Soldera Rosso 91 backstage at Diana Krall

From the “Good wine bloggers go to heaven, bad ones go back stage” department…

Franco is not the only one who gets to go see Diana Krall thanks to his connections in the wine world.

Most of the folks who visit my blog know that blogging has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, professionally and personally, bringing me into contact with a wide range of people, from all walks of life, whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

I probably would have met Anthony Wilson — wine dude and jazz master (I’m not kidding) at one point or another: as it turns out he and I have a ton of friends in common (including my old friend John Mastro who manages our band Nous Non Plus). We met “virtually” after Anthony stumbled upon a post of mine on López de Heredia, one of our shared enophilic passions, and we made the connection of all the folks we knew in common.

Above: Pre-show dinner with the gang at Pt. Loma Seafood, around the corner from Humphrey’s by the Bay where Anthony played with Diana Krall. The name of the venue is SO 70s!

On Monday, Tracie B and I picked up Anthony (second from right) and took him to dinner at Pt. Loma Seafood, where we drank 2007 Soave Classico by Suavia and Lini Lambrusco Cerasa Rosé with our dinner (no corkage!). Pt. Loma Seafood is a San Diego classic and the freshness of the materia prima is second to none — highly recommended. That’s our friend Frank Sciuto, owner of Tio Leo’s, sitting next to Jon and Jayne, center. When I mentioned to Frank that we were going to see Diana Krall, his mouth dropped to the floor and his wife Violet said, “Diana Krall is Frank’s freebie.” So we just had to take him along.

Above: Soave Classico 07 by Suavia and crab louie paired like the warm tones of Anthony’s Clark amplifier and the tender notes of his custom Monteleone archtop guitar.

I have to confess that I hadn’t really done my due diligence. I knew that Anthony was a wildly talented musician but it wasn’t until I ordered some of his disks from Amazon and started listening to his music that I realized he is one of the jazz greats of our country (and the son of legendary band leader Gerald Wilson).

Above: Jon said it was the most “rock ‘n’ roll” label he had ever seen, hence the headbanger’s homage.

I really wanted to thank Anthony for being so generous with tickets and passes and so we smuggled in a bottle of 1991 Soldera Rosso Intistieti. I couldn’t figure out the origin of the name Intistieti and so I asked Franco to write to Gianfranco Soldera, who answered that Intistieti is a highly localized dialectal form that means terra tra i sassi or literally land among the stones. The soil is stony and poor and thus unsuited for growing crops other than grapes destined for fine wines. I had never tasted one of Soldera’s declassified wines, i.e., a wine that he felt didn’t rise to the quality of his Brunello di Montalcino, but a wine he felt should be released nonetheless. He is one of Italy’s most exacting winemakers and I knew this would be great. The Pegasus on the label was inspired by the notion that his wines rise above mediocrity — and indeed, they do. This wine showed gorgeously and was shining example of how Sangiovese can age gloriously when made in traditional manner (I’ll do a post on my mind-blowing visit to Soldera last year and his unique approach to winemaking.)

Above: I brought a bottle of Lini Lambrusco Labrusca Rosso for Anthony to take on the buss with him that night for a night cap. That’s him, left, with bassist Robert Hurst (also, a super nice guy). Lambrusco, so low in alcohol, light, and refreshing, is a great end-of-the-night wine.

Thanks again, Anthony, for a truly unforgettable night and a great way to celebrate the success of the San Diego Natural Wine Summit on Sunday. And thanks to Winnie, who was the first connection that Anthony and I made, and who suggested that I write a blog so many moons ago! I am amazed, over and over again, how wonderful surprises continue to emerge from the world of blogging. As the virtual world grows smaller, so the real one seems to be richer every day.