"THIS VODKA IS WATER!!!" shouts the quite unkempt looking grumpy gray haired man as he slams down a open, half drank 750ml bottle of some of the most god awful vodka on the planet.
Old Drunk: "This...vodka...is...water. I just bought it & it's nothing but WATER!"
I look down at the bottle & it's kind of dirty. Then I notice the price tag. Hmmmm.
Me: "Sir, I'm very sorry but I can't refund or take back this bottle because it's open."
OD: "You damn well better! I come in here all the time & this is not my fault! I want to talk to the manager!"
By now he is causing a scene & acting belligerent.
Me: "I'm the manager."
Old drunk shuffles down to one of my co-workers & starts his rant all over again.
OD: "blarg blarg blarg blarg blarg"
Me: "Alright sir that's enough. First of all you are behaving disrespectfully. Second, this bottle is old & not even ours. We don't use price tags anymore & when we did we used completely different sized price tags with a completely different font."
OD: "THAT'S BULLSHIT! I.."
Me: "That's it, I've had enough. You are going to leave my store right now!"
He walks out the door & then comes back in. I come around from behind the counter, walk towards him in a very strong way & say "Go, now. You are going to leave right now."
That was that. So I thought.....
This jerk has the nerve to come back in to the store & complain about ME to my boss. Unbelievable. Thankfully, I have a cool boss who totally understands that I never act unprofessionally & therefore he knew this guy was full of crap.
This nasty, mean woman came into the store today & I could immediately tell by the look on her face that she wanted to pick a fight.
Unfriendly Nasty Woman: "Do you have La Sierra jug wine from Argentina? I used to get it at (name of other store) & they stopped carrying it so I decided to try here." She was wearing a stink face like she just smelled some putrid odor.
Me, in my normal chipper friendly voice: "I'm sorry ma'am but we've never carried that product. Perhaps the distributor has dropped that product."
Nasty Woman: "Well just buy it from someone else then!"
Me: "I'm terribly sorry but unfortunately we can only buy from the distributors in our zone."
Nasty Woman: "*Grumble*! I don't know how you people expect us to not vote for wine in grocery stores if you don't stock the damn products I'm looking for! I'm from California & I'm sick of not getting what I want!"
Me: "Well unfortunately we have no control over what they choose to represent or not."
NW: "That's ridiculous! I'm from California! Why is it like this? How can I get anything here?....." and she trails off as she heads for the door.
Me: "Why is it always someone from California that gets so upset? You know what? Washington State makes better wine than California does!"
NW, from the door: "I would agree with you in some cases, I'm from Washington too."
Me: "Well then, you know don't you?"
Wait..you're from California or from Washington? Which one is it woman? How exactly can you be from two places at once huh? Having lived in different places is one thing but BEING from someplace is quite different.
What I really wanted to say to this awful person is "look you mean, ugly, no personality having self-entitled haint I'm sorry I don't have your plonk. I'm sure some other terrible beverage that passes for wine will do you just fine. And just because you're from California doesn't mean you have the right to throw some awful attitude around. If you're so miserable in Memphis than why don't you just get the hell out of my city? And really? You are so anti-small business that you would side with large corporations? You'd rather you're money go to other cities besides the one you live in? Nice, real nice.
But I didn't. You know? Because I am a nice person who gives good customer service. However, I can only take so much. I really hope that this person opens up an independent business, preferably retail, so she can get a reality check. It's not fun dealing with people like this..um, person.
I've booked a trip back to Oregon (oh how I miss it so) for July. I plan on visiting a few wineries & vineyards as well as doing a bit of relaxing. Business mixed with pleasure. Anyone have any recommendations? I'm definitely planning on visiting Archery-Summit & Cooper Mountain. Where else? Where should I eat? I've been to a few places but there are so many more to explore.
So the parental units came into town recently & we had a rockin good time as always.
On Thursday night we went to the wine dinner at Restaurant Iris with Cooper Mountain Vineyards. Since no one from the winery was able to attend I led the tasting & discussed the wines. We Skype'd in with Dr Robert Gross, owner, founder & original winemaker at Cooper Mountain. It was very cool to virtually interact with such a talented & passionate individual who is cerebral as well as artistic & holistic in his approach to winemaking & wine in general. I thought it was so very interesting to see this man who from the outside you wouldn't expect to be a believer in biodynamic farming. Yet that is exactly what is happening in Oregon. Dr Gross understood long ago that we have to be more responsible in our agriculture. Thats exactly what Cooper Mountain is doing & they are producing some truly spectacular wines that way.
Our amuse bouche was a crab ravigote on crostini paired with a brightly sweet bellini. As the guests arrived I could tell we were all super excited & in the mood to have a good time. As usual, my Mother & Father made friends with everyone there because they are the coolest & nicest people on the planet.
We sat down for our first course & were poured the 2008 Pinot Gris Reserve. I fell in love with Cooper Mountain over their tocai friulano but this pinot gris has quickly become my favorite white wine. It has notes of pear, melon, slate & a moderately luscious texture. Just enough weight to hold up against the melt in your mouth creamy fried oysters that the incomparable Chef Kelly English put out. As soon as our server, Rickie, put down our plates I nearly hit the roof. With Gulf seafood endangered due to the oil spill I was glad to know that I was getting to taste these oysters perhaps one last time. Speaking of our server, she was flawless in her ability to gauge what we needed & described the food expertly.
Next course was a triple creme brie with house smoked salmon "grilled cheese" & olive tapenade paired with the 2008 Chardonnay Reserve. The Meursault-like quality of the chard paired beautifully with the salmon & it's acidity cut right through the cheese. Perfect pairing.
As I made my way around the different dining rooms I could see the smiles on people's faces, hear the "mmmm's" & overheard some fantastic comments about the wine & food.
The main course arrived & we were all salivating. Braised Wagyu beef shortribs over mache choux paired with 2007 5 Elements Series Mountain Terroir Pinot Noir. Oh...my....god. The earthiness, hints of truffle & mushroom & acidity of the pinot were absolutely amazing when paired with the luscious toothsomeness of the meat. Heaven. Pure heaven.
Our final dish of the night was a creamy, rich & super delicious mousse au chocolat with balsamic strawberries paired with the 2008 Cooper Hill Pinot Noir. The bright elegant acidity cut through the richness of the mousse like a laser. The fresh tart cherry note on the palate matched very well with the balsamic strawberries. Absolutely delicious.
My parents were in heaven. Each course & each wine just lit them up like christmas trees. I was so happy that I was able to share this with them.
It's getting hot here in Memphis....really hot & humid already & nothing quenches my thirst quite like a glass of gruner veltliner. Recently I've been enjoying Hugl Gruner Veltliner 2007 ($13.99 per liter) while I'm trying not to sweat to death. It's crisp, bright & very refreshing. My favorite part my just be the fact that it comes in a liter bottle & not a 750ml. That's pretty cool.
Keep your eyes peeled to Brooks Museum for an exciting movie series. Yours truly will be leading a pre-film wine tasting before three very cool wine movies at the awesome Brooks Museum this summer. Perhaps this movie might play....
Our friends Lance & Fiona decided it was high time we convened at their house & pop some bottles. Sure, twist my arm!
The last time they were over at our house they brought a 1.5 liter of Chateau Pichon-Lalande 1971. We ended up not opening it that night.....don't ask me why.
This night they promised to pop it & I was positively salivating over it. Unfortunately Richie & Meagan were caught in a horrible storm & stuck in another town. Elizabeth had family obligations so she couldn't join us either. Oh well, more for the rest of us.
I brought a Brogan Cellars Dry Creek Syrah 2003 Tedeschi Vineyard & a Novy Family Pinot Meunier 2007 Van Der Kamp Vineyard. The Brogan was a score from the Brooks Uncorked silent auction a few weeks ago. Brogan's owner & winemaker is Margaret Wieranga, daughter of Burt Williams of the famed Williams Selyem. Tasting her wine made me think about how jealous her father must be. This syrah was deep, dark, luscious & brimming with smoky spice & gripping texture.
The Novy had this unique pomegranate like quality. It was tart but not overly so, the acidity was bright & fresh. The finish was earthy & had this bittersweet fennel note to it that was so very savory & just damn cool.
On to the '71.....
Lance was a bit worried that perhaps it was over the hill or even worse, vinegar. I encouraged him to just open the thing & lets try it & see! We worked the cork out very tenderly & poured some glasses. The color didn't suggest a wine of this age, it definitely didn't look nearly 40 years old. The nose had gorgeous aromas of leather, a bit of sweat, old barn, clove & cinnamon & dried berries. Wow, there is just nothing like a well made wine with some serious age on it.
My friend Darlene had been wanting to have Kelly & I over for dinner for quite some time now. Schedules just kept getting in the way unfortunately. Darlene, her husband Jack, Bette & her husband Henry & myself all share an intense passion for Washington State wines. Darlene turned me on to Five Star Cellars in Walla Walla. Their distinctive, gripping & delicious cabernet sauvignon got my juices flowing & made me want to get out to Washington immediately. After coordinating a date for dinner the time was finally upon us. Kelly & I arrived at Darlene's gorgeous Evergreen District home & settled in with a glass of August Briggs Pinot Meunier. it was brimming with pomegranate & spice. So good! Next up was Basel Cellars Merriment. Here was my love. The aroma of a gorgeous Washington State Bordeaux blend is unmistakable. There is something about that dark, sensual core of musky fruit & earth that grabs ahold of me.
We sat down to a lovely dinner of roasted beef tenderloin, herbed potatoes & roasted vegetables. A simply prepared meal is sometimes the best. Darlene opened a Cougar Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 to pair with the beef. This stunning bottle of wine is a perfect example of the age-ability of WA State wines. It was luscious, round, gripping, the tannins had integrated into the voluptuous body so seamlessly. I just kept going back to the glass & found something new each time. I was in love.