Showing posts with label Pete Buttigieg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pete Buttigieg. Show all posts

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Pete - A Review on the Wine and the Documentary

I did not make Pete, the wine or the politician.

My friend, Shane, was the winemaker of the 80% Les Collines Merlot and 20% Chandler Reach Cab Franc blend. The grapes were sourced from the same lots that were used to make our 2018 vintage political series - Kamala Walla Walla, Notorious RBG, and AOC Columbia Valley. It seems fitting to add Pete to the mix, especially with the hullabaloo around his wine cave fundraising event. (This wine blogger/winemaker has no objection to wine caves and even wrote a blog post about wine caves and politics.)

Shane and I with our 2018 vintage
Now coming back to the wine. At the time of bottling the 2018 vintage, Pete Buttigieg was gearing up his campaign to seek the Democratic Party nomination for the 2020 presidential race. He was a fresh face, incredibly bright, and exuded an Obama-esque presence.

Fast forward to 2022, Mayor Pete of Sound Bend, Indiana is now Secretary Pete of Transportation. He ended up fifth in the primary among a myriad of candidates seeking to unseat the incumbent at that time. There is even a documentary, Mayor Pete, that followed him through his campaign trail. 

Pete, the wine, has had three years of age on it at the time of this blog post. It seems like the right time to revisit the wine while watching the documentary. (Credits to Alisa Kessel, Political Science Professor at the University of Puget Sound and once my partner-in-wine, for the suggestion.)

Enjoying Mayor Pete with a glass of Pete
Here is my review:

The Wine

Deep ruby and inky, Pete opened up with a burst of dark fruit aroma of blackberry, plum, and fig. The fruit flavors are concentrated on the palate reminiscent of fig jam and stewed plums with a touch of spice and vegetal notes towards the end. The wine is luscious and full-bodied with soft hairy tannins and puckering acidity. The finish is lingering and balanced. 

Compared to the first time I tasted Pete, the wine has developed beautifully and is exhibiting aging potential. Thankfully I have a few bottles left and look forward to revisiting the wine over time.

2018 Pete
The Documentary

The film started with Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, suggesting a few interview questions that were directed at the young politician’s identity. Buttigieg was after all relatively unknown on the national platform but had enjoyed professional and regional political success while keeping a closeted past. It was not till his early 30’s that Buttigieg came out as a gay person, and that was only seven years ago. The film attempted to unearth who Buttigieg was, not just for the audience but perhaps even for the protagonist himself. As Chasten so eloquently put it, “Don’t bullsh*t us, Peter.”

From the start of the campaign trail to his appointment as Secretary of Transportation, the film chronicled the peaks and valleys of the political journey. Through it, Buttigieg strove to “master the game without it changing (him).” Yet, it is a fine line to not be corrupted by the process but to grow and be better from it. I do see a transformation at the end of the film and would attribute it to the latter.

My Verdict: Pete, the wine, was made with quality ingredients and nurtured in the right conditions. It is developing well and will continue to age beautifully. I certainly have reasons to hope the same for Pete, the politician. Secretary Pete, time is certainly on your side, and many will be keeping their eyes on you. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Who is in Your Wine Cave?

Who would have thought that wine caves would be a topic of discussion at the Democratic presidential debate? 

It was a fundraiser for presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, hosted by Craig and Kathryn Hall, owners of Hall Wines. The event was held in the wine cave, decorated with 1,500 Swarovski crystals, and where $900 bottles of wine were served. Certainly, an event that is exclusively for those with deep pockets.

Beautiful and extravagant Halls wine cave
His critics decry that billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States. So I thought, let's talk about wine caves in this post.

Let's be clear, I LOVE WINE CAVES!

Bottles in an old wine cave
Just as bibliophiles love libraries, oenophiles love wine caves. I love seeking out wine caves in my travel. Some are old and musty, storing each wine bottle in cobwebs, mold, and history. Others are sparkling clean and high-tech, with an opulent display of carefully curated bottles and barrels. But each wine cave is a treasure trove, and I am one equal opportunity oenophile.

The origin of wine caves dates back thousands of years during the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans stored their wines in catacombs. They discovered that the subterranean structure would protect the wine from temperature variation and provide the perfect humidity for cellaring.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, these underground tunnels continued to persist. In many parts of France, they were used primarily for cellaring wine. However, these wine caves were not immune from political activities of their times as well.

Wine Cave for the Resistance

One of the most fascinating wine caves that I've visited belongs to Maison Joseph Drouhin. The subterranean cellar in Beaune was so old that you can see herringbone-style stonework on some of the walls. This indicates the presence of Romans. Other walls were added on over time, including facades built during the Nazi regime to hide the French Resistance activists and treasured wines.

Drouhin wine cave herringbone-style stonework from the Roman era
In the book, Wine and War: The Battle for France's Greatest Treasure by Don and Petie Kladstrup, you will read about how Maurice Drouhin served in the French Resistance from his cellar. In fact, French winegrowers played a big role in fighting the Nazi regime from the intricate labyrinth of wine caves.

Wine Cave for the Ritzy

Moving 200 miles northeast from Beaune is Épernay, the capital of Champagne. Under the streets of Épernay are over 60 miles of the underground caves storing millions of bottles of sparkling wine. I visited the wine cave of Möet et Chandon, the famous Champagne house that is associated with luxury name brands Louis Vuitton and Hennessy.

Riddling rack in Möet wine cave
Möet et Chandon is all about opulence and extravagance. Founded in 1742 by Claude Möet, the high-end winery focused its clientele on nobles and aristocrats. In fact, Claude's grandson, Jean Rémy, went to military school with Napoleon Bonaparte. The alignment with the powerful emperor continued for many years. Today, deep in the Möet wine caves, you will see a big barrel of port that was gifted by Napoleon himself. You can't get tighter than that.

Napoleon's Gift of Port
My Verdict: As you can see, the relationship between wine caves and politics did not begin in Napa Valley's Rutherford Hall Winery. It is a fair question to ask whether a candidate is able to rise above lobbyists and donors to do what is best and right for his or her country. Is the wine cave fundraising event so incriminating? Because sometimes there is a Maurice Drouhin in the wine cave. Other times there is a Napoleon Bonaparte. You be the judge.