Road Trip to Paso, Part Two.

This was a chore.  The background and foreground were different images, then digitally merged.

This was a chore. The background and foreground were different images, then digitally merged.

Still, I like the effect. Especially done with minimal resources. It speaks to that “progress of craft” that I was rambling about a few days ago.

The art is inspired by a composition that Steve LeClaire, owner of the now retired Comics Ink, used to have in his place of business. It was a commissioned piece, in full color, by Sheldon Moldoff, a prominent Batman artist for much of the 1950’s, and Carmine Infantino’s direct predecessor. In that piece, Batman is attempting to identify a wine, for Scrooge McDuck, while Robin looks on. Batman tells Uncle Scrooge to ask Steve LeClaire, a wine expert.

I miss that piece of art. It now hangs in Steve’s wine cellar, appropriately.

With all of this wine tasting going on, it seemed smart to do some kind of homage. There are apparently over two hundred wineries and tasting rooms in Paso Robles, so it is pretty hard to escape the looming presence of “wine culture.”

Yesterday, I went to one of my favorite places here, Powell’s Candy Shop. The place is incredible. “Willy Wonka” is on continuous big screen loop, and it is packed with every conceivable kind of candy. I haven’t seen Clark bars in ages, and they have them. I don’t even know If I like Clark bars. They make their own candy as well, and had a huge mess of My Little Pony stuff, that wasn’t candy….but could be used to hold candy. Serious looting needed to occur.

Today, first thing in the morning, I have an hour and a half long massage scheduled. Living the good life, I think. Then, my biggest question becomes, “where do I have lunch?” A real riddle, that. I do want to make it to “Grizzly Republic” winery…not just because their wines are very good, but because the owner, who pours wine there, is a pretty excellent fellow. The last time I was here, he had another health scare, so it was really wonderful to see him closing up shop the other evening. Definitely need to stop by there.

Also, I’ll probably be stopping in on the LXV Winery, mentioned in the text of the art. LXV is the same place that gave me homecooked Indian food on Sunday evening, so that’s a good thing. LXV is a pretty different “tasting room.” The walls are painted a deep blue color, and adorned with the artwork that makes their labels. There are brightly colored couches in the room, and it is generally set up for comfort over pretense. Everything is inspired by the 64 arts of Kama Sutra, and the room is set up to evoke those kinds of images. It’s called the “LXV lounge” as part of that story: the 64 arts of the Kama Sutra, the concept around which LXV is based, are to enlighten sensual moods and intimacy. LXV, the name, is composed of the Roman numerals for 65, implying that the patrons are the 65th art.

I didn’t figure that out…it’s in the slogan. “The 65 sutra is YOU.”

The owners are very nice, and it’s a unique experience. All tasting rooms are pretty much like one another after a bit of experimentation…it’s nice to have a different, less austere venue. Definitely worth a visit if you are into wine tasting, and bored of the kind of thing where you sit in a very crisply decorated room with modern furniture, listening to words like “big” being used to describe flavor.

Also in the art…Orange Batman is describing the wine as a “sangiovese”…that’s a kind of grape, people. Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape variety that derives its name from the Latin “sanguis Jovis,” meaning “the blood of Jove”. Though it is the grape of most of central as the main component of the blend Chianti, although it can also be used to make varietal wines such as Sangiovese di Romagna and the modern “Super Tuscan” wines like Tignanello.

Super Tuscan. I did a whole online book report about that during the summer. Unfortunately, there are no Super Tuscans here.

However, I am going to give a little background about sangiovese flavor, without using words like “big” or “fruit forward”…or the one I find most grating, “jammy.” Young Sangiovese has flavors of strawberry and a little spiciness, but it readily takes on oak flavors when aged in barrels. Not that I’m eating a hole lot of tree bark, mind you…the flavor that comes out of the barrel into a beverage. While not as aromatic as other red wine varieties such as Pinot Noir, Sangiovese often has a flavor profile like cherry (a bit sour) with earthy aromas and tea leaf notes. Wines made from Sangiovese usually have medium-plus tannins and high acidity.

Huh? Tannins?

Yeah…tannins. people talk a whole lot about tannins, and they are one of the few things that it’s pretty easy to taste. The astringency from the tannins is what causes the dry feeling in the mouth following the consumption of unripened fruit or red wine. Likewise, the destruction or modification of tannins with time plays an important role in the ripening of fruit and the aging of wine. Neat, huh?

Probably has something to do with how Orange Batman identified the wine.

Oh yeah. Orange Batman. He probably needs a bit of explanation too. You see, Batman wasn’t always a grim avenger in desperate need to a throat lozenge. In fact, for much of his history, Batman was actually a fun book to read, dealing with exotic mysteries and weird Holmesian deductions. In one issue, he has to wear a different colored Batsuit every night, mostly because Robin is injured. On that cover, he is putting on a Pink Batsuit, with a rack of other brightly colored Batsuits behind him.

So…Funko, which makes the big headed uber cutesy bobble head figures, announced that they will release Batman “Mopeez” plushes in six different colors this November. Referenceing, of course, that kind of old school Batman story…along with the classic blue costume he wore in the ’60s TV show. So…no need for throat lozenges or Christian Bale.

I was in Hot Topic before I left, and there was only one of these guys left, laying around, looking sad. Everyone wants a Traditional Batman, they find Pink Batman ironic…but no one wanted Orange Batman.

Apparently, he's Yellow Batman, and Orange Batman is a darker hue.

Apparently, he’s Yellow Batman, and Orange Batman is a darker hue.

Doesn’t matter, I’m not changing his name. Orange Batman has already been helping Rainbow Dash with tons of minor mysteries here in Paso Robles, and could use some respect.

Off to my massage, people.

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2 thoughts on “Road Trip to Paso, Part Two.

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