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It’s been almost 30 sleeps since the last installment of Wine or Whine, my monthly pretentious wine review thing. Cripes, how did I make it? Whether it was braving the icy and dicey steps of Quebec City or fighting through crowds of hipsters in New York City or braving the long lonely Interstate 87 back to Montreal again, there were all sorts of obstacles to overcome before returning to the comforts of home life and a home-cooked dinner.

The wine under consideration for this Wine or Whine is called Les Palombieres. It comes from the Gascony region of France.

This wine almost jumped off the shelf at me – and not just because it cost a cool $11.10 (from SAQ). It’s because when I looked at the label illustration of a bunch of pigeons flying out of a tree I was suddenly transported back about 20 years to my misspent youth. In Gascony, nonetheless (south-west of Bordeaux) and in a palombiere. What is a palombiere? It’s a camouflaged hut in the woods from which you shoot pigeons. (I say you and not me because I wouldn’t do anything so beastly as to shoot a pigeon.)

Anyway, at the time, I was sort of inspired to protect the birds of the world and so was my young cousin. So when we happened across this palombiere in the woods not far from his home, we did what any self-respecting animal rights activist would do.

This is what a palombiere looks like. The point is to sit inside all day and whenever you see a pigeon, poke your gun out and shoot it.

We visited awesome and irrevocable destruction on that evil hunting lodge. We tore apart the walls, we kicked down a door, and we smashed things – many things: glasses, plates, cups – and we also took special pains to rip up the pages of the hunter’s private stash of porno magazines… When we were about halfway done, we went back home for lunch. Appetites satiated, we returned for another frenzied attack on the palombiere. But sadly for us, we had made the mistake of bringing along the family dog. So after a spectacularly loud smashing of something or another – a smash that surely brought an end to the siesta of the entire valley – we suddenly realized that the locals had caught wind of our misdeeds and were out in hot pursuit. We dashed into the dense thicket of the woods and hid for what felt like an eternity. We hardly dared breathe. It was a like a Hardy Boys’ adventure.

Except all our heroics were for naught, because as I said, we had a dog in tow; a dog who did not move his furry butt quite as fast as we did. The dog was successfully identified by our pursuers, and the result was that we, too, were identified. And boy, were we in trouble!

Wine or Whine?

So after that very long and fairly irrelevant story about a palombiere, we get now to the important part. Is this wine any good?

Well, the vintage we drank was a 2008, and I think 2008 was a happy year all around, no? I mean, we still thought Obama would save America from self-immolation at that point. Har de har! Anyway, for as long as we still have the remnants of a civilization to live in, I hope that civilization will continue to produce great deals such as Les Palombieres. It’s a robust, no-nonsense, honest-to-goodness red wine, and easily stood up to the meal (a delightful Indian curry made by Monika; thanks again!). It left me feeling like a man who has worked a full day’s work and has had his just reward at the end of it.


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