Tactical Intoxication Program: S7E08 “Liquid Lunch”

champagne

Ya know,

I think marketing is my enemy.

I don’t mean to say that all people who work in marketing are evil or even that all marketing is evil. The marketing team for Deadpool seemed to know what was up.

What I hate about marketing, is that it can obscure a product that you might have actually liked in a cloud of bullshit adjectives and brand-name mysticism.

Below, is a quote from some marketing video for this week’s TIP. I have replaced all mention of the brand for now, so that I can illustrate my point without showing my hand, if you will. I think you’ll know where the replacements occur.

“Upon first tasting of Shit Snacks, there’s two things that happen. The thing that happens in the brain and the things that happen in your heart. This is the one. This is Liquid Spirit here, this is the energy. The ebullience, the pleasure, in a way, an explosion of emotions that I’m speaking of in Liquid Spirit, are contained in a bottle of Shit Snacks. In pairing Liquid Spirit with the tasting of Shit Snacks, it heightened the emotion of both the music and the experience of drinking the Shit Snacks.”

To be clear. “Liquid Spirit” is the name of a song apparently. And this quote is from a musician that they paid to talk about drinking a product that may be very good.

That video though, and the other 50 some videos that I found online while researching this, only made me loathe the product because of the thick layer of bullshit that they use when talking about it. I haven’t even tried the damn stuff. Mostly because it’s too expensive for an animator’s budget. But also because they present their bottle as basically this: We have made a very expensive thing, and you will look very cool and very enlightened and superior to others if you drink this very special thing that we made in a very special way for special snowflake people.

Anyway, instead of spending much time talking about that actual product, we’re going to talk about the category of spirits that it falls under, and we’re going to try to leave all the pretentious marketing aside, and just focus on the facts.

FACT #1

When you’re talking about wine, and you say that it is a 1992 vintage, that means that the ingredients in the bottle were grown in 1992. After they were grown, they were probably put in to some barrels for months or years even, and that 1992 vintage might not have ever been sold or available in that year on the label. It has nothing to do with the year it was released. It has everything to do with the year it was harvested. Which is the other thing that a “vintage” wine means: All the grapes used in that wine were from a specific year, and the wine has not been blended with any other years.

FACT #2

Vintage wines are not always better than NV (Non-vintage) and here’s a good reason why. Vintages are dependent on every aspect of a growing season. A single harvest of grapes from a single vineyard will vary wildly from the year before, based on how hot is was, how many hot days in a row there were, how much rain, how much humidity, at what point in the season did it change from warm to cool, was that cool spell sudden and quick or was it slow and gradual, the first frost, the time of harvest, the color of the ladies shoes who picked the grapes, how hard she pinched the vine, and if she talked dirty to it and whispered sweet nothings into the vine. The point is. Not every year is a great year for a vineyard. Sometimes the season is kind of mediocre, and so that year, they might not have a vintage made at all, and instead, what they’ll do is make a blend. Here’s what a blended wine can do that vintages will never be able to: be consistently good. Because wines can be temperamental from year to year, blending wines from different years allows a winery to create a more consistent product that they can release every year, and it will only have minor variations, and have a high level of consistency and predictability, because they are using wines from several different places and years. All of the wines that go into a blend will be “good” wines, because mixing a bunch of crappy ones doesn’t get you a great product. Instead, good wines which maybe only have minor faults, like being slightly too acidic, will be blended with other wines that counteract that high acid level.

FACT #3

BRUT. It’s a french word. I think. Ok, I know that it is a French word, and that ‘brut’ translates to ‘gross’. Here is what I don’t know: When the word ‘brut’ is applied to wine (specifically champagne), it is being used to describe the amount of sugar in the wine. The term brut basically translates to ‘dry’, or ‘very little sugar’, when you’re talking about champagne. I have no idea why a word that means ‘gross’ is used to describe something that is just a ‘dry’ champagne. Here is the guess that my sommelier friend and I have made: All Wines in the 18th century were sweeter than much of what we have today. So was most of everything in the world of alcohol, gin being a prime example. Over time, the palates and preferences of drinkers changed, and so did the technology of fermentation. The introduction of more complicated distillation processes lead to the popularity of dry gin, and the ability to control the temperature of a fermentation house allowed drier champagnes to be produced. Champagne probably started with just two designations: Doux and Sec. “Soft” and “dry” respectively. But as their taste for drier wines expanded, so did the terms for the wine. Maybe think of it like women’s waist measurements.

They started out with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Eventually, Vogue magazine came along and they started to need sizes that were smaller than the sizes they had. So, now you end up with size Zero and Double-Zero jeans. Double-Zero should just be called 1, but 1 was already a size.

le sighz

Similarly, “sec”, or “dry” was already a term for a certain level of sweetness, so as they got more and more dry, they needed other words to describe it. And that’s where BRUT came along.

Other words on a champagne bottle that might be helpful when deciding what you’re going to buy:

  • Blanc de Blanc: This means “white from white”, basically it means that the champagne is made entirely from chardonnay grapes. As opposed to:
  • Blanc de Noir: ‘white from black’. This is a champagne made from red grapes, usually pino noir, but the juice has been gently pressed out and the red skins have not impacted the color of the grape juice, thus a red grape produces a white champagne.
  • NV: Non-Vintage

Here are the levels of sweetness, from sweetest to driest:

  • Doux
  • Demi-Sec
  • Sec
  • Extra-Sec
  • Brut
  • Ultra-Brut
  • Brut Natural (absolutely no sugar added to the juice before bottling).

And finally, we get to the ACTUAL TIP of the week. If you have lots of money and you think it’s worth it, tonight, you’re drinking:

KRUG GRANDE CUVÉE

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This is a non-vintage champagne, that describes itself as being “beyond the very notion of vintage”. They blend wines that are up to 25 years old into a single spirit. It is typically around $200 a bottle. I have no intention of ever buying a bottle for myself. If anyone else wants to buy me one, I’ll happily try some. Never turn down free top-shelf alcohol. Those are words to drink by.

 

ALTERNATE:

Bourbon on the rocks. Duh and/or Hola.

 

FOOD:

Blintz.

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