Happy New K’atun, everyone!
Wikipedia tells us that the Mayan Long Count calendar identified a date according to the number of days since the Mayan creation date, which, as we all now know, was 4 Ahaw, 8 Kumk’u, or September 6, 3114 BC in the Julian calendar. Long Count days were tallied in a modified base-20 system, which means that 0.0.0.1.5 is equal to 25 (5+20), and 0.0.0.2.0 is equal to 40 (0+2×20), etc.). The Long Count was useful for long-lasting things like monuments or history itself, that would last longer than human lifetimes. The Mayan name for a day was k’in. Twenty k’ins = 1 winal , think of it as longish fortnight. Eighteen winals = one tun, more or less a year. Twenty tuns are known as a k’atun. Twenty k’atuns, around 400 years, make one b’ak’tun, and 20 k’atuns make a piktun, around 8000 years.
So it was a pretty big deal last week on December 21, when at year 5,125 of the Long Count calendar the world moved into b’ak’tun 13 of the current piktun (a complete series of 20 b’ak’tuns), at Long Count 184.108.40.206.0. in the base-20 math of the Mayans. But the next Really big deal in the Mayan calendar will be at Long Count 220.127.116.11.0.0, (that’s right, only 7 more b’ak’tuns!), on October 13, 4772, when we begin a brand new piktun, which, you know, doesn’t come around all that often, and should be pretty exciting in one sense, but cosmologically speaking, pretty much just another day, but why not celebrate anyway? All of which is to say, let’s face it, the Long Count is kind of humbling, especially in our “oh, that is so last week” society…!
Seventh Annual “East Coast” New Year’s Eve Gala Extravaganza
Yes friends, it’s here again! From 7-9pm on New Year’s Eve we provide the wine, you bring something delicious to share, and when the ball drops in Times Square we hoist our glasses and toast the Year of the Snake! (huh?…SNAKE..?? There’s a whole YEAR of the Snake? What’s that about???). Afterward, as usual, you young folks can move on to your next party, and we old timers can get to bed at a decent hour! We have grown quite fond of this annual chance to thank all of you who have visited, schmoozed, chatted, laughed, and enjoyed yourselves with us this past year, and to look ahead to more fun in aught-thirteen. Mark your calendars and start planning your finger food. And please–RSVP if you are coming! (758-2959 or
Our two sales continue through the end of Julian year 2012. The first way to save on wine is our $99 case sale, featuring all wines on our shelves marked $10 or under. The second way to save is by putting together ANY 12 BOTTLES in a mixed case and get a 15% discount! These are both great deals, and will help to tide you over during January, when we may or may not be open.
Those of you who have frequented the wine shop for some while know Sean and Elizabeth. What you may not know is that they are both serious gamesters. Sean is either extraordinarily lucky or extraordinarily skilled at all kinds of games, and Elizabeth has a gift for learning and teaching games to others, to the extent that a couple of years ago we encouraged her to start the games blog she had been thinking about starting for a long time. You can find her blog at machoheadgames.com . I confess I have little patience for drilling down through yet another set of rules to figure out new games, but when you have a teacher, it is SO much easier! Tonight we played Farkle, which we just picked up a couple of weeks ago, and then a couple of rounds of Archeology. Great fun!
This week’s tasting
Altarocca Arcosesto Orvieto ’11 Italy $14
A crisp, clean, fragrant white wine (grechetto, procanico, malvasia), bright and sunny with minerally notes of flowers, citrus, and dried fruits that pair well with savory dishes.
Bibbiani Treggiaia 09 Italy $10
A smooth and satisfying blend of sangiovese, canniolo & cab, serious but friendly, delightful with anything from pizza to lamb chops.
Sanguineti Morellino de Scansano ’10 Italy $14
An interesting comparison to the Treggaia, with 85% sangiovese; bursting with notes of sun-ripened, slightly smoky fruit, fresh cracked pepper, and minerally ocean brine.
Blacksmith Syrah ’10 Washington $14
Blending grapes from several Washington vineyards yields a classic Northern Rhone-style Syrah with intense aromas of white pepper, blackberries, and smoked meat followed by mouthwatering flavors of earthy, juicy pomegranate and boysenberries.