Saturday, July 30, 2011


Though my Blog title makes you think I am exclusively a wine blog, it's primarily food with some wine thrown in, here and there.  My husband stumbled upon Vine Talk on PBS.  It's hosted by Stanley Tucci, who is a delightful host.  The show moves along quickly enough to gain some knowledge and informative enough to whet your interest in a new wine.  With that I am back on a mission to discover new wines.  I have attended many pairing classes and I want to get better at it so that is another angle I am working on.  Things like, why this sparkling wine tastes so good with this sabayon.  Or why this Fume goes perfectly with this risotto.

We serve nice wines when we entertain and it's amazing how enjoyable it is when no one leaves the table and we just hang out and drink yummy wines.  My fondest memories are on a cold Christmas night, with our dining room fireplace lit, hanging around the table enjoying a red or sparkling wine with a leisurely dessert.  Ok, back to reality, it's 100 degrees and humid out there but you get the picture.

I am a wine lover and have had many opportunities to try more wines than the average bear.  My fist experience was when I was in my early 20's.  I was an assistant manager at a fine dining restaurant at the Tarrytown Hilton.  One of the assistant managers, Steve Lofredo, formerly the owner of Zoe in Soho, was attending the CIA.  I had recently graduated from IUP in Food Service Management and was hungry for information about food and wine and he provided it.  Our wine list contained over 150 selections.  On Friday and Saturday nights, we opened a white and red wine and sold the wines by the glass.  This allowed diners to each have the wine they liked with their meal or to taste a glass before purchasing a full bottle.  That was a rather new idea and it went over well.  The best part was at the end of the evening, the managers divided the open wines into glasses, if only a half of a sip, and we tasted everything we sold that night.  We began working through our wine list and I believe by the time I left there a year later, I tasted about 70 wines.

From there I moved to Atlanta where I continued drinking and recording my feelings on wine.  I ran a high volume breakfast and lunch restaurant in the Atlanta Hilton so wine was not featured and my budget was thin.  Needless to say, the wines I bought fell on the less expensive side of good.

Not to fear though, from there, I moved to SF and began making trips to Napa and Sonoma for tastings especially with out of town guests.  My perfect day began with a tour of a winery, lunch outside on the picnic tables at V. Sattui.  Then a random stop somewhere along the way to finishing up with an outdoor table at Domaine Chandon for some sparking wine.  Back then it was easy enough to learn what conditions produced good wines just by looking out your window.   When a year was good the locals knew it just as too much rain sometimes gave the pickers 24 hours to get the grapes off the vine.  These are the finer details you don't think of when you don't live there.

In recent years I haven't kept good records of what I like.  With the applications for phones available now, I am in the process of recording Vineyards, years, and prices, plus my rating of the wine and what i served it with. This brings me back to the reason I began this post.  The episode of Vine Talk I watched was on Chardonnay's.  My husbands birthday is today so I bought the wine the celebrities thought was the best of the 6 they tasted. Flowers priced at $34.99 at Acquistapace's, which by the way is the best place on the northshore to buy wines, followed by Rouse's down by the lake.  I'll let you know what we think!!!

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