Monday, March 2, 2009

Dre, Elke and Burgundy

Swing Down sweet chariot stop and let me ride
swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride

"You mind DRE?"
"No DRE is cool by me"

"I'm sorry it's a little messy in here"
"Is all this stuff yours?"

"You mean the giant hairbrush and the aqua patent leather flats? No, those belong to my ex-girlfriend. This is my break-up car. When she split she said, keep the car, I said thank you."

"Why don't you give this stuff back?"
"She doesn't want that shit, would you? Besides, it keeps me grateful"

"About what?"
"She could have left nothing but the shoes"

"So where are we going exactly?"

"The Lenox Hotel, downtown Boston, for the Frederick Wildman 2007 Burgundy preview, last year's preview was the dopest wine show ever in the history of dope wine shows. The finest producers and vineyards, these will likely be the best wines you ever drink."

"So these are wines with like really big scores and great ratings and such?"

"Look, just because some jackass from Maryland created a language without art to describe wine, doesn't mean we have to employ such crude metaphors, such reductionistic thinking. I prefer prolonged intoxication and drunken diatribes, eventually we will get to the heart of the matter, even if it takes years. This is a life's work."

It's like this, and like that, and like this, and uh
It's like that, and like this, and like that, and uh
It's like this, and like that, and like this, and uh

"From what I remember, you don't drink a lot of California wines"

"No I don't, but I drink as much Burgundy as possible. California wines and that whole aesthetic...milieu, the high score wines, all that shit is predicated on massivity, dramatic ripeness and extraction, and the use of new oak as a primary element of flavor. Even the best of them, lack... mystery. Even when there are several distinct flavor events that take place at each sip, with say, a Stag's Leap or Spotteswoode, a Staglin, those events, that sequence of flavors, is fairly...predictable. Fruit, tannins, oak, rinse, repeat. Burgundy seems a little different.

With Burgundy the fruit plays the protagonist, but as with every great protagonist, it needs an antagonist to expresses itself, tannic and malic acid provide this foil. It is the dialectic between these two basic elements, fruit and acid, that informs the palate and creates a dynamic tension that pulls the wine open and allows us to see into it, through it, and if we are lucky, glimpse the vineyard below, the soil beneath the fruit. "

bitches relax while I get my proper swerve on
bumping like a motherfucker ready to get my serve on

"So if you can imagine the fruit and acidity plotted on an XY graph, realize that no matter how big those values are, we are still only dealing with two dimensions, and a two dimensional wine. It isn't until we add data on the Z axis that we get a three dimensional wine. That aspect of the wine, that Z axis, is spatial, it's place of origin, commonly know as terroir. Now add in the variations of vintage, and the vagaries of drinking an ever changing wine as it matures, and Oh Shit! We are drinking on a temporal plane now motherfucker, we are drinking in the fourth dimension. That's Burgundy. Get your mind around that"

Just to floss it like a motherfucker, clownin' an' shit
Got the Danas on the hooptie and your fly-ass bitch

"Jesus, you get paid for that? I'm glad I pulled a few tubes before we left, this is going to be a long ride"

"I try to imagine a wine's flavor in my mind's eye as a three dimensional shape like a hologram or like the wavelengths on an oscilloscope. It helps me remember the wine and approach it's flavor from different angles. But yeah, I get paid for this, amazing isn't it?

Just for instance, let's take Humbert Freres Gevrey Chambertain, this guy makes like 400 cases of that wine. I remember him last year at his table in overalls and muddy work boots, and no matter what he's wearing this year, I will choose to remember him the same way. This guy is a farmer.

Drink his wine and you have this rush of fresh red and black fruit, a touch of licorice, that slight note of new oak coming in behind your ear at three quarter palate, even the hint of strawberry greens. But the only thing I can think about is... you know that smell, when you go to the oven and you pull out a little aluminum foil pouch of beets that have been roasting. You're not sure if they're done so you slowly unwrap them and then that smell hits you, sweet and ripe and mineral. The smell of sweet hot earth, an aromatic minerality that is drawn up from the soil itself and magnified through the lens of the beet, or if you prefer, the grape. That's what this guy's wine smells like, raspberries and roasting beets."

"Behind your ear?"

"Yeah behind my ear, the taste of new oak isn't at the forefront, it's not at the tip of my tongue or on the sides. It doesn't rise up like tannins from the bottom of my mouth and swallow my tongue like an angry squid, nor does it cascade down onto my tongue from the roof of my mouth like that tart raspberry fruit. It comes in, it pokes its head in from behind my ear and sits for a moment on the back of my tongue, then disappears. That is a well made wine, oak in the supporting role."

Breaking all you suckaz off something real proper like
you know what I'm saying?

"Or take the wines of Armand Rousseau. Last year, I'm at the Rousseau table blithely drinking and I'm trying to find the wines on the price list and I'm looking and looking, can't find them. So finally, I say to the guy, 'this wine is not for sale is it?' He shakes his head as if I should know. Very famous, historic, storied estate. The wines have a prettiness, an obvious beauty. They are perhaps THE most beautiful wines in the world, I mean you could say that. In fact if history is any indication, a couple glasses of Gevery Chambertain and that is exactly what I'll be saying, and I'll mean it too.

There's an aristocracy, a pedigree there, and you can taste it. Think about Elke Sommer, and I don't mean some retro, harken back type of thing. I mean image that it's 1968 and we're standing right there in the Playboy mansion and Elke Sommers walks in buck naked in a pair of high heels. A perfect example of the feminine form. That's what Rousseau Burgundy is like to me, statuesque wines with broad feminine shoulders. Wines with a long neck and delicate collar bones, beneath a strong jaw and high cheek bones. Wines with a gentle slope of a supple breast and a nipple pointed upward indicating some place off in the distance, some place over the horizon that you can't imagine, but long for nonetheless"

And word to these hyped ass lyrics and dope beats that I hit you with, that I get you with,
As I cruz in my '4 on Dees hittin' switches.

"Still they're not my favorite wines.They're beautiful, but beauty is just another form of tyranny. I prefer the dark and brooding qualities of Domaine des Perdix Echezeaux. That wine is a thoroughbred through and through, and like a thoroughbred it's head strong and cagy. It provokes this sort of existential anxiety, and leaves you asking yourself, will I ever know wine? What do I taste? You can spend hours rolling that wine over your tongue, worrying each note with your palate like an old lady with rosary beads, passing them again and again between her fingers.

Like all great art, it's a mirror. It will tell you more about yourself than it will ever reveal about itself. Am I the type of person who needs the answer, or am I happier forever pursuing the question?"

"Hey, this is good, park here."
"Parking meters? I fucking hate parking meters. We should cut the heads off "

"We'd probably be arrested"
"True, but once we were in jail we could eat a hundred eggs"

"No man can eat a hundred eggs"
"Don't be so sure"

"I don't have any quarters"
"Me neither, but these people seem nice. Hey lady, you have a quarter? Buddy you got any quarters? Got a quarter, man?..."

"You realize that we've been reduced to begging on the streets of Boston?"
"I'd feel bad about that if it wasn't working so well, there's like eight dollars here, another half hour of this and we'll have dinner covered"

"We should get to the tasting"
"You're right, I'm not one to step up off a hot corner, but Grand Cru Burgundy awaits"

Swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride
Hell, yeah...
Swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride
and all the Bitchez say...
Swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride.

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Anonymous Jim Sanders said...

This post taught me a ton, Jim, thanks.

It expands my vocabulary as I strive to continue my vino crash-course as I re-enter the fine-dining industry over this past year.

March 8, 2009 at 11:35 PM  
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