In a statement that most of us can relate to in 2022, “After a long hazy blur of pandemic insomnia, unanchored in time and adrift between sleeping and waking, it’s time to start imagining the future again.” So writes Stuart Mangrum, director of Burning Man Project’s Philosophical Center, in announcing the 2022 Burning Man theme of Waking Dreams. “Whether it’s a dream of artistic expression, a yearning to connect with others in a fractured society, or simply a desire to live a more meaningful and authentic life, Burning Man is the place where dreams can and do come true.”
And that’s how, on a very warm summer evening, I found myself conveniently unscrewing a bottle of Fox in the Henhouse Chardonnay after joining Minstrel Crampers in a very pandemic setting: a hybrid ZOOM meeting where we would continue planning how to make our dreams for this year’s camp come true.
We were a tad late: Pineapple first arrived 45 minutes early, and I was busy, so she went home and came back on her bike 20 minutes late. Hence my gratitude that the wine I chose to bring to the meeting and potluck had a screw top, and was a nice crisp Chardonnay from Australia to enjoy while we sorted through the various nuts and bolts (literally) needed to bring our camps together. And by camps, I mean camps: this year’s Minstrel Cramp has members from another camp incarnation based in Florida AND is connecting with the art support camp I am organized around a Burning Man Honorarium Art Installation by Valerie Mallory called Secretly Abandoned Spaces.
If you’ve never been to Burning Man, or know very little about it, this may be all quite confusing. Burning Man is located at Black Rock City, a temporary city with a population of 70,000 people who dream up and build and burn or strike the city every year:
“Because after all what is Black Rock City if not a collective manifestation of the community’s dreams?” asks Stuart.
“That reintegration of dreaming and waking consciousness that fuels surrealism also sounds a lot like how many people describe their Burning Man experience, as a sort of waking dream that can approach a psychedelic state, even without the use of drugs. This reflects not only the profusion of surrealist art on the playa every year, but the environment itself, a stark and otherworldly landscape straight out of a Salvador Dalí canvas.”
“It is a signature aspect of Burning Man culture that we transform our dreams into actions in the world. Not just an inner transformation but an externalization of that vision, bending the arc of reality toward the fantastic and bringing the world along for the ride.”
So that was what we were there to do: make our dreams into (sur)reality. This will be my 20th Burn in 30 years. After many years in Hushville (no amplified sound), then Kidsville (a community with 600 members comprised of families), then co-creating a camp with the Dome of Space Wanderer and chess, then with Elvis Wedding Chapel (we did 80 weddings…), I joined Minstrel Cramp in 2019. Minstrel Cramp is a live music camp where we also have a plentiful menstrual supplies. We have a full on drum set, a piano that gets tuned daily by a professional tuner to the stars, and a beautifully decorated music hall that also protects us from the elements including whiteout dust storms and other forms of inclement weather.
In 2014, I met Valerie Mallory and came to know and admire her artwork. In 2019, I helped her strike Genie in the Bottle:
This year, I’ll be part of the build team, and I’m coordinating the art support camp, so I will be in the desert for over two weeks beginning Aug. 22.
“Every abandoned space retains a feeling of what it once was,” writes Valerie Mallory. “Abandoned buildings retain a beauty of that which has been forsaken; it’s the loveliness of disintegration. This piece is about the beauty of loss and decay of a building, a community or of a loved one. Elegance emerges from loss as the world takes back its own. The house becomes a church of ideas that have died and long passed. The cast figures upon the staircase is a theatre, or a play. The interplay of figures tell their own stories. The figures will also be ornate as structures of antiquity. Secretly Abandoned Spaces in a museum of stories that have been lost in antiquity.”
It wasn’t completely an accident that the wine I brought to the meeting was Fox in the Hen House. The World Wine Travel Group of wine writers have been methodically working our way through Australia’s regions and this month is the White Wines of New South Wales Australia which includes the Hunter Valley, New England (Australia), Hastings River, Mudgee, Orange, Cowra, Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven Coast, Hilltops, Canberra District, Gundagai, Tumbarumba, Riverina, and Perricoota. The Wine Media Conference went to this region in 2019, so I expect there to be some interesting articles.
But while Yellowtail is based in Riverna, some of us, including me, found it less than easy to put on hands on a bottle, so host Robin Bell Renken suggested we could open this to other Australian regions. Read the invite here. Scroll down to find topics and links to articles by other participants.
So since I needed to make a trip to Grocery Outlet to pick up humous for the potluck, I perused the shelves and came up with a white wine from mainland Australia, Fox in the Hen House, and with its playful label, I thought it would be fun to share with my Burner friends paired with a potluck. Plus it was only $6. And as I mentioned it had a convenient screwtop.
- container humous
- sliced sundried tomato slivers with oil
- toasted pine nuts
- snippets of fresh basil
If you need something quick and easy that’s a crowd pleaser for a potluck, look no further than humble humous, elevated of course! Taking a tip from Sue, I opened the container, poured some olive oil from the sundried tomato jar, sliced the tomatoes onto it, snipped some basil, sprinkled toasted pine nuts, then put the lid back on it container. At the potluck, I put some gluten free crackers on a plate, and simply opened the lid and put the container on top of the gluten free cracker box. You can also do this with goat cheese instead of hummus, which I bet would be great with this wine.
If you’re looking for ideas for tasty treats on the playa, consider bringing out cans of chickpeas which you can easily turn into humous and fancy it up with sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and dried herbs!
2020 Fox in the Hen House “Fox Hunt” Chardonnay, South East AUS
SRP $6 at Grocery Outlet
There is nothing about this wine that I could find on the internet. It’s almost like it doesn’t exist. And the Fox in the Hen House website is really pretty vague, and talks about their red wines.
Color: Pale lemon.
Aroma: Eureka lemon, green apple, minerals.
Palate: Tart! Crisp! Direct! Lean! Lemon and not quite ripe pineapple. If you want big buttery fat chardonnay full of tropical fruit, well, go for those fat chickens. This wine is the fox: as sleek and slender as a stealthy fox. Relatively simple, but a great wine for the price.
Pairing: Perfect for a potluck. No one’s really paying that much attention to the wine– it’s really all about conversations, catching up, meeting new people.
This wine plays well with others. And it disappeared fast!
People brought salad with fresh cherry tomatoes and feta, Thai fish, pizza, lots of shrimp cocktail, and more. This is an easy going wine — easy going down, fresh and crisp, and easy to get along with. Since it went so well with those dishes, I tried it with take out crab salad sushi. Yep it works! Bagged Cesar salad would also be a winner.
And yes, this wine would pair fine with Burning Man! If you’re going to bring wine in glass (and yes I will be bringing some out there!) a wine that’s light and bright like this one will pair with those hot desert dusty days and warm wondrous evenings! And screw top means it’s easy to open and close and take on adventures…
Try: Oysters would be fun!
For more white wines from Australia, check out:
- Jeff with Food Wine Click is sharing “Why Does WSET Love Hunter Valley Semillon?“
- Wendy with A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Yellow Tail Wine Round 2 and the Weekly Menu“
- Terri of Our Good Life shares “Simply Summer’s Best: BBQ Pork Steaks and Rock It Like a Redhead Sauvignon Blanc“
- Nicole at Somm’s Table shares “Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Semillon and Seared Salmon Steaks“
- Gwendolyn Alley of Wine Predator shares “Burning Man 2022: Waking Dreams, Secretly Abandoned Spaces, Minstrel Cramp, and the Fox in the Henhouse“
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Semillons from New South Wales Australia – comparing the young and the old”
Chat with the #WorldWineTravel writers on the white wines of New South Wales Australia and beyond! Join host @CrushGrapeChron & the other writers here on Twitter at 11 am ET/8 am PT using #WorldWineTravel
8 am PT Good morning and Welcome to the #WorldWineTravel writers’ discussion on the White Wines of NSW Australia & beyond! Introduce yourselves, tell us where you are tweeting from this morning and share a link to your blog if you have one!
8:05 am PT Q1 Finding a White Wine from New South Wales Australia is not the easiest thing to do! Tell us about your search and if you found one! #WorldWineTravel
8:15 am PT Q2 Now…some details on the wine you found! What variety, from what region? Give us a shot of your wine! #WorldWineTravel
8:20 am PT Q3 Did you learn any specifics about the region or the winery? Do tell! #WorldWineTravel
8:30 am PT Q4 Did you do a pairing? Time to make us all drool with some photos! #WorldWineTravel
8:35 am PT Q5 Was your wine a screw cap? So many wines from Australia are. Did it affect how you thought of the wine or how it tasted? (time for some sciency discussion on Stelvin screw caps!) #WorldWineTravel
8:40 am PT Q6 Let’s talk availability. I find it often very difficult to find Australian wines from smaller producers. It is across the globe from those of us in the US. Do you have ideas on how these could be made more accessible in our market? #WorldWineTravel
8:50 am PT Time for parting thoughts on Australian wines as we move to the sparkling wines of Tasmania next month then on to New Zealand! Oh, and share a link to your article! #WorldWineTravel
8:55 am PT Let’s give a shoutout to all the participating writers! @foodwineclick @WendyKlik @sommstable @tsteffes @ArtPredator @Crushgrapechron #WorldWineTravel
9am PT Thanks for joining us with #WorldWineTravel! Next month we will be led by Deanna of @Wineivore and we will discuss Sparkling wines of Tasmania. Join us for our Twitter chat on August 27th!