"Let her go, Mola Ram!"
Some jeebuses take weeks, or even months, of planning in order to come to fruition.
What follows below is the retelling of a jeebus that was mused, discussed, scrapped, reborn, and planned for a number of years prior to its final commencement. It was one of those jeebuses only discussed during the dessert flight of wines, like the drunken fanciful whispers of finding Cíbola or Quivira.
It started simple; an offline in the (then) BYO town of Rockport Massachusetts. The plan gained complexity when honorary Boston contingent member, David Seidner suggested combining the jeebus with a fishing trip. The jeebus suffered a setback when, in the elapsed time since the idea had impregnated our minds, I had moved away from Rockport and Rockport had switched from “dry” to “wet.” So, why not make the offline even more improbable with the addition of a pig roast in place of the BYO?
Thus, did the jeebus lay dormant until this past winter when David plucked it from the ashes, dusted it off, and gave it new life. Thirty e-mails later, we had established a date, fishing charter, itinerary and location - my parent’s house in Rockport (unbeknown to them until later, of course). Friday (preparation):
“I assume it’s about the size of a fat Medicine Ball in a vacuum seal” I commented to Amy as we drove behind the local butchery to pick up the pig.
Standing on the docking bay was a blood covered butcher holding what appeared to be an albino greyhound with a ripped piece of tarp as a cape.
“Where do you want it?” he rumbles.
“Er… backseat?” I tentatively reply
*Whump* the pig lands wetly in the backseat of my Jeep with the shroud of tarp acting as a drink coaster.
“Ohmygawd” Amy gagged, hanging her head out the window as the smell of freshly slaughtered animal filled the vehicle.
“It’s ok, I’ll drive really fast…”
The inauspicious start would foreshadow the unpredictability of what would follow.Saturday (day of the jeebus):
After beautiful weather for most of the week, I awoke to the sound of rain skipping off the panes of my window, “Damn.” Cursing my luck, I drove to Rockport with the pig (Wilbur, as I affectionately dubbed him) and began preparation for the day. David joined me soon thereafter and we picked up some steel rods, chicken wire and 60 pounds of charcoal for cooking Wilbur. Our first problem was that we had forgotten lighter fluid, so we stuffed magazines, newspaper, and a roll of toilet paper under a remarkable inflammable pyramid of briquettes. Our second problem was wondering how much charcoal to start with… together we stared in silence at the bottom of the 55 gallon drum which functioned as our pig-pit.
“Two bags (fourty pounds)” I say, looking dubiously at the scattered coals lining the base of the drum.
“I donno,” says David “how about a bag and a half?”
The decision was actually made easy when David was slowly pouring the contents of the second bag into the pit and was stuck in the face with a billow of smoke, sending all of the second bag into the drum. There should be a Banjo somewhere in this picture...
After twenty minutes of the pig sitting suspended over the drum with an aluminum foil cover to trap the heat in and rain out, we took a peek.
“Uh, it looks like its already beginning to brown…” says David.
“Yeah, that’s not good…”
“Do you have a thermometer we could put in there? How hot is it supposed to be?” asks David.
“I’ll go get one and find out” I replied, scurrying into the house to do a google search and grab a fry thermometer. “A constant 225 degrees.”
“How hot is the pit now?”
“Off the scale, over 500 degrees.”
Pulling the pig from the pit, I had the idea to shovel some of the coals from the drum into a wheel barrow. After five shovels David grabs my attention :
“Ah, your wheelbarrow’s on fire.”
Sure enough, the wheelbarrow was now smoking like Cheech and Chong.
After extinguishing the wheelbarrow, we proceeded to hose down the outside of the drum every 15 minutes to get the temperature down to a more conducive pig roasting range.David: "Run awaaaayyyy!"
Fire pit in check, Amy and David spent the last hour and a half before the guests arrived putting together and subsequently taking apart a Gazebo. I’m not quite sure the purpose of their exercises, but before achieving perfection, at one point it looked like this:
With all of the quirks, the day sped by and soon the other attendants showed up: Mike, Carla and Danielle Lawton, Rey and Juliette Fortney, PMAC (and sadly Trung and Martha experienced some flooding at home and were forced to bail).
We kicked off the wines with a 2000 Raveneau Chablis “Les Vaillons” 1er Cru:
which featured pleasant notes of raw button mushrooms and Old Spice. Good acidity threaded itself through this wine. 1998 Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet Le Vergers 1er Cru:
Mike commented that the nose showed notes of botrytis, which I couldn’t argue with. The palate had a bitter finish which could be attributed to gray rot as well. Not very enjoyable. Amy - "If he makes another phallic joke I'm leaving"
PMAC - "NARF! You're slayin 'em!"
David - "It was 'Hors' Choix alright!"Krug Grande Cuvee:
I’ve read comments from a few BB posters that the NV Krug has declined in quality over the past ten years. I’ve only tasted the Grande Cuvee a few times, but this newly released bottle was excellent: everything I’d want from a NV Champagne. This wine was full, rich, slightly yeasty and nutty with harmonious acidity. I’m of the opinion that NV Champagne should drink best straight from release. There’s enough vintage champagne out there with unresolved characteristics, imbalances and searing acidity. I’d be happy to drink this seamless wine while waiting for that Clos du Mesnil to come around. Of course, not everyone was a fan. I brought a glass of this to my grandmother (think “Throw Mamma From a Train”) who commented, “This tastes like turpentine! Bring me the Sparkling Burgundy - I love the Sparkling Burgundy!” as she smacked her lips. So, I could be wrong… 1989 Trimbach Clos Saint Hune “Hors Choix”:
The Hors Choix is another bottle with controversy surrounding it. Is it better than the CSH SGN? VT? Is there merit behind the stature? David opened it without expectations, but once in my glass, it was obvious that there was nothing - nothing - wrong with this wine. Pure fruit notes of pear, quince and orange zest layered over rich minerality. Despite such rich seductiveness, the acidity dominated things with a silk whip. Surprisingly, as it is usually a MO of sweet Trimbach Riesling, there was no Earl Grey Tea bitterness on the finish (and I’m grateful). It took all of my will power not to Smeagolize this bottle. Ever the animal lover, Rey takes a pulse to make damn sure the pig is dead before cutting its ribs out1995 E. Burn “Clos Saint Imer” Gewurztraminer “La Chapelle” (Goldert):
This Imer had the misfortune of following up the Trimbach, but even still, it was a taste bud pleaser with buxom notes of white honey, apricots and lychees. Good, though better paired with dessert. 1982 Brovia Riserva:
“Bad Dates.” Carla judges the fourth and final hour of the staring contest between Mike and David 1985 R Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva
(no I didn’t bring it): This wine takes the term “aromatic” to the next level, and silently sums up why I love traditional Rioja. A nose such as this will never be replicated in an Alta Expression wine. Leather, baked terra cotta, porcini mushrooms, peat moss, dried cherries, vanilla bean… it goes on and on. When you consider the punch you get from this wine, it’s not just a great wine, it’s a great QPR (and they age it for you!).
We tried the following two wines side-by-side 1991 Chave Hermitage
and 1991 Clape Cornas.
Having tasted a number of Clape, including the 91 a few years back which was generally agreed to be off, I had expected the Chave to bodyslam the Clape and send it crying to momma. There is no precedent for how good this Clape was, both in comparison to the Chave and to the other Clape Cornas I’ve previously tasted. What’s the deal? It‘s remarkable to think that Clape could have so much bottle variation with wines of the same provenance...
But I digress, the Clape was masculine and broad shouldered, dense like tungsten - but not clumsy. A Baryshnikov wine (complete with bulge). Notes of prunes, shoe leather, violets, berries, and musk. While it spanked the Chave, the Chave was silky and elegant, but also a bit demurer and probably not performing up to par. "I regret nothingggg...*"1988 R Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco
(OK, I did bring this one): One of the most interesting white wines in the world, this most recent Reserva Blanco release from RLdH was layered with creamy oxidized notes of vanilla bean, toasted almonds and Chai. Despite the complexity, it seemed a bit more edgy than the ‘87 and required two more days to smooth out. 1993 Meo Camuzet Clos de Vougeot:
Woah… this is seriously good Burgundy. There are so many Burgundy misfires and mediocrities out there that when you get a good one, it stops you in your tracks. A famous Boston WIWP once told me that all men wanted an Angel in public and a Devil in bed. Maybe she was talking about Burgundy too? Grace was present in this wine: the beautiful nose, the expression of terroir, the acid-based structure - all of which was cerebrally satisfying; but there was also a touch of smoke and ripe dark cherries which were carnally delightful. Go get some. 1995 Verset Cornas:
A bit primary and lean. Juliette gets an earful1990 Von Kesselstatt Josephshofer Riesling Spatlese:
At the time, this was overshadowed by the Nies’chen, but it was still an excellent wine with notes of Golden Delicious apples, good acidity and a lingering finish. 1989 Von Kesselstatt Kaseler Nies’chen Auslese:
A bit of petrol, nuances of pear, apple and pastry, peaking marvelously right now. 1991 Hans Lang Eiswein:
(In light of the recent Superman movie) this would be the “Non” to the v Kesselstatts’ General Zod and Ursa. NV Kay Brothers Founders “Very Old” Tawny (Solera):
I was teetering on the edge of an abyss prior to the wine, but upon tasting it, I was sent spinning off into a rant shouting “It’s not Tawny! It’s not a Solera!” over and over again. Mike and David tried to reason with me, but to no avail. Finally, Mike draped a towel over my head, thus muffling my infinite-loop of dribble. The damage had already been done; maybe it was the Tawny, the bestial devouring of the pig, or the full moon - I cannot say - but jeebus attendants and villagers alike would later attest to seeing me run off into the South Woods of Rockport with the ravaged carcass of a pig held aloft on a wooden platter; only to return much later bearing an empty plank. I cannot recollect this, but the Gypsy caravan next door pulled up stakes by morning. *Grunt!* *Snort!* *Arrrrrr-Arrrr!*Sunday: Fishing
Two alarms (where did I find two alarms?) woke me from my parent’s couch and alerted me that it was now time to fish. While the clocks read “5:00 am”, chronologically my system was still working its way through the Chave. Thankfully, Rey, Mike and David packed me up and got me to the boat. Detailed speculations arose as to who would “chum” first - Mike, who is allergic to fish and has an aversion to fishy smells; Rey, who despite protests that he wouldn’t puke, has become so trim that his wine/boat constitution may have weakened; David, a landlubber from Arizona who had only gone fishing on a boat once before; Or, myself, who was instinctively looking for a dump bucket to pour my water into?I think the boys just liked saying "Widget" over and over againIt must be 8am somewhere in the world...
At first, it appeared as if nobody would get sick, but in the deep sea half of our charter (split cod/striper charter) David pulled a baby cod a little too quickly from the briny depths, inflating its air bladder and bulging its eyes out.
“Uh-oh” says David “I’m not Ok.”
“We’ve got a winner!” David cleans up following his Technicolor Yawn
After parting with his breakfast, David spent the remainder of the deep sea charter sitting like a bobble-head doll in the cabin. He was able to get a few Dramamine down, and after the first hour of Striper fishing he reemerged from the cabin like Lazarus (with a fly rod). Despite an undue amount of hazing and pranks for using said fly rod, David did become the first person to ever catch a Striper with Tailrope Charters using a fly. You go, David! David hooks the biggest guppy we've ever seen
Unfortunately, the big fish spent most of the day eating whatever we weren’t sticking a hook in, but it was still a nice, macho day on the boat for the boys. In the end, Rey took home top fishing honors for his Schoolies and Haddock catches.
Who knows, maybe next year we’ll go squid jigging at midnight and cook a buffalo in salt crust?