Representing wine that night would be Billy Smith's favorite Champagnes, all made in the biologically vigorous natural style. Speaking for tea would be Two Dog's pu'er. Pu'er, which is pressed into frisbee-like "cakes" that get better and more otherworldly with age, is like the Bordeaux of China. Old cakes from methuselah trees sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. "I went off the deep end for pu'er because it had so much complexity and intrigue," Two Dog explained. "So many variables to try to understand.""Just like Champagne," Peter Liem mused, as Billy poured a Charles Dufour Champagne with bubbles as fine as mist. A 1990s Adina Howard tune wafted in the background. Billy took us through something crazy and old from Andre Beaufort, then a blast of golden winter from Michel Fallon that had even Peter Liem, who friggin lives in Champagne, scribbling like a monk. They seemed rich and deep and a little bit wistful, as good Champagne always does. When the last bottle was unveiled, a Jacques Selosse of which there were something like zero bottles ever produced, I heard somebody weeping softly."I find a certain kind of energy in natural wines like these," Billy said. "Call it what you want. Purity. Rusticity. There's something about these wines that translates as life." Two Dog nodded. "Raw pu'er tea is exactly like that. There are certain teas where you take one sip and you're like, 'Yeah, I'm in for whatever.' And there are others where you take a sip and you're like, 'Fuck this.'"
"There's something about the people these two drinks attract."
Two Dog brewed a new tea called The Treachery of Storytelling, Part 2. It's his comment on the rampant fraud in the pu'er industry, which sells far more "old arbor" pu'er than could possibly exist. In a nod to Magritte, the wrapper says THIS IS NOT OLD ARBOR PU'ER. But I suspect it is. He refuses to disclose the sources of the tea, to sell samples, or even to include tasting notes. You're either in or your not. It costs $838 per pound.Treachery Pt. 2 was bitter and strange. "To me, there's a lift right here," said Two Dog, running his finger up his forehead. "I feel it in my internal organs." But Alice Feiring was like, Fuck this. "I can't get this one down," she said. "The fragrance is so foreign. It tastes like artichoke water. Soapy artichoke water."
"I can't get this one down," she said. "The fragrance is so foreign. It tastes like artichoke water. Soapy artichoke water."