Fake Vintage Tastings

December 18, 2013

[Ed. note: The below submission was received scrawled on a napkin in a mysterious envelope bearing the markings of the United States Marshals Service. It was signed only “JK,” presumably Internet parlance for “just kidding,” but is reproduced here as readers may receive some edification from these once-in-a-lifetime tasting notes.]

There are some cellars that are world-class, and there are others that are simply magic, so when the owner of THE Magic Cellar invites you to the rec yard to crack open some rare hooch, who am I to argue?

The first piece of lumber was a jeroboam of 1975 Dom Pérignon Oenotheque Rosé. Let me be clear up front, all of these wines were jeroboams, more or less, because it turned out that three liters was the approximate capacity of the toilet tank in Rudy’s cell, where they spent their elevage. Also, it wasn’t exactly a bottle of 1975 Dom Pérignon Rosé Oenotheque, on account of that DP would qualify as prison contraband, but the best cuvée Dr. Conti could doctor up with the limited materials available at the time, which included apple juice, lemonade, cranberry sauce and chicken soup from the mess hall, a splinter of some oak-like material recovered from the vicious stabbing in Cell Block 4A, and a few other “secret ingredients” I’m not at liberty to discuss lol. Anyway, the “75 DP Rosé” was a good but not great bottle of this legendary, virtually non-existent wine, with bright acidity, a vigorous mousse as it seemed to be finishing up its fermentation in the glass, and was just marred by a few brett-like scents that might be the result of the aging vessel (93).

From there it was Burg time so we segued to a bottle (actually another jeroboam lol) of one of the wines that got us in this whole mess, a 1962 Ponsot Clos St. Denis VV. Rudy called it a “solid effort,” and he should know, and Giant Douche was all over its “earthy, barnyard” scents, which Rudy found pretty amusing because he started giggling uncontrollably. One of the newer additions to our tasting group (we call him The Warden) was less impressed, saying something along the lines of, “I don’t understand you people,” but The Chaplain obviously enjoyed it because he bogarted the bottle, so it was time to move on. A classic Ponsot CSD (94).

The 1955 Roumier Musigny had some sediment. Let’s leave it at that (DQ).

Then, Drive-By Killa, Notorious B.L.O.O.D., and Trayvon X showed up and asked what we were up to. When they found out we were in the middle of a tasting they were only too happy to join, and we were only too happy to oblige because there was plenty to go around, and besides, would you have said no? They were all over the 1919 Liger-Belair La Tache, calling it “good shit” and casting nasty glances my way whenever I went for another pour. Giant Douche found it “youthful” and “reminiscent of the ’43,” which prompted Rudy to mutter, “Um, about that ’43…” before shaking his head and trailing off. Killa, B.L.O.O.D., and X went for multiple glasses and at one point, Killa asked, “What you in for?” Rudy said, “Making fake wine,” and they all moved away from us on the bench, but then he said, “And wire fraud,” and they all moved back. We let them finish off the LT (96).

Where do you go from there? Why, Bordeaux, of course, and the jero of 1947 Cheval-Blanc was firing on all cylinders. Even The Warden seemed impressed with this one as he was left absolutely speechless and kept sniffing his glass for the rest of the flight. Giant Douche pointed out that as great as this bottle was, the ’47 is never going to be at the level of the “six star” ’24 we shared at La Paulée, to which Rudy responded, “You stupid fuck, they were the same goddamn wine the whole time.” That kind of put a damper on things so we decided it was time for a Champagne intermezzo before the next flight. Still, I’ll never turn down a glass of ’47 Cheval (98).

The 1959 Salon was everything Salon can be, and more. Giant Douche stopped stewing in his juices long enough to note its “great pitch.” Killa and B.L.O.O.D. praised its “fucked-up factor.” I remarked on its “fantastic T&A,” which made Rudy curl up into a ball and go catatonic for a little bit before finally whispering, “I don’t ever want to hear that word T&A again, ever,” and looking over his shoulder for what, I don’t know. While the wine probably would have shown better in a Zalto, the repurposed yogurt containers from the mess hall fortunately had a wide enough bowl to take in the awesome aromatics of this all-time great Salon (97).

It was getting close to lights-out and there was only one way to bring this inaugural rec yard Paulée to a perfect conclusion. What can you say about the legendary 1945 Romanée-Conti? I don’t know, but some day I’d like to find out, and until then, we had the next best thing. My head was spinning from an excess of ’59 Salon and perhaps one or more of the “secret ingredients,” but that classic RC bouquet of spices, earth, and marijuana smoke was enough to bring me back from my stupor. Rudy praised its “long, long finish,” to which The Warden responded, “Don’t worry, you’ve got time.” Giant Douche got in the last word: “the greatest wine in the world.” That says it all. Still the best wine I’ve ever had, the one, the only, ’45 Romanée-Conti, I could see that the wine was making Rudy so emotional that it literally brought tears to his eyes (99). Rudy says he still has five bottles left from his original case, which is a good thing because there will be many, many, many more nights of excess in this rec yard and there’s only one cat in this joint that can show Riker’s Island how to party, RK-style.

4 Responses to “Fake Vintage Tastings”

  1. […] Keith Levenberg attends a wine tasting with Kurniawan, in prison. […]

  2. Charlie said

    Keith, I really appreciate the Arlo Guthrie reference in this!

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