Friday, January 28, 2005

Whiskey, Wine, and Leaf

I was asked by our beloved Spacebunny not long ago, about a trend in the wine business. Corporations seem to be moving in and buying up wineries here and there. On a whole I do not see this as a bad thing... only a thing. It will go either way depending on the people in the corportations involved.

In the case of the French, I cannot help but hope and pray that all of their paltry relics are snatched up and forced to modernize. There is an analytical aspect to all distilling that the French abhore.

Since, in the case of wines I'm anything but a traditionalist... I have no problem pointing out that that attitude is what led the rampant
inconsistancy of French wines, and is why they are falling out of favor all over the world. I'm hoping the corporations bring with them modern analytical technology, and the modern quality controls that are used in America and Australia.

We'll always have good wine. Fear not.

Now that said, there are disturbing trends I notice. More and more we see wineries focusing on the bottle. It's well past the point that the marketing (the label and bottle) are more important than the wine inside it. Slickly marketed average wine abounds.

Another trend I see that could be troublesome is this mix-and-match wine making. Three Thieves is the most notable example of these. Three friends got together... and bought a bunch of stock bulk wine from wineries... and then they mix and match it together, attempting to come up with something excellent... from mediocre ingrediants. It's not a process I have any faith in. Blended wine... like blended whiskey... is an abomination.

On a happier note, Pinot Noir has caught my eye lately. I'm finding myself lusting after them more and more. Recommendations are welcome.

Now... On to Whiskey... I've some excellent news to report. Wild Turkey is offering a Tribute Bourbon.. aged 15 years... Understand that aging 10 years in the heat of Kentucky summers is like aging 40 in Europe... This truely fantastic whiskey is a tribute to Wild Turkey's venerable Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. This is fascinating for a number of reasons. Not the least of which, is the fact that Bourbon is never aged that long. 8-10 years... Doing so for more than 10 years and you end up with a taste that is something akin to chewing on a wet oak stick. They accomplished this by babying a few barrels... making sure they were just perfect... and then moving them to the coolest part of the warehouses.

The result is Wild Turkey Tribute. The limited number of barrel resulted in just 5,500 bottles being sold. At 90 bucks a pop... it's a bit of an investment... more than some folks can stomach.
Of course... I'll be buyin' two.

Thankfully Wild Turkey produces a number of less exclusive labels... Rare Breed... Russell's Reserve... that showcase Jimmy's skill and talent, without breakin' our poor alchoholic's wallet.

Still no report on Jim Beam Black. I'll try to get on that.

Tonight I believe I'm going to try Buffalo Trace. I'll let ya know about that.

Now on to the leaf! No doubt Zod will be thrilled to see this section added. While I'm a huge fan of tobacco shop tobacco... and by that.. I mean the stuff your local tobacco shop has in the jars at the counter... there is a brand I want to mention today.

If you ever come across Dark Star by McClelland is a treat... but... there is an English tobacco maker... Esoterica Tobacciana... They apparently employ a brilliant fella by the name of J.F. Germain who grows, blends, and ages the stuff with his boy. The name conjures up some arcane place off in the misty hills of CS lewis' imagination... and the smell of the stuff does the same. I've a tin of a particular mixture called "And so to bed". The smooth burning leaf is perfection. Its dark.. with hints of whiskey and the slightest sweetness...

No doubt Joy will be furious that I'm smoking it now, and she's missing out. She does love the smell of a pipe...

It's gonna be a good night boys. The fire's hot... there's pipe smoke... there's a comfortable chair... and a lab to curl up at my feet. There's a glass of dark bourbon... and there's a pretty girl to share it all with.

Winter ain't so bad.

*** Standard Friday rules apply. What are you drinkin', What are ya smokin', and who are ya drinkin' and smokin' with ***

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