Dan Dunn is visiting wineries across the country for his new book project, and he’s spilling his guts along the way in his long-running Food Republic column The Imbiber. This is the final installment.  Click here to read part one , part two , part three , part four and part five .

I’m home. At last.

I spent the past three months driving across the country and back again on a quest to become the leading expert on wine in America. And while eating and drinking and staying in posh hotels on other people’s dimes was undoubtedly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, I’m happy to report that my mission was an unqualified success.

That’s right, folks, as of this writing there is not a single soul on God’s Green Earth who knows more about wine in the United States than I do. And I say this with the certainty of a man who knows that his Food Republic editors rarely bother to fact-check his columns.

So take THAT, guy whose name I can’t recall who writes for that wine magazine everyone reads. There’s a new sheriff in town!

And, sure, I could easily sit here and wow you with my expert observations on maceration, fining, tannins and other wine-type terms that I most certainly did not just look up on the Internet. But I’m not going to do that because, frankly, I’m tired. Plus I need to save some material for the 300-page manuscript I’m contractually obligated to deliver to HarperCollins by May. (Which reminds me, if there are attorneys out there who specialize in contract law and are willing to trade services for a few cases of Iowa Sauvignon Blanc, please private message me.)

Friends, this is no time for me to show off what an oenophilic know-it-all I’ve become. It’s Christmas. And Hanukkah. And the end of The Colbert Report. This is a time to get good and blotto. And that’s what I plan to do, just as soon I finish this goddamn column.

To that end, allow me to indulge in an age-old literary device called “juxtaposition” — wherein the author places a concept (in this case, my booze-fueled journey across the country) parallel to another (my favorite holiday tune, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). Usually, juxtaposition is used to highlight the similarities and differences between two things. Here I’m using it to finish as quickly as possible so I can go get wasted. Okay then, here we go! Presenting “12 Random Things About My Wine Trip.” For full effect, sing it in reverse.

Join us in singing along to Dan Dunn’s 12 random wine road trip observations!

On the first day of Christmas, my road-trip gave to me…

A dead kitten in my wheel well
One is how many animals I accidentally ran over on a highway while driving. That’s one too many in my book. And believe me, I am putting it in the book too… nothing like a heart-wrenching story about a doomed furry creature to help drive up book sales. It happened in South Carolina, just west of Conway. Suffice to say, I won’t be watching any of the Garfield movies anytime soon.

Two squishy possums…
Are you noticing a theme? Two is how many animals I purposefully ran over in the Midwest. In this case it’s about 73 too few. I was in dark place during that portion of the trip. Plus, possums? Really?

Three Tinder “hotties”…
Three is the number of women on Tinder between the ages of 22 and 50 within 100 miles of Cody, Wyoming, on October 7th. I swiped right on all three. Have yet to hear back, but I remain hopeful.   

Four Frito Pies…
I had my first ever bowl of piping hot, heart disease-inducing, chili, cheese and crunchy snack food deliciousness at Nick’s Sports Grill & Lounge in Lubbock. And then I had three more. Because you know what they say in Texas, once you’ve had one Frito Pie… fuck you, and your healthy food initiatives, Michelle Hussein Obama! Four also happens to be the number of wineries in the entire state of Wyoming (I swiped right on two of them).

Fiiiiive Froggy Graaaaapes…
The number of varietals that go into a typical Bordeaux blend — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Okay, so maybe I’m showing off a little. Gotta remind Jancis Robinson who’s boss.

(Editor’s note: Jancis Robinson is a woman. From England. See, we do fact check… on occasion.)

Six minutes rocking…
Three hundred and sixty seconds. That’s how long it took me to polish off an entire bottle of Domaine Drouhin “Laurène” Pinot Noir at a bar in McMinnville, Oregon. Listen, if someone wants to bet me I can’t consume one of the tastiest bottles of wine in America in the time it takes to listen to AC/DC’s “Rock n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution,” I take that bet. I take it every time.

(Note: The observant reader may notice that the song above only weighs in at 4:14. The jukebox in McMinnville featured an extended live version).

Seven bottled waters…
That’s how much Dasani I consumed over the course of two days in an apartment on an Arizona vineyard owned by Maynard James Keenan, who is both the genius behind Tool and the creator of some of the country’s best wine. Seven is also the average number of waking minutes that I’ve gone since then without telling someone I slept in the same bed as the lead singer of Tool.

Eight slippery modifiers…
At tastings across the U.S., I regularly employed these reliable nuggets of bullshit to make it seem like I knew what I was talking about: “complex,” “flabby,” “tight,” “food friendly,” “earthy,” “unctuous,” “opulent” and “suppulescent.” (I made that last one up. Feel free to borrow it. I recommend pairing it with unctuous — which isn’t technically made up, but might as well be —  for maximum effectiveness.)

Nine hours Sterning…
Not coincidentally, that’s how long it took to drive from North Georgia straight on through to New Orleans. I have never been more thankful for Howard re-runs.

Ten friggin’ seconds…
…to determine I’d rather drive 580 miles from North Georgia straight on through to New Orleans than spend a night in Alabama.

Eleven angry tweets…
Is what I expect to receive from irate Alabamians. Coincidentally, it’s also the average number of teeth owned by each of those Alabamians.

Twelve words to go…
Twelve is the number of words left in this column after this colon: The road is wonderful, but now I would like to sleep forever.

Follow Dan on Twitter @TheImbiber

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