Recollections of a misspent youth



Several decades ago, having told the parents we were off to shoot baskets with friends, we attended our first boy-girl party.

Most of the girls were eager to dance but the boys were too inhibited to get out there. Which shows you how little has changed since 1962.

Our buddy, Pat Lyons, suggested we get drunk and we readily agreed. Which also shows you how little has changed.

No alcohol was involved. Back then, the myth was that if you put aspirin in a 7-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, you’d be drunk as a lord in five minutes. Pat dropped two Bayer aspirin in the bottle and we took turns swigging. As soon as the bottle was empty, we pretended to be passed out on the sofa.

The recollection of this minor idiocy returned with our first sip of Matua 2016 Sauvignon Blanc: grapefruity and slightly fizzy. It tastes like my favorite childhood beverage, Squirt.

Do they still make it? Squirt was a grapefruit-flavored, carbonated beverage invented during the Depression by a guy named Herb Bishop. He thought it tasted like a slice of grapefruit exploding in the mouth, so he called it “Squirt.” It was our go-to beverage through the ’50s and early ’60s before we discovered wine.

Unlike the inert Coca-Cola that failed to plaster Pat Lyons, Matua is nicely alcoholic. The self-description on the label says “crisp, clean and slightly citrus.” Depends on what you mean by “slightly.”

Speaking of the label, Matua has a feature we have never seen before: a little snowflake icon that turns blue when the wine is sufficiently chilled to permit consumption. It’s the viticultural equivalent of the pop-up turkey timer.

Has the world gone mad? Your wine bottle tells you when it’s time for a slurp? Reminds us of the car we had in the 1980s — it had a shift light. You’re driving along and you torque up or down the rpm scale and this light comes on just above the odometer: “Shift!” It was like a backseat driver and your mother-in-law implanted in the dashboard. Maybe the next iteration of Matua will have a recordable sound chip that shouts “Drink!” when the bottle achieves 35 degrees F.

Anyway, Matua (Hannaford, $11.99) is a nice sauvignon blanc, as is so often the case with SBs from New Zealand. If only we’d brought a flask of Matua to that boy-girl party. Betcha anything we would have been all over the dance floor.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]
Stephen Fay

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