In my younger days I used to do a fair bit of cocaine. I never lost my job or went into rehab but it makes me shudder to think of all that money I spent. Still I think I had a good time and otherwise I would probably have spent it on city breaks to Antwerp like my non-drug taking friends. One night during a session at my flat in Bethnal Green, I produced a bottle of red, a Barbera d’Asti as far as I remember. As I poured it out my brother looked at me and said with a supercilious smile: ‘Oh dear, don’t you know it’s white wine with cocaine?’
He was right, of course. The Barbera tasted awful. There’s something uniquely horrid about tannin when you can’t feel your teeth. Still every cloud has a silver lining and it got me thinking about what is the best wine to go with cocaine. After much experimentation I have come up with some rules:
1) No tannin. See above.
2) Not too sweet. As decadent as it sounds to drink a sweet wine such as Sauternes or Tokay on a drugs binge, they really don’t go together.
3) Not too acidic. Many of my friends go for champagne for these late nights but it really is beastly stuff. All that acidity is almost as bad as tannin and makes your mouth ache the next day. I find even the best champagne pretty much unbearable after a bottle.
4) Not too bland. If you’re going to be drinking in quantity then you want something with a little bite so no Pinot Grigio please.
5) Not too expensive. At the time it is nice to drink something good but you’re not going to remember much about it the next day. There’s nothing worse than coming down in the morning to realise that you’ve drunk that Meursault you were saving.
The important things to note are that you want to drink something with enough personality to stand up to repeated drinking but nothing too fancy. Excess tannin, sugar or acidity are to be avoided as they will make your teeth feel weird.
My brother looked at me and said with a supercilious smile: ‘Oh dear, don’t you know it’s white wine with cocaine?
Below are a few suggestions. Bear in mind that these suggestions are for wines to drink with cocaine only. When coming down of ecstasy I can manage a quite full-bodied red. I remember fondly a bottle of Pesquera from Ribera del Duero drunk in just such a state a few years ago. I have no idea what to drink on heroin.
Rieslings – German are best preferably a just off dry one from the Mosel.
Burgundy – A lighter unoaked Burgundy such as St Veran, though if you are feeling flush a mature Meursault can de spectacular.
Light chilled reds – Sorry little brother but sometimes a red wine does go with cocaine, such as a nice Fleurie or my own favourite red Sancerre (but not a white – much too acidic!).
Spanish whites – The fresher sort rather than old style white Rioja. Rueda is nice but beware Albarino, again too acidic.
Italian whites – Especially from near Naples (coincidentally the centre for the Italian drugs trade) such as Falanghina or Geco di Tufo
Hunter valley Semillon – A nice mature nutty Australian such as a McWilliams Mount Pleasant.
These wines tick all the boxes being dry, distinctive and lively. They’re bound to impress your friends, hangers-on, floozies etc. My top choice, however, would not be any of these. Instead I take a leaf out of my Uncle Peter’s book. Whenever he had a problem choosing the right wine to go with something or whenever he had problem full stop, the answer was sherry. There’s something about a good fino – Tio Pepe is excellent - that sings with powders. Is it any wonder that cocaine is so popular in Spain?
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