Mike Andrews at Bootleg Bar

I was very geeked to catch the last set of my good friend Mike Andrews’ Wednesday night residency at the Fold at Bootleg Bar in LA last night after my shift on the floor at Sotto.

Mike and his music continue to inspire me (as they have since we were teenagers in La Jolla).

His new album, Spilling a Rainbow (Everloving), is now available… Check it out…

Stunning Pallagrello Nero from Nanni Copè

A thrilling, brilliant day and evening yesterday at Sotto in Los Angeles — my first day back on the job after paternity leave — with all the wine [sales] reps coming in to taste us on new wines for our spring 2012 list.

Wine captain Rory Harrington (below) and I tasted an exhilarating flight of wines (and the occasional clunker from an old fart who always manages to weasel his way in). So many great wines come from southern Italy right now, especially from Campania and Sicily.

But the wine that sticks out in my mind this morning is the 2008 Nanni Copè created by revered “taster” Giovanni Ascione from Caserta (Campania).

The wine — as I learned reading this excellent post by colleague Monica Piscitelli — is named after Giovanni’s preferred appellation as a youngster: Nanni (diminutive of his Christian name) and Copè (an infantile corruption of his mother’s maiden name, Cioppa).

It’s made primarily from Pallagrello Nero, with smaller amounts of Aglianico and Casavecchia, raised on 2.5 hectares of semi-pergola-trained (yes!), meticulously curated vines in Caserta.

Tongue-splitting acidity, fresh bright red fruit, and earth, earth, earth… Gorgeous black earth…

We tasted a lot of great wines yesterday but this one — its first vintage on the market — stands out in my memory this morning as an original wine, a wine that surprised me and taught me something new about the grape variety.

I’ve got a very busy dance card today with my regular blogging duties and a show tonight in San Diego with my band Nous Non Plus.

But I wanted to give a big shout out to my friend and colleague Rory Harrington (above, left, with my high school friend Mike Andrews, photo by my bandmate Dan Crane).

I’m the curator of the wine list at Sotto but Rory is the guy who makes it hum and sing. We taste all the wines together and then decide what’s going to make the cut. I greatly admire his palate and cherish his friendship. If you ever visit Sotto, please check in with him and ask him what’s drinking well… he’ll never steer you wrong. His aim is true and his heart is pure…

Ok, gotta go make some rock ‘n’ roll! As we say, in French, wish me merde! (Yes, I just had to talk about poop…)

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…

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! :-)

K-tel presents “The Jar Sings Love Songs”

ktelRemember the K-tel records from when we were kids? My close friends Jayne and Jon from Jaynes Gastropub in San Diego just sent me this K-tel album cover (a lot of you probably don’t know that all my friends back home and everyone who knows me in the music business call me “Jar” or “the Jar,” a nickname given to me by high school friend Mike Andrews, one of the most talented and accomplished musicians I know).

I wanted to thank everyone for all the well wishes after yesterday’s post (on Facebook, too). It was such a good feeling to get back to Austin last night and get to hold Tracie B in my arms again. When the accident happened, I didn’t see my past life pass before me: I saw all the things I would miss if I were to leave this earth too soon.

So many folks have told me how much they liked the Tracie B song. So I’ve posted an MP3 here, in case you haven’t heard it yet or, for those of you who have, so you can have a “clean,” higher audio quality version (depending on your browser, you should be able to grab the file and import to your ITunes).

Thanks again for reading, listening, and all the thoughtful comments and well wishes.

Tracie B and I are headed out tonight to Virginia for a family wedding and so I’ll see one of my brothers, his family, and mama Judy together with the whole Judy side of the family. Man o man, do I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of good things to live for.

Happy weekend ya’ll!

Obladi Oblada: Jayne and Jon got married

Above: on Saturday, I officiated at Jayne and Jon’s wedding in Presidio Park overlooking San Diego.

The task was daunting: as I sat down and finally put pen to paper after months of procrastinating, the thought of writing a wedding ceremony and wedding vows seemed insurmountable.

As a musician, I’ve played more weddings that I care to remember and I’m glad not to be in that business anymore. But playing someone’s first dance or getting a crowd to rock out on the dance floor — that’s easy. Writing a ceremony and vows for two of my best friends in the world, whom I care about deeply — that’s a tall order. But once I finally started writing, it all came together. Jayne’s family is from Liverpool and they’re all huge Beatles fans. So the only request was that somehow a Beatles’ lyric be incorporated. If you care to read my talk and the vows, click here.

The ceremony was lovely, if I do say so myself: just enough tears and not too much laughter. I was very flattered that Jayne and Jon had asked me to officiate and how could one say no to such a request from such dear friends. But what do I know about what makes a great marriage? I’m certainly no shining example of a lifetime of bliss.

When my old friend Mike Andrews and I spoke at the party, I shared my doubts with him. “Jeremy, you were the perfect person to do this,” he said. “Because you’ve never stopped believing in love.”

Above: the happy couple. That’s Bart Davenport in the corner playing guitar. Man, that dude can sing…

I believe in love, Alfie.



The reception was held at the restaurant where among other great bottles, we opened:

1999 Produttori del Barbaresco Rabajà in magnum
2000 Château Certan in magnum
1976 Lòpez de Heredia Viña Bosconia

And, of course, the Bollinger Special Cuvée and the 2004 Produttori del Barbaresco (classico) flowed into the night and flowed over to the after party at Tio Leos. Music industry veteran Jon had put together what was the most smoking wedding band (short of Stevie Wonder playing your wedding), led by the inimitable Bart Davenport. Jon sat in on Gill Scott Heron’s “Lady Day and John Coltrane” among other numbers and I backed Jayne’s dad, Frank Battle, on “Ring of Fire.”