The Wine Goddess had something up her sleeve, and it wasn't a 2003 Brunello di Montalcino.

"What do you plan on doing today?" she asked as I leisurely read The Sun on a beautiful November Saturday morning while eating a bowl of my favorite cereal, Wheat Chex.

"It's movie day," I replied. "I'm going to the Lowell Showcase to see the new Bond movie (Skyfall), Argo and maybe even Lincoln.

"You can't be serious," she said, standing her ground.

Bella the cat, who can't be trusted in these situations, had taken sides; she was nestled firmly between Mary Lee's sneakers seemingly awaiting the next command. Not hers -- mine.

"There's a lot of work to do around here," said the Wine Goddess.

I looked around, saw nothing that needed immediate attention, and went back to the newspaper.

She wouldn't quit. "Today would be a good day to put up the outdoor Christmas lights," she said. "It's going to be near 60. We can get it out of the way before it turns cold."

I must have choked on a milk bubble. I began coughing.

Approaching blackout stage, the words "Bond, James Bond" filled my head.

I thought I saw eternal light. To my delight, however, it was the glorious vision of a crystal martini glass, cold as Reykjavik, filled with vodka and two green olives.

What would Bond do in this crisis? Drive off in his silver gray Aston Martin? Command a special forces helicopter? Call 'Q'?

I had a 2006 Buick Lacrosse with imaginary wings waiting in the garage. All that stood in the way of my triple-movie marathon escape was Mrs. Goldfinger in the kitchen.

A familiar voice rang out and it wasn't Moneypenny. "Earth to Jim. Can you hear me?"

And just like that I went from Bond bold to Bond bread. The cat purred.

"I'll give you one hour and that's it," I said, acquiescing by making a demand to soothe defeat.

She accepted much too readily, I thought. Four hours later, with a broken back from climbing ladders and ducking in and out of trees and hedges, I was too exhausted for the movies.

But the Wine Goddess is no villain. In fact, she's my Bond girl -- smart, sexy and somehow always thinking ahead when I'm thinking of the moment.

"Aren't you happy we won't have to do that in the December cold?," she said, trying to lift my spirits.

I collapsed in a chair and heard the refrigerator door open. A plate of cheeses -- goat, Gouda, Gruyere -- suddenly appeared with sliced tomoatoes and fresh melon rolled up in Italian proscuitto. There was crunchy Italian bread dressed with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

"By the time you go downstairs and return with a Sauvignon Blanc or Vouvray, I'll have the bread toasted and ready for a nice lunch," directed the Wine Goddess.

Faster than you could say "Walther PPK", I returned with a 2011 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre ($24.99).

We ate slowly, each morsel a feast, and sipped the clean, crisp white wine. We talked of the upcoming holidays. The sun had signed off for the day and it was dusk.

"Wait right here," I said to the Wine Goddess, placing her next to the sliding glass doors to the deck overlooking the backyard. I dashed downstairs and flicked a switch. The pergola came aglow. So did the the trees and shrubs bordering the yard.

Miraculously, all 1,500 lights had answered the call to duty without a glitch.

There were still 37 days until Christmas and I was ahead of the game.

"Bond is back," I said saluting the Wine Goddess with my glass.

"With a license to thrill," she gushed.

  • RECENT TASTINGS: 2010 Veramonte's Primus from Casablanca Valley, Chile, is a blend of noble reds packed with rich, dark fruit flavors. Its complexity builds sip after sip, as does the smooth finish. Primus is being featured at Luna Rossa Ristorante in Tewksbury, where the DiCenso family enhances great Italian cuisine with equally great wines ... Heitz Cellar's 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is on sale for $39 at Gordon's Fine Wines & Liquors in Waltham, about 25 minutes from Lowell. I don't like to send people out of the region, but this regularly priced $59 wine is a 92-point bargain at this price. Get a bottle for Christmas dinner.

Read more at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice. Follow Jim Campanini on Twitter @suneditor.