Tom Clancy Excerpt

Excerpts from
Tom Clancy's Net Force:
State of War

Blackwood Canyon Vintners - Net ForceCreated by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.  Written by Steve Perry and Larry Segriff.  New York :  Berkley Publishing Group, c2003.

From Chapter 6 : Page 60….

The wine he was using for the stock was eighty-some odd bucks a bottle, too, but there was no substitute for quality.  If you were going to cook fine food with wine, what was the point in murdering the taste with cheap stuff?

Ames was not a wine snob.  He didn’t bother to learn all the proper terms one used, nose and bouquet and finish and so forth.  But he knew a good wine when he tasted it.  The first time he had sipped anything from Blackwood Canyon, he knew he’d found a vintner who knew exactly what he was doing.  He bought a cellarful of the wines by the case.  He had also invested money in the business, as much as Michael Taylor Moore would let him.

He had others now, but Moore’s first winery was a hole-in-the-wall place at the end of a gravel road out in the middle of Nowhere, Washington.  His first place was hard to find, and it wasn’t even listed on the local guides.  If you didn’t know where the place was, you pretty much had to stumble across it by accident, or else put in a lot of hours doing detective work.  It was worth it, though.  Back then, the only spot you could buy any of his product was at the winery itself, or by the bottle in a few of the world’s finer restaurants.

Moore made his vintages in the old-style European manner, much of it involving a process called “sur lees.”  Ames didn’t quite understand that, but he knew it involved leaving the fruit in the stuff longer than was considered by most to be proper.  As a result, the whites had fullness unmatched by any made in North America.  Those whites could run with almost anybody else’s reds.  And his reds?  Well, they were just unbelievable.

Moore’s cheap stuff alone was better than most other wineries’ expensive vintages.  And with the exception of maybe two other places in the world, one in Spain, one in France, nobody could touch his expensive ones.  He called his vintages his children, and he didn’t let them out of the house until they were all grown up and ready to face the world.

He was something of a renaissance man, Moore was.  He thought of himself as an alchemist, and considering that he turned water into a wine that eventually turned more or less into gold, it wasn’t a bad description.  He was as good a cook as many world-class chefs.  He also designed catamarans, some of which would fold up for storage and hauling, and assorted hydrogen-powered farm machines.

A lot of his neighbors hated him because they thought he was arrogant.  That was to be expected, though.  A man who stood up and said and did what he believed always got flak.  Especially when he could actually back it up.

Ames knew all about that.  He had been driven by his own demons to excel in everything he tried.  First in his class in medicine, first in his class in law school, and a top track athlete.  But it wasn’t enough.  It was never enough.

Still, being great was why he had hooked up with CyberNation.  They appreciated talent and skill, they encouraged it, and they were willing to pay for it.  They always went for the best.

Ames smiled.  He had never been accused of hiding his light under a bushel.

He stirred the sauce, lowered the heat on the Thermador gas stove’s front burner, and added a few sprinkles of fresh thyme and sage.  It would need to reduce for another hour before it was ready to poach the fish.  He still had time.

For the dinner with Corinna Skye, he had decided on a Blackwood Canyon Dry Riesling, a 1988.  For the appetizers, he had selected a 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve that should be sufficiently aged by now.  A Late Harvest Penumbra Vin Santo would go well with dessert.

When he had bought these, they had been relatively cheap—forty bucks for the dessert wine, a hundred and fifty or two hundred for the others.  Now they cost twice that—if you could get them.  Moore had sold futures in his wines for a long time, and they didn’t have firm delivery dates—it might be a year, it might be ten years before he thought the wine was ready to bottle and ship, and if you didn’t like it, you could go somewhere else.

Ames smiled again.  A man who could make wines like that was to be admired.  And humored.  And Ames would be very glad to take Michael Moore’s wines on whatever terms they were offered.