“The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth.”
– Thomas E. Ricks, Making the Corps, 1997
On this day 236 years ago, the United States Marine Corps was born within the walls of a bar in Philadelphia, PA. As former Marines, The Rib and I hold the title “Marine” closer to our hearts than any other that will ever be bestowed upon us (yeah, I love the Corps so much I married a Marine). Despite the several years since I last donned a Marine Corps uniform (and for the record, I’m absolutely positive I could still get my Dress Blues buttoned if I tried), being an active duty Marine is the single most important experience that defines my identity. Although infrequent in many cases, the connections I maintain with the men and women with whom I served are strong and enduring. A band of brothers, indeed…
“The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”
– First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945
Every November 10, I look forward to reading both the Commandant’s Birthday Message and General John A. Lejeune’s Birthday Message from 1921. While I proudly display the Marine Corps Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on my vehicle 365 days a year, I always take time on the Birthday of the Corps to reflect on not only my own experience as a Marine, but the Corps writ large; and I call all of my Corps buddies I have maintained contact with over the years and wish them a “Happy Birthday;” and I remind everyone I come in contact with that today is the Birthday of the greatest fraternity and fiercest fighting force the world has ever known; and The Rib and I open a nice bottle of wine or pour a couple fingers of scotch and fire up a cigar. I try not to go overboard, though.
Happy Birthday, Marines! Semper Fi!
“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”
– Attributed to President Ronald Reagan, 1985
2008 Jarhead Red, California
It’s all Corps, all day here at CorkEnvy, so I decided to try a wine made by Marines, for Marines. Jarhead Wine Company supports the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which provides need-based educational support for children of Marines. Every bottle of Jarhead wine sold results in at least $1 – $2 (depending on the point-of-sale) going to Marine Corps charities.
I popped the cork on this Red Blend (Merlot 59% Mourvèdre 26% Syrah 7% Grenache 4% Cinsault 4%), poured it through the Vinturi into the decanter and let it sit for 90 minutes before drinking.
On the nose, I got some dark fruit (mostly blackberry) and a little spice. There was a hint of oak, a slight cream/vanilla, and maybe a bit of “brambliness/earthiness” that dissipated fairly quickly.
The palate brought some nice ripe blackberry and a little sour fruit that I took as raspberry or not-quite-ripe cherry. The tannins are there, but are fairly smooth and play well with the acid in the wine. The oak was initially perceptible on the palate but stayed around to provide a lingering finish that was a bit reminiscent of a well-aged bourbon or Scotch.
The 2008 Jarhead Red is a nice, easy drinker. Winemaker notes suggest pairing with peppered steak, barbequed chicken, or grilled sausage; I would add a thick, juicy grilled burger or a mild cigar to those pairing suggestions. The 2008 Jarhead Red isn’t available on the winery’s website, but I picked up a couple of bottles at a large wine retailer for $10 each (there are four later-vintage or Reserve bottles available on the website). I haven’t tried any of the other Jarhead selections, but based on my experience with this bottle, look forward to doing so soon. So, I invite everyone to take minute, grab a glass, and raise it in a toast to the courage and commitment of the fine Marines past and present that give their all for all of us!
Semper Fi from The Garage Bar at CorkEnvy,