Sunday, August 20, 2006

Kulturpunkt: Wrathful vintage

In keeping with everything else about the Putin regime, Russia is cracking down on imported wine. The FSB (apparently, the KGB had a name-change, just like the NKVD) has to certify the wine into the country. The BBC has a whole story on it here. However, I was blown away by this little factoid:

According to FinestWine.com, Chateau Mouton Rothschild '86 retails at almost £2,000 a bottle. Importers of the stuff to Russia were valuing it at £3 a bottle. The customs man smelt a rat.


Using the XE.com Universal Converter, I found out that 3 GBP is, currently, equivalent to $5.66. Six bucks for a bottle of '86 Mouton Rothschild?! Now, the 1982 vintage is - arguably more famous - with Haut-Brion having the riband for the year of my birth; however, six dollars? Seriously? No. Of course not. Nevertheless, if the Government of Russia wants to unload some Mouton Rothschild, Latour, or Lafite on me at declared prices, I'll take it.

These importers, obviously looking for a cheap-out, have really fouled this one up for all of Russia. A nation, like the Midwest, fond of its drink if there ever was one. However, that reminds me of an interesting anecdote:

Apparently, the radar system on the Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" was alcohol-cooled. Soviet ground crews, waiting for the might of the Workers' Own military to fly into action, would tap the coolant system and drink the cooled alcohol straight and straight from the aircraft. How's that for Russian ingenuity?

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And this is the brilliant and evil legacy of the Russians.

$6 a bottle...Jesus.

 
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