Let's slow down for a second to answer a fluffy nonsense question: What does it mean for something to be "weapons grade"? Well the literal meaning refers to weapons grade or enriched nuclear fissile material like Uranium or Plutonium. As a young nerd, my imagination was captivated by images of gas centrifuges, scientists huddled over massive bomb casings. Years of work, the most brilliant minds in the world, millions of dollars (now billions) being spent to make the deadliest thing we could put our minds to. Its a sick wish, but someday it would be neat to witness a mushroom cloud. Preferably a demonstration, from a safe distance, with adequate protection; but the world is a sick place and I'll take what I can get. All that power and destruction is absolutely fascinating.
I was a political Science major and a Philosophy minor. These two concentrations, while they mean a lot of different things to a lot of people, spoke two very clear messages to me:
1. Everybody in the whole world wants to kill the shit out of everyone else. Usually for the darkest, most insane reasons possible.
2. Pretty much nothing can be known with certainty, especially confirming or denying the existence of God, free will, moral absolutes, or aesthetic ideals.
Needless to say, I started to lose passion about a degree plan that made me want to hang myself. So on a whim, I took Wine Appreciation with Kevin Simon over at the Conrad Hilton College at UofH. I was so hooked, I had my certified pin before the class was over.
The thing is though, my creepy obsession with guns and airplanes and bombs never really stopped, it just kind of... mutated. Early on, I read about Chateau D'Yquem and how their selection process of shriveled grapes was so intense, they would go over the vineyards 12 times. Looking for individual berries. Their selection process was so severe that an entire vine bush would yield maybe a two ounce glass of wine. The facility is state of the art. Some of the greatest minds in winemaking work those vineyards and manage that vinification. The more I thought about it, these people are making something just as fantastic as nuclear warheads. In Hungary, they enrich a dry wine base with Puttony baskets full of sweet aszu paste, which makes one of the most shock and awe inducing wines in the world: Tokaji. BUT OH WAIT, GO BACK TO D'YQUEM. Did you know these people are bottling the world's most expensive sweet wine in NEBUCHADNEZZARS??? Sorry, let me translate for non-wine-nerds.
A 750ml bottle of 2005 Chateau D'Yquem costs about 500 US dollars on release. A Nebuchadnezzar is a 15 liter bottle. How much did D'Yquem decide to charge for this HAMMER? Approximately $20,000. They will be making 100 of them for every vintage, starting with 2005 on. When I heard about this, I almost blacked out from joy. A 15 liter of D'Yquem might be the definition of weapons grade, as I use it.
|OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD *blacks out*|
This blog is called "Weapons Grade" to celebrate the fruits of the labor of the greatest boozemakers in the world. I've spent a modest amount of time studying war and the instruments we wage it with, and I have a penchant for hyperbole, so oftentimes I find myself exclaiming, after tasting something particularly delicious,
"That is weapons grade."
The intensity of a glass of D'Yquem actually is the perfect explanation. A half bottle will last a lifetime (Pappas Bros here in Houston has a 375ml bottle of the 1811 vintage). The sugar and acid are balanced on the edge of a razor, and the finish goes on forever. A few drops is really all it takes. And that is truly weapons grade. Only instead of scorching earth, it makes people happy.
And for me, weapons grade is a term that wine made me say. This has trickled down into spirits (see first photo). But yeah, I guess beer can tag along too. Its purty good.
I suppose as an afterthought, the term "weapons grade" does reference the dark heart of man just a little bit, and I think that might be a healthy dose of perspective in this chronically self-important industry.
The world is full of madness. It is full of crazy people who are desperate to use terrifying weapons against innocent people, for all kinds of of stupid, hateful reasons.
Horror even occurs for no reason at all, 310 we killed by a tornado in Alabama yesterday. Sometimes I wish I had a line of work where I could do more for people affected by these things.
If the Asteroid comes, my colleagues and I probably will not be let on the spaceship. But while we're here alive on earth, we will use every ounce of brainpower to bring you something rare, unique, and wonderful. We're not building bridges or putting out fires, but we are stewards of one of the worlds most compelling and accessible pleasures. As dark as the human condition can be at times, I feel like my job is pretty essential. I'm proud of it, so here's to studying and promoting something weapons grade that puts smiles on faces, instead of melting them off.