21 August 2009

The Friday Belt: Noir Domaine

Domaine Serene Evenstad Pinot Noir

Paul Stuart Strap w/ Tiffany Buckle

Strike Out Trafalgar

Have you ever had an "In the Moment" experience?

Walking west through the Chicago loop a woman stepped out of Northern Trust's side door and walked to the El tracks. She was petite in a simple black linen dress and bob'ed black hair. It was a warm Spring day and I was taking in all I could. At her open toed shoes a glint of sun reflected off a bright red toe nail just as a subway train rumbled by on the elevated tracks in front of her. My view of life went from a 9" B&W television to 70mm wide screen Cinemascope. Colors were saturated, noise was crystal clear and for a moment - - Everything stopped.

I've had a few, 'moments.' I try to hold on as long as I can but they always fizz away and I'm left with 9" B&W. Domaine Serene Evenstad is not exactly that kind of moment. Although the bottle reminds me of the woman in Chicago...the red foil top and the black logo. The first sip never fails to stop me dead in my tracks. Words like lithe, full bodied, balanced and ripe fruit never come to mind. 'Holy Shit' is what comes to mind. An Oregon Pinot Noir... the '05 sells for around $55. It's so damned good - - I don't drink it with food. Food gets in its way.

The black calf strap was picked up at Paul Stuart in the Chicago Hancock back when I worked on the 20th floor. On the back of the belt you can see where they lined out Trafalgar. Stuart does this to any product with a name other than their own. I've never understood why. It reeks of a particular cheesiness I don't associate with Paul Stuart but then... retailers are rarely what they appear to be. Still, I like Stuart a lot and some of their merchandise has stopped me dead in my tracks. But if you asked me what I'd rather spend $55 on...a pair of Paul Stuart socks or Domaine? Well, the socks'll never be a 'moment.' Not in my domain.


longwing said...

Excellent. I could use a moment. Can one still get them in their 50s?

Mind if I solicit a bit of belt advice from a true trad: I believe that a few sources sell a buckle for a strap that is maybe 1/4 inch wider than the norm. To my eye the norm seems kind of narrow. On the other hand I'm sure I could get used to it. On the other other hand the wider one is more proportional to my physique. What does the trad suggest?

Anonymous said...


I love that back story. I think I may have had those "In the Moment" moments and just failed to recognize them. Probably when I was younger. I believe you may have had yours while coming out of a quasi-auto hypnotic state, sort of like when you drive the same route over and over and don't remember any of it, and suddenly you're at your destination without recall. Or like reading a book at a busy park while being able to ignore sounds around you. In modern action films it's referred to as "speed ramping." You had a Keanu Reeves-bullet-dodging moment.

When you exit that state it all comes rushing back, sometimes a little too fast and bold. You are simply caught unawares and your mind has to catch up to process it. That "between" state, by the way, is where many people claim they see spirits of the departed, having let down their guard. It's why a pro golfer's EEG will flat-line during his drive. Or why people witnessing an accident claim to have seen it play out in slow motion. For most of us it's the semi-conscious, but lucid stage just before falling asleep. Our best ideas might come to us then. Or our worst fears.

Either way, I would try to tap into that more often. Or don't try, as the Zen case may be. Maybe start with the Domaine Serene Pinot.


M.Lane said...

I live for those moments. And, I'll try the wine this weekend. Great post.


ZZ said...

Great story. I once had a DuMol(finn) pinot noir in a dining room in that same Northern Trust building you mention. Also truly memorable, but your memory sounds better. Very well written, by the way.

james at 10engines said...

"It's so damned good - - I don't drink it with food." think i might have to steal that... great stuff.

tintin said...

The wide straps and buckles on Ben (reach for the sky) Silver look great but it's pricey great. The idea of duplicating my buckles and straps because something's a 1/4 wider-- and at great expense -- is a no go. However, you're a tall guy and it may look better on you. Try it out. Just make sure there's a liberal return policy. Maybe you could write a post about it?

DB - You should start a blog.

It comes at different times. I told the old man about it and he said it happened to him a lot in Vietnam. Everything around you doesn't slow down but stops - - like a freeze frame... except, instead of Butch and Sundance going sepia, the color intensifies and senses pick up everything. He said, "You were in the moment." And I thought, "Ah, so that's a moment." It's one thing to experience it. It's another thing to describe it.

M Lane - Fair warning. There are three Domaine Serenes. Insist on the Evenstead. The other two (one less - one more) don't come close.

ZZ- Dinner in the Nothern Trust? Man, that must have been a memory. I had a couple of meetings in their beautiful conference rooms. I had some Nabs and a diet coke but never dinner. Thank you for the compliment. I just started Pat Conroy's new one. With every page I feel like schmo.

James at 10, You might as well. I probably stole it.

Anonymous said...

I worked in the building next door, Water Tower Place. Hostessed in one of the restaurants when I was in high school. I remember being dazzled when I window shopped on Michigan Avenue. D

ADG said...

Longwang....you can still get them in your 50's but it might require some medication to assist.

Tinnitus ... Puerto opened that old Paul Stuart location in Chicago. I always thought that it was presumptuous for P.S. to roll into Chicago thinking that their brand would be immediately appreciated and sought out by Chicago folks.

The "Moment" ... I've had a few. I can recall the first glimpse of C.B.'s bikini underwear waistband in the 6th grade when she stooped down to pick up her books in math class. Lovely.

tintin said...

D- I was in the Hancock for 5 years. Think I ate at every place there was in Water Tower. There was a tiny French place (on 2 or 3?) that did a cheap and tasty Croq Monsiuer. Closed as soon as it became my favorite.

AIG- Puerto showed me the clippings from the opening. Yeah, the Chicago customer is very midwestern. Looking for value more than anything. Mallards (discount suits) was popular and while I wasn't a huge fan, most of the men living in Lake Forest with big ass homes wore Lands' End Hyde Park oxfords and drove Buicks.

Anonymous said...

Victorian? Dance? Hall?

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine always said the elegance of a city came from how the women dressed.
Michigan avenue looks so elegant, until you realize its all dumpy girls in sweats walking along it instead of women turned out.

Anonymous said...

- but Goose Island still rocks!