Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010 - Jamestown, St. Helena

Sten demonstrating how to clean an oil stained dinghy without soiling the mothership

Today marked a huge milestone for us. After two years and many thousands of miles, we drank the very last bottle of the 11 cases of Hardys that we bought at the Warehouse in New Zealand. At the time, with the US Dollar in the crapper and the Kiwi Dollar at an all time high, I was trying to economize. But months of quaffing the same six varieties completely put me off of these drinkable, but entirely predictable wines. I was over them. I began to suspect that the different varietals were actually all the same base with artificial flavors added - like liquid smoke in fast food BBQ or "butter" in movie theater popcorn. But each time I reached for a libation, there they were.

Somewhere in Indo I realized that, unless I took drastic measures, I would never see the end of the Hardys. So after loading up with a variety of cheap, but different(!) wine in Langkawi, Malaysia, I traded the remaining (or so I thought) bottles of Hardy's for flour and butter last summer in Chagos. But earlier this week, while reorganizing our South African wine purchases, I came across one lonesome bottle of Hardy's Sparkling (note the lack of vintage, lack of varietal, and refreshing lack of pretense). And you know, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Sipping the last of the Hardys this evening over some Thai Green Curry, we remembered all (okay, that would be impossible . . . let's try many) of the other delicious meals that had been accompanied by similar bottles from this cheap and cheerful label. We downed the Cabernet with local beef in Vanuatu. We sipped the Sauvignon Blanc with many a freshly caught wahoo and mahi mahi in the Pacific. The Rieselings accompanied curries in Southeast Asia. And the Sparkling made a mean Champagne Cocktail in Chagos with the addition of a few dashes of bitters. Not a bad lot of memories for $3.40 a bottle.

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