A few words about wine ...

This is my friend Andy.  Along with being a terrific guy, he is the owner of Bullards Wine and Spirits in Medfield, MA.  Now, I don't mention Andy and his fine establishment simply as a shameless plug for a friend, although I am certainly not above that.  I mention him because he is important to Kim and me as a wine consultant.  Andy has visited all the major wine producing countries in the world, several of them on numerous occasions.  He samples every wine he brings into his shop and is knowledgeable on just about everything in that industry.  Andy is kind of like the human Wikipedia of wine.  If you're a wine fan and do not have an Andy in your life, find one.  He or she will bail you out and point you in the right direction every time.  For instance, say you're having your new boss over for Sunday brunch around 2:00 and you need to pair the exact right wine with your Suckling Pork and another for the Tahitian Vanilla, Creme Brulee.  Andy will give you numerous suggestions; wines that are not too heavy for the afternoon or to light for the pig and others to compliment the dessert.  He is amazing, each wine selection will match beautifully.  Additionally, Andy will open a bottle or two and let you try them beforehand, which is critical because he may have matched the course and the wine perfectly, but you might not like whatever goes with Aunt Mable's Jello Mold or Uncle Ern's Mince Meat Pie (Holiday scenario ... Boss left, had a great time, loved the dinner and wine and you got the corner office).  No worries, that's why you try, don't like it ... not an issue, choose something else.  If you happen to be in the mood for an unusually outstanding Cabernet but don't want to spend $300 bucks on a bottle of Diamond Creek or Araujo, Andy can generally find you something lip smacking delicious without taking a second mortgage on the house to get it.  Last point, I like to buy from people I know and trust ... friends do business with friends.

Bottom line, do yourself a favor, go find your Andy.  Not only will he steer you in the right direction when you're looking for that perfect match, turn you on to that small production, great value wine that you have been searching for, and expand your palette by suggesting something new and unique that you may never had tried.  The relationship will save you time, stress and money, increase your knowledge and you will have an absolute ball establishing it.

This week we thought we would branch out and try something completely different. A 100% pure Nebbiolo from Gattinara, Italy and a Meritage blend form a very small producer in Sonoma.  As my children would say, "they were Epic Fails"!

2001 Travaglini Gattinara.  Kim and I were not only intrigued by the crazy bottle but Nebbiolo is one of my all time favorite grape varietals from Italy.  Well, save the $36 bucks and stay away from this one. First off, I think it had gone by it's prime. The only flavor prominent enough to identify was alcohol. If it were not for the burn in the mouth it would have had no flavor at all to let you know this wine was made from grapes and not pumped out of the economy unleaded nozzle at the Citgo.  However, being an optimist I figured I would let it sit open for several hours on the off chance it was still young, let it breathe a bit and give it some air, you know... time to open up and release it's essence.  I let it sit for 12 hours and reluctantly tried it again Sunday morning at breakfast. Gattinara with an egg white omelet and bowl of fruit, what
could be better? Turns out... anything. My firey alcoholic friend from the night prior had taken on the flavor of three year old prunes...mixed with kerosine. Blech, leave it on the shelf.

Kiamie 2006 Meritage. My next fail, although not quite as epic as the Gattinara comes from a small family owned winery in Paso Robles, California. It was also around $36 bucks and is a blend of four grape varietals, Cabernet, Petite Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. It had a bone dry
Bordeaux like back of the mouth feel and it's predominant flavor was white pepper with a hint of casis and black raspberry. It would work fine with barbecue but anything more delicate than a big old hunk of beef smothered with Texas Ed's Assrash Hellfire BBQ sauce would be
completely destroyed by the overwhelming spice of this wine. Honestly take the $36 bucks and go buy two $18 dollar bottles, you will be happier.

Life is short, enjoy the wine, just not these two.