Popping Corks in Corktown

I peer into those black eyes and lose count. The years are aristocrats. They pool on your face and hands. The wind plays classical music on leaves dappled in angular October sunlight. This is before computers, maybe before electricity. Now look at your glass. Take a drink of the dark liquid and nourish your bones.

Cahors is a melancholy kind of beauty, like a Swinburne poem, or the sound of steel wheels on rails.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Cahors pont Valentre vgen” by Accrochoc at fr.wikipedia

If time is linear then the surprise offered by wine is an upward curve.

For example, take the grape variety known as Malbec. I thought I knew it! It’s a dark-colored grape. It makes big reds that can sometimes taste simple. I knew that Bordeaux’s Malbec in other parts of France is called “Côt Noir.” I knew it is essentially the national grape of Argentina where a lot of thick and sometimes over-oaked wine is produced. These are called things like “Chairman’s Blend” and “Septima.”

I knew that I tend to prefer Malbec, or Côt, from the cooler vineyards of southwestern France and the middle Loire valley, and especially when produced by Clos Roche Blanche, or Thierry Puzelat. I knew the region around Cahors had the potential to produce some basic, good, hearty values with this grape. I’m an Haut Monplaisir and Coustarelle guy.

And then this week the ambassador for Georges Vigoureux came to town. Mickael Alborghetti. He’s a younger man, dressed in a likable pin striped suit, and his business card describes him as “America’s Malbec Expert.” It’s a big claim, and how I’d love to ridicule it, but I can’t. He brought some of the tastiest, most pleasure-provoking Malbec wines I ever drank (along with an infectiously charming red Gaillac.)

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Corktown is Cahors-town

Will you join Mr. Alborghetti and me this Tuesday to taste his wines? Most of the wines are red and from France, but there will be at least one good Malbec from Argentina. We begin at 6pm at Mudgie’s Bar on Brooklyn Street just north of Porter. We will offer guests deep retail discounts. Admission price $12.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Cahors pont Valentre vgen” by Accrochoc at fr.wikipedia


Gold Cash Gold – Wine Spot

This is a draft of the new wine list at Gold Cash Gold, scheduled to debut this Tuesday.

The prices by the bottle are … how should I say … inconceivable. Take advantage of us.

I find humor in the juxtapositions, in the neologisms (vouvret!), and in the actual taste of many of these wines. If you never drank a wine and laughed out loud, maybe give some of these a try.

NOTE: do you have a wine you want to drink at GCG which is not on this list? Bring it in for a mere $20/bottle corkage. proceeds go to janitorial maintenance, insurance, glassware, rent, and to the base total for calculation of gratuity.


6 – HOUSE WHITE DRY ROSÉ – A good wine, naturally dry and ripe, versatile with food, and $4 during happy hour


10 – SAUVIGNON – Roc Meynard, Bordeaux Blanc
dry and mineral. pair with severity, bones and Plato.


9 – BIANCO, the PRE-GRIGIO – Verdicchio, Marchetti
the Italian white wine that taught white burgundy how to sass



12 – CHARDONNAY – Sonoma County, Lioco
Qualifornia’s original return to nature happened when Lioco was founded in 2005

9 – OYSTER – Muscadet from Domaine Branger.
the world is yours. DRY and fresh with notes of oyster-shell. pair with chicken salad and/or oysters.


9 – CHENIN – 2014 Chenin Blanc, Badenhorst Le Secateurs, South Africa
this is the exotic one, more dry vouvret than steen. unctuous, bright, quincey, and a trump card paired with brassica, crucifer, and cole crops


9 – DRY RIESLING – Von Buhl Jazz
i mean, it’s dry, but so is your hair.


6 – SWEET – Angels Tears. South Africa.
we searched and searched for a balanced sweeter wine. we knew when the search was over.




HOUSE RED – A good red, naturally dry and ripe, versatile with food – $4 during happy hour


PINOT NOIR – Gitton Bourgogne Rouge
this is not fruit punch. it deserves to be called wine. from the loire part of burgundy.


MERLOT – 2011 Tranquillite Merlot
ripe merlot qua merlot can take a little oak aging – gives it a nice toast and vanilla taste


MALBEC – 2012 Malbec Mogollon, Uco Valley Mendoza Argentina
actual estate wine from a colder part of mendoza. bold dark red. no need to over-oak this fruit. a good alternative to cab.



10 RHONE – 2012 Cotes du Rhone Chaume-Arnaud Le Petit Coquet
this is silkier cuz its from vinsobres and thats what the sand dunes do. and, because biodynamic.

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10 DOLCETTO – 2013 San Luigi Dogliani, Pecchenino
these guys invented great dolcetto – dolce meaning gentle. it does pair with seafood, and really anything this side of a bloody steak.

11 CABERNET – Broadside, Margarita Vineyard
can it be that we find ourselves suddenly stumbling over devoutly natural and delicious california wines? this possesses volumes of cab character uncommon from paso robles.


Rest of the list after the jump

Continue reading

Part Too

photo courtesy of Jacqueline Dickow.

Thanks to everyone. Mom. Joe Dressner. Dave and Melissa. Mr. Gild. Alexa. Everyday Wines. Tom Natoci. Mudge man. Roy Shelef. Jim Lutfy. Remy. Eddie J., Becky Wasserman, Kevin Burrows. Phillip. Sho sho. Robbie Fulks. Elisa. Steve. Steve. Mike. Dave. Dave. Tiffany. Erin. Cassidee. Jarrod. Dan. Dana. Danielle. Melissa. Amy. Joe. Tara. Bertha. Wendy. Jessie. Dave. Mike. Amanda. Tiffany. Ernie. Brutus. And everyone!

Personally, Yes

A few weeks ago I read a wine list for a new restaurant in LA and I knew it was time to quit my job.

There I was, enjoying my seventh year serving in a deservedly famous restaurant called Slows Bar BQ.

Not only did Slows play a role in saving my life – whatever it’s worth – Slows was also a really fun place to work. I was there, to soak up the lightning.

And then I saw the wine list for Hatchet Hall, and the storm of vitriol and hurt feelings it inspired. As I read the list I smiled. Then I laughed. I was not alone, but nor did everyone get the joke. Someday I hope to explain the comedy in very dry, analytic terms, but for now I am still laughing a little.

There are two dining establishments local to me which are experiencing periods of dynamic innovation. Alphabetically, they are Gold Cash Gold and Mudgie’s Fine Deli-ing. Gold Cash Gold has been open barely a year on a city block shared by Slows. Mudgie’s inhabits a bucolic corner of Corktown where it has recently expanded to include its own wine shop.

As I wrote lists of wine for each place this week I had a sensation of liberation not related to the usual between-job butterflies. The language had opened up. The old rules existed to preserve the feelings of the most uptight of critics, and these were in decline. I hasten to add, I sincerely wish no harm to the feelings of the most uptight of critics, just as I wish no harm to anyone. The problem lies in the fact that these rules can mislead everyone else.

What is Chablis? Is it Chardonnay? Is Raveneau Chablis? Who is ladling guilt over our usage? Who’s language is it? If wine makes people nervous, and O does it, that may indicate a wealth of potential comedy.

Wine lists – besides containing inspiration, value, clarity, focus and comfort – should be funny! If your wine list isn’t funny, it just may be a waste of your time and resources!

I hope to demonstrate in future posts.

Certainly there will continue to be brooding, scrupulously lexical and boring wine lists. And they will tend to be stocked with boring wine, at ridiculous prices, yet not worth the first dollar. But these are on the way out. So I am so glad to be back.

What can you do?

Come to the gala debut of the new wine list at Gold Cash Gold this Monday. Chef Stockton has five courses in store, each of which will be paired with two wines. You can rediscover miraculous coq au vin and drink dry-farmed Pinot Noir from the Cancilla Vineyard. Huet is scheduled to appear as mousse and with mousse. Amphora-fermented Sicilian red wine shall warmly embrace 2015 Pumpkins, and a relaxed group of people who know how to have fun – even with wine! Follow this link.

Do it.

See you there!

photo courtesy of Jacqueline Dickow

Who was Shakespeare making fun of?

How about Swift, Carroll, Melville, Burroughs?


Who was Frank f-ing Zappa making fun of?!

That’s right. They were making fun of you and me. And you love them when they make you nervous, as long as its just a little.

Laughter comes from tension; it’ a banality that deserves its status.

Now I don’t believe I will ever meet the next Zappa. But I make alliances with anyone making fun of the language, our language. The more nervous the audience gets, all the better. You know …, as long as there is an audience.

The laughs are coming.

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(Should I dread the dreary unsaid reply? Shakespeare was making fun of Elizabethans! There’s your answer, pal.)