Sunday, May 25, 2008


I recently received an email out of the blue from my old friend Frank. We used to hang out together in high school & college but have lost touch since. It was incredible to reconnect with a friend I didn't realize I missed until we reconnected. He is doing well, traveling a lot for work, I'm doing well, pursuing my passion. Its amazing how things change. We never thought we would end up doing what we are doing. Which goes to show that you can't ever predict the future. It makes me think of the wines I've drunk that I haven't thought about in years. Perrier Jouet Gran Blason Rose at the Soho Grand in New York with Kelly a few years ago. Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo 2005 at Avec in Chicago last year. 1986 Dom Perignon at la casa de Richie & Meagan for her 21st birthday last year....& most recently Stadt Krems Sandgrube Gruner Veltliner 2006. The Sandgrube vineyard was completely destroyed by hail last year & had to be replanted. Thinking of those amazing old vines just brings me to tears. What a loss. From the destruction a new vineyard will rise to continue the legacy, but nothing can replicate the beauty of those old vines. Much like old friendships can never be the same, yet they become something new.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Rose Time!

I'm not much of a warm weather person. At this time of year the only things to look forward to are backyard barbecues & rose wine. Pink wine says "Summer" to me & I'm so glad to see that its catching on in Memphis. This city's oppressive heat & humidity are the perfect foils for a good rose. Most of them aren't that expensive at all which makes it even more enjoyable. Recently, I enjoyed a few roses that were quite tasty.

Weininger Rose de Pinot 2007 Vienna, Austria $18.99 was very pale in color, almost a fleshtone. The aromas gave light floral notes, with hints of strawberry. On the palate were flavors of cherry & citrus with mineral notes & a fresh acidity.

Masseri Pisari Negroamaro Rosato 2007 Italy $17.99. It displayed a deep, dark color for a rose with fuller aromas of berry & hints of spice on the nose. The palate was round but not too heavy to still be refreshing. Flavors of juicy cranberry, strawberry & melon came through & finished dry & bright.

Elk Cove Pinot Noir Rose 2007 Willamette Valley, Oregon $16.99. This wine had a nice salmon color to it & aromas of cherry, hints of clove & raspberry. The palate had a sweetness in the mid-palate that finished dry with bright, mouthwatering acidity.

It's time to drink pink!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Kelly & I had a delicious dinner with our good friend Jennifer this past Sunday at Bari. Chef Jason Severs got his hands on some fresh zucchini flowers, which I just HAD to have. Chef Severs batter dipped & fried the delicate blossoms to a crispy texture. The delicate sweetness of the blossom was still very bright & wasn't hidden by the batter. Delicious. We also shared the eggplant & pecorino fritters, which have been dubbed "crack balls" due to their overwhelming addictiveness. The fritters are crisp outside & tender on the inside with a smoky sweetness that is pierced by the savory-saltiness of the pecorino. Next up was the Branzino, a whole bass stuffed fennel & orange. The bass was roasted to perfection with a crispy skin, tender & juicy flesh that was perfumed with orange & sweet, licoricey fennel. I hungrily eviscerated the fish & ate everything but the eyes! I always have had a delightful meal at Bari & can't wait for my next meal. Tonight, Bari is hosting a wine & cheese tasting with Elizabeth Mall of Delta Wholesale. Cost to attend is $30/person.

Bari Ristorante e Enoteca

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What a book!

Kelly always gets on to me about not reading anymore. I used to devour books (I was a Creative Writing major in college after all, SIU!) However, in the past few years I haven't read much & what I have read has been wine related. Jay McInerney's Bacchus & Me & Hedonist in the Cellar along with some Jancis Robinson books & The Accidental Connoisseur by Lawrence Osborne. My favorite has been My Life In France by Julia Child. It enraptured me from the start & I think I read it in about 3 days! Yesterday I went to the bookstore & picked up Untrodden Grapes by Ralph Steadman & Alice Waters & Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee (born & raised in Memphis!) This book is entrancing. It puts me right in the middle of it all, peering into the kitchen, knee deep in the chaos of what Chez Panisse was. But most of all, it makes me want to cook. It makes me want to drive to Kentucky to forage for fresh Morels, bring them back & cook them up & pop open a good bottle of pinot noir. That is the power of book, when it makes you want to feed someone you love.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Washington State, the next frontier

Over the past few years I've been lucky enough to experience some truly great Washington State wines. I've delighted in wines from K Vintners, Cayuse, Betz & Boudreux. Recently, Joe's Wines, 1681 Poplar, has brought in a number of outstanding labels from Washington; L'Ecole no. 41, River Aerie, Bunnell Family, Northstar, Andrew Will (including the 94 pt Wine Spectator Champoux Vineyard 2005), Matthews & Spring Valley.

Washington is producing some of the best syrahs & THE best merlots in the U.S. if not the world. River Aerie is even growing malbec & barbera, both are unique & outstanding in their own ways.

I highly recommend that you start sampling what the vines of Washington have to offer.

Chicago, A River of Wine

I just got back from the Vin diVino Imports trade tasting in Chicago where I had the pleasure of sampling some 150 different wines. That seems like a lot but when compared with how many wines were shown, it is a drop in the bucket. Yet again, the Austrian wines were the standouts offering delightfully crisp whites to full bodied whites to spicy, racy reds & unctuously sensual dessert wines. Gerhard Kracher was in the house, representing his wines & those of his recently deceased father.

I'll report more fully at a later time.