Recently, it was time for some much overdue catching up with a good
friend. The evening went pretty much as expected… tasty bites, a few
glasses of Oregon Pinot and laughter – lots of laughter. As the evening
drew to a close, the decision was made for a nightcap.
Pulling up a plush, comfy bar stool at one of my local favorites, we
decided the time was right for a good old classic cocktail. Seeing James
behind the bar assured us we had nothing to fear. Call him bartender or
mixologist - he doesn’t care. He does what he does because he loves it.
It shows. No one does it better.
Decisions made. She will have a classic martini… make it Vodka and
with a blue cheese stuffed olive for intrigue. Me? Well James makes it
easy – Bourbon Renewal, please. And that’s when it happened.
He carefully sets my drink on the napkin before me and says “The
cocktail for a wine guy”. WHAT? In the following 30 seconds he
explains the familiar wood tannins of the Bourbon cask, the acidity of
the citrus, the mid-palate roundness from the bitters and the similar,
bright, red fruit, Pinot notes of the Cassis…all in perfect balance. Take
that wine guy. With that he grins, turns, and walks away. “BOOM!”
I was reminded of a similar moment years ago when I was selling
my wine to a very well known Steakhouse in Tampa. The chef came out
and confided in me that he loved our wine because “ the char of the
wine barrel and the attention to bottle ageing our wine complimented
perfectly the char of the grilling and the ageing of their steaks”.
Wow! These guys are good. It’s not just food. It’s not just a cocktail.
It is a PASSION… one this wine guy can identify with and respect.
By the time we got our second round I found myself staring into the
glass with new found appreciation and respect.
I do love an epiphany.