Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

Man Enough for Whiskey-barreled WINE

Few years ago, I had received a gracious invite to the Next Door Lounge in Hollywood to participate in a very special tasting of various whiskeys. Before I accepted, I seriously had to ask myself…”Am I MAN ENOUGH for whiskey?”

The answer might surprise you. 


Whiskey for me was always shots over the years at Thanksgiving with The Counselor’s Uncle Chuck. Actually, as he possesses a pretty thick Bostonian accent, it’s more like “ssshhhaaaawwwwt”…”who waaawwwnts a ssshhhaaaawwwwt…?”

Whiskey is also my Jameson-pounding, occasional partner-in-crime Brett Pearsons, who played mandolin for the Celtic-inspired punk group, The Mighty Regis, and now jams with his new indie-folk outfit, TINY goliath.  In fact, Brett wrote a play for us and I had the lead role as a Whiskey Sour-slugging serial killer named Dane. 

Other than that? I have no real relationship with whiskey. Hard liquor holds no significance for me. I like tequila, I guess. I went to a tequila tasting in the Mexican Riviera once. If I recall, we bought a bottle of vanilla-flavored tequila that had no label. But the thing got drank once we got home. 

They drank whiskey a lot on Deadwood?

Oh! I know. You know who loves whiskeys? The WIFE! Oh, hell, she may as well be my own personal Marion Ravenwood these days. I mean, I will definitely partake in the brown if she’s pourin’ but don’t count on me getting in a whiskey-slugging CONTEST with her. ForGET it.


I’ve been trying to learn about the differences geographically in whisky/whiskey, too. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in, like, Kentucky. OR PASO ROBLES WINE COUNTRY.

Yep, it’s true. They’re distillin’ like crazy up there now. Why, the last time we were there – okay, just last month – we tasted whiskeys, gins, AND bourbon barrel-infused wines. And I have to tell you…I am developing a real taste for them. 

Which leads us, finally, to my WINE PAIRING: The wife and I were at our neighborhood Vons supermarket yesterday and I can’t even tell you how fond I have become of their wine aisle. I didn’t catch his name but the fellow in charge of the aisle himself was there yesterday and I was complimenting him on his selection choices. TONS of local California titles, many of them whose tasting rooms we have visited. Anyway, I took notice of what appeared to be a red wine blend in a BOURBON bottle, or glass jug. But this was no Carlo Rossi table stuff, this was bourbon-infused wine. Well, just as soon as I reached for it, the wine guy slaps a bottle of Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cab in my mitt, which we learned was aged in Jameson whisky barrels! ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. And very unique. Deepen (widen?) your palette evermore once in a while with one of these and see if you notice or taste a difference. 

If this is a new trend, I’m now an official sucker for it. 

So…am I man enough for whiskey? Getting there. But I feel I’m most definitely man enough for Whiskey-barreled wine.