The Bitch in the Black Dress

You can usually see her coming a mile away, leaving a wake of gawkers behind her. All gussied up in that sleekly cut black dress. Strutting and strolling like she knows her name and embraces it with delight.

She's the one that knocks you off your feet; stops you in your tracks with her dimensions, attitude, grace and come-hither look that seems to be tattooed across her brow and body.

There are certain wines that embody the nature of The Bitch in Black, a very specific wine description that was passed on to me some time ago by a friend who used it when the wine that just passed his lips was so compelling, so head and shoulders above the rest, so seemingly untouchable by nearby bottles and such that it forced him follow the bottled where ever it was carried. He would stand with glass in hand and announce, "Damn, this is The Bitch in Black," then roll his eyes back in to his head and find any way to get his glass full. Then he'd go on to explain the analogy to anyone who would listen as he pursued more of the wine.

A little crass, yes. A little demeaning to women in black, yes. But, since I heard the term and its explanation, it has ceased to reference the opposite sex, in any form of dress, for me.

Well, the Bitch in the Black dress returned late yesterday afternoon when I opened a bottle of 2006 Santa Barbara Syrah. This wine strutted its way past any CA Syrah I think I have ever tasted. I can't name the name of the producer only because I don't review wines here for a number of good reasons. That said, this is the first time in a very long time that the girl returned to my world in all her glory.

Funny thing is, the way my friend originally described the Bitch in the Black Dress really doesn't make me want to spend time with her. I really just want to watch her. I want to watch her effect on people, for entertainments sake. But this wine….This 2006 Santa Barbara Syrah, I want to spend time with. LOTS of time.

So, I need a new term don't I! I need a term that describes that woman that knocks me back on my heels, stuns me, and makes me want to spend as much time with her as possible. This girl is creamy like wet velvet when you rub up against her. She a complex soul that has the kind of depth that doesn't seem to have a floor. She's accessible, but you know the she's gonna get a lot better if you just pay a little attention to her and spend time with let her and let her develop and cultivate herself on her own terms. This is danger in its best form.

I need to find a new term. I need to find more of this wine and I need to spend more time with this girl.

20 Responses

  1. Rob - March 4, 2009

    How about the Lady in Red? She’ll take you for a ride and always make you want more, but eventually she’ll leave you?
    Or how about the Shy Girl, always standing in a corner waiting for you to open her up, and when you do she’s a hell cat on a mission…
    Maybe I need to find my girlfriend and stop making analogies…

  2. Fredric Koeppel - March 4, 2009

    why do these analogies have to be feminine? because so many wine tasters, writers, bloggers, collectors are men? because men have to ascribe powers of danger to women? “Bitch”! “Hell-cat”! how incredibly demeaning. what ever happened to saying, “What a great goddamn wine”?

  3. el jefe - March 4, 2009

    If you are smart you’ll call the wine “Ginny” 😉

  4. genevelyn - March 4, 2009

    la rousse? For reds, of course.

  5. Anneliese - March 4, 2009

    What’s the price range of this Syrah? Then I’ll know if it’s a lap dancer or a lover.

  6. Derrick Schneider - March 4, 2009

    “A little crass, yes. A little demeaning to women in black, yes.”
    Actually, nothing more profound than tiresome male issues with any sort of female of power or intensity. Men of power are “distinguished, respectable, wise.” Women are usually “bitches” or “ice queens.” You and your friend may think nothing of the sort, of course — you just accept the easy words culture has given you, just as we all do at one time or another..

  7. Tom Wark - March 4, 2009


  8. Westoakland - March 5, 2009

    Tom’s right.
    We work and struggle for independence, then ‘she’ comes along and we chuck it all.
    The symbolism is sound. The metaphor is enticing.
    It wasn’t a Syrah for me. A lusty Sonoma Zin (Rafanelli 2005), and a provocative Brunello di Montalcino were some of my undoing.
    They just knocked my block off. I wasn’t ready. I thought I was.
    They were dark too. That sultry beauty from Detroit, and an elegant mestizo from Mexico. Full of ‘tude, curves and flavor. Black dresses. They just wanted to enjoy, to please.
    Ain’t demeaning or crass either, just living good.
    Treat them well, enjoy them, savor the experience. What-the-hell.
    I don’t think you need a new term. That one came across quite well.

  9. Thomas Pellechia - March 5, 2009

    Analogy is the last resort of the inexplicable, and often a bad resort at that…

  10. Samantha - March 5, 2009

    Okay, gonna chime in as a woman here…does not bother me in the least. I find it rather flattering actually, and it shows how compelling women are, how powerful…and who are we kidding, even as a straight woman I think women are sexy as hell!
    I use terms like this all the time for my classes, especially Champagne ones, when describing a very forward style I say, “If this were a woman she would be wearing fishnets and red lipstick” or when I think the label is ugly on a fantastic wine I say, “It’s like a really hot woman in a really ugly dress”…just seems to paint the picture pretty clearly for people.

  11. Ron - March 5, 2009

    We read your blog this morning! My wife was put off until i read the whole blog explaining some things!!!!! Sometimes you just need to shake things up a bit, much worse is said right on TV. Ever watch 2 and a half men? Great blog and Tom could you please email me the exact name….i would like to meet this bitch with out a dress also! Once she is in the glass she no longer has a dress hiding here talents!

  12. mydailywine - March 5, 2009

    Clearly Tom does not need schooling on sexual politics. I know he gets it. And I know he is a woman loving and respectful kind of guy.
    Sounds like most of the men on this board get it too.
    We attribute feminine and masculine qualities to all kinds of inanimate objects, why not wine? It all comes down to execution (or did I mean intention?).
    I get the analogy of a sexy, powerful woman in black but yes, truthfully the bitch part is…oh, you know all this already!
    Bastard in Black?

  13. Westoakland - March 5, 2009

    Bad for who, the Blog author or someone else?
    Who’s doggerel gets under your cork. Non lo prendo.
    Analogies, it is true, decides nothing, but they can make one feel more at home (Sigmund Freud).

  14. Thomas Pellechia - March 5, 2009

    Not bad for anyone in particular, but not always a good choice of expression.
    For instance, wine may be seductive but to enjoy it one must devour or consume it, and it is a one-way enjoyment, no reciprocation. Is that analogous to a man and a woman?
    Analogies can be easily misunderstood and even culturally deficient, but worst of all, they may not be germane. 😉

  15. Dylan - March 5, 2009

    Tom, the qualities you described sound like the qualities of good potential spouse. However, if you want to keep it fresh, I suppose you could remark the wine as a girlfriend/boyfriend.

  16. MC - March 6, 2009

    It seems to me the Syrah you tasted might be a Temptress or a Tempter depending on the perceived gender of the wine. The Temptress / Tempter is a wine that entices you to indulge, maybe encourages you to spend a little more (or a lot more) on a bottle. It is a wine that you think about opening when you feel like splurging, or when you feel hedonistic. It is a wine that makes you smile a little naughty smile when you think about it.
    Would the Temptress / Tempter analogy work for your Santa Barbara Syrah? It sounds like it rocked your world briefly & you enjoyed the moments you shared….

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