One last note on Giacosa Asili 07 from Antonio Galloni (and the complete wedding album online)

From the department of “wine geekery”…

Above: I wish words could convey Bruno’s bright smile that day and the pleasure he seemed to take in tasting and talking about his wines with Franco, Tracie P, and me. Photo by my better half.

One last note that I wanted to share, for the record, culled from emails I traded yesterday with one of the wine writers I admire most and one of the greatest English-language authorities on the wines and winemakers of Piedmont, Antonio Galloni (who also happens to be an extremely nice guy).

His comments speak to Bruno’s observation that you could “smell Asili” in the 2007 Asili white label bottling (even in the light of the fact that the wine was made predominantly from grapes sourced from a parcel previously classified as Rabajà).

“Because of the freakish growing season in 2007 that you describe,” i.e., with an extremely mild winter and consequently anticipated vegetative cycle, wrote Antonio, “the 2007 Asili white label does actually reflect a lot of that vineyard’s characteristics, even if it is 80% juice from Rabajà.”

He also pointed me to this passage, lifted from his October 2009 tasting notes: “Curiously, the 2007 Asili is a very soft wine, considering it is made mostly from vines that informed such majestic Rabajas as the 2001 and 2004.”

All of us present at the tasting a week ago Sunday were impressed with how approachable the wine was. And Bruno’s observation, “you can smell Asili in this wine,” was significant, indeed, especially in the light of the unusual vintage and the reclassification of the Barbaresco cru system. Antonio noted that in the wake of the reclassification, “you will soon see a host of new, single-vineyard bottlings from places you probably never knew existed.”

Food — or grapes, as the case may be — for thought.

Thanks again to Ken for asking me to look more carefully at Bruno’s observation and thanks to Antonio for his truly invaluable insights.

In other news…

It will remain one of the great mysteries in the history of humankind: how did a schlub like me end up with a beauty like Tracie P née B?

The complete wedding album is online here. Thanks again to Jennifer and CJ for an amazing job!

And thanks to my gorgeous bride Tracie P: words could never express the happiness and joy that you have brought into my life, an endless Valentine, every night when I kiss your sweet lips good night and when they greet me in the morning. I love you so very much… What a miracle you are!

Happy Thanksgiving (and some culinary anamorphism)

ginger bread

Details from the Ginger Bread Charity Diorama at the Four Seasons Hotel, Austin, Texas. Photos by Tracie B.

Maybe it’s the little boy in me… I’ve always been fascinated with culinary anamorphism — a cultural phenomenon whereby food is refashioned to resemble something else, edible or otherwise.

ginger bread

The tradition of fashioning food to look like buildings stretches back to the Renaissance. One of the most famous examples is torrone nougat: on the occasion of the wedding of Bianca Maria Visconti to Francesco Sforza, October 25, 1441, the bride and groom were presented with a nougat replica of the city’s church bell tower, the so-called Torrione (today known as the Torrazzo) from which the sweet derived its name.

ginger bread

Another such example from recent memory is Abe Lebewohl’s depiction of Manhattan’s Twin Towers, fashioned out of chopped liver from the Second Avenue Deli.

ginger bread

The Art of Cooking by fifteenth-century Italian chef Maestro Martino (which I translated for UC Press, 2005) offers many examples of culinary anamorphism, mostly for the sake of recreating milk and eggs on days when they were forbidden by the Catholic church.

ginger bread

Last night Tracie B had to drag me away from the ginger bread diorama in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin. Our good friend chef Todd Duplechan oversees the creation and construction of this wondrous little city. Each edifice is auctioned off for charity (last year, a celebrity loved it so much, she paid for it to be recreated and reassembled in Las Vegas, “just so she could show how cool Austin is,” said chef Todd).

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

Congratulations Eileen and Greg!

What a great wedding…

Eileen and Greg are a gorgeous couple and their wedding was an immensely joyous occasion. I have never seen so many people cry tears of happiness at a wedding ceremony (myself included!). Not a dry eye in the house!

The Vajra showed beautifully, too. The bartender told me she’d “never poured so much red wine at a wedding. Everyone loves it. What is it?” Great choice, Greg!

Greg’s been such a good friend to me and I love him a lot. It was SO MUCH FUN to join him on stage and do my toast. That’s Dan (aka Jean-Luc Retard, bass, Nous Non Plus) stage left.

jeremy parzen

We’re a little rough around the edges this morning but it was worth every moment… such a great feeling to celebrate a couple so in love…

CONGRATULATIONS EILEEN AND GREG! A great wedding, a great couple. We love you…

Happy Sunday 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.”