Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Back from Canada, Soon to Launch into Rudipalooza
So I'm taking a little breath, a moment away from the things I should be doing, instead to write a short blog post and take a sip of one of the wines I was showing today, the 2007 Wegeler Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spatlese from the Rheingau, a wine that my very newest customer liked but didn't like as much as some other younger Rieslings, because it had a taste and smell she couldn't quite place, until I asked her "is it petrol?" and she lit up and said, "YES!" and I did my little explanation that this is what happens to Riesling when it ages a bit.
Funny thing, I don't even notice petrol in my Rieslings anymore.... especially not a young pup like a 2007 Spatlese... so I'm enjoying this little number while I update this here blog.
Last week was spent in the slightly waterlogged city of Winnipeg in Canada, visiting relatives, relaxing, taking in the sights, drinking wine, eating, running, that sort of thing. The town has been getting quite a bit of rain, and the main river, the Red River, which runs north from the United States, has been swelling up, the water high on the banks, threatening homes with basements and farmer's plots whose young plants can't take the suffocation.
Meanwhile, we took the weather in stride, running when we could, taking in the sights of new summer Farmer's markets opening, pretty homes along the river, discovering new neighborhoods, checking out wild bunny rabbits happily dashing through people's lawns. The evenings were spent enjoying an assortment of wines, including 2007 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, 2005 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, 2006 Andrew Murray Esperance Rhone-style Blend, 2004 Halter Ranch Ancestor, and, maybe my favorite of the bunch, non-vintage H. Billiot Fils Champagne from Abonnay.
I think the most fun part of the Champagne was the fact that we bought it in Winnipeg - it wasn't one of the wines we brought, but it was actually found in one of the better wine stores, a wine store that is likely my favorite in Winnipeg, called Banville & Jones. They seem to specialize in French wines, and they are located in one of the French parts of the city of Winnipeg, St. Vital. The other big French-speaking part of Winnipeg is St. Boniface, which hosts a number of good French restaurants.
With our Champagne, we cooked up a seafood dinner, which incorporated King crab legs steamed in Stella Artois, seared scallops, which didn't look as good as they do in restaurants but darn they were tasty and moist, peas, potatoes, and a really yummy mango salsa, which whenever I hear that I can feel Randy of The Wine Country bristling, because mango salsa is a wine killer, but it was actually tasty, and while I didn't purposely have it with gulps of delicious Champagne, it didn't hurt the robust Billiot.
So that was Winnipeg in a nutshell - me trying to chill and not work on the Blackberry, and us enjoying vacation and family time, with some nice wines and food.
Now we're back and of course it is full on work-mode, like it is for almost everyone after being away. The added pressure is that I'm back on the road next week for Rudipalooza California!
Rudipalooza East Coast is already in full swing this week, with founder Rudi Wiest and newest Rudi Wiest Selections member Laura Williamson, M.S. having been in Chicago & New York City this week with German winemakers wooing everyone with the 2009 vintage.
Next week, it will be our turn. The wooing begins in Los Angeles Monday June 14 at Lawry's Prime Rib, where the chef Walter, who is German, puts on the best German spread this side of the Atlantic. Seriously. I will likely take pics of the food (again) this year and post here. I'm sure I have posted pics of past years' delights.
After that, more festivities then up to San Francisco for a few events, a terrific wine dinner at Ame at the St. Regis on Wednesday June 16, then consumer events at Solano Cellars in Albany (just north of Berkeley), then back to Long Beach for a tasting event at The Wine Country (5 pm to 8 pm on Friday June 18), then at the Wine House in Los Angeles the next evening (7 pm to 9 pm on Saturday June 19) then finally, we let the winemakers go.