Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fuedi Di San Gregorio

The Blue Fish Restaurant, located at 2149 Young Avenue 901.725.0230, will be hosting Robert Shea of Fuedi di San Gregorio winery in Italy from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Wednesday July 26. Mr. Shea is the National Sales Director for this highly acclaimed Italian winery. The Blue Fish will be serving their regular menu for dinner and featuring these wines by the bottle and by the glass. Fuedi di San Gregorio is well known for its vineyard tactics such as high density planting and strict pruning.

I've had the opportunity to taste the Fiano, Falanghina and Aglianico and all were fabulous. The Fiano exhibits a woodsy earthy character that hits the top of your palate. The Falanghina is a crisp bright wine that follows through with good body and mouthfeel. The Aglianico is an old world wonder, big juicy red with dark red fruits and a hint of soil. The whole line is worth a try, I highly suggest making reservations for this. Call 901.725.0230 for reservations, and visit www.thebluefishmemphis.com for further information on the menu.

Here is what James Suckling of Wine Spectator had to say about the Taurasi Riserva 2001:

Daily Wine Picks
July 19, 2006

FEUDI DI SAN GREGORIO Taurasi Piano di Montevergine Riserva2001 (90 points)

Ripe currant, with violets, lots of oak and a hint of charred meat. Full-bodied, with firm, velvety tannins and a long, oaky finish. Silky and fine. Best after 2007. 1,600 cases made.

--James Suckling

Monday, July 24, 2006

Arugula! For the first time.

I went to the Farmer's Market at Central Station downtown this past Saturday to find some inspiration for Sunday's Spanish dinner. I came upon an organic stand. The guy behind the stand said to me "hey, weren't you here a few weeks ago looking for arugula?" I couldn't believe he remembered me! He gave me a taste of the arugula that he said was harvested at 4am that morning. Wow! It's as if I never had arugula ever in my life! This little green was so spicy and pungent, it was amazing! I purchased a clamshell of the greens, and thanked him for remembering me. Last night I made a salad with the spicy arugula, heirloom tomatoes, shallots, manchego cheese, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and finished with some Maldon sea salt (Kelly's fave). It paired wonderfully with a Ventana single vineyard Riesling from Monterey.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Tuesday night Kelly and I met up at Napa Cafe to have some wine. I scanned the list and almost fell out of my chair when I saw they had Chateau Musar 1988....FOR $35!!!! I couldn't believe it. We ordered a bottle and asked them to decant it (which they were very happy to do).

It was transfixing. When I tasted the wine I tasted the vineyard. I tasted the soil the vines grew out of, the air that caressed the grapes, and the sunlight that warmed them. The wine nearly brought tears to my eyes. So rarely do I have the pleasure of enjoying a mature and affordable wine at a restaurant. We so often are subjected to current release wines that may or may not be ready to drink. This was truly special, a gift.

That wine is the perfect example of an establishment that truly cares. Go now to Napa Cafe, have a bottle of Musar (or another one from their INCREDIBLE selection), some great food, and support one of the few restaurants in town that is as passionate about wine as they are about customer service. Independent restaurants always seem to get it right. The chains could care less if you're even there, but the Mom and Pops welcome you.

By the way, Lulu Grille (also in East Memphis) is changing their wine list after many years. Stay tuned with details on that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Reaching into the Cellar

Kari and Adrian invited Kelly and I over for dinner the other night so I decided to take some "looking at wine". What is "looking at wine"? Well, Kelly always gets mad at me because he'll come home and ask "do we have any wine to drink?" To which I'll reply "no". He then will proceed into the kitchen where he'll open the wine fridge and gaze at the 40 some odd bottles slumbering on their sides. "What is this then?" he'll ask, "looking at wine? We don't have any drinking wine?" Funny.

So anyway, I decided to reach into my collection and take something nice over. I decided upon a bottle of Panther Creek Winemaker's Cuvee 2000 Pinot Noir. Kari loves Pinot so I thought this might be a good choice.

We started with New Age White over ice with a twist of lime. This fabulous aperitif is a semi-sparkling white wine from Argentina. It is delicious and totally gets the palate ready for food.

Adrian plated up the food which was a Southwestern smoked chicken grilled with avocado, pico de gallo and mozzarella served with spiced rice. Fantastic! I popped open the Panther Creek. It was incredible!!! The Pinot had matured into a subtle, elegant, earthy, dried cherry, hints of tea, glass full of beauty. It's sad to think that I can't get anymore of it. The cuisine was lightly spiced so it didn't overpower the wine at all.

Thanks Kari and Adrian!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I've been thinking about Spain a lot lately. And that's saying something because I already think about that country at least once a day. Spanish wine, food, architecture, etc. Thoughts have been constantly with me. Memories of my beautiful summer in Barcelona are resurfacing at a feverish pace. But they are starting to become fuzzy. I need to return to plug back in to my heritage and culture. I need to walk the streets and alleys of Sevilla, drink the cheapest (and best tasting!) carafe of red wine in the tiny little tapas bars in Barcelona, gorge myself on the fresh baby octopus and chorizo piled on plates on the bartop at those tapas bars.......*sigh*.

That country is calling to me.

I want my mother to take me to the places she loved so much as a child. I want to take my father to places I fell in love with while I was there. I want to walk through my aunt's apartment again and gaze out the windows at the street below.

Sometimes when I taste something in a wine or a flavor in a dish, flashes of memories return to me. Sometimes it is the interior of a cathedral in Galicia or the courtyard in the back of Tia Raquel's apartment. Sometimes it's the smell of the dust rising up from the bullring, or the scent of the trees in the hills above Barcelona.

I'll get back there again. For now, I must satisfy that pulling feeling with good Spanish wine, paella and dreams.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Art out of Wine

The conceptual artist Anya Gallacio is elevating Zinfandel to art. Anya, whose previous installations include 10,000 rose petals arranged on a gallery floor and left to shrivel, is turning her sights on the sense of place. That place being Sonoma County, her palette consisting of different Zinfandel blocks from around the county. Her winemaking collaborator in this? The world renowned Zelma Long and Barbara Lindblom. Read about it in last Sunday's New York Times. If you don't get the Times you can read it online at nytimes.com. I've always felt that wine is art. No one can dissuade me from believing I can "feel, smell and taste" the artisanal soul that goes into a bottle of wine. Yes, I know that a lot of wine out there is industrial grade plonk, but from time to time I come across a wine that makes me see and feel all those things. And I cherish every moment.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Passion or Affliction?

I can't help it. I get excited, near frenzy, when drinking wine and discussing wine. It might seem as if I've lost myself in it, but I'd rather like to think that I've found myself. Nothing for me is more exciting than tasting wine and deciphering every single nuance and layer. A truly exceptional wine can be haunting. The flavors, aromas and textures adhering to every crevice of my body. When a wine takes hold of me it never lets go. I taste many wines on a regular basis, I'm not talking about those typical wines. Once in a while, a wine will come along and catch me off guard, slipping inside my tongue and my soul. Those are the wines I never forget.

Since relinquishing myself to my passion for wine, I never once have had a second thought about pursuing another career path. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be any good at (much less anywhere near as passionate about) doing anything else. So why do anything else?

Who Would've thought?

I am a HUGE fan of Coturri Winery in Sonoma. It's a divisive winery that you either fanatically love or can't stand. They make huge, powerful wines that are not for the faint of heart. These wines can handle a lot. Case in point . . .

Recently, Megan was sitting on my back porch munching on some Pop Rocks while Richie and I were sipping on some Coturri 2004 Merlot Maclise Vineyard. This massive Merlot spewed forth aromas of blackberry jam (and some crayon according to my friend Amy, good nose!). The alcohol was a little high (15.7%!) but didn't seem hot. We were raving about how over the top it was so Megan decided to see how it did up against Pop Rocks. Much to everyone's surprise, the wine held it's own! Which goes to show you that you'll never know when or where you might find a good pairing.