Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Truly, A Blessed Life

I am not writing this to brag. I really just want to pinch myself. A self-confessed wine geek, I have been on a star studded tour of the wine universe in the last two-and-a-half months. And I have to put it all down, because if I tell myself a year from now about this, even I won't believe myself.

In the last several months I have met, fawned over, drooled in front of, and basically stuttered my way through introductions to more than three dozen people who I've only read about for the last ten years. And I've been blessed with a job, and with professional relationships, that have been nothing short of spectacular. A month or so ago I had a working lunch with Kevin Zraly, and met his sister (see above).

Kevin introduced me to he long time friend, famed wine writer and CIA wine professor, Steven Kolpan. Kolpan was incredibly gracious and friendly, and as suspected, an incredible font of wine knowledge.

I also met the World Wine Guys in February, and then saw them again in March!

I also met Wine Lover's Journal blogger Diane Letulle. Very charming!

Then I went to Rioja! What a trip. I have a blog post coming. Had some technical difficulties getting the photos off the camera and onto my computer. But posts should follow. In Rioja I met Elena Adell San Pedro, the winemaker at Campo Viejo, Spain's largest wine producer.

Then I met Rapfael Vivanco the winemaker at Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco and the Museum of Wine Culture. Rafael makes wonderful traditional Riojian wines (Crianza, Reserva, and Grand Reserva) but has made small runs using heirloom Riojian grapes. Incredible!

The I met Isaac Muga of Muga winery in Rioja, pictured here with Ana Fabiano (Riojaian wine expert).

And his son Jorge Muga, who was one of the most interesting conversationalists of the tour of Rioja. And a wonderful field chef (I'll explain in a different post).

Then at a Sonoma tasting I met James Hall, the winemaker at Patz & Hall. I was thrilled. Patz & Hall is one of my favorite wines. What a nice guy!

I also me Harry Weztel from Alexander Valley Vinters.

And I met Yolanda and Ben Papapietro of Papapietro Perry Winery. Wonderful, impressive Pinot Noirs.

I met Thomas Hinde of Flowers Vineyards. I've been buying and hording his wines for years.

I also met Dan Goldfield of Dutton Goldfield Winery. Dan is partners with the Dutton Ranch folks, whose grapes have been the stuff of legend for Patz & Hall and Kistler. I have a bunch of those in the cellar too! The Dutton Goldfield wines were incredible.

I met the charming Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Ranch again. I am still a major fan of their sparkling wines. Love them. I met her when she did her first book, back when I was still living in Brooklyn, back in the early 1990s. It was fun to meet her again.

I was introduced to Jeremy Baker of Thomas George Vineyards by the always charming, attractive, and vivacious Constance Oehmler of Verity Partners. His wines were fabulous!!!

And of course I met the charming Jann Forth, of Forth Vineyards. Their wines were fabulous too!

And of course I met with a number of the winemakers from Long Island, and this was where I also met Peggy Lauber, who started Corey Creek many years ago, with her former husband.

I also met the flying winemaker Sergio Neri (here with his lovely wife Violetta). Sergio owns Hopewell Valley Vineyards in New Jersey, and also helps his brother has his winery in Italy. Hopewell Valley is gaining a reputation as one of the best wineries in New Jersey.

And of course, I got to hang out with Terry Walters, author of the incredibly successful CLEAN FOOD, which was one of the bestselling cookbooks of all last year, and a truly nice, nice person. Dom and I really support the whole local/direct food movement that Terry champions (although I do fall off the wagon occassionally). Her new book, CLEAN START, will be out by November 2010, and it's going to be absolutely fabulous!

And I got to hang out with Barton Seaver, who's new book will be out in spring 2011. Barton was Esquire magazine's 2009 Chef of the Year. He's into sustainable seafood, and he is a fellow of the Blue Ocean Institute and he also works with the Ocean Now program at the National Geographic Society.
So, I am extremely lucky. Extremely. It's a blessed if I could only convince my 12 year sons that I'm cool...ugh!