Having recently entered the 2nd semi-centennial of life, I have dedicated myself to whisking my lovely wife away on romantic travel adventures, spoiling my only-child daughter rotten and saving to purchase an IWC “Portuguese” wristwatch on my 100th Birthday. Donations (to any of the above) appreciated and gladly accepted!
Where have you lived?
As a Chicago native, I was born on the far South side, raised in the far West suburbs and purchased my first home in the Wrigleyville area back in the late ‘80’s. Since the mid-1990’s, I’ve lived with my now wife in Rockridge (Berkeley, CA) and have enjoyed the diversity of Long Beach in Southern California for the past 15 years before recently relocating to lovely Napa, CA.
A $400 “gift” from my father and still my favorite auto ever: Deep forest green 1979 Pontiac Bonneville with a bench seat in front and back.
How did you start in the wine business?
What I perceived (at the time) to be an older gentleman, amused me with his stories and tastings of German Rieslings of all styles in between my trips delivering beer keggers to frat houses as part of my responsibilities working in a wine & liquor store in Champaign-Urbana during my university years. This experience was parlayed into post-college wine shop employment that has fueled my continued interest ever since.
Best concerts of your life
REM circa 1985 when they were still playing small-scale venues at college campuses around the Midwest. And Todd Rundgren the same way!
After tasting wine all day I want to drink a…
A sour beer. Or a Belgian Lambic. Or a Saison. Current favorites are the expressions created by Libertine Brewing Co. out of San Luis Obispo CA.
After staring at a computer all day I want to drink a…
Take a long bike ride through the countryside and end with a sumptuous meal of fresh sashimi.
What puts the biggest smiles on your face?
Deep orange-colored farm fresh egg yolks, my wife laughing at her own jokes and full-body hugs from my daughter when I arrive home from the office or a trip.
Fantastic wine experience
Sampling 1982 Bruno Giacosa Baroli / Barbaresci out of barrel with the maestro himself very early in my wine career. And drinking Tavel while picnicking along the bank of the Seine with my wife and daughter.
Last bottle of wine of wine you ever want to drink
An as yet-to-be-discovered White Burgundy.
While on the wine route I love to…
Stop and guzzle a ‘spremuta’ of freshly squeezed blood orange juice at Auto-Grills in Italy, indulge in foie gras & Sauterne traipsing through Paris, stomp palm-sized spiders in the Australian countryside and pick fresh lavender from the fields of Southern France.
Favorite vacation spot
Any foreign locale where I can barely speak the language and can afford to stay in a city with my family for an extended period of time getting to know the local haunts of coffee shops, cheese venders, fruit stands and neighborhood eateries. Some locales that have suffered my visit include: Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Ho Chi Minh.
Particularly partial (at the moment) to all cheese Italian including and certainly not limited to creamy fresh Mozzarella direct from the vat, oozing burrata drizzled with EVOO, lovingly stretched Stracciatella di Bufala, mild and mellow Fontina from the higher altitudes of my ancestral homeland, stinky and fruity Taleggio and the ever melt-in-your mouth Gorgonzola Dolce. Oh wait, you asked for a ‘favorite cheese’ (singular)…
Great food & wine pairing
Ricotta salata cheese drizzled lightly with honey or a deeply aged Balsamic vinegar and the crisp, clean white Vermentinos of Sardegna.
If you won the lottery…
Ensure a solid education for my daughter, purchase the ‘second home’ in Italy or France and create my check-list to visit every country in the World. Alas, you have to play to win…..