4

Photos: Drinking wine with James Murphy in the middle of the ocean on the S.S. Coachella

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

SS Coachella (Day 3) by Ian Witlen-9.jpg
Ian Witlen

Earlier this week, the S.S. Coachella took to the high seas and set sail for the Bahamas. One of our esteemed south Florida colleagues had the pleasure of being on board for the cruise's maiden voyage. She sent us a few dispatches documenting some highlights from the trip, so that all of us landlubbers may live vicariously through her words and pictures. Enjoy.

By Liz Tracy

Old punk guys and fancy wines, two things that make sense together only now, mere days before the end of the world. Nothing is more a "sign of the times" than James Murphy and Justin Chearno hosting a winetasting in the middle of the ocean for a handful of people both able and willing to ride the S.S. Coachella. It has all the elements of things we want as a culture: exclusivity, intimacy, rock stars and, of course, booze. The two-evening Real Wine talk really captured the oddity of the experience, in a more wholesome way than two people discreetly doing it in the Sky Lounge to a live soundtrack of Cloud Nothings.

See also: - Getting our nails done on the S.S. Coachella by Alexis Krauss's manicurist - Ten best fashion moments on the S.S. Coachella - More awkward dancing from Coachella

As it turns out, the former LCD Soundsystem mastermind is a wine fanatic. His good friend Chearno -- formally of Pitchblende and Unrest -- worked as a buyer for Uva Wines. Together, they explained Murphy's journey into winedom and also described what the hell "natural" wine is. Murphy joked that he hoped the second day would go more smoothly than the first, adding, different day, "same crappy jokes." But that was a load of crap. These guys were funny, though awkward, and they knew it.

SS Coachella (Day 3) by Ian Witlen-6.jpg
Ian Witlen

Murphy compared his education on wine to that of his early interest in music. When he was a kid growing up in New Jersey and getting into punk, he reminded us that there wasn't a "search engine to tell you like this" if you like that. He had to sift through bins and deal with cranky record-store clerks to find what he enjoyed. Wine has that same sort of experiential appeal.

They spoke of natural wine, the stuff we were slurping down, which Chearno described as more an indicator of what isn't done to the wine rather than what is. For him, each bottle tells a story of a person, time, and place. Que romántico! The people who create these natural wines are dedicated to this arduous and often fruitless (had to, sorry) undertaking. He compared the winemakers to musicians who tour and sleep on floors for weeks to play in front of an audience of five, all because they love their songs.

SS Coachella (Day 3) by Ian Witlen-10.jpg
Ian Witlen

We tasted about five wines, and all but one (the controversial one that bordered on poisonous) were darned tasty. Granted, this is coming from someone who doesn't mind wine in a box. A lady asked if this was their like "top five playlist of wines." Chearno pointed out that their top five "we couldn't afford to bring here."

The moment that stuck with me was when Murphy was talking about the obnoxiousness of the organic movement, which spawned the whole wine craze. He sort of acted out driving down the road, thinking: "I hate everyone." And then looking to right, pointing: "Good records!" and then to the left: "Good coffee!"

SS Coachella (Day 3) by Ian Witlen-13.jpg
Ian Witlen

No matter how much we pooh-pooh fads, when they result in good things like James Murphy cracking nerdy jokes about fine wine on a cruise ship in the Atlantic, then you can't hate 'em too much.




Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.