Friday, December 21, 2007

The Culture of Wine & Food

Certain consultants in the city of Memphis are striving to make this city desirable for the college educated 24-35 yr olds. Thriving cultural activities is the major driving factor when these individuals are deciding what city to settle in. Doesn't wine & food qualify as culture? Look at the amount of independently owned restaurants here. That says volumes about how important, dare I say sacred?, food is to our city. Wine is quickly becoming that way too. Look at the statistics. The U.S. is poised to overtake Italy in total yearly wine consumption. Italy! And this small southern city is drinking its fair share! It's not only the upper crust either. Everyone is drinking wine, and getting more curious about it. Wine drinkers are getting younger and younger. 21 & 22 yr olds are buying Sicilian nero d'avolas, Spanish tempranillos & Oregon pinot noirs. Its very exciting! But the previously mentioned consultants aren't factoring in the thirst for wine or the need for wine professionalism when looking at what draws people to Memphis. I hear rumblings of a Memphis Food & Wine Experience. The forward thinkers need to get behind that immediately. That event could bring big money, huge exposure & a better image for Memphis.

Bubble Time!

Check out my latest article here. The only thing I love more than writing about Champagne & sparkling wine is drinking it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Noble Rot From A Noble Man

Alois Kracher has passed away. I know I'm a little late in reporting this, but posting about death just seems very difficult to do. I was never able to meet Mr. Kracher, but I did meet his son Gerhard last year in Chicago at VinDiVino's annual trade tasting. Gerhard was so full of life & so overwhelmingly friendly. I can't help but think that he got that from his father. Seth Allen of VinDiVino Imports had this to say about Kracher "The loss of a close friend is tragic, but saying good bye to Luis Kracher renders me senseless". He continues on to say "Much will be written, and indeed, just hours after Luis left us, much has already been written about the greatness of his wines, about their originality, the singularity of their expression, and about how they cast a wave of adolescent vitality upon the reticent and formal domain of "world class" wine. To these heartfelt expressions of appreciation and even idolatry I can only say that I also stand in the ovation, one more hedonist glowing and sated, just another fan."

His wines are so haunting, they can rattle you to your very core. The sheer power of them are simply astonishing. I feel sorry for those who think that sweet wines are too simple, too adolescent. But honestly, to hell with them. There is more for me. Everyone owes it to this great man, & great winemaker, & to themselves, to taste the beauty he gave us. May his soul rest in peace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rose Wine For Winter Time

I know. It's winter time, time to put away the rose. But here in Memphis, it was actually 75 degrees yesterday. Yeah, no such thing as global warming??? Anyway, Kelly and I had our friend Mezmary over for drinks and some television watching the other night. I popped open one of my last bottles of Robert Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2006. It had a lovely pale salmon, onion skin color. So delicate and pretty. On the nose were classic pinot noir aromas of cherry, earth & minerals. That delicate hue of pink hid a supple, mouthfilling wine. It was elegantly rich, with ripe black cherry, bright acidity & a hint of tea. The acid was nice and refreshing. Everything about this wine was beautiful. It simply is the best rose I've ever had. I wish I had some olives and dried meats to go with it!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Aussie wines, yet another disappointment

Last night, in celebration of Kelly successfully defending his Master's thesis, I prepared a nice meal. I seared some beautiful strip loins of beef in butter & olive oil, set those aside and began work on the sauce. I sauteed baby portabello mushrooms in the same pan I seared the steaks in with sherry, red wine, beef stock, onions & garlic. After reducing that for a bit I stirred in butter, poured that on a rectangle serving dish and placed slices of the rare steak over the sauce. On the side I served roasted garlic mashed potatoes & baked broccoli. De-licious!

So I wanted a bold red wine to pair up with the steak & sauce. I pulled out a bottle of 2003 Shirvington Shiraz from the McLaren Vale region of Australia.

Very disappointing. It was rich, almost port-like, with heavy tannins, a bitter astringency, no mid-palate, a very odd stewed fennel flavor profile & a finish that left my palate exhausted with alcohol. I almost wanted to get up and brush my teeth after tasting it. 96 points Robert Parker, whatever. Is his palate so jaded that all he can appreciate are overpowering wines that are exhaustive? Even Kelly didn't really care for the wine & he LOVES big, bold, tannic wines.

Oh well, you win some you lose some.