This night was a memorable one on many levels. I know Sausage Paul doesn’t like me to do too many of these blog posts, and I will curtail them in the near future to go on to other subjects.
But if you are going to do a wine dinner, how about taking a few hints from this one, which in my opinion, is one of the textbook examples of a successful wine dinner. Let’s break it down.
Winery person: How about an owner, someone who is vitally connected to the success of the venture. In our case we had Cristina Mariani, 3rd generation family owner from the Banfi family. Cristina, I told her today, I have never seen her when she wasn’t “on”. The work ethic in the family is very, very strong. And Cristina really went all out to represent her family, her winery, and Italy.
A strong food component: In this case, someone who is considered one of the best chefs in this genre, David Uyger. David came into prominence at Lola, which closed this year.
Now David and his wife Jennifer are readying their soon to be open trattoria, Lucia, in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. David prepared a great meal, albeit way too much food. But that is the Jimmy’s tradition. Note: David did not use truffle oil or "any kind of gastriques, glazes and other puddles and streaks on the dinner plates." (to borrow a brilliant quote from blogger Donna Childers-Thirkell. Thanks, Donna!)
He did serve up a single sauce with the main course, the pasta dish was not over sauced, the salad was spared of another one of my pet peeves, balsamic vinegar. Thank you, David. He used Farro, not rice, not potato. And he loves root vegetables, as I do, brussel sprouts, parsnips and tanned and trim carrots. A huge shout out of “yum” for those.
And the dessert, which paired with the Brachetto, was not overly chocolaty, and had other components, namely a nice whipped single white (not red) cream sauce and hazelnuts. Not some Jean Claude van Damm over-the-top uber coco-licious smack down. We left the place feeling full but not stuffed.
Next component: a good venue. In this case the place, Jimmy’s has a good following and the dinner (for 60) sold out in 5 hours! At $120 a person, not an easy feat in these times. And true, there were lots of goodies (a complementary bottle of very good red wine, a free glass, and some other gifts. And to top it off, the retail part of the night, there were special pricing and deep discounts.
At one moment, a client reached over to me and asked me to box up a 6 pack of the Banfi Poggio all' Oro (@ $149.00 a bottle). He wanted to make sure we didn’t sell out of all of it before he got his. We did sell out of that wine that night.
So, value rules, even in the higher price ranges. Couple that with a committed winery and owner, a great chef and a beloved location and voila, we have a winning combination.
Oh yeah, and we sold a ton of wine that night! Win-win! Wine-Wine! Cha-Ching!
These blog posts have gotten to be too wordy lately, so I will give us all a break and finish with a group of pictures. Many thanks to Cristina Mariani, David and Jennifer Uyger, Paul and Annette and brother Mike Di Carlo and the wonderful staff and clientele of Jimmy’s.
And to Joey the Weasel, aka Joe Strange Eye, whom I met 30 years ago when he walked into my wine bar to sell me a case of the 1970 Poggio alle Mura Brunello, back in the day. Man, time flies when you’re having fun.
Buon divertimento y’all.