Sunday, August 30, 2015

What's new at The Cave's R&D Department.

Caves are cold.  Caves are dark and windowless and solitary.  Thanksgiving is pretty happening around here, but it's August. Which means The Cave is a lot like the Soviet Union in the winter.  Which is why vodka is the official enjoyed beverage of The Cave.

That's right, there's wine things here, but wine is for people who live with windows, and see the sky, and rue our perpetual sunshine.  Wine is for people who hang out with other people, eat good food, celebrate occasions, converse, share, and watch a moment become a memory.

Vodka is troglodytes and caves all the way, but that doesn't mean the two can't occasionally overlap.

I was in Trader Joe's last week purchasing vodka, the one on the right there is actually pretty good for the price.  But what is that other one?  That's new.  Fortunately I understood my professional duty to acquire this product and deliver it to The Cave's Research and Development Department for further investigation. 

You might notice, after careful study, the bottle on the left is empty.  Here's what we know.

Here is Trader Joe's description of the vodka from their Fearless Flyer.  Additionally the label reads, in part, "This vodka makes its presence known in a prescribed manner: careful distillation creates the sine qua non for the spirit...."  Intentional or not, it can't hurt to reference one of the better cult wines in California.   I already have a guy here storing Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Wines because he's identified the California wineries from which they hail.

Though vodka can be made from anything at all, it is traditionally from potatoes, and then wheat and grain. But there are many vodkas from (gluten free) grapes, most notably Ciroc from ... yep, France, home of the grape.

The people in Paso Robles who make Re:find Handcrafted Vodka talk about wanting to find a new way to utilize the often discarded saignée.  "Often, winemakers bleed a percentage of the free-run juice from red grapes before fermentation to concentrate and enhance the quality of their red wines, and this bleed, the saignée, is often discarded."

Rick Moersch of DiVine Vodka  says here, "We believe and many of our customers tell us the grapes make it a pleasant and smooth vodka. It has a better taste and is especially appealing for people who don't like the burn."

Talking about traditional vodka, this article states,  "It looks like water, but goes down like fire. Not anymore. According to local bartender Dan Rogan, vodkas made from grapes retain something of their berry essence. 'Just as in wine, the character depends on the fruit,' he says, describing them as elegant, with a refined smoothness and distinct but subtle nuances and complexities."  

Of course, it's the fire that one wants in an otherwise cold cave. Trader Joes Vodka Distilled From Grapes is about $10.  It's inoffensive, but it's a tad heavy and syrupy for this troglodyte who prefers a lighter fare that bites back, which is an issue of style-not-product.  

I will tell you this, though:  I ONCE tried this stuff, Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods. It is HORRIBLE.  It tastes like old gym socks steeped in grey wash water.  With alcohol. Which is why The Cave Research and Development Department is of such value.  Cheers.