DINER: Sediment At The Bottom Of An Old Bordeaux Bottle Lands Wine Writer In Court
(via NYT | photo Natalie Hayes) Recently, acclaimed wine writer Mark Oldman was leaving what sounded like an especially luxurious dinner at New York City’s Colicchio & Sons when he was written up by the police for carrying out an empty bottle of well aged Bordeaux as a souvenir.
Oldman tried in vain to explain that this was only sediment: “It’s what is left after you decant a mature bottle!” But the police issued him a court summons anyway.
Yikes. What follows then, is the awesome record of the court proceedings…
Court Officer: Mark Oldman, Docket ending 9818, open alcohol container.
Jed Philwin, the court-appointed lawyer: Move to dismiss, facially insufficient.
Judge: What was this? [referring to the bottle in question.]
Oldman: It was an empty bottle of 40-year-old Bordeaux I was taking as a souvenir. I’m a wine writer. The officer thought there was something in the bottle. He started writing up the ticket. I’m a well-known wine writer.
Judge: A well-known what?
Oldman: Wine writer. I was taking the bottle as a souvenir. It was a 40-year-old bottle. I have it downstairs. They wouldn’t let me bring it up.
Judge: Let me get this straight. Your job is to go around drinking wine all day?
Oldman: Yes, it is. And writing about it.
Judge: Before or after you drink it?
Oldman: A little of each.
Judge: What’s your record in one day of consuming wine?
Oldman: It’s quality, not quantity. It’s not about drinking as much as you can.
Judge: Have you ever seen Night Train Express?
Oldman: I love it. Does a body good.
Judge: Who pays you to drink wine? I know of a lot guys that would like that job.
Oldman: My publisher. They do a lot of books. [Oldman then offers the judge to look at one of his books. The bailiff brings it to him, and the judge pages through it approvingly.]
Judge: That’s a good picture of you.
Oldman: You can have it. [At this point, Oldman said, the court-assigned lawyer standing beside him warned that such an offer could be construed as bribing the judge.]
Judge: No, thank you. So the publisher pays you to go around drinking wine?
Oldman: Absolutely, they do. They trust my judgment.
Judge: If you endorse a certain wine, what happens to that wine? Do people buy it?
Judge: How did you get to be an expert in drinking wine? I’m looking for another career. I’m going to retire.
Oldman: Well, you know, practice makes perfect, and some people have a nose for it. I have a good size nose. You’ve got to smell and taste different things.
Judge: You’re not French?
Oldman: Thankfully not. I have books published in French, though, which is funny. An American publishing books in French is like –
Judge: If you are going to buy wine and stick it in a warehouse, what kind of wine would you buy?
Oldman: Special stuff, you mean? Like the kind that my bottle was, old Bordeaux. Only two percent of the world’s wine gets better with age. People think any wine improves, but only two percent does, so red Bordeaux is a good bet.
Judge: There’s your book back, for the record. And I’ll dismiss the case.
Oldman: Thank you, Judge.
(hat tip: reader SH)