By Dinkinish O’Connor
"Death is Life’s bitter ex-lover," he whispered in my ear. Then he nanced across his living room floor like a one-winged butterfly wearing red Paul Smith skinny jeans. Stanford Marc Hollingsworth just got his heart broken. And despite his Beyonce-esque, you-must-not-know-’bout-me attitude, I knew he was hurting. He had just learned via text message that Antonio (his now ex) went to Bahia with their lesbian roommate Mara and had apparently fallen in love, gotten married and weren’t returning.
A little info about Standford: I am convinced he’s a direct descendant of Edgar Allen Poe. For On the human heart a stone, Standford thinks he is neither man nor woman, brute nor human, He thinks he is a ghoul. Standford is your most colorful gay friend, randomly doing the perfect pirouette during conversation, sashaying down Biscayne Boulevard as if it was a catwalk in Milan. His skin is an irritatingly blemish-less almond hue (Think Jay Manuel from America’s Next Top Model), and he looks better in jeans than I do.
And he’s mean. He once told his boss that her lady parts were "a piñata that every man in Wynwood has hit at least once." She sobbed and hired a therapist. Stanford was promoted. If he disapproves of someone’s look, Standford says things like "She’s fashion cancer, Boo." Standford is a celebrity stylist, dressing everyone from Katie Holmes to Ne-Yo, so his downtown Miami condo is like one big stylist studio — racks of clothing hang everywhere like gorgeous, body-less groupies who just won’t go home.
And he loves things that sparkle. We both do. We both have an extensive collection of Indian fabrics embroidered with sparkly gold thread, and we both love, love, love sparkling wine. So when he asked me to coordinate a Rock Star Wine Tasting for the private unveiling of a new designer’s line called Rage Against White Zinfandel, I happily accepted. "Girl, just no Cristal," he said. "I’m bored of that sh*t."
I was so excited. I knew these people had money, but I wanted to shake things up by choosing sparkling wines that were not only delicious, but under $50. I disguised the bottles in silver wine bags labeled with the names of rock stars and their corresponding songs. For Bob Marley’s "Natural Mystic" I chose the 2003 Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blancs ($19). For Rick James’ funky "Brickhouse" I chose Piper Heidsieck Brut NV ($30). I chose the first because it was South African, and it smelled like the must from sex and the second because it smelled of rotten eggs and quiche and had flavors of key lime pie, tarragon and crème fraiche.
I love Freixenet Brut Cava ($10), so I titled another bag The Rolling Stones’ "You Can’t Always Get What You Want." This sparkler is great when you only have $4 for your wine budget, and it’s available in those cute little wine spliff bottles, but most people hate its Walgreens liquor store-availability, so I had to stick that bottle in the tasting just for kicks.
I chose Pink’s "So What" for the Thorn-Clarke Brut Reserve NV ($14.99). From the outside it just looks like another glass of bubbly, but this Australian sparkler has a heart of pink. Made of a blend of 44% chardonnay and 56% pinot noir, the experience is all rosé: strawberries mixed with flavors of toasted challah bread. Like Ne-Yo, rosés are a tricky bunch. They can be friendly and fruity, drawing "Closer" and closer to the palate. Or they can be like "Miss Independent," unraveling delicately with funky noses, intricate flavors and long, dreamy finishes. The Louis Bouillot Rosé ($16) has a touch of both worlds with its lush body and light raspberry flavors.
People ended up liking Louis Bouillot Rosé the best, which was a refreshing surprise as many tend to snub rosés for their Red Zinfandel-appearance. I liked the 2003 Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blancs the best because of the funky, sexy nose and the lean, focused lime flavors. However, I was shocked that Standford liked the Freixenet Brut Cava, though he drinks Moét White Star like it’s Evian. "Get the F**k outta here," he said, as he pretended to be comfortable with his palate’s bargain basement selection. "Ooo, Stan, I can’t wait to tell your assistant how your palate is Woo-Woo Walgreens," one man heckled. I could see the night wasn’t going to end well.
The fashion show was cool. I liked that the designer was passionate about wine. Models wore lots of 80s-style, iron-on t-shirts with compelling sayings like "Phylloxera is Politics for the Soul," "Shepherds of Shiraz" and my favorites: "Conceived After a Glass of Caymus Cabernet" and "Born in L.A., Born Again in Piedmont." I’m not sure how practical it is to have trucker hats made of laminated old wine labels, but at least they looked good.
I kept my eye on Standford because he was breaking his own Emily Post rules of social etiquette. His fuchsia thong and turquoise spider tattoo were protruding from his pants, and he was flirting with Destiny Evans — a woman. It was about 1 a.m. when the last guest finally left and I sat with Standford who looked a hot mess. He must have had three full bottles of Freixenet. "You’re not immune to alcohol poisoning," I told him. "Death is Life’s bitter ex-lover," he responded. "I’ll get that lesbian skank when I’m dead. I should have left her in that smelly favala where I discovered her a**. And don’t you dare write about me in your little blog, Bit*h. I hated that one about the Manischewitz and the Wendy’s manager. TMI."