Friday, October 31, 2008

Everyone should be drinking something good on Tuesday evening....

I'll be at Arnie Morton's enjoying happy hour with a friend after I meet with the wine director (hopefully I get the account too!)

Everyone should stock up this weekend on something fabulous (Champagne, a high end red, an old Riesling, something) to enjoy while tuning in to find out who will become the next president.

Something to cheer with or cry into. Duzzent matter!

Or be at a bar or restaurant where they're showing the thing on a big screen so you can be among others crying or cheering into their drink - why not?

My hubby, in classic Canadian fashion, will be at a hockey game, avoiding the whole scene. F'ing EH!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holy Scheurebe, Batman!

Okay, it has been a while since I have been inspired to write about a wine, a wine that surprises me with its goodness.

The wine: 2007 Pfeffingen Scheurebe Spatlese. Okay, I wish I were writing this wine up so I could sell more of it, but the fact is that it is almost sold out, ie. there are about 2 cases left of it and for some reason, we cannot get more of it from the winery.

Probably because there just isn't that much Scheurebe planted.

Pfeffingen is an estate in the Pfalz that is owned and operated by Doris Eymael and her son Jan Eymael. Doris is the ex-sister-in-law of Monchhof's Robert Eymael in the Mosel. Above is a pic of me with Doris and Jan. Jan is a talented winemaker who finished top of his class at Geisenheim, the German equivalent of U.C. Davis.
Anyhoo... the wine: aromatic grapefruit and starfrut on the nose, followed by a mouthful of exotic citrus - mandarin orange, pink grapefruit, and tangerine, bright piquant acidity that gives it that special something that Gewurztraminer doesn't have. What a fun wine!!!
That's it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If I had to be a Wine Spectator writer, I would be Bruce Sanderson, no contest!

I mean, I would have the following wine regions: Champagne, Burgundy, and Germany. What could be better? I mean really???? You can have your Bordeaux, your Napa Valley, your Tuscany and Piedmont. I would be perfectly happy seeing what was going on in the awesome places tucked away in Germany, Champagne, and Burgundy, thankyouverymuch!

I'll post some of his tasting notes on German wines tomorrow, just because!

Haven't been blogging!

So I noticed that I haven't been blogging much. Here are some reasons:

1. No time.

2. When I do have time, I feel more like reading other people's blogs, or renting a video and escaping than writing about my wine experiences.

3. Overall stress due to the economy and my own trying to get a grip on sales while the economy tanks.

4. Because I'm selling wine now instead of buying wine, I'm being exposed to much fewer wines, so what to write about?

But I should write sometime and contribute to the Bloggosphere! Hee hee!

Let's see:

This week has been much better than previous, in spite of the economy. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of Selling Wine. I'm freaking out less over problems, and staying calm more. I think that's step one! I'm meeting a lot of great people and finding out that the wine community is so nice and tight and small! The same folks go round and round and do a ton of things. There is connection and history, and I like that. Also, my reputation precedes me, which is a lot of fun. People go "I know you - you write for The Wine Country newsletter! You write their German wine stuff!" Now, how cool is that?

Also cool is that they know Randy, owner of The Wine Country, many people know Samantha, who has been at The Wine Country and has history there, and many people know Bennett, because he posts on e-bob and is a part of a few wine tasting groups that have some So-Cal renown.

So yeah, that's a ton of fun! Meeting people who are wine people in restaurants but also have a wine project somewhere up north (up the coast in California, for example), seeing wine stores that used to be art galleries, going into restaurants that have their Michelin star awards proudly posted, finding restaurants in the Zagat guide I've never heard of and visiting them and finding out that they are absolutely beautiful, and it is because the owners behind them call it their baby.... it makes me feel pretty happy to be part of the hospitality business.

And when these same folks that I feel admiration for, because they have the guts to own their own business and share with the world a piece of themselves, when these same folks take the time to taste my wines (well, not MY wines, but the wines of Robert Eymael, Fritz Hasselbach, Oliver Haag, and others), and then go and get their chef to taste the wines, and then proclaim that these indeed are the best Rieslings they have had in recent memory - well that just makes everything worthwhile.

Now, if I can just get the hang and make money doing this, then all will be well in the world! Isn't that the truth for everyone in the wine industry!!!???!!!

Cheers, everyone.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Okay I'm taking the bait finally - I'm going to write about our political and economic climate

Okay, I resisted doing this, because who the hell wants to read about what I think about the political and economic situation we are in right now? The title of the blog is Nancy on Wine. When people want to read about wine, they want to forget about the crap going on in the news. They sure as hell don't want to read about my political slants and what I think of the economy and my whinings.

Do they?

Well, I dunno! I think they don't. But what do I know? I seem to like to read about other bloggers take on the situation, and I even want to know what others in the wine biz think about the situation.

So maybe people do want to know! Who knows?

But I decided to write this rambly post because..... I feel like it. It's my blog and it actually doesn't matter to me if no one reads it because I like to write. It is cathartic and releasing and it gives me a record of some of the things I have done.

But I don't want it to be diary. I want it to be about wine.

Okay - so what? Get to the point.

Okay, my point of the day is: why is it such a shock that we are in a recession?

My feeling is that the people in the wine business saw this last year - a year ago, when, in October 2007, the stock market hit a new high. My boss was in Europe and I remember feeling bad because the Euro was at an all time new high against the dollar and we were all feeling pessimisstic about that because (a) we love to travel to Europe and we don't want it to get more expensive than it already is and (b) we are hooked on European wine - read: Champagne, all French wine, all German wine, all Italian wine et. al. We were already WORRIED in October 2007, about a possibly lackluster Christmas season, our low dollar, how to make it through.

Now, a full year later, the news keeps saying "We are at a high risk of recession." What? We were in a recession for the past year or more! Keep up, people! Stop being shocked by "Oh my God, factory production is down, consumer spending is down, unemployment is up...... Wow." No wow, this stuff has been happening well before the stock market grabbed its bear market and took everyone down with it!

Look ahead. Do not look behind. The recession is a result of what has been happening in the past 5 years. Look at what we are doing now. New president coming. Government finally helping banks. Our dollar is up against the Euro. Oil and gas prices are down. These are great indicators. The market is not responding yet. It is still in a hole from the crap that went down in the past. But look ahead. The market WILL respond. And when the tide turns, and the poor consumer finally gets his/her break, he/she will be ready to buy and go out to eat and travel and fulfill all those pent-up desires.

That time will come. Look up and look ahead. Things will be good, very good, in the near future - that is my prediction.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Wine & Food Lover's Post Race Dinner

Several weeks ago, as the Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon loomed ever near, my running partner and friend Linda asked, "Why don't you and Johan come over for dinner after the race?" I accepted the invitation for us, and we were in for a real treat!

Linda's hubby Bennett is a fellow The Wine Country wine specialist. He is also a fantastic cook and a half marathoner!

Before dinner, we traded stories about our race experience over a bottle of rose Champagne. Later, some awesome wines:

1982 Mouton Rothschilds

A legendary wine from the vintage that made Robert Parker Jr. famous. This wine has great acidity and backbone, some smoky flavors, along with still fresh red and black fruits. Words don't do it justice - this is a special wine that I believe has a market price tag of between $750 and $1200 a bottle. An honor to enjoy with friends on this historic day (historic as it was a personal record for at least a couple of us!)
1978 Stag's Leap Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Probably wrong for me to say, but this wine impressed me more than the Mouton! First off, it was older, a full 30 years old. I'm not sure I have anything that is 30 years old! That attests to the patience that goes into cellaring a wine. Delayed gratification is an understatement here!
A wine like this one explains to me why California's Napa Valley is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a gorgeous aged beauty, with plenty of fruit, a bit softer in acidity compared to the Bordeaux, but fuller in mouthfeel, and with all the grace of a Bordeaux. A fantastic and delicious wine, and I can't believe it is 30 years old!!
My thanks go out to Linda and Bennett. Thank you for making our evening a great one. Yay food and wine!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

He Did It! Hubby finishes first marathon in 4:20

The pleasure and pain of running a marathon was his today! What an achievement!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beauty in unexpected places

During my travels through the southland in my new job as a wine rep, perhaps the most stunning vistas was what I encountered yesterday. Of all places, in the valley. Specifically, this was the Simi Valley off the 118 freeway way, way, way north of where I live. I never go up to this area, but yesterday I designated it Valley Day and visiting a number of accounts up that way - I was literally stunned by the mountain vistas lit up by the fall sunlight.

I was so stunned because usually I am an ocean person and love the look of the ocean water and generally shun the desert. But this was no ordinary desert up in these hills - it was primary rock jutting out of the ground in the most majestic way. Kind of took me aback.

And among these gorgeous rock formations lie some communities such as Westlake Village and Chatsworth, which harbor some pretty neat little wine bars and wine stores. One such that I discovered is called Bellavino - a wine bar tucked in a strip mall in Westlake Village that looked like such a fun place to be that I might drive up the 40 miles from my home on my day off just to partake in the restaurants wine and food offerings.

Another find was Liquid Wine and Spirits, a wine store up in Chatworth where the co-owner and employee both tasted the wine and cracked me up with their hilarious banter and jokes. They were a well-spring of laughs and I appreciated them for their gut-splitting humor.

And at a time like this, when the stock market tanks for 7 days straight and people lose money left right and center, who doesn't need a belly of laughter and a eyeful of natural beauty? Everyone needs these things - laughter in spite of difficulty, an appreciation of the enduring grace of natural things that don't change for millions of years, even if our man-made chaos changes by the second.

This past week, I have enjoyed my short runs by the ocean even more than usual. Enjoying the tiny bit of crisp coolness that the fall brings to the early morning enlivens me more than anything that money can buy.

And finally, at the end of the day, I am enjoying the "feet" end of my wine samples, and you know what? They are still good. Ah.... it's the simple things in life... Thank you!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Benley Dinner a Success... This Evening, a Tasting at Whole Foods Torrance!

They packed the house and everyone was happy that the dinner started at 8pm after the VP candidates' debate.

Everyone was in great sprits, the restaurant was loud in a warm and cheerful way, the wines showed beautifully, and exploded with the food.

There's nothing like German Riesling and Asian food, I don't know why, but I just cannot drink dry wines with this type of food, and that bit of RS (residual sugar for those of you who don't use the jargon) and some great balancing acidity just does the trick.

I'll save my dry wines for the European influenced meals!

Okay, this evening, I'm off to Whole Foods, where friend Yvonne, the buyer and I will be hosting a German wine tasting. Super fun! We'll have a bunch of Rieslings from dry to sweet (of course), and a Gewurztraminer too!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Whatever! .... and a great wine dinner tonight coming up!

This day gets a giant "Whatever!" from me. Started off just fine, as this week was starting to seem kind of fun compared to last, but after a few incidents today (including, but not limited to, a B.S. parking ticket for $75), you just gotta wonder if the stars are not quite aligned. Of course, I'm not alone in this - the whole country and the whole world seems to be suffering a bit right now...... the only decent entertainment and escape seems to be making fun of Sarah Palin...

Anyway, chin up, gotta be at a wine dinner in a couple of hours. Part Two at Benley Restaurant. Part One was last week and ended up quite successful, with many happy diners enjoying the pure pleasure of pairing German wines with Vietnamese-French food. Gotta love that fusion.

I expect more of the same tonight, so I'm pretty relaxed about it - the food will be excellent, the wines will be excellent, and the guests will be happy. I know the wines like the back of my hand, so there is no stress there.

Wines to be served tonight:

2007 Gunderloch Jean-Baptiste Riesling Kabinett - always a winner. Medium-dry with a great body, a perfect apertif or food wine, goes with almost everything! Here, it is going with a light dish of mini rice crepes topped with shrimp flakes and scallions.

2003 Milz "180" Neumagener Nusswingert Riesling Kabinett - A Kabinett from a warm vintage, this wine shows some smoky brown sugar/candy qualities along with a slightly aged Riesling profile. Actually pairs quite nicely with the second course, which is braised duck on shaved white cabbage salad with citrus-ginger dressing.

2002 Milz Trittenheimer Felsenkopf Riesling Spatlese - Rich and balanced Spatlese from the Mosel, great acidity off-setting the sweetness - pairs awesomely with the deep-fried soft-shell crab nestled on rice vermicelli.

2006 Becker Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) - My favorite little German Pinot Noir, nice and fruit-forward without being overbearing, to be paired with the diced filet mignon on celery root puree & potato cream, all dressed with a red wine reduction.