Tony Coturri, groovy cocktails, friends, and awesome pizza at Sotto

Before I started my shift at Sotto’s last night, I asked the “father of Natural winemaking in California,” Tony Coturri, to talk to the staff about Natural wine and the differences between “organic” and “biodynamic” farming (he was in town for a wine dinner and we feature one of his wines at the restaurant). Perhaps more than any other winemaker I know personally, he is the most passionate about Natural wine and chemical-free farming and he sees his mission as vital to our race and our future — I believe that he is right and thank goodness for him. (Thanks again, Tony, for taking the time to talk to us.)

Über hipster mixologist Kate Grutman was doing her magic at the bar last night. She hooked me up with her concoction, “Il Cattivo,” equal parts of Carpano Antica Formula, Branca Menta, and Genever. That soup is hot!

At the end of my shift, I got to sit down with some of my best friends, who came in to support me in this new project. That’s (from left) Heather and Mike Andrews, Gary Jules, and bandmate Dan and Kate Crane (Dan’s band Quick Hellos just released a super cool record and his release party is next week in LA, btw). I just can’t believe how sweet and supportive everyone in LA has been. It’s really meant the world to me.

I finally got to dig into Chefs Steve and Zach’s Pizza Margarita. Rating: RUN DON’T WALK. This is the good shit, people. I’ve eaten pizza cities all over the U.S. and Italy (including Naples). Sotto’s is in my top 5 and definitely the most authentic Neapolitan this side of the Atlantic.

It’s been super fun to launch my wine program at Sotto and the owners and staff and patrons have been so generous and supportive. We’ve tasted some great wines together over the last few days and the food at Sotto rocks. But now it’s time for me to get back to Texas and my beautiful Tracie P where I belong. Can’t wait to hold her tight and taste her sweet lips! A taste of honey, tasting much sweeter than wine…

Gary Jules and me sing a song under the dome, a “night at the museum”

Photo by my childhood friend and doppelgänger Jeremy Farson.

Gary invited me up on stage to sing a song last night at the museum. It always brings back so many memories to see Gary and to get to play with him was such a treat. We always fall right back into it like we were teenagers again… “I’ve just seen a face. I can’t forget the time or place…” So much fun…

Gary played all my favs of his, like “Barstool” and “No Poetry.” Gary is such an amazing lyricist and performer…

And, of course, he played his mega hit “Mad World,” which appeared originally in the Donnie Darko soundtrack and went on to become a UK #1 Christmas single.

But the song that really got me was “Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor, which Gary dedicated to brother Micah, a song the three of us used to listen to when we were teenagers and our whole worlds and hearts were being torn apart by the trappings of modern society. I could barely hold back the tears that welled up in my eyes.

“I don’t know no love songs and I can’t sing the blues anymore…”

Brother Micah, director of Museum of Man, did a fantastic job running the auction to raise money future exhibits. It was great to see how excited his staff is about the new energy there.

And it was wonderful to catch up with so many of my high school friends. We all remembered the many school trips we made as youngsters to the museum, a true diamond in the rough.

We’re all looking forward to the programs that brother Micah has in store for next year… Stay tuned!

Christmas Letter 2010

A lot to be thankful for in 2010

The 2010 Parzen vintage has been an amazing year for Tracie P and me and we have a lot to be thankful for.

Family is all healthy (knock on wood). Work has been great, with my marketing business thriving and growing. And we even sold a song to Google (a big one for our music publishing business)!

Our vegetative cycle (to carry the vinous metaphor a step further!) began in the winter with our beautiful La Jolla wedding (thanks again, Rev. and Mrs. B!), our thrilling honeymoon, and our first home together, located serendipitously (and I’m not making this up!) at the intersection of Alegria and Grover streets, an allegro corner in the Groover’s Paradise — Austin, Texas. Summer ripening brought professional challenges, too much work travel, and all-night writing sessions that not only led to some of the work I’m the most proud of but also some of the greatest professional rewards of my career as a writer and marketing consultant. The fall harvest was no bumper crop but its fruit was healthy, with balanced sugar and acidity in the berries (read hope and reality in each grape). Now as the cold of the Texas winter has set in, our wine is in the cellar and we can finally rest our tired but not weary heads in the glow of our little Christmas tree in the living room.

When I met Tracie P in 2008, I still wasn’t sure where life was taking me and where I was headed. Since she came into my life, supporting me with her love and warmth and inspiring me with her beauty and brilliance, so much has come into focus for me. 2009 was a good start (man, the first six months of my life in Texas and the job I took hawking wine were not fun!). But 2010 has rendered satisfactions — professional and personal — that I never would or could have imagined when I left New York in 2007 bound for California.

Tracie P and I have a long way to go (particularly in building our financial future) but we are embracing our dreams for the future with the energy and spirit they merit and we’re keeping our fingers crossed (and sucking a lime), hoping that 2011 will deliver the gifts of life for which we aspire.

To all the folks who have supported Do Bianchi Wine Selections, THANK YOU! Having my own wine retail business has been a longtime dream for me (reaching back to 2005 when I began working in wine retail in New York). Words cannot express my gratitude. I love hearing your impressions of the wines and I love the new friendships I’ve made (and the old friendships rekindled) through our email correspondence and our happily inevitable sips and chats when I deliver the wines to you.

Lastly, I want to use this opportunity to thank my sweet Tracie P for bringing so much joy into my life and inspiring me to reach greater personal heights than I ever thought conceivable. I love you with every fiber of my being and my heart is filled with hope and joy as we turn the page and close the chapter in our lives that was 2010. It feels like 2010 just flew right by, doesn’t it? I’m so glad that we have a lifetime ahead of us and I will cherish every moment, every breath, and every I love you.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and thanks for your support in 2010! We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and happy 2011.

Hang with Gary Jules and the Parzen family on Dec. 10 in San Diego

An Evening Under the Dome With Gary Jules
Friday, December 10, 2010 from 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Purchase tickets here.

On Friday, December 10, Tracie P and I and the whole Parzen family are going to be attending a special concert by our old, old friend Gary Jules at the Museum of Man in San Diego.

You may remember how brother Micah became the director of San Diego’s anthropological museum, the Museum of Man, back in the summer of this year.

Micah and Gary have remained close friends from our junior high and high school days and Gary has graciously agreed to perform a benefit concert for the museum.

I’ve known and played music with Gary since we were children. And we used to hang in LA when I was in grad school and then later in NYC, when his band would come through town.

In 2003, he became an international superstar with his megahit version of the Tears for Fears track “Mad World” (2003), produced and performed by another good friend, Mike Andrews (a superstar in his own right).

The tickets are not cheap but they’re for a good cause. Tracie P and I wouldn’t miss it for the “mad world.” (And I bet we’ll all end up at Jaynes Gastropub after the event for some killer wine!)

Hope to see you there! :-)