Les Vignes de Bila-Haut

Ok, i told my bro-in-law I’d get writing again, and what a nice topic this is: a Cotes du Roussillon Villages wine…I saw it at the Wine Discount Center on Elston, actually got an email from them here. This is, as the write-up mentions, a Top 100 wine this year…for $11.99!

     I decanted the bottle yesterday.  Like many French wines, it is a blend: Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan, the last being an old vine deignee. The first sip while eating a little ham and brie? A little too muscular, slight pepper, and even medicinal. extreme dark, obscuring coloration, heavy on the palate w/slight tannins.

     Doesn’t sound like I would like it, eh? Well i gave it an hour, and then tried it with beef, a better pairing as the first coupling was one of opportunity, while the second was by design. Mmmm. A convergence. The wine had relaxed, was much lighter on the palate (which is what I am looking for these days) while the pepper from the syrah was much more forward but in complete, absolute harmony with the other elements. This is a mouth filler without overstaying its welcome. Long finish… but round. Little tannins to speak of.

     Ok, you say that was by design, an intended result by the addition of the beef dish? No. I corked it overnight. Today around one I had lunch, and there was not a hint of difference after a day. Longevity- we like that in a wine. And according to the Spectator, this is just the beginning of Bila-Haut’s run. Drinkable 2010-2017. This, at this price? Get it by the case.

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Polish Presidential Plane Crash

      No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke..the President of Poland, Lech  Kaczynski, and the Chief of Staff of the Army were killed in a plane crash in Russia.  They were on the way to a memorial service for victims of the Katyn forest massacre. Not a bad joke, but tons of irony there. And as we look, tons of irony everywhere. First, Kaczynski’s twin brother is head of the opposition party. President Obama just reneged on a deal to provide Patriot missiles to Poland in return for hosting U.S. missiles interceptors (read part of the “Star Wars plan)- reneged after the Poles greatly angered the Russians in accepting those missiles. This comes into play because the Poles, who liked George Bush and supported him with combat troops in his wars, is being treated like an out of favor suitor by the Obama administration. The Poles, and other affected Eastern Europeans, have not jumped on the Obama bandwagon.  And then of course there is why they were offered the missiles in the first place: Poland is the largest of the former Soviet satellites to embrace the West.

     So: I could write a conspiracy column. If we were still in the cold war, I would. Just remember that before the cold war, before the Soviets, the same stuff went on. Just under a different name. Now the continuation of the “Great Game” seems like fantasy.  Maybe so, but Obama has practically given Russia the green light to recoup its’ regional hegemony. Don’t be surprised if they do. Just remember that  sometimes when you think you are the clear-cut winner in an ideological struggle, the other side lies low, regroup, and strikes when the iron is hot.

The Assassination of Americans by our own government?

     The Obama administration just authorized the assassination of an American jihadist in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki. This is a step that George Bush never took, and one that should alarm all Americans. Why? Because the target is not  only an American, but a non-combatant. He hasn’t taken up arms against his country, but he has recruited others to do so. What does this mean?  Well, it is a very small step into killing any other ideological opponent that just disagrees with you abroad, or at home. Lets forget about the abroad part for now. It’s the at home part that concerns me. As the Obama administration tentatively has already taken steps to identify “domestic terrorists“, how long until he has the ability to kill Americans in our own country, without them once touching a weapon, and without trial? I hate to say it because I like action, not words. But America was meant to be a country in the middle, not extreme left or right. That is why Gerald Ford first instituted a ban on political killings thirty-five years ago. So that America wouldn’t turn into the dirty little dictatorships: the Maoists, the Khmer rouge, the Stalinists, the Tontons Macoute. So that the CIA wouldn’t repeat the secretive political killings of Vietnam. When you get actions like these, you are one step away from being not a Nobel prize-winning statesman, but a Nazi.

     Condolences to the families of the Massey Mine explosion in West Virginia.  I wonder what people think about the idea of federalizing or state owning of mines and minerals? It would be interesting if miners were treated like soldiers: 30 days off, free health care, and a pension after 20 years. What if all people in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky profited from the minerals under their land? I keep wondering why in this modern age a few massive international or national companies are allowed to continue garnering huge wealth for a few while the brave souls who provide it get…dust…and explosions…and preachers who assure them their reward will be in heaven.Two Alaskan governors helped make Alaskans owners of their own state, and every year every single citizen gets a dividend check.  Jay Hammond, probably the most decent man to govern any state anywhere, put the idea in motion. Another two-time common sense governor, Wally Hickel, continues to champion the idea in his books. Some years its been as high as $3000 a person, kids included. Why don’t other states go this route? I feel for the people of Appalachia. Capitalism works, but only when the wealth is shared. Otherwise it becomes fascism.

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