Carmel Road Pinot Noir

There are people who love the entire holiday shopping experience, who are excited at the prospect of going to a hectic shopping mall with other busy shoppers, perusing the tsotchkes and searching for the perfect gift that their kids will actually believe Santa made. I, on the other hand, regard going to the mall the way I do getting a mammogram. I know I have to do it annually, but I also know it will be painful. And last week, I couldn't put off a visit to Cherry Creek any longer. After walking around for what seemed like an eternity but was probably an hour, and making the junior-varsity mistake of venturing too close to the Santa line (otherwise known as the place where children melt down into uncontrollable, screaming tantrums), I finally reached the new Nordstrom store. I was trying to find something for my niece that my sister would deem inappropriate when, like a signal from Rudolph's red nose, the lights of Cafe Bistro beckoned to me. With visions of martinis dancing in my head, I walked inside this pub within a store. Sadly, it serves only wine and beer — but any port in a snowstorm. I sat down at the counter and settled for a glass of Carmel Road Pinot Noir ($10), enjoying a tiny respite from the holiday madness, an adult version of sitting on Santa's lap back in the days when I was still a good little girl.

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