Wines for a taxing Tax Day

Boom Boom! Syrah can help ease the pounding in your head as you work your way through the 105 pages of the Form 1040 instructions. – Photos: Alan Markoff

April 15 is looked upon with dread by Americans because that’s the day most of them – if they’re defined by law as a “United States Person” and earn more than a specified amount – are legally required to file their federal tax return, no matter where they might be living in the world.

Americans living in the Cayman Islands generally are given until June 15 to file their tax returns, but April 15 still brings on the dreaded two-month warning.

Ironically, Tax Day in 2016 has been pushed to April 18 because on April 15, Washington, D.C. will celebrate Emancipation Day, the day President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill ending slavery in that city.

If it were just a matter of completing a simple form and signing your name, Tax Day wouldn’t be so bad. But as any American living in Cayman who isn’t a CPA can attest, filling out a U.S. tax return if you have foreign-earned income is a complicated, convoluted, frustrating, aggravating and, well, taxing experience.

Once you’re finished with your tax return, or maybe even while you’re still working on it, you’ll probably want to enjoy a stiff drink, or just a nice glass of wine or two. If wine is your preference, you’re likely to go for the big reds, rather than the soft whites, and there are several available in Cayman that are appropriately named for the occasion.

The Prisoner Red Blend

The Napa Valley red wine blend called The Prisoner is appropriate for Tax Day drinking because if you fail to file your U.S. federal tax return or do so with creative accounting, you’ll possibly end up in what the name suggests, otherwise known as Club Fed.

If you filled out your tax return yourself, rather than shelling out big bucks to a tax accountant, you likely felt like a prisoner to U.S. bureaucracy. This bold yet smooth and flavorful Napa Valley red blend will help ease your tax burden with a powerful 15.2 percent alcohol-by-volume punch. This is a wine to have with a juicy grilled steak, if you can afford one after seeing how much you owe the U.S. government in taxes.

Boom Boom! Syrah

That boom, booming you’ll hear on Tax Day is the throbbing in your head as it is about to explode in utter frustration while you try to decipher the 105-page instruction booklet for completing the required 1040 form. And by the way, that instruction booklet does not contain the instructions for the ancillary 1040 schedules you’ll also be required to complete. Boom Boom! Syrah from rock ‘n’ roll winemaker Charles Smith in Washington State is an easy-drinking everyday wine that will help ease the pain with its surprising complexity of flavors. Pair this with everything from steak and roast beef to lamb and cheeseburgers and don’t worry if it’s a tax deductible occasion because it retails for under $20.

You can thank your lucky stars, and drink some Lucky Star Pinot Noir, if you end up not owing the IRS any money.
You can thank your lucky stars, and drink some Lucky Star Pinot Noir, if you end up not owing the IRS any money.

Obey Red Blend

The famed American transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau might have encouraged civil disobedience in his essay of that name, but the United States Internal Revenue Service insists that you obey the law – or else. The Napa Valley red wine Obey is a crowd-pleasing blend of Merlot, Petit Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Made by the same producers of the ever-popular 689 wine, this is a silky, fruit-forward wine that has a much-needed post-tax-return 14.5 percent alcohol content kick that will pair well with beef, lamb, burgers and your tears of frustration.


World’s End –

“If Six was Nine” Cabernet Sauvignon

“If Six was Nine” is produced in Napa Valley by famed English winemaker Jonathan Maltus, who is best known for rocking Bordeaux as part of the “garage revolution” in Saint Emilion in the 1990s, and then scoring a 100-point rating for Chateau Teyssier’s flagship wine, Le Dôme. Named after the Jimi Hendrix Experience song with a grammatical error (“was” should be “were”), this wine has Napa Valley power and fruit with Bordeaux finesse. Although Jimi sang, “Now if 6, turned out to be 9,I don’t mind, I don’t mind,” in the song, the IRS would definitely mind if a six on your tax form really turned out to be a nine.

Tax evasion wasn’t one of the 19 crimes that could see a convicted person shipped of to Australia, but it is one that can get you shipped off to Club Fed by the IRS.
Tax evasion wasn’t one of the 19 crimes that could see a convicted person shipped of to Australia, but it is one that can get you shipped off to Club Fed by the IRS.

19 Crimes – Red Blend

The name of this Australian wine refers to the number of offenses someone could commit to receive “punishment by transportation” in Victorian England, whereby convicted criminals were sent to other colonies – like Australia – to serve their sentences. Tax evasion wasn’t one of the 19 crimes – although impersonating an Egyptian was – but had the IRS been around then, it might have been. 19 Crimes is a blend of mostly Syrah (called Shiraz in Australia) with added Grenache and Mourvèdre (called Mataro in Australia). It is an inexpensive, easy-drinking wine with lots of dark fruit flavors and will help you forget the 19 or so crimes you probably committed by inadvertently filling out your tax form incorrectly.

Lucky Star Pinot Noir

You’ve finished your tax return. You’ve subtracted line 74 from line 62 on the 1040 form, and entered into line 78 the “Amount you owe.” If that number is zero, then you can thank your lucky stars and happily drink some Lucky Star Pinot Noir from several cool-climate growing regions in California, including Monterey and Santa Barbara.

If you happen to be non-U.S. person from a country that doesn’t tax its expatriated citizens for their foreign-earned income – which is nearly every other country in the world – then Lucky Star wines are also appropriate for you. Sit back and drink this wine, which has the red fruit and spice flavors for which California Pinot Noirs are known. When dining, enjoy it with the classic Pinot Noir pairings – salmon, pork or chicken, the latter perhaps even with jerk spice – knowing that you have a whole year to recuperate from the Tax Day ordeal with hope that maybe the next U.S. president will have the decency to abolish federal income tax for good.