Friday was one of those days where you just had to be there. It started out normal. The work day ended and I headed over to Culver City's really cool wine shop/tasting room/wine bar, "Bar and Garden" for their Five for Five on Friday. For a fiver you get to taste five wines. For ten, you get ten, and if you're really nice, a few more. Basically, the owners bring in local wine reps who pour their latest samples. The attendees comment, the owners then compare their notes with what the crowd liked and bring in new wines or have wines on the shelf move out. This approach of buying only a few cases of any wine works as it keeps the stock fresh, and the selections new.
There I met the owner of Nomadic Distribution, an importer of wines from France, Spain, Italy and Morocco. Didier Pariente is an enthusiastic Frenchman, born in the Loire Valley, but with an eye to the south. We tasted a bunch of his wines when somehow the discussion of bio-dynamique wine production started and he revealed he imports wines of Clot de L'Origine that are made by Marc Barriot. I joked that in most cases there is usually "Six Degrees of Separation" in the world, but in my case, it's more like one, showing Didier a group of photos from a dinner back in 2012 that Marc organized for me with six other winemakers at Auberge du Cellier in Montner, France, a few miles from his winery. And with that Didier ran out to his car to bring in Marc stunning dessert Grenache, made from old vines in Maury, France. His portfolio is full of gems including a stunning unoaked Chardonnay from the Macon region of St. Veran. Talk about mind blowing, this Chardonnay is fruity and lively enough to make you forget Gruener or Riesling or any of those other "fad" wines that seem to take the world by storm only to be replaced by the standards.....but I digress.
After about 90 minutes or so at Bar and Garden I paid my tab, recruited Didier and shop owner Marisa into doing something on International Grenache Day (Friday September 16th 2016) and then headed to an Uber for a visit to Bar Covell in Hollywood. 30 minutes or so later I wandered into a packed crowd, and 150 wines on offer.
The way Bar Covell works is you tell them what you're in the mood for and you get to sample a few, then you pick your glass. I went for Alsace, and a cool, crisp Boeckel 2010 Sylvaner vs. the two Oregon Rieslings that were good, but not quite dry enough. Then there was a nicely aged Provence red that fit the bill to accompany the Croque Monsiure. From there I headed over to Barbrix just down the hill off of Hyperion, for a glass of Riesling and a red Austrian that was way too warm...I felt the need for real wine...really good wine and a really fun crowd. So it was off to Wally's Beverly Hills I went, and that was when more fun began....
At Wally's I caught up with Chef David Feau, who has become a food friend here in town. What David has done at Wally's is on par with Le 110 de Taillevent in Paris. We chatted about the local scene, the food and wine media, about what new places I should be frequenting and some plans he has. I was also recruiting to stage something Grenache Day at Wally's and more importantly, hunting for Corsican cheese, which he found for me in the cheese department that has wickedly low prices for the quality they sell. As I was walking back to the bar, with my glass of 2012 J.L. Chave Mon Coeur an Australian couple and I started talking, only for me to realize that I knew the gentleman from my trip to Sydney in 2012. The gentleman was none other than Chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, television chef and the culinary consultant to Virgin Australia Luke Mangan. I had met Mangan, and gotten his cookbook complete with autograph at the grand opening of Mojo. We caught up, talked about his suggestion to me and introduction to Antoine Moscovitz, whom Luke called the "best chef in Australia" as I sat with Anotine and his wife Sam at the Mojo opening, and then asked "where should he eat in L.A." Rather than offer limited guidance, I walked he and Sam back to the kitchen and asked David to provide his insight...I mean, who better to tell the Wolfgang Puck of Australia where to dine than a peer...
But the night was not over, for I turned and found Internationally renowned DJ, Peter Rank Schroder, who is also CEO of Telzio, whom I advise, walking in with a musician friend from Denmark. The three of us proceeded to work our way through a stunning bottle of an Italian red and made the night a party at Wally's.
The night ended around 215 AM, with an Uber to the flat...What a night....and all to get ready for Hospice du Rhone.