New Days, New Digs, New Beginnings – And a couple of New Wine Notes


Today marks the end of October, 2011 and the beginning of so very much more. Personally, the past couple of years have witnessed some truly tumultuous times in my life. Professionally, thanks to a reversal of fortune of late, I have witnessed a re-birth. As determined as I was to make a real name for myself in the wine trade while remaining on my home turf, I knew it was inevitable. The real players in the biz – those who truly change the landscape and alter the playing field – more times than not will find themselves doing so from California. And sure enough, just months before my 45th birthday, I would relocate to this Golden State (vinously speaking) to begin anew my quest to be the best.


With dueling glasses of my favorite beverage – Pinot Noir – beside me, as I once again contemplate penning a vinous note (or two), my thoughts drift to and fro; these past four months in my new locale have surely flown by. And while I cannot guarantee that time will allow for regular updates to this blog as it did it times past, I will consider the infrequent down times as opportunity to share thoughts as they pertain to my vinous encounters.


My new position as Buyer began in July. I was interviewed over the phone from my office in Dallas where I had taken a half day from my duties as Manager and Buyer from a recently acquired position for Central Market. I cannot explain how amazingly odd it felt to have TWO opportunities from which to select from in less than a few months span; this after two years of NOTHING.


In no time flat, I was on a plane (at 5 AM), in a meeting with the owner, and back on a flight to Dallas. By mid-July, I would board another flight – this one a 1-way flight – and my career would begin anew. To say that everything transpired in a whirlwind is quite the understatement! The family packed up, travelled across country from Texas to California, and we now call the Bay Area home. Transitioning has been easier than I ever imagined for my family; and I have settled into my role as Buyer – covering the wines of France and Italy for my new employer (a role I’ve come to know intimately these nearly 30 years in the trade) – as comfortably as I had hoped.


Today, I have before me two of my all time favorite producers. And while the procuring of the products from one of them doesn’t fall under my umbrella, the tasting of his wines most certainly continues to bring me pleasure. Comparing and contrasting these two wines is a fantastic study in the absolute differences between New and Old World – and the pleasures to be found in both.


2007 Scherrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

From Fred Scherrer, the man who brought to fame the great Dehlinger wines, we have this fantastically complex version of his multi-plot Russian River Pinot. The 2007 RRV is deep crimson red to the core and beautifully aromatic. This showcases classic Scherrer aromatics of sassafras, cola and dark Pinot fruit nuances all married to additional, intense and room filling aromas of black cherry. As with most Scherrer Pinots, this is immediately approachable, medium to full-bodied on the palate, with the cola and dark Pinot nuances from the aromatics being showcased on the palate. This is delicious now and promises another 3-5 years of continued improvement and drinkability. 90 points


2008 Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes Chambertin Vieilles Vignes

DECANTED 72 HOURS EARLIER. Christophe Perrot Minot was first reviewed in these pages here: and has been a regular in my personal cellar since the 1990s. To say these are stunning examples of Burgundy is not an overstatement. Beautiful ruby, crimson in color. Clarity to the rim, no sign of oxidation in color or aromatics even after 72 hours of decantation. Stunning aromatics to include baking spices: clove, ginger, cardamom, star anise; and fruit skin: orange zest. Dark Pinot fruit combines on the nose with mineral and hints of slate to offer an unmistakable Burgundian impression, yet with the time in decanter, the sweetness of the fruit has opened up to suggest what this wine will be with a decade in the cellar. On the palate, this is still youthfully gripping and stern, but the sweet, dark Pinot fruit is prominent. The finish lingers a minute plus and the impression on the palate is stunning. A 25 year wine, easily. 94 points


In closing, I hope to find more time to share with my long time readers and friends some of the magical wines that daily come across my desk.


And I hope to hear from more of you with your thoughts and ideas as these days unfold…


All the best in wine and life.