Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maynard Believes God Enriches?

Maynard James Keenan, the creative force behind Tool, Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, is also striving to be a world class wine maker here in Arizona.  Originally from Ohio and Michigan, after he served in the Army, Maynard moved to LA and formed the band Tool.  After he made millions of dollars in Tool and Perfect Circle, he caught the wine making virus that others rich and famous people have succumb to, like Francis Ford Coppola, Gerard Depardieu, Greg Norman, Mick Fleetwood, Dave Matthews, and Antonio Banderas, to name a few. 

The Comedic Documentary "Blood Into Wine" details Maynard's efforts, in great detail.  I have enjoyed several Arizona Stronghold wines, but I find them to cost about 2X as much as similar quality wines I can find from France, Italy and Spain.  Many local-vore restaurants here in Arizona carry Maynard's wines in their cave, and it's a good standard "Go To" wine when faced with a list full of over-priced Californians, Oregonians, Washingtonians, or super-sicky-sweet southern Arizona candy wines, I go with the AZ Stronghold, and it has not failed to deliver - though my buddy Ryan (also a Tool fanatic) in Atlanta has had at least one terrible bottle of Stronghold that "tasted like dirt" as he described it - so no wine maker is perfect.

Well, Arizona is celebrating its centennial next year.  Yes, it's hard to believe it's only been 100 years since the 48th state entered the union and stopped killing its indigenous peoples and actively participating in robber-baronism - States grow up so fast!  Remember when they were cute little territories or colonies?  After becoming a state, Arizona certainly did not stop robbing the Indians of their resources (water, mineral, scenic, etc), but it did adopt the state motto:  Ditat Deus, which means in Latin "God Enriches".  Not the Earth Mother God of the native Hopi or Navajos...  no, that Christian[TM] God, imported from Europe... or maybe that LDS uniquely American Jesus, imported from Upstate New York & Missouri.  Either way, "Ditat Deus" is emblazoned on state seals and state documents.  Even my PE stamp has it in teeny tiny letters.

So when Arizona ran a competition for who would be named the official centennial wine maker, Arizona Stronghold won, and they're cranking out many fine bottles (priced between $15 and $25, depending on where you buy it retail, or about $40 to $60 in restaurants).  The other Arizona wines I've tasted at the DBG and elsewhere has been too sweet, or too nasty to stomach, so I am not surprised Stronghold won.  What I AM surprised by, is that Maynard James Keenan agreed to put "God Enriches" on his hand crafted, passionately developed product with his name on it.  Maynard has no love of God (links here, here, and especially here, as Judith was his mother who died after being in a semi vegetative & incapacitated state for many years following an aneurysm).

So is Maynard James Keenan now embracing a belief in God, promoting a positive image of deism?  Or is he selling out his values to put on a state motto onto his own wine in order to sell 10s of thousands of bottles of centennial wine?  I don't know.

I do know that the "Rose table Wine" variety we purchased was good quality, drinkable, and went well while chilled with brie, gouda, and dried fruit on a hot (99F) Arizona October afternoon a few weekends ago.  I've not tried the red and white varieties Stronghold is making, but they're probably good as well.  After all, I hear that "God Enriches"  =)

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