Forty bottles

So the general concept of this site is that I tend to think of wines on a scale of one to forty. Measured, of course, in bottles of Ring Bo Ree. Of course.

All wines are thus measured against the unrealistically high standard of that mythical wine, consumed these many years ago. Yes, it was the 1992 Far Niente Cab.

The year was 1997. It was the peak of the dot com days. We had a bunch of investor capital, and, obviously, the way to make money was to go to the left coast and spend that money as fast as possible. So we went to Internet World 1997 in San Jose, CA.

To give you an idea of how absurd these folks were about purging money as fast as possible, I’ll just mention that the evening entertainment on the second day of the conference was Chicago. So perhaps 200 of us had a sort of private Chicago concert. I sat in the front row and sang along loudly to “25 or 6 to 4″ and “Does anybody know what time it is?”

Anyways, one evening during the conference we went to a fancy overpriced restaurant, and I was asked to pick the wine.

You know how it is, when you go out to dinner and someone else is paying. There are two categories on the wine list. The affordable ones, and the rest. I picked the wine all the way at the top of the affordable list. The most expensive one I thought I could get away with. The 1992 Far Niente.

Wow.

Even the name (Far Niente means “doing nothing”) is great. This wine was big, bold, complex, and far more wine than I had any idea what to do with way back then.

Since that time, I have had perhaps 3 wines that measured up to the mark. The Cakebread cabs that I’ve had are two of them.

So, that sets the stage. That’s the 40 mark. Everything else strives to come close.

Yes, my scale is arbitrary and silly. By that measure, it is indistinguishable from the scales of certain well known magazines which I will refrain from mentioning. ;-) At least I don’t expect anyone to agree with me.

The Jumblies

The Jumblies, by Edward Lear

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, ‘You’ll all be drowned!’
They called aloud, ‘Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
‘O won’t they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
In a Sieve to sail so fast!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, ‘How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
‘O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
In the shade of the mountains brown!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese.
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, ‘How tall they’ve grown!
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore!’
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, ‘If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,—
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They went to sea in a sieve, they did