There we were driving down to Louisville, Kentucky and it was Derby Week. The bad news is that we were not there for the Derby. My Bride was attending courses for her Continuing Education credits to maintain one of her designations. I normally don’t go with her for these classes, but since she just had some eye surgery, she wasn’t sure what to expect from such a long trip, so I was the designated driver and five to six hours in a car is about my maximum tolerance. We leased a car for the trip and we live in a suburb of the Motor City and can you believe that the national car rental agency did not have a car from the Big Three in stock. Now some of you probably don’t drive American cars and that is fine, and I have never worked for them, but I figure that in a round about manner my salary was derived from them over the years. So, I was not happy with the selection of the car, but the saving grace was that the rental car had Ohio license plates. I think for years the State of Ohio’s main income was from the ticketing of only Michigan cars that had to drive through the state to get somewhere else. For years the federal interstate highway in Ohio had a lower speed limit than the rest of the country, all to penalize mostly out-of-state drivers that had to venture into the state. Another problem with the unlucky Michiganders is that there is a school in Columbus where they must indoctrinate the students that the State of Michigan is to be demonized.
The week of Derby in Louisville is probably akin to having a second Christmas season in the year. The Derby is everywhere. In all manner of keepsakes and souvenirs, which I can attest to, as we have a very long vertical run of Derby glasses commemorating the race each year. In the club house you can have a Mint Julep and get the glass with your drink, and since that is the official drink, there are plenty of them consumed at Churchill Downs. We have had the good fortune over the years to go there, but not this year, but we did see how much the downtown area has changed, they have even built another hotel there. There was a carnival going on, as well as concerts, parades and every other type of festivity. I am glad that we have family there, and we were going to stay in their cabana house as I am sure that most places have been booked since the last Derby and at probably double or triple the normal room rates (I am only conjecturing here).
As I said earlier the drink of the day is the Mint Julep, but that is not the only drink. Last year and this year there was an official wine for the Kentucky Derby and that winery has an equestrian theme and motif to begin with, so they were a leg up on a lot of the competition for the lofty accolade, and they are not a “mudder.” 14 Hands Winery of Columbia, Washington has the honor, and if you are not aware of it, a “hand” is the recognized unit of measurement for a horse. This year the 14 Hands Winery Kentucky Derby Limited Release Red Wine Blend 2014 had the honor, and last year I had the vintage 2013. This wine is fifty-percent Merlot, forty-eight-percent Cabernet Franc and two-percent Barbera. The wine was aged for almost two years in neutral French and American Oak barrels, so it is not their usual wine that can be found readily in stores and restaurants. You know that your Raconteur will find a couple of stories to entertain you while we are there.