Inspired in part by El Bloggo Torcido’s Take Your Rubber Chicken to Work Day, as well as Jill’s plans to introduce a plush toy version of her wine bottle mascot at domaine547 – and, to be more honest, to give myself an excuse to play with my baby daughter’s plush toys – I give you Tales of the Purple Monkey.
From this day onwards, Purple Monkey will appear in all full-length post wine reviews here on 1WineDude.com, though it’s not yet clear if PM can write the reviews or not. Who knows, I’m always lookin’ for guest posts so I may give it a shot, or at least let him screech out his thoughts on the wine and note them after my review.
And come to think of it, screeching monkey howls will actually make my goofy reviews appear more professional and traditional in comparison so in the interests of selfishness you gotta admit that one is too good to pass up!
Purple Monkey does not yet have a name, so I’m opening that up to any and all readers. If you want suggest a name, shout it out in the Comments.
Oo-ooo-oooo-ooooo-ooooooo-ooooo-AAAAAAK-AAAAAK-AAAAAAAAK-AAAAAAAAAK! EEEEEEGK! EEEEEEEGK!!
(translated: Purple Monkey thanks you)
(image: deviantart.com & leinz.co.uk – seriously edited by Dude)
The follow excerpt is taken from an newly unearthed document, titled “The PLCB Manifesto” found unearthed under an old shed during a septic tank excavation in the outskirts of the PA state capital of Harrisburg. Or maybe not.
A spectre is haunting Pennsylvania — the spectre of Monopoly Wine Sales. All the Powers of old PA have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Wine Maker and Consumer, Retailer and Oenophile, Chester Radicals and Philadelphian “grape-spies.”
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Monopolistic by its opponents in power? Where is the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Wine Monopolies, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
The history of all hitherto existing Wine Sales is the history of class struggles.
Grape-grower and glass sipper, wine retailer and booze purchaser, vineyard owner and restaurant-goer – in a word, dumb and dumber – stood in constant opposition to One Wine Retailer, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary non-re-constitution of the wine industry at large, or in the common miasma of free trade…
The on-line wine-buyer, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all child safety, and familial idyllic relations. It … has left remaining no other nexus between vine and drinker than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment” … for so-called fair prices, veiled by free trade illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation … Constant revolutionizing of interesting new wine styles & lower prices due to evil competition, uninterrupted disturbance of all monopoly conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the free trade epoch from all earlier ones … All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober (ha-ha) senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his vines.
When, in the course of development, wine choice and free trade in wine buying have disappeared, and all wine sales have been concentrated in the hands of One Monopoly Association of the whole state of PA, the public power will lose its political character. If the wine buyer populace during its contest with free and fair trade & competition in wine sales is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. Uh… wait a second, not sure I follow myself on that last sentence.
Anyway, we control your wine choices. We control your wine prices. We have limited your wine buying options because we know you best, we are here to protect you from the menace of free trade, fair prices, buying power, choice, and the deviance of competetion!
OH! GLORIOUS PLCB! DEFENDER OF WINE MONOPOLIES!
Alright, alright, alright – so it’s been a rough week, and rougher weekend, and Dude ended up totally missing last weeks’ edition of W4. Maybe he had one too many brewskis. And maybe made some bad decisions at the bar while jammin’ with his band homies.
Let’s just agree to get over this awkward moment together, and continue with our professional relationship as blogger and reader, OK? Cool.
I give you the “Hey, What Happened To Last Week’s Edition?” Edition of W4…
“When the Dust Has Cleared… And Victory Denied…”
When I say it was a rough week, I mean it – especially for our friends who are fighting the good fight against the three tier, monopolistic wine distribution industry. Wine and Liquor Wholesalers poured their big bucks into beating back legislation that would have allowed on-line wine sales in both Tennessee and Maryland. Never mind that both the public and the wineries of those states supported the legislation – what do they know about wine and the needs of wine consumers anyway, right? Obviously fear-monger organizations like StopTeenDrinkingTN.org know more and need to protect TN citizens from themselves. You can read about them on their “About Us” page – by the way, it doesn’t mention that the TN wine and spirits wholesalers lobby likely funded their website (the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association is the major coalition member). Pathetic.
Robot Bee Wine Tasters (You can’t make this sh*t up!)
By far my favorite news article of the week. Australian researches are testing bees’ noses to give them insights into how to develop robots that can sniff out quality wine. Since it’s a small animal that lives in Australia, I’m assuming the bees are poisonous (hey – even the platypus has venom, people).
Single, Ginormous & Ubiquitous On-Line Retailer Seeks Wine Buyer. Did I Mention I’m Finally Profitable?
If you need a job, Information week reports that Amazon is looking for a wine buyer. Yes, that Amazon. But there’s talk of Amazon’s wine foray actually being a deeper partnership with Wine.com (who everybody loves to hate at the moment for their spurious actions in selling out their competitors to state governments, Communist-China-style).
A Case of Indian Sour Grapes
I’m not sure why I was drawn to this article from the Business Standard – I just found it interesting that India is now getting into the wine competition thing. Once we get the calm, meditation-&-yoga oriented cultures to become anal-retentive, competitive A-types like the rest of us, the world is sure to become a better place, right?
(images: allposters.com, paddlinginstructor.com, 4hisglory.wordpress.com, dogchannel.com)
Let’s face it. There are just some situations where our favorite pastime – drinking the vino – just isn’t appropriate.
Religious retreats, Amish barn-raisings, and Rehab all come to mind.
Think that because you can’t imbibe the vino, you’re missing out on opportunities to up your Wine IQ?
Here are three sure-fire ways to increase your wine appreciation – without having to pop a single cork…
1) Get out the map.
Wine connects you to a place. Sometimes (usually when it’s inexpensive) it’s a big swath of country; other times (when it’s so expensive that it’s on allocation to the billionaires among you who own your own islands), it’s a tiny plot of land in Burgundy.
Since wine connects you to a location on the planet, the more you know about that location the more your appreciation for that place’s wine can grow. When you’re traveling, spend some time to learn about the culture, history, and geography of that area. When you’re at home, crack open a decent atlas and soak in some knowledge about someplace far, far away.
Remember that the vino embodies a unique combination of a place’s soil, its climate, and the culture of winemaking that helped along the miracle of turing that grape juice into the stuff in your glass. When you’re back to your normal wine-tasting environment, try some wines from the places that you just learned about – you just might get an instant and intimate connection with that spot of the world through that wine.
2) Get cookin’.
I have friends who like to cook, and are pretty darned great at it, too, which has exposed Dude here to cuisine he would never have had the pleasure of grubbing if he had stuck to his bachelor life. And you know what? Exposure to varied ingredients and cooking styles had made Dude a better wine taster.
Why? For one thing, regional cuisine is a function of regional culture, and in many parts of the wine world, a region’s wines and its food have evolved together to compliment one another (check out the book Vino Italiano for a good example of this). For another, exposure to different cooking styles and foods builds up your flavor and aroma chops – essential stuff for tasting and describing the myriad of tastes and smells that a good wine can serve up.
I’m not sure how many amazing cook books are out there, but some of my faves can be found at this link. Pick a recipe, fire up the grill, and get cookin’!
3) Hit the books.
Can’t taste? Then read.
Reading about wine, its amazing history, its incredible variety, and the charismatic & entertaining personalities that have forged its destiny… well, you can’t help but to be awed, people.
I’ve got a Top 10 list of wine appreciation books, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a plethora of books on the market that explore wine from angles besides just how to taste it – its impacts on philosophy, its affect on modern culture, its mysterious origins, and the human side of its story throughout world history, for starters.
You could, quite literally (ha-ha), read about wine every evening and deepen your appreciation for (and knowledge of) it for several years without ever getting bored.
But it’s more fun to do it with a glass of vino in hand.