It was a nice wine, a vintage wine. I then noticed a subtle nod and a glance from Janos resulting in Zsolt, my favourite waiter in The Boscolo, appearing with a tray, two fresh glasses and another bottle of wine. I’d known Zsolt since I started visiting this hotel. A fine chap and the occasional display of humour. All the ingredients required after a hard day’s graft. Well, almost. Zsolt sat down as Janos stood up and walked away. No glance, no ‘goodbye’, nothing. He just walked away. I was rather surprised.
But what happened next truly did surprise me. Zsolt grabbed the half empty bottle of Banyuls. “pfffff….French crap”. He poured the remains into the potted plant behind me. “Try this”. He then poured two glasses from the new bottle. I tasted the wine, it was a wine like no other. It had all the superlatives in a single taste. To describe those superlatives was not possible, only tasting itself could do that.
“Well?” Zsolt asked. I told him what I thought, I told him it was better than that last one. I told Zsolt this was better so this has to be a vintage wine as well. “Exactly. What you drank before, well you were told it was a vintage. You believed this and so you drank what you thought was a vintage wine. Then I gave you some of this local wine, a wine you would never have seen let alone tasted before, and you now see this also is truly a vintage wine. But nobody told this one was. You came to that conclusion by yourself. So given the freedom, you are able to make your own deductions?” I nodded in agreement.
Zsolt continued, “That sums up Budapest. People come here, fall in love with the place, go home then come back because they like the experience”. A short pause. “There’s nothing wrong with that – I too enjoy doing the same kind of visiting – but all people, including you, see when they visit is ‘now.’ Not our ‘past’, but ‘now’. My wine is both the past as well as the now and you have just thought to yourself ‘well ok, tell me more about that past instead of what I am seeing all the time, the ‘now’”.
Deep logic, but followable all the same. And I realised any pretence at surprise from Zsolt had now gone. Because at the very next moment he raised his glass in a toast and said, “Dirty fucking Nazi bastards.”