Drinking well with Peter Wasserman in Austin, thank you very much

Above: What a treat to get to taste with Peter Wasserman (center) yesterday! He led a superb tasting at Jeff Courington’s Vino Vino (that’s Jeff, right). And we were joined by our friend Julio Hernández (left), who made a name for himself in the wine world as Emeril’s wine director and now distributes fine wine here in Texas.

In case you were concerned that there weren’t any good wine for Tracie P and me to drink in Austin, Texas, I just thought I’d share yesterday’s flight.

Before heading to dinner in the home of friends, we got to taste some fantastic French wines with Peter Wasserman, who was in town to “work the market” as they say in wine parlance. I’d never met Peter in person and what a delightful, charming, and engaging fellow he is! There were some impressive wines in his flight (including the 2007 Domaine Mugnier Nuits–Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de La Maréchale).

But the wine that blew me away was this 2007 Aligoté by Lafarge. Some late ripening and large, old cask aging give this wine a richness and gorgeous unctuous character I’d never experienced in Aligoté. Stunning wine (not cheap, unfortunately).

Regretfully, I had to leave Peter’s excellent tasting, as Tracie P and I had a long-standing invitation to dine in the home of our new friends Sonia and Steven (check out Sonia’s very exciting new gallery in Austin).

Steven hadn’t revealed what he was making for dinner and surprised us with one of my FAVORITE things in the world to eat…

Lasagne verdi, the way they make them in Emilia. Steven is a fascinating dude (from a Taiwanese-Veneto family) who’s lived in NYC and Italy, a top wine collector, and an AMAZING cook (I like his taste in music, too, with the playlist ranging from virtuoso country guitar to Nino Rota).

We paired with the Rivetto 2004 Barolo (Serralunga d’Alba) Riserva which had been sent to me by my friend Enrico Rivetto (Enrico is perhaps the most prolific Italian winemaker blogger I know).

The Barolo showed nicely (great acidity from this very classic vintage in Langa) but Steven also opened a 2004 Domane de Montille Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret because Tracie P was in the mood for some white and he just happened to have some in the fridge.

So, in case you were concerned that Tracie P and I weren’t eating and drinking well in Austin, you can sleep soundly tonight…

Thanks for reading! Buon weekend ya’ll!

Nobody said it better: Jayne on natural wine

Above: Yesterday, my friends Alex Stuempfig (left) and John Rikkers (right) and I tasted Lunar together — some very orange wine — at the first-ever San Diego Natural Wine Summit at Jaynes Gastropub. Photos by Tracie B.

Tracie B and I had a blast yesterday at the San Diego Natural Wine Summit. A big heartfelt thank you from me to Jayne and Jon (owners of Jaynes) and the staff, to the suppliers who generously poured and spoke, and to all the folks who came out to taste, to trade notes, and to share in our passion for natural wine.

Above: It was super fun to float around the tasting, talking to people and tasting wine. At one point, I jumped behind the Kermit Lynch table. That’s me, riffing on some killer Guy Breton Beaujolais Morgon.

As I floated around the tasting, talking to people, tasting, and comparing notes, I couldn’t help but think about how natural wine is so much more than just a style or philosophy or ideology of winemaking. As I watched and enjoyed the many oohs and ahs of people tasting a vivace (gently sparkling) blend of Cortese, Favorita, and Arneis (the Arcese by Bera, which Tracie B noted was THE wine of the tasting) or the killer Mikulski Aligoté (which has got to be the best Aligoté I’ve ever tasted), it occurred to me that natural wine is also a lifestyle, an attitude about food and wine and what we put in our bodies, and a culture that brings like-minded folks together. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone drank natural wine?

Above: Even Aria loves natural wine. Her daddys are the nicest folks and just another reason why I love natural wine.

Nobody said it better than Jayne: “Whatever it is — food or wine — the things I like the best are the things that are manipulated the least.” Great words to live, eat, and drink by, no?

I’ll be posting more on the tasting here, at the Jaynes blog, and at the 2Bianchi blog as well, so please stay tuned… and thanks to everyone for your support!