Confucious Said So?

“Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”

~ Confucius

Linkage to the ancient Chinese sage Confucius as the origin of this insightful quote is debatable and appears to be spurious; anachronistic elements suggest that “job choice” or flexibility of work in the era {485 BC} of Confucius was possible, yet it was actually very sharply limited.

But I don’t care.  My Chinese zodiac is The Dragon.  And I believe it.  And thus it is so.

Writing from a quiet night in my hotel room this evening during a 12-day stint of travel, I find myself wrapping up a successful week in Westbury, New York.  After ten+ years of being on the road for business, I find the days prior to departure on these extended road trips sometimes dreadful.  I can’t manage to prepare early.  I confess, at times I don’t book flights, rooms or cars until I am in someone’s Uber car headed to the airport with somewhere to be the next morning.  I now travel with wet clothes, doing laundry like a peasant until my last hours before leaving.  It’s like I’m an inmate on death row, reluctant and waiting for my final march.

Yet, once I am zipped up and rolling, the energy of travel roars to life within me and I am joy filled and sparkling with opportunity to meet new friends, try new foods, SEE and DO new things.

I had the pleasure of hosting three precious client folk at dinner this week. Now, my normal “client dinner” M.O. is to maintain two Open Table accounts in order to hold multiple reservations, generously offering my clients their choice of cuisine at restaurants I have pre-selected and already know *I* will personally enjoy.  My pre-cursory review accounts for all sorts of personal preference, starting with the wine list.

For this week, I thoughtfully curated two dining selections with all my go-to criteria in careful consideration;

Option One:  Rothmann’s Steakhouse, a classic American formal landmark that once hosted Theodore Roosevelt.  Rothmann’s has “one of the best sommeliers on Long Island” Mr. Sean Gantner, who updates his wine list weekly, *swoon*.  Recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence 2009 and a Wine Spectator state-by-state recommendation for best dining in 2015.

Option Two:  Rialto on Carle Place, a single established family owned, authentic Italian restaurant under new ownership with decidedly more of a “welcome home” vibe.  My clients [being from the Dallas area and experienced in fine steakhouse dining] opted for this hand crafted Italian option.  No arguments here.  I eagerly made myself known at this little gem and embraced the restaurant owner, a simply charming woman who was attentive to my table the way my own Grandmother would be to guests of her home.  Wine selections at Rialto are beholden to the experience of the chef and ownership and not a crafted list of favorites from the professionally trained mind and palate of a Somm.

Last night, at a table of 8 colleagues, friends, clients and bosses, we laughed and chatted over candlelight to the tune of live music and clinging forks.

Wine Selection:  Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2013

For a Chianti to be a true Chianti, it must be produced in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy, and at least 80% Sangiovese grapes. While most Chiantis are 100% Sangiovese, some winemakers in the region like to blend the Sangiovese with Cabs or Merlots.

Two bottles of this +clear garnet, +plenty of spice, +red fruit, +more dry than sweet, +not tannic vin splashed down obediently with dinner. Moderately acidic, the Sangiovese grape I first loved in my early red wine drinking years (which has been recently re-ordered on my preference list under the Tempranillo, who I love more now) paired well with my house made mushroom and truffle ravioli.   The Chianti performed well on the table, for the seasoned novice to inexperienced wine drinkers.  It was a good selection, made for flavor and not to impress in price.

$55 tableside, but probably $20 retailed somewhere.

Ruffino Chianti Classico 2013_Rialto at Carle Place_NSM GPNY




A “Vision” Worth Sharing

Sometimes simple words cannot do what confirming signs and wonders of the Universe can.  To the soul seeker, there is magic in the Pacific Northwest.  To wine nerds like myself, “winederlust” is real and the PNW is a “can’t miss” destination on your bucket list.   I recently had the good fortune to return to Seattle, Washington this summer.  A region known for its constant grey cover of rain and fog, I was invited to prance through the beautiful Puget Sound under warm golden sunshine and crisp, fresh air for the several days I spent there.

Washington state is known for producing beautiful white wines, but as far as reds go, Washington is coming up quick and fast like Kobe Bryant on the 3-point fade.  Surprising, especially since Washington is home to the Cascades and is the second largest wine producer in our nation, after California (Oregon, a delicious 3rd). It wasn’t until 1989 that Wine Spectator included Washington wine in its ‘Top 100″ list.   There are 13-appellations and over 750+ wineries in Washington.  During my visit, I had time for only two precious wine stops.  I went, I sniffed, I saw, I slurped, I purchased . . . . and now must wax poetic about the crafty, blended juice in my RIEDEL VITIS glass last night.  One of my souvenir wine(s) from this trip included a red blend from Columbia Winery,  a nearly sold out 2013 vintage named “Vision”.  And just like a well executed, smooth “Mamba-esque” Kobe Bryant signature approach to the net, Vision left me in awe with the “nothin but net” swoosh of the first sip.

Fruit forward in expression with a round mouthfeel, this wine is a Rhône-inspired blend, structured by a varietal content of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Petit Verdot.  It stands up medium-big and tall, and I was lucky to enjoy its spoils while noshing bites at a table of six industry friends and wine lovers alike at Columbia’s tasting room.  We came with clients, and we left with forever friends.  A great wine will always do that for you.  Especially when discovered for the first time in a tasting room that feels like your best friends living room, sitting in a fireplace and live music setting.  That my friends, is the Columbia tasting room experience.


Molto bene, friends!





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