Sitting in the wine shop this morning I am reminded of a man who came in last night. He’s a regular in the shop, a burly man with gentle eyes who we call Dr.so-and-so because that’s his name. I always see him on my Monday shift, and he always buys one bottle from the fridge, typically the same as last time. I imagine this is his bottle for the evening, and I imagine that he looks forward to the end of his Monday so he can go home and enjoy his wine. He probably has a wife, but I imagine he drinks the man portion of the bottle. He looks like someone who will drink the man portion of a bottle of wine over dinner and then move to his favourite armchair with a brandy and the paper. His wife will wake him when he starts snoozing and he’ll tell her he was just closing his eyes.
When the doctor came in last night I offered him a taste of a bottle we had open, a wooded chenin blanc. He wasn’t fond of the wine – he prefers something easier on the palate – but when he saw the label, he said “Oh, do you know the owner of this estate?”
Me: “Hmm, no… do you?” (I guess it was a leading question)
Dr.: “Yes, he’s a Russian Jew”.
Then he paid for his usual bottle, we bade each other a good evening and he went on his way. Nothing more was said of the Russian Jew.
I had no idea then and I still have none of what was meant by that exchange.