoughtfully at me, “It’s cause men don’t think they can control you.”
I froze. What the fuck? Come again?
Kelsey gave him a withering stare and poked him hard, but the train picked up steam. He wanted to expand on his nugget of wisdom.
“Yeah, because you’ve got yourself together, you’ve got a business, and you don’t seem like you’d make a guy a sandwich…if he asked you.”
Wow. Really? It all comes down to a sandwich. I sat quietly and said nothing.
If I had spoken, I’d probably set his skinny behind on fire, literally. I lit a candle just moments prior to air out the smell of the steak and beans. The lighter was within my grasp.
Since I want to keep them as friends I chose to silently drink more wine.
I could tell by the looks his wife gave him, she was on the verge of destroying him herself.
I’ve often found that what you say when liquored up is how you honestly feel. It’s the alcohol that removes our politically correct bullshit filter, myself included.
“So, you think I wouldn’t make a sandwich for a guy that I was in a relationship with if he asked? Is that what this boils down to?” I asked. My tipsy brain was only focused on trying to not call him a flaming idiot or set him on fire.
“Well, I’m sure you would,” he back-pedaled.
“Umm. I made you guys dinner, right? And you guys are friends.”
“Well yeah. But you seem like you don’t need a guy to take care of you. You’re confident. That’s what I meant.”
Confucius has nothing on you, “So, let me understand this Tim. Because I’m confident. I can take care of myself. I have myself together. And because of who I am as a person, I’m uncontrollable and a dangerous creature? I threaten men.”
“No, no, I didn’t say that.”
Maybe I added in dangerous creature, but whatever seriously.
“I got it Tim.” I was partially inebriated and I knew if I let loose, I would say things that I couldn’t take back.
Instead, I switched the subject to the wine. Kelsey gave me an, ‘I’m sorry’ look. I gave her a, ‘Girl, I’m sorry for you,’ look.
Tim’s right in his assumption that I don’t need a man. I would however like to find one that’s not intimidated by me.
I don’t flaunt anything, I’m an extremely humble person. In fact, I don’t know any successful female friends of mine that are screaming down their accomplishments.
The funny thing is, I never mention what I’ve done professionally or what I’ve accomplished. I don’t want anyone to judge me for external objects or achievements.
Besides, why would I ever date someone that I’d have to dumb myself down for? Why should I be forced to act insecure to give him confidence he should already possess?
A confident man equals a turn-on in every society. However, a confident woman?
Hold the phone. Call the trappers we have one that’s escaped. Let’s put her back on the wildlife preserve and make sure she doesn’t harm the males.
I would rather a potential romantic interest get to know me as a person. I’m sure he would be thrilled have a confident woman on his arm and in his bed. Or else guess what? We aren’t dating.
If I wanted to stay in a relationship where I had to be less of who I am to make someone feel better about themselves then I would have stayed married.
Sure, I don’t go around making sandwiches at random. If I find myself in the kitchen making a delicious ham and cheese sandwich, I’ll ask him if he wants one too and open another bottle of the Chocolate Block wine to drink.
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The first two books in the series were wildly successful and now, the long-awaited final installment is available in "Just a Little - The Complete Collection." You'll laugh and cry your way through these *six tales* (almost 200,000 words) by authors Alexandra Andersen and Shayne McClendon.