Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wine Blogging Wednesday #18 -- Road Trip

This month’s theme of Wine Blogging Wednesday, that monthly global Internet wine tasting event initiated by Lenndevours, is “wine shops that feel the love”, and is hosted by “Dr. Vino”. Check his site in a few days to read the wrap-up.

Well, I feel the love everyday that I am in my wine shop, but I don’t think that is what the good Doctor is talking about, and I am reticent to endorse a fellow competitor, so I concluded that it was time to make a Road Trip to Dayton with the local guidance of Mark Fischer at Uncorked, the wine columnist at the Dayton Daily News. You will have to pardon the length of this write-up but I have a story to tell.

I closed down early January 20th to beat the traffic on I-75 North. Forty-five minutes later I arrived at Arrow Wines and Spirits in Kettering and bumped into two of the managers who I had previously met in Cincinnati at distributor functions. If I lived in Kettering this would be a definite go-to store as they have a large selection of interesting wines (that means wines that I also have in my store) that is nicely laid out with helpful staff. After meeting Mark there we headed to downtown Dayton to join the Friday wine tasting already in progress at Jay’s Kitchen Door. Arrow doesn’t have Friday tastings because “we’re too damn busy on Fridays!”

Jay’s Kitchen Door is actually a back room, the old wine storage area I was told, of Jay’s Seafood. You enter through the back kitchen door! Get it! Jay’s Kitchen Door! They actually sell wine at retail on Fridays and Saturdays and have serious tastings with heavy appetizers. Usually they have about 30 or 40 wines to select from at “the store”, but today the selection was down to 10, not that there was any shortage as wines kept appearing from the “restaurant” side to be opened and enjoyed by all.

Over the night there were about 30 “winos” tasting the wines, but really it was more of a party as everyone knew each other, and I learned later that this crowd follows a wine tasting route on Fridays and Saturdays through the many wine stores in the Dayton area. Later, 12 of us grabbed two tables in the main dining room after a tour of the wine cellar. (I volunteered to stay in the cellar to make sure the light really did go out when you closed the door, but the manager saw through that scheme very quickly!)

The food was great and the wine list very expansive from all regions and included some back vintage Bordeaux labels. I wish I could remember all the great wines we shared at the two tables but it became a blur and I had stopped taking notes. I selected the 1998 Chateau Angelus as I had recently tried the 1999 and they were out of the 1996 Latour Batard Montrachet. I would re-order it again particularly as the wine pricing was very reasonable. I will try to get a copy of the wine list next time I am there.

Now this review is getting long-winded (as I prefer short pieces and believe that over 100 words on a blog post is a fatal error!) but I haven’t even got to the part where I found a REALLY cool wine shop, and it’s past 11 o’clock now on Friday night.

After dinner we headed over to Oregon Express to catch some live music. The Eric Jerardi Band was playing led by Eric Jerardi who besides playing a mean lead guitar, runs a wine store, The Little Shop, in Dayton and has recently produced and hosted a DVD on touring the wine country of Napa and Sonoma.

The highlight of the evening, beside the covers of Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughn, was Eric’s stirring Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by Hendrix followed by a smoking 5 minute rendition of Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner to close the set. Now THIS is the guy I want to help me pick out a light red to go with a lamb roast! Looks like I will be heading back to Dayton to catch Eric in between his concert and film gigs. Stay tuned….


Anonymous Dr. Vino said...

Thanks for being a good sport about this particular theme. Sounds like you had a great time!

8:50 AM  
Anonymous mark fisher said...

Jens: We had a fine time indeed, and I too wish we had kept better track of the wines that disappeared down our throats through the course of a very enjoyable evening. Now we Dayton wine enthusiasts owe you a return trip down I-75. We'll be FAR better behaved as visitors to the Queen City than we were on our own turf ...

Thanks, and cheers!

Mark Fisher

10:23 PM  

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