07/19/06 – New Zealand Part 1 (why is the rum gone?)

By Jesse on July 18, 2006


The reason I’m writing this at 8:30 AM on Tuesday (rather than late at night on Monday, two days before the meeting, as is my custom) is that last night I found myself a bit incapacitated.  It wasn’t my fault, though.  It all started in Midas, where the recent “Pirates 2” fervor had apparently caught up the shop’s manager, as he’d decided to play the original Pirates movie on the lobby’s DVD player all day.  Trouble was, in order to keep things professional, he had turned the sound off.  So poor me… sitting there, waiting for him to deal with my “check engine” light, watching what I consider one of the more entertaining movies I’ve seen, and unable to hear a word of dialogue.  Naturally, I resolved to view the movie in its full audio-visual glory that night.  However, Max and Kate were watching Signs when I eventually got home, and since that’s an entertaining film as well, I decided to partake, and consequently didn’t start watching “Pirates” until 11:30.  Somewhere around 1:45 (no joke… it’s a long movie), the new roommate Tanya and I finally reached the island scene in which Jack Sparrow produces an impressive cache of rum from a secret underground hold.  Well, I just thought it would be irreverent to let that scene go by without passing a bottle of cheap rum back and forth between us, and even once the scene was over, it still seemed appropriate.  By the time the movie was through, I found myself very much echoing Jack’s timeless quote in wondering where the rum had gone.  I would pass out shortly thereafter, despite the best of intentions regarding the wine club e-mail, and wake up at 7:45 with my lights on.  And that’s where you find me now, my first four hours of blissful slumber having passed me by… and I figure there’s no time like between my REM cycles to tell you all about New Zealand.

It’s a country about 900 miles long, but it features only 22,000 acres of vineyards — that’s half of the wine acerage in Napa, a region only 30 miles long.  Nevertheless, New Zealand’s output has grown exponentially, both in terms of quantity and quality, within the last 25 years.  It’s now considered one of the world’s premiere regions for a number of wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc.  To that end, we’ll be tasting “everything else” this week, and then exiting New Zealand with its signature grape next week.  Everything else, in this case, includes some excellent Chardonnays, a few very good Rieslings, and some reds as well, particularly Cabernet blends and some really interesting Pinot Noirs.  Please bring any of the above, red or white, and we’ll taste the whites first in order to prevent complications to our hangovers.

We’ll once again be meeting at Leah’s house in Santa Monica.  Here’s the addy: (gone with the rum)

Again, please bring any New Zealand wine except for Sauvignon Blanc.  Chill those whites, and we’ll see you scavvy dogs on Tuesday at 9:00, at which point I think we’ll start with an open forum discussing how bad “Pirates 2” was.