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The Long Dark Cured Leather


PINOT NOIR: Attractive Pinot Noir aromas of wild cherry, mocha, sweet cured leather, sweet earth and subtle hints of truffle tease the senses. Soft tannins and juicy acidity coat the pallet with a long, lingering finish. Flavors of black cherry, sweet pipe tobacco and baking spice. Complex with just the right amount of earthy pinot "funk" adds complexity and intrigue.




the long dark cured leather



To ensure a long-lasting softness of the leather, it was traditionally stored in a special tent over wood smoke, which gave the skin a dark brown tone and also made it waterproof, thus achieving better protection. Without this process, the leather turns out to be whitish and water-sensitive.


Smoking: By smoking, the Indians of North America prevented the leather from becoming hard as a result of moisture. Smoking waterproofs the surface. Due to the darker colour of the smoke, the leather does not look so dirty. This treatment allows the leather to be washed if needed.


While chromium or chrome-tanned leather is cheaper to produce, and the colors stay constant for longer, vegetable-tanned leather has the longevity and beauty only an artisanally-crafted product can sustain.


For items made from vegetable tanned leather include saddles, holsters, belts, wallets, journal covers, bags, shoes, and purses, this means they will become even more comfortable the longer you use them. The edges of vegetable-tanned leathers are burnished or turned, meaning this leather is created to last for decades. Usually, this kind of leather is stiff in the beginning but gets more supple with time and use.


When you get your brand new undyed vegetable-tanned leather good, it looks a natural color. The hide is effectively naked and so will age and darken with the sun just like your own skin. Aging will continue to darken your leather. Normal wear will darken the leather as air, light, the oils of your skin, and other environmental factors do their work, eventually developing a rich color and patina. Sun exposure, daily handling, water, and conditioning give natural vegetable tanned leather a rustic look over time. Learn how to condition leather here.


Offering power and a deep, penetrating style, the 2015 Barolo Prapò is a wine with a steady center of gravity. That tight inner core of fruit is typical of this vineyard site and of the Serralunga d'Alba subzone in general. Notes of dark fruit and dried blackberry are followed by spice, cured leather and dark licorice. This is the Barolo you want for a grilled T-bone steak. (ML) (6/2019)


Black-tanned or iron-tanned skins are obtained by applying iron-rich mud or water, or a solution made from boiling nails, to semi-tanned skins. This produces a skin of a dark-brown colour. Objects made of black-tanned skins include pouches (Figure 9) and moccasins. Black rot is a form of severe chemical deterioration due to the long-term action of these iron salts present within the skin; the skin then becomes weak and brittle.


Beads, tinklers, sequins, feathers, quills and other decorative elements often attached to skin and leather objects may be at risk of loss during handling and moving because the thread or other means of attachment may now be weak or broken (Figure 19). If glass beads or metal tinklers are corroding, the thread or sinew that is carrying them may be attacked by the degradation products and thus become weak. Also, objects with fringes and thongs may have become worn, stretched or damaged and unable to carry their weight. Objects with any such decorations should generally be stored in boxes or trays to capture any loose elements. To prevent detachments, decorative components should be examined to assess if they need to be locally secured; for example, if they need to be loosely bound with cloth tape. For more information on the care of objects decorated with glass beads, consult CCI Note 6/4 Care of Objects Decorated with Glass Beads.


A common question is whether leather dressings or other oil-based formulas should be applied to restore flexibility to a stiff vegetable-tanned leather. The answer is no. Museum objects are usually not flexed or used to the extent that non-museum pieces are and so do not require the additional flexibility that such oiling imparts. These dressings can be harmful because, in time, oils oxidize and may produce deteriorative effects within the skin structure, such as further stiffening and darkening. Oils and dressings can also lead to sticky surfaces that attract dust and soiling, and to dehydration within the material. An excellent discussion on leather dressings can be found in Leather Dressing: To Dress Or Not To Dress (PDF format), published by McCrady and Raphael (1993). Saddle soap, which contains oils plus a soap element that is also supposed to clean leather, should not be used for the additional reason that these products are alkaline and harmful to leathers, which are naturally acidic in nature.


Exposures to high light levels, and especially high levels of UV, can cause, over the long term, photochemical degradation to the collagen skin structure. This results in physical weakening and embrittlement of skins and leathers.


In the case of vegetable-tanned leathers, prolonged warm and moist conditions can cause darkening of the surface colour, stiffening and embrittlement, as well as an increase in hydrolytic breakdown (Calnan 1991).


Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute. CCI 124703-0053Figure 36a. Detail of a chest made of wood with painted leather secured with rivets. The chest was on display in a historic house and exposed to indoor dryness during the winter months. During Canadian winters, low RH in heated interiors can reach 5% if humidification is absent. This resulted in splits and tears in the leather, as it was restrained from shrinking.


Darkleaf cloth is a special form of flexible material made by weaving together leaves and thin strips of bark from darkwood trees, then treating the resulting fabric with special alchemical processes. The resulting material is tough as cured hide but much lighter, making it an excellent material from which to create armor. Spell failure chances for armors made from darkleaf cloth decrease by 10% (to a minimum of 5%), maximum Dexterity bonuses increase by 2, and armor check penalties decrease by 3 (to a minimum of 0).


An item made from darkleaf cloth weighs half as much as the same item made from normal cured leather, furs, or hides. Items not primarily constructed of leather, fur, or hide are not meaningfully affected by being partially made of darkleaf cloth. As such padded, leather, studded leather, and hide armor can be made out of darkleaf cloth (although other types of armor made of leather or hide might be possible). Because darkleaf cloth remains flexible, it cannot be used to construct rigid items such as shields or metal armors. Armors fashioned from darkleaf cloth are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.


The properly cured hide of a shark (or ray) is an excellent substitute for leather. Because of its relative rarity, due mostly to the difficulty in obtaining it, shark skin is used primarily as a decorative component of larger pieces, such as lining the grip of a weapon or to make smaller items such as purses. Of course, as a leather substitute it can appear in any item ordinarily made of leather including armor and saddles. If used on the handle of a weapon, disarm combat maneuvers made against such items suffer a -2 circumstance penalty. Other items crafted of shark skin generally grant the wearer a +2 circumstance bonus to skill checks involving the use of these items. For example, gloves made of shark skin would grant the wearer a +2 circumstance bonus to Acrobatics and Climb checks. A saddle crafted of or lined with shark skin would grant a rider a +2 circumstance bonus to Ride checks made to remain in the saddle. The exact nature and extend of these bonuses is up to the GMs discretion but generally should not exceed +2 and should not affect more than one or two types of skills.


Strangely, umbrite is a relatively new discovery, having first been written about within the last 200 years. When the first reports of this material were made, they were dismissed as hallucinations produced by the subterranean gases. This may be one reason umbrite has remained unknown for so long. Umbrite is only found during mining operations for other ores or rare gems, and even more curiously, only in the deepest and darkest locales where few civilized folk venture. One drow archmage has theorized that umbrite may well be a new material. Its appearance and location may be linked with the little-known fact that it only appears near large concentrations of the strange radiations that are said to power many of the enchantments of the drow. Other learned folk have speculated that umbrite might be seepage from the plane of shadow. Many agree with this theory, since umbrite is only found in places of deepest darkness.


The 2011 Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta is a darkly concentrated but carefully balanced expression that only the most expert vintner can pull off with success. Consider that the dry extract is a massive 48 grams per liter. In fact, there is some minor precipitation of color matter even at this relatively young age. This wine was aged in new oak for two years (instead of the standard three years) with four years bottle (instead of three). That extra year in glass served to help the wine integrate and to reduce micro-oxygenation. The bouquet is bright and fragrant with floral notes of rose and violet that are rare to find in Valpolicella. There are faint tertiary notes as well that add to the complexity. You will find cured leather and savory spice. The finish offers enough acidity to refresh the palate, following that considerable density and thickness. (ML) (5/2017)


Mulled cherry, spice box, dried rose and leather notes are an aromatic entry to this rich and grippy Valpolicella. It's full-bodied, silky on the palate, with a long, saturated finish of fruit, tarry smoke and balsamico notes. Drink now through 2028. (AN, Web-2017) (2/2018)


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