Somebody’s got a sense of humor down there in Arizona’s Verde Valley. It’s winemaker Maynard James Keenan, who named his vineyard Merkin Vineyards and his most delicious-tasting wine Chupacabra.
For those of you who might have missed the 4:15 Clue Train to Dysphemism, Arizona, a merkin is a pubic wig, typically worn in the European middle ages, legend has it, either because rampant pubic lice infestation would make prostitutes’ hair fall out or because prostitutes would actually shave, sort of, like, as prophylaxis against said pubic lice infestation, and then strap on a merkin because who would want to get with a totally hairless lady of the evening? That would be, like, weird or something. Now people wear them at Burning Man, often pink and sometimes with zebra stripes. They also name their vineyards after them, which is what Maynard James Keenan did, while naming his winery Caduceus Cellars, after one of the symbols of the Greek god Hermes that is also associated with the medical profession.
The chupacabra, of course, is a species of cryptocanine that may or may not exist but either way looks pretty tasty. Mmmmm. Especially to accompany a fine risotto with shaved truffles and toasted Bigfoot nads–
But wait, is that Maynard James Keenan from Tool? Way to know your rock and roll bands, Lester Bangs! Yes, it is! That’s Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle, who apparently knows both his cryptozoology and his pubic wigs. And that’s not all he knows! Like Keith Richards, he’s apparently deeply spiritual, writing on the Caduceus Cellars website following the naming of his cabernet Nagual del Judith after his late mother:
I am standing on a metaphorical plateau. The view from here suggests that I/we still have many mountains to negotiate. It has already been a long journey. But the successes and failures have been in balance. Which would suggest that I/we have chosen the correct path. I hold in my hands the evidence to support this statement . . . With tears in my eyes, I present to you the very first 100 percent Arizona Caduceus wine. Nagual del Judith, named after my late mother, Judith Marie, whose ashes are spread across this Northern Arizona vineyard. These vines and wines are her resurrection and her wings.
Nope, you didn’t misread that; he sprinkled his mother’s ashes over his vineyard, and you can buy a little piece of her in the form of Nagual del Judith.
However, that one’s not named after a hairless canine that sucks the blood out of goats in Puerto Rico, so if you don’t think it’s punk rock enough…well, go make your own damn wine.