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The Life of a Wine-osaur
by Phillip Silverstone

You're probably wondering what a bloke who talks about wine on the telly, on the wireless, in newspaper columns, and in books does when he isn't wining about the good life. Chances are you're probably not wondering that at all, but it was a great opportunity for me to do a spot of self promoting. Anyway, if you are slightly curious as to what I do for kicks…. I…um.. I go to wine tastings and hang out with wine aficionados.

Being married to me is absolute magic - it's like a waiter presenting you with a comprehensive menu of one item, somewhat reminiscent of Monty Python's spam sketch.

"Well we have spam and chips…. spam , spam and chips….. spam and chips and spam…. And chips with spam and spam…" or something like that, you get the gist of it. So I thought I'd devote this month's award deprived column to the life of a "wine-osaur" sharing some of my recent adventures with you.

Wine Of course, I didn't really want to be a wine chap… I wanted to be a lumberjack…. But that's something completely different… and I've cooked up this column about my activities, so I'll get back to it. You may have heard my recent chat with Spencer Christian of Good Morning America. I popped up to New York not only to talk with Spencer about wine - a subject he truly enjoys - but also to attend a wine tasting. It was supposedly an exclusive soiree, yet surprisingly, I was invited. The event was organized by an Australian conglomerate which controls many of the leading wineries Downunder. We tasted through a range of stickies as they're known in the trade. Stickies are the luscious, rich, seriously sweet dessert wines which many of us believe are a wonderful alternative to lascivious activities.

We began with a pair of sherrys from Seppelt, and a couple of late harvest wines from Lindemans. Late harvest wines are affected by a fungus called botrytis, or noble rot, that shrivels the grapes and fills them with an overabundance of natural sugar. The tea colored nectar it produces is a credit to Mother Nature and the genie in the bottle. The final wine in our tasting was an 1896 Seppelt Para Port.

The six ounce wine glasses were whisked away and replaced by a pathetic, insultingly minuscule piece of stemware suitable only for the ingestion of medicine. And into this meager vessel was poured the 100 year old wine. After being told the cost of the bottle, I felt a little embarrassed that I'd thrown a tantrum over the size of the glass. This single bottle was $2,000, so my ounce of liquid treasure was worth about $80! I've never before made so little last so long.

Wine Back home, I attended a wine dinner at Morton's Steakhouse where we were served three different Cabernets from Diamond Creek Vineyards of Calistoga, California. Steak has never been at the top of my food chain, but its marriage to the wine was a perfect union, and I managed to convince the restaurant to cremate my piece of meat rather than have it arrive only slightly dead.

The wines were stunning. In fact they were so gorgeous I was tempted to ask them out, but being rejected by a bottle of wine is a devastating experience. As you know, I never pay more than $15 for a bottle of wine, but I'll drink whatever I'm given. Well, these wines weigh in at around $70 a bottle, so I let my hair down, which in my case is an oxymoron, and polished off several glasses of the Cabernet from the Volcanic Hill Vineyard. And just as everyone was preparing to dash out to their favorite booze shop to buy this incredible wine, we were informed that it was no longer available… it was in fact, an ex-wine, and had gone home to meet its maker…. Or for you Python lovers out there…. it was wining for the fiords…. So we spilled out into the night, happy in the knowledge that we had tasted a true masterpiece stomped by the nimble feet of a truly gifted vintner.

Now that I've finished yet another action packed column, I'm going to do something terribly out of character ….. kick back and have a slurp of some vino. See you next month. Cheers!

Phillip Silverstone Phillip Silverstone is a syndicated broadcaster and columnist. His book, "Cheers! The World of a Wine-osaur" (Camino Books, $12) is available in bookstores everywhere.

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