Monday, February 11, 2008
Qi, Grand Marnier and the Green Truck
Well, its been quite a day. The fine folks at St. George Spirits have generously sent me two bottles of Qi (pronounced chee) Tea Liqueurs. They sent both the Black and the White, and I can't believe that I've been able to stay out of them all evening. Tomorrow evening though, I'm meeting with Neil Koppelin of Carlyle, Daniel Shoemaker, and Kevin Ludwig and I'm afraid that if I don't save the bottles until tomorrow night, there might not be any to share. Usually I taste spirits and liqueurs by myself initially, and then I like to get others to taste in order to get their feedback, so this will be a little different, but I'm intrigued to see what happens. I've liked everything I've ever had from St. George, and I'm optimistic that these liqueurs can match the high standards that St. George sets for itself.
As I sit here unwinding from a very hectic Monday, I'm enjoying a nightcap that I haven't poured myself in ages, a snifter of Grand Marnier. The BBC America premier of "Last Restaurant Standing" is on in the background, it looks to be quite entertaining and its providing the perfect soundtrack to my own private little celebration. You see, on Friday, I found out that I have been selected to participate in Grand Marnier/ Navan's upcoming Mixology Summit in Vail Colorado. I'm excited on a few different fronts. One, it will be a great opportunity to network with some of the best bartenders in the country. Two, I'm really excited to see what the people from Grand Marnier/Navan have planned.I've never tasted the Grand Marnier 150, and I'm anxious to get the opportunity taste it. So far, everything seems first class and I'll be crossing the days off the calendar until we leave. And lastly, since we have family in Denver, we're planning on coming in a little bit early and spending some time in town before leaving for Vail. I'm really hoping to tour Stranahan's Distillery, makers of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey while we are in town. The idea of regional whiskeys that reflect the tastes and character, perhaps even the terroir of where they are made, has great appeal to me. I'd love to see more craft distillers create authentic products that are true to the essence of where they are made.
Speaking of quality products, while I've really been focusing on spirits in my blog, I have a confession to make. I love wine. Not just love it, I'm passionate about wine. I love mixed drinks as well, but nothing is as food friendly (most of the time, an important caveat) as a wonderful wine. When it comes to spirits or wine, what I am most passionate about are those individuals who create high quality products because to create anything less would be unthinkable for them. Off the top of my head, House Spirits and St. George both stand out as distilleries that meet this description. Well, I'm about to reveal my absolute favorite wine in the world. I'll preface this by saying that 1) I'm generally a Zinfandel man (and it doesn't come in white, thank you) and 2) there may be more expensive wines, and wine regions more highly regarded for this varietal than his, but to my palate this is the best stuff out there. Green Truck Pinot Noir is the kind of wine that my wife and I have arguments about. We will schedule a dinner party with, perhaps a couple that we know enjoys fine food and wine. When planning the menu, the subject of wine always comes up (if you come to the Casa De Mayhew, expect cocktails with appetizers, wine with the meal, and then digestifs), and will, if we are sufficiently impressed, result in a discussion as to whether our invited guests are "Truck Worthy". Please don't take it personally if I invite you to dinner and serve something else. I have a nice wine collection and I promise, I never pour something cheap, but I only get 12 bottles of grin inducing Pinot Noir a year to be doled out very carefully over the years. The reason I'm sharing this information, is that the next release of the Truck is 3/1, so if you get over to the website, you've got a great chance to get in on this wonderful wine. I think Kent charges 30-35 a bottle these days, and production has increased ever since I became a Trucker from 250 cases to about 400 now. Green Truck is made from some of the premier grapes in the Napa Valley, and one of the real hallmarks of the craftsmanship that goes into Green Truck is that even in "off" vintages, the Truck is always well structured and extremely approachable wine. Kent Fortner, the winemaker and genius behind Green Truck describes his mission as producing "grin inducing pinot noirs". Get on board now and you'll thank me later when the Truck has a 10 year waiting list for allocations and you'll always have the perfect wine to serve at Thanksgiving.
Well, thanks for allowing me to share. More updates soon, but for now, I need to get back to that snifter of Grand Marnier.