Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trader Joe's, circa 1969

It's very lively here at The Cave these days; Hong Kong has everyone is a tizzy, a frenzy, or at least in a selling state of mind, and why not take advantage of an unreasonable market that actually benefits everyone participating versus the usual unreasonable market that benefits only the selected few. Maybe that's just Wall Street, but I digress.

Gil, this Gil, the one who built The Cave, has been in a few times to participate in this French Fad. But also in The Cave are the forgotten bottles, the unspokens, mysterious and secret, long stashed away in various nooks and crannies. So Gil took some of those with him as well.

It turns out Hong Kong has very specific and pristine tastes, so later in his very long day Gil returned with a few rejects. Buried in these was this bottle, no label but for its price tag. You can click on it to enlarge, but the price tag is from Trader Joe's, and the date on it is 8-7-69. In 1969 this bottle cost $4.50 + tax. Considering Charles Shaw costs $1.99 in 2011, that's actually very pricey for Trader Joe's, in fact if you go to the government's adjust-for-inflation calculator, today this bottle would cost you $30.80. Yikes!

So Gil said, well, let's open it, and we did. I of course know nothing about wine so I figured it would be an awful bit of vinegar. Or worse. It poured blood red, rusty and cloudy. It tasted great! A dessert wine, it held up well.

That picture that looks like a petrified, er, turd? That's the cork. It smells amazing, like a pouch of damp tobacco, and you can taste this in the wine - a little boozy still, sweet, tobacco, really interesting.

After Gil left I was cataloging the returns thinking, Those crazy Chinese, they're missing out. This is the fun of wine, moments like this where you take the chance, roll the dice, try something odd, when it's all about the discovery and sometimes are unexpectedly, pleasantly surprised.