Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Waiter at Musso and Frank

The Maitre d' at Musso and Frank Grill suggested our party might enjoy the Chaplin booth in the venerable, old-Hollywood eatery.  Old, as in Chaplin used to sit in that booth.

It's not that my fame as a wine scribbler preceded me.  We were awarded the choice booth because notable film director and Trailers From Hell head guru Joe Dante was in our party, and he was duly noted as we walked in.  Joe's been a regular at Musso and Frank during his illustrious career.

It wasn't my first brush with fame, though.  During my time as a Los Angeleno I've had lunch with Reba - in the same restaurant, anyway.  I've seen Magic getting out of his limo at a Sunset Strip steakhouse I can't afford.  I've chatted with James Coburn at a party.  He had no idea who I was.  Henry Winkler, too, different party.  I was a plus-one at a party thrown by Harvey Levin, pre-TMZ.  No papparazzi were present.  Once, I was almost knocked over by Ed Begley, Jr. as he ripped past me on a bicycle.  Oh yeah, I've had my brushes with fame.

Frei Brothers ChardonnayAfter a bit of conversation about the Blood Of The Vines feature I write for Joe's blog, From Hell It Came, the talk turned to pictures.  That's when I settled back into my normal life, sniffing and sipping and poking out notes on my iPhone while taking pictures of the wine on the table.  Fortunately, the people I hang out with are rather used to that sort of behavior from me.

During the course of the evening, our red-jacketed server brought two wines to me.  Both were white, as that's the kind of mood I was in on this night.

First up was the Frei Brothers Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2009.

This Sonoma County wine is a beautiful golden color and shows tropical fruit and lemon chess pie on the nose.  The flavors - mango and minerals leading the way - rest on a gentle acidity that leads to a pineapple finish.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon BlancNew Zealand's Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is quite pale in the glass.  The nose gives a beautiful show of grapefruit and lemon peel with a grassy underlay.  On the palate, white grapefruit makes a huge statement, while minerals play a supporting role.

The evening was wonderful, full of great people, great wine and great conversation, all in the best booth in the place.

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