Still Alive, Back Soon

As we sat down to dinner last night, our minds practically complete mush at this point, I said to Trey: “Remember that dinner at Haut-Bailly on Monday?” He paused for a few seconds, looked at me and said: “That feels like it was a year ago.” When you run hard for eight straight days, live on four hours of sleep a night, and ingest nothing but red wine from the moment you wake up until the moment your head hits the pillow, you tend to lose track of time. You also tend to lose track of your standard dietary intake, your personal hygiene, and any sense of of a real schedule. I’ve been on some serious trips before and I’ve watched less regimented folks lose their shit completely. I’ve seen industry professionals have full blown meltdowns, vomit all over the fuselage of a plane, and launch into expletive-laden tirades that leave them both isolated and embarrassed. Tasting expensive wine for a living is fun. It’s the best job in the whole world. But being forced to do it for fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, with no breaks, no rest stops, no down time, and no privacy can be a real challenge. I knew that going in, however, which is what has saved me thus far. This isn’t my first rodeo, but I have to admit I’m on my last legs at this point. Thank goodness the end of the marathon is in sight!

Pretty soon I’ll be back in the store tasting booze again and you guys will have your whisky-oriented spirits blog once more. In the meantime, let me share a few photos with you. We had a fancy dinner at Logis de la Cadène in St. Emilion two nights ago and it was prepared for us by one of Paul Bocuse’s protégés from his famed cooking school. One of Bocuse’s classic dishes was part of the menu: the soupe aux truffes noires VGE that was first prepared for the president of France back in 1975. It’s a savory broth simmered with fois gras and black truffles, served with a puff pastry style of bread baked over the top. You use your spoon the break the crust down into the soup so that it soaks up all that earthy goodness. Nothing decadent, really. Just a little light affair.

-David Driscoll


Corti Brothers Bourbon Returns

It has a new label and a new name, but this latest batch of Corti Bros Bourbon is made in the same way as the "Exquisite Whiskey" releases before it, finished in California Mission del Sol wine barrels that act almost like a Port influence with highlights of sweet red fruit. It's another great batch, albeit a bit different than the previous releases at a younger age and with a different mashbill, and we grabbed everything we could. Now let's feast!

Corti Brothers "Good Honest" Bourbon Whiskey $49.99

-David Driscoll


Living the Life

Bordeaux is pretty much a playground of amazing wine and food backed by insanely-wealthy properties that can afford to fly in Michelin-starred chefs like Vivien Durand to cook for them at their leisure. We dined at Haut-Bailly last night and had it not been for the fact that I was extremely tired, it would have been one of the most spectacular nights in my wine industry career. It's going to be ten straight days of this type of living here in Bordeaux. I'll continue to post photos here, but the main work will be over at On the Trail. 

I got about three hours of sleep, which I guess I'll have to deal with like a professional. It's off to the first growths today! 

-David Driscoll


Je Suis Prêt

Well folks, the time is nigh. In just about an hour I'll be heading over to the San Francisco airport and boarding an Air France flight to Paris for my first-ever wine expedition abroad. For the last seven years I've been the spirits buyer at K&L, spilling my guts to you all here on this blog about all things distilled, but now I've been tasked with a completely different mission (and I've chosen to accept it). Can the off-the-cuff, knee-jerk, deeply-personal style of writing I've been successful with in the spirits world translate to a larger audience over on the wine side? We're about to find out. For the next two weeks I'll be covering the 2015 Bordeaux vintage from this year's en primeur tasting with the K&L team on our On the Trail blog.

"I'll give it everything I have," I told him with a straight face.

So here's my big break. I might completely crash and burn, but maybe I can take what is a complicated and convoluted subject to many and turn it into something personable and intriguing. Entertainment always come first, of course. Are you guys ready to learn everything there is about Bordeaux? No? Good, because I'm not the guy who's gonna teach it to you. Are you ready, however, to go on an adventure? Yes? Good, because I am, too. If you need a primer on what en primeur is then start here. Otherwise, I'll check in with you all in about twenty-four hours.

-David Driscoll


Ride the Mule (Alley Cat)

My friend Joe Heron, the owner and founder of Copper & Kings distillery in Kentucky (and the best thing we've discovered at K&L since sliced crystal meth), sent me this outstanding care package in the mail yesterday: a bottle of the unaged C&K brandy, a tall glass, and a bottle of the official C&K ginger beer. What you may not know about Joe is that he was twice previously the owner of a beverage company before setting up his Louisville distillery, so making soda or other bottled concoctions is no sweat for him. Copper & Kings is currently producing a ginger beer, a tonic water, a cream soda, and a standard cola—not really for profit, but just because they can (and because all those things mix well with their distillates).

So why the glass that says "Ride the mule"? Because Joe thinks making a Moscow Mule with his unaged (yet flavorful) brandy is far more interesting than the standard neutralized vodka. He's right, by the way. I arrived home this evening, my best friend the black alley cat (not mine, but he might as well be) sitting on my stoop, awaiting my return. "Let's hang out here and enjoy the evening breeze," I said to him. What's funny is that C&K actually makes a barrel-aged gin called Alley Cat with a black Bombay on the label just like mine. 

Feel free to use this photo for publicity, Joe.

-David Driscoll