Tool Time


Oenophilia is still such a minority hobby that wine lovers always get excited when someone famous from outside their realm shows an interest. That’s why you can always find articles in Wine Spectator about some football or baseball player or actor who collects wine. Such was the excitement last week, when a dinner was organized around Maynard Keenan, lead singer of the rock band Tool and avowed wine geek and now wine producer.

A tremendously nice guy and very wine-knowledgeable, Keenan treated local wine buyers (Debbie Zachareus), somms (Nicole Burke, etc) and a couple of writers (myself and Rebecca Chapa) to a great dinner at Myth, where we tasted some of the new releases of his brands Caduceus (California wines) and Page Springs Malvasia, made from Keenan’s grapes from Arizona.

While Keenan’s music career is thriving, he told me that wine is a hugely positive aspect of his life. He’s the first to admit that his songs are dark and that playing them night after night can be like “picking at scabs.” Wine, on the other hand, he said, is a source of joy and constant renewal.

Check out the website (it’s lovely and quite elaborate) and the wines, which are unique and don’t pander whatsoever to the mainstream market as they are proprietary blends of things like Cabernet, Sangiovese and Syrah. Many of them are homages to some of Keenan’s favorite wines, such as Tuscan reds and Penfold’s Grange. The Page Springs, an Arizona wine, was quite interesting. It was the first I’ve had from that state and had a lot of life in it. Complex and with a rich, honeyed nose, the wine was quite dry on the palate. A great start for Mr. Keenan.

Alex Fox, the sommelier of Myth, contributed to my hangover the next day by injecting shots of PBR in between courses and finalizing the meal with a glass of Bourbon. Thanks, Alex. 

(Sorry for my blurry photos, but I hate using the flash and the people in the room had this frustrating habit of not standing perfectly still.)

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