We have, I suppose, a bit of a conspicuous consumption problem around here sometimes. Pynchon’s drinks may more than occasionally point to the capitalistic excess of the drinker. If we find Scarsdale Vibe guzzling Pommery, we might be best not to take that as an authorial endorsement of the Champagne house. In other instances, the excess is simply a joke, and in making it literal, it might be me who ends up eggy faced—I’m looking at you Lafite Rothschild. Does this project imperil my soul? More importantly, does Pynchon hate it? I hope at least, the grosser drinks count for some penance against the more indulgent bottles. And anyway, uh, too late to back down now!
Today’s extravagance is a 2006 Dom Pérignon, a 30th birthday present from my mother. Thanks Mum! It tastes good. Slightly savoury aroma. Very dry. Classic Champagne notes of apple and toasted pastry. Very refined. The booklet it came with claims that it “eventually melts into an exquisite bitterness tinged with the briny taste of the sea,” a claim I find I am unable to either confirm or refute.
The Dom is only the eighth bottle we’ve pulled from Inherent Vice. It makes two appearances in those (otherwise less boozy, more doped out) pages. The first, fittingly, is as a character’s signpost for excess. Doc’s picking up his car from the beautifully named auto-body shop Resurrection of the Body. His friend Tito, a limo driver, is quibbling with the Manuel the owner about his standards. Manuel’s having none of it:
This is Resurrection, ése! We’re in the miracle business! If Jesus turned water into wine in front of your face? would you be goin, ‘What’s this I’m drinkin, I wannit Dom Pérignon,’ or some shit?Inherent Vice, p. 181.
The Champagne’s other appearance is in a photograph on Fabian Fazzo’s office wall. There’s a bit going on in frame:
Frank Sinatra was playfully attempting to stuff a huge Cuban corona into Fabian’s not-altogether-unwilling face. Sammy Davis Jr. was joking delightedly with somebody just out of frame. Attached to the lower lip of Dean Martin, who was also brandishing a bottle of Dom Pérignon, smoldered what Doc could’ve sworn was a hastily rolled joint.Inherent Vice, p. 239.
I hope you all had New Year’s parties just as well attended. Happy 2022.