Berncasteler Doctor

Today’s plonk tube comes to us from no less notorious a recommender than Mrs Quoad, of Disgusting English Candy Drill fame. (The original, not the usurper, for you PIPCast listeners). We last visited this territory with some gin marshmallows. Also in her fearsome arsenal: wine jellies made from the products of great European vineyards.  Slothrop remembers…

Nebbiolo

Right near the end of Against the Day, we witness Dally and Kit reunite with Reef and Yashmeen in Turin. There’s a little wife-with-ex-lover tension, but the whole thing basically seems to go very nicely. Page 1073: To celebrate they all went out to dinner at the Ristorante del Cambio, known locally as “the old lady.”…

Chianti Rufina

We’ve been at this long enough now that some branches once heavy with low-hanging fruit are looking a little sparse. Lots of wine remains undrunk, but more and more of it is challengingly obscure and/or pricey. But never fear! I’m resourceful enough in hunting down obscurities and sufficiently irresponsibly profligate with my funds that the…

Montrachet

Early on in Gravity’s Rainbow, while we’re still huddled behind London blackout curtains with relatively recognisable characters and fairly coherent plots, Jessica sits up while Roger sleeps, “filling with a need to cry” because she cannot protect him as she wants to. She remembers asking him what things were like before the war. Page 59:…

Cheap Claret

Claret first enters the etymological record as a British nickname for Bordeaux red in 1700, not too long before Mason & Dixon gets started. The slang would then have been sixty-some years in use when first appears in M&D on page 192, with Mason in an English pub called the George distracting himself from the death of former Astronomer Royal Bradley with…

Mavrodaphne

One spring late in Against the Day, Auberon Halfcourt and Umeki Tsurigane find Yashmeen, Reef, and baby Ljubica on the Greek island of Corfu. They dine “in a taverna down by the harbour in Garitsa.” Page 975: They sat at a long table and ate tsingarelli and polenta and yaprakia and a chicken stoufado with…

Mâconnais

“It’s like licking a bloody piece of slate tile” quoth my father post-quaff of this Mâconnais. He seemed to intend this as a compliment. The Mâconnais is a Southern chunk of the Burgundy wine region, known for producing value-for-money Chardonnay. This bottle (Louis Latour Les Deux Moulins Saint-Véran) did indeed seem reasonably cheap for fancy-sounding Burgundy under a a classy-looking label. Whether it…

Gewurztraminer

We’ve just about hit 50 Empty Bottles here at Tom Pynchon’s Liquor Cabinet, but this post marks our first occasion revisiting a passage to pull out a second drink. November last year, Against the Day led me to some apricot brandy abandoned in a safe-house cupboard. (I remarked at the time that it was a bit rough, and I…

Veuve Clicquot Brut

Season two of the Pynchon in Public podcast‘s trek through Gravity’s Rainbow is a wrap! Watch your iTunes feeds. I popped some Champagne on the air this morning in celebration. You may notice the Champagne is pictured above in a beer mug. In this, as in the choice of the specific Champagne house, I follow the good example…

Dão wine

Fleetwood Vibe, most mysterious son of that sinister household, recalls on page 168 his travels in Mozambique—then a colony of Portugal: Debarking at Lourenço Marques, he spent a week in various local cantinhas, gathering information, as he liked to think of it. This required a tidy lakeful of Portuguese colonial-market wine, the rotgut rejectamenta of Bucelas and Dão,…