The Velvet Pants of Sweet Baby Jesus

Everybody has one good story.

It’s the story you pull out of your pocket at a party just when everyone’s resorted to talking about the food in just a little bit too much detail, or on a first date when things are headed south after you discover the only thing you two have in common is a mutual appreciation of the bread basket. It’s the sexy little black dress of a story that hugs your curves just a little too much; the story that, were it a player in MLB, would be batting a thousand.

This, my friends, is my That Story.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Once, in France, (kind of a pretentious opener, but stay with me) I went to a Food & Wine Exhibition (even more pretentious, right? It gets better). Really, “Food Exhibition” is simply another name for “I’m About To Head Back To the States So I Will Stuff My Face Like A Duck Destined For Paté,” it just flows better. My roommate, Katelyn, and I scurried up and down the aisles snacking on paté, cheese, olives, oysters, sweet breads, sour breads, chicken, sausage…you name it, we ate it. There was wine at this exhibition as well, but we didn’t get the courage up to ask for a tasting until a particularly rich (read: nasty) serving of paté.

We traipsed up and down the aisles, trying frantically to find something to get the awful taste of duck fat out of our mouths while simultaneously exuding a rich and wine-buyer-ly aura. After the first few stops we’d perfected our technique, and effectively slurped and sniffed our way through the vins de France.


Finally, quite a few tastings later, we stopped by a booth manned by an older husband and wife team. He spotted the American in us immediately—presumably it was our giggles, accents, and general lack of self-restraint, which pretty much serves as an Old Glory tattoo on one’s forehead—and jovially invited us over, “Try my wvinne!” he said. We, of course, were happy to oblige.  While we were tasting, he prodded us about life back home (he had a great-nephew once removed living in Idaho, you see, and was curious if we had ever met him). When I told him I was from Alabama he got a twinkle in his eye, threw up his arms, and exclaimed (as if it was the most splendid thing to happen all day) “Ahhhhhh!! Tu est une raciste!!!”

Ahhhhh!! You are a racist!!

Though he seemed just tickled at the idea, I quickly demurred—“Non, non, non, non, non”—but he winked at me and grinned as if to say, “oh oui, bien sur, just our leettle racist secret.”

Now that we had this kinship, my sweet old racist wine man decided that we were up for the primo stuff.

He leaned in close between us and whispered, “do you vant to try the best wvine mademoiselles?” Well of course, we wanted the good wine! Bring it on! He dug a bottle out from the bottom of a tattered blue cooler in the back of his tent, and poured two heaping glasses. We swirled, sniffed, and slurped obligingly.

He motioned us in again and said in a stage whisper, “it’s like zee velvet pants of svweet baby Jesus.”

Um, right, yes just precisely what I was thinking. The velvet pants of sweet baby Jesus. NAIL ON THE HEAD.

So, if you ever need a new way to describe your favorite wine, I’ve got you covered.


Forget blasé things like dry/acidic/fruity/nutty: look for notes of sweet baby Jesus’ velvet pants.


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