Sunday, November 16, 2008

When will my tax dollars start buying *me* wine?

CNN Political Ticker reports on the swill the G20 leaders are quaffing while trying to solve the current financial crisis:

"According to the White House, tonight's dinner to kick off the G-20 summit includes such dishes as 'Fruitwood-smoked Quail,' 'Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb,' and 'Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle Jus.'

To wash it all down, world leaders will be served Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, a wine that sells at $499 on"

Now, I'm a liberal elitist, so 'herbs' like 'thyme' don't scare me. And I live in the Bay Area, so the idea of a fruitwood smoker (I mean, you have to admit, that's basically the gayest-sounding thing ever) doesn't scare me. The concept of fondue I find a bit passé, but neither George nor Laura Bush seem to -- how do I say it -- have their finger on the pulse of contemporary trends.

I am a bit of a wine geek, so I relish the importance of the right wine with the right food, and though I have never had a $500 bottle of wine, I am pretty gosh-darn sure there's no reason they should go dropping a McKinley per bottle to go with this meal.

To put us all at ease that our taxpayer dollars aren't being frivolously spent to pour extremely elegant rotten grape juice down the gullets of the world's dignitaries, the White House assures us thusly:

"Of course the White House gets its wine at wholesale prices," she said. "Given the intimate size of the group, it was an appropriate time for The White House to use this stock."

A group of 20 of your not-closest friends is an excuse to raid the Shafer?! Seriously? Let's take the wholesale-price argument at face value: The White House (that is to say, you and I) buys this at the 6-bottle wholesale price, meaning they pay the price of 6 bottles to buy a case of 12. According to Shafer's website, the 6 bottle price on a case of the current vintage Hillside Select Cabernet would be $1,290, or $107.50 / bottle.

So it's still a freaking Benji a bottle. Thank Jesus the conservatives are in power.

But the *really* offensive part of this is that they have no freaking business pouring relatively young Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with... quail?! Are you trying to drown the damn birds after you've already killed and cooked them? I'm sure they're delicious, but after masking all of its flavor with the tannins in even a 'delicate' Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (and if you think they're all 'delicate', go roast your palate at Chimney Rock and get back to me), it'll totally overpower the dish you're serving it with! They could've managed a reasonably good Pinot Noir for half the price, or maybe done something ballsy like a moderately oaked + malolactic fermented white variety or blend and gone with that. I think Caymus Conundrum would've been great with the quail and that stuff retails around $25. This offensive mispairing and overspending must come to a stop. President-Elect Obama (is that ever going to get old??), it's time for a change!

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