Sunday, May 27, 2012


Got your attention? Good. To be honest there is no scientific evidence that this is true but there is a hell of a lot of anecdotal evidence. The current wave of popularity of vampirism unfortunately coincides with the rise of reality TV where bullshit is wrapped up as 'reality' for impressionable young minds. I would expect soon to hear of outbreaks of blood sucking and ritual murders as portrayed in the lurid stories and films that are being peddled today. Old Countess Elizabeth Bathory would be pleased.

Who? You ask.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a sadistic killer who lived in the 16th and 17th century in Vishine in present day Bratislava.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory, amongst other atrocities, used to drink and bathe in the blood of young women. In her deranged mind this was to keep her young and to pass on the good looks of her victims.
(well going by her portrait you can see why she needed this).

Ignore the drunk guy on the table and listen to Jesus..

Comedian Eddie Izzard did a show where he incorporated a discussion between Christ and God about vampirism:

Jesus:   "I said, drink this wine, it is my blood."

God:   "You said what?! But that's vampirism! Couldn't you have said: Drink this wine, it is a Merlot?!"

So. Where is this post going?


We opened a Pommard last night - a 2002 Premiere Cru Reine Pedauque.
I like Burgundy, both the place to visit and the wines. When you can afford them they are beautiful to drink with a sinuous length to them that we just can't replicate (yet) in New Zealand.
The wine last night unfortunately wasn't the best example of a Pommard (Cote D'or bordering on Cote de Beaune) and it was a bit old. It was very dry and on first opening a bit closed. The fruit was cherryish but slightly bitter. I always decant old wines, more to aerate them than any worry about sediment and this helped. After an hour the wine started to open up but was still a little but tart and a little bit old.


OK. The wine had good pedigree (and cost a lot a few years ago) so what to do?  Countess Elizabeth Bathory came to mind, as she does, so I rummaged in the freezer and we had a quarter bottle of 2010 Stockade Hill Martinborough Pinot Noir there. After microwave -thawing I experimented in a glass with the right amount to add to refresh the burgundy without losing its integrity . The right amount was about 120 mls of Stockade Hill to the remaining 600 mls of Burgundy. The result? Great. The linear structure of the Pommard was still there with its aggressive dryness and cherry character but the colour was lifted and the Martinborough fruit took away the aged character of the wine.

It was like a transfusion.

Friday, May 25, 2012


When we go to the cinema the Old Girl usually buys the tickets, either by telephone booking or using the automatic ticket dispenser.
The last time we went (Salmon Fishing in Yemen) I noticed that she had bought me a senior ticket. I remonstrated and she said that she always does that. What? I senior ticket is for OAP's over 65. "I'm not even 60 yet" I  blustered. "The young ushers would never know" she said "they all think you're ancient."

Bloody hell! They'll be helping me over the road next.

I thought about though and she is right (not for cheating the system). While we all think we are the same as we were at 20, others see us from a different perspective and see an old clapped out version. I like Eric Idle's song on One Foot in the Grave

"They say I might as well face the truth.
That I'm just too long in the tooth.
Oh I'm an O.A.P. and weak-kneed
But I have not yet quite gone to seed.

I may be over the hill now that I have retired.
Fading away but I'm not yet expired.
Clapped out, rundown, too old to save
One foot in the grave.

(Closing theme):

They say I might as well face the truth.
That I'm just too long in the tooth.
I've started to deteriorate
And now I've passed my own sell-by date.

Oh I am no spring chicken it's true.
I have to pop my teeth in to chew.
And my old knees have started to knock.
I've just got too many miles on the clock.

So I'm a wrinkly, crinkly, set in my ways.
It's true my body as seen better days.
But give me half a chance and I can still misbehave.
One foot in the grave.
One foot in the grave.
One foot in the grave"

The other day I was teaching one of the cafe staff how to run an in-store tasting (we demonstrate our wines in wineshops). She was nervous at the prospect so I gently guided her through the process - what to say to consumers, how to handle the rude ones, how to set-up things etc. To me she looked just like a kid. I discovered though that she is 21 and completing a University degree. What? When I was at university the 21 year old 'women' seemed so mature, aloof and desirable. Now - they look like kids.
Oh well they say that policemen look younger every day too.

re Methuselah the only one I want to know is this one - the 6 Litre, 8 bottle version.

Monday, May 14, 2012


The Curmudgeon mentioned equivalence in a recent Post when comparing his consumption of whisky versus wine. The equivalence argument is always wheeled out by spirits manufacturers at times of excise increases or anti-alcohol lobbyists attacks on the drinks industry. usually we all ignore them as we believe that they are just bleating whinging bastards looking for ways to further their sales and profits. Well, they are but ....I sometimes can see their point.
I don't drink much in the way of spirits or beer. My alcoholic drink of choice is wine and , when in funds, good wine. The problem is that good wine is expensive. Fortunately those bastard supermarkets deep-cut good wines regularly in a non-sensical effort to gain market share from their only rival (who deep-cuts back so we have a see-saw share situation resulting in status quo); on-line discounters have bin-end sales; and panicking wineries dump a lot of their top-end wines prior to new vintage releases. This is good for wines to drink at home but doesn't help the on-premise drinking.
When we go out to enjoy a tapas or two and a couple of glasses of wine, to get a decent drink costs between $14 and $20 a glass. I think that I will apply the equivalence principle which is if a cognac or whisky is 40% alc/vol which is about three times that of a wine, then I can afford a pour of a top shelf one up to $20 a glass instead of a wine. This way too I can experiment with brands and styles that I haven't tried before.

Friday, May 11, 2012


In Kumeu the local businesses are up in arms at a local liquor store having a big outside advertising sign with that vile Woodstock Bourbon ad ' Crack a Woody'
This tag-line has been inexplicably used now for a few years. Why I say inexplicably is because I, like a lot of other naive people in this country believed that we had professional standards of advertising and marketing, regulated by governing bodies. Not so it seems. The 'Code of Advertising Standards' is voluntary. So, if you are  bolshy like Hell Pizza or big like Dominion Breweries you just do what you bloody well like.
Independent Liquor (now owned by Asahi Breweries of Japan) was started up by Michael Erceg. Michael was clever and knew how to get around the rules and go for an opportunity. I knew Michael and liked him but thought that his mathematical genius got in the way of understanding what is right or wrong. Selling alco-pops to kids might be good for income but it is socially harming. I told him so but it had no effect. Independent Liquor was the catalyst behind Jim Anderton pushing forward the excise adjustment against alcohol product between 16% and 22% alcohol. This was enacted and was supposed to stop the cheap spirits in 1125ml format  being marketed to the young ones. Do you remember them? Gin 33 or vodka 33 or something like that representing the fact that they were one third the alcohol strength of the real thing. What the legislation did was to kill stone dead the port and sherry industry in New Zealand which was being consumed by the targeted kid's grandparents!

 Erceg simply moved on to RTD's which, at between 5% and 8% alcohol were immune from the killer tax. The strongest performer in his RTD line-up was and is Woodstock Bourbon. The bulk product, American Bourbon was supplied by Constellation in USA. Mixed with cola it was a winner.
Now, the idiots in Parliament legislated that 18 year olds could legally buy this shit and other forms of alcohol but they didn't think to legislate on how it could be marketed.

"Crack a Woody"


What idiot thought that this was OK?

Still worse, what idiots let it be OK and allowed it to be used over and over for the last few years.

Recently, buoyed up by their success in having got away with it they went on TV with an even more vile advertisement as a spin off from the tag-line.

"Is it OK if your best mate's mum gives you a woody?"

Did you see it? No matter if you didn't - it won't be missed. It was some little marketing onanist's idea of referencing the current pornographers preoccupations with MILF's (Mothers I'd Like to F**K).

As if that wasn't bad enough the Woodstock people's previous offering was a print and TV campaign offering boy racers a chance to win a ute and motorbikes

Well, hello, putting motor vehicles in with advertising alcohol is against the rules ..... Oh, I forgot ...  it's just voluntary.