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April 13, 2011

The President Drinks Classy California Wine

Obama Wine312 Dining Diva just let us know that President Obama will dine at MK when he returns to Chicago on Thursday to kick off his re-election campaign. No surprise there. The president has always been a bit of a foodie, frequenting MK, Spiaggia, and Graham Elliot over the years, not to mention this appearance he made on the local public television program Check Please. But his choice of wines do come as a bit of surprise. The president will spend Thursday night with a few glasses of Qupe chardonnay and Au Bon Climat pinot noir. The two humble, moderately priced wines are among California's most elegant, representing in many ways the wines of Oregon and France, with rich, heady aromas, but little in the way of power that you might expect someone like, say, the ruler of the free world to want.
Reviews of each coming in a few days. Add the blog to your RSS feed or email me at 750mL.blogspot@gmail.com with the subject line OBAMA to be notified when those notes go live.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Eric Ziegenhagen said...

I have a habit of looking at framed White House menus on tasting-room walls in California. A whole lot of Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch chardonnay at state dinners during the Clinton and Bush years.

4:03 PM  

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April 10, 2011

07 Domaine Berthelemot, Monthelie

There's a guy I hang out with sometimes, a friend of a friend's friend, really, who insists I'm missing it. You have got to try Spanish wines, he says. And Argentina--best value out there. Have you ever had Malbec with steak? Well, yeah, but let me look interested. Because I dig you, man. I like that you care this much about your wines. And they are your wines. I don't think you could like them more if you made them yourself. You've got to admit, (we'll call you:) Joey. My Burgundies aren't half bad. And yeah, there's even some pinot in Cali and Oregon you've got to check out. Why bother? I like to taste my wines, he says. And, of course, pinot is just a delicate flower. If RED WINE is a finely tailored suit, then pinot noir specifically is a wilting corsage. On a wrinkled lapel. So, Joey, try this one. Yeah, it's Burgundy. You know, the "elegant" "ethereal" stuff that all the sensitive, Dr. Phil-type wine drinkers talk about. Not a man's wine. I mean, you couldn't drink this with kangaroo, could you? I don't know. But when I pull out this bottle, I'd hide Skippy the Bush. You could drink this wine with tires. Forget the steak. I'd make a cocktail of this wine served up with two fingers of A1. It's a massive, blockbuster bottle for Burgundy. A nose-twitching black pepper bomb that first makes you think of Cote-Rotie, then grenache from southern Rhone, before you know--insist even--that it's actually a 2-year aged tempranillo from Spain. When your buddy tells you it's pinot, and you say, duh. Obviously. I just don't drink a lot of Cali pinots, which is why I missed it. Well, actually, it's Burgundy. And not at all as divergent or suspect as this description makes it sound. In fact, this is dyed in the wool French wine. One that explores the soft, luxuriously sweet cherry taste of pinot noir shouldered on an Atlas of fine French oak and what--against all odds--was a harvestable growing season. Question as we might. Scoff as we might. That its alcohol went a bit too far. That the slick sheen on our glass is nothing our grandfathers would have tolerated. Well they're all dead, aren't they. Aren't they. And now this wine speaks for them. And says we have, above all, represented where we came from. We were true to ourselves. And we never wavered, in spite of everything, spitting at everything, we never wavered in our message. Which is to tell you it is not we, the black vine, who have ever changed. It is you. Your world. Your world has changed. So here we are, pushing up from the ground to show you what you are made of.

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April 07, 2011

Betz Family Winery Sold

The breaking news from Paul Gregutt (via Storyteller Wine Company). Any my first reaction, my only reaction, was a calm, 21-gram exhale. One of the great errors of this blog has been my lack of focus on Bob Betz' wines, when--let's be candid here--I have a clear lean toward the wines of the Pacific Northwest. And yet I've managed to write about just one Betz wine: the brilliant, decadent, and thoughtful 2005 Betz Besoleil grenache, to this day one of the finest wines I've ever had. From anywhere. But I have had many of the Betz Family's bottles, from vintages of the Clos de Betz (which will have you believe in merlot again) to the Cote-Rotie-inspired La Serenne syrah. Who could write about them? I could hardly process them, much less take what I felt drinking those wines and turn that into words. And who would I be to say anything about this master (no, really, the guy's actually got a Master of Wine degree, which would be a PhD in any other field)? The Betz wines make me self-conscious. They make me question what, if anything, I really know about wine, and wonder if I'm wasting my time writing, when I should really devote my life to making it and sharing it with friends. I hope, so deeply and personally, that what Betz is calling a "partnership" is indeed that.

Almost universally regarded as one of this country's greatest winemakers [damn right], he told me "I'll still be the winemaker but not have to worry about the day to day business things, the payroll, etc. I will do the vineyard work, the crush, the blends... I get to do the fun stuff. I don't see a lot changing in terms of winemaking, vineyard sources, stuff in the cellar, protocol. I'm actually very excited about it. And we'll be able to carve out the one thing that has eluded us – time."
Because you can keep the vineyards. And the barrels. And the yeast. The same rain. The same sun. But winemakers make wine. And great winemakers make great wine. They put their name on it. So stick around, Bob.

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April 02, 2011

Introducing Broke Vegetarian

Oh, you'll like this. And there's a connection.
Vegetarian/wine pairings to come.

Read/watch/consume: Broke Vegetarian.

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