Friday, August 10, 2007

Vito Power

Guest commentary by Beatrice Russo

Well, I finally made the deal with Dale. He’s the sommelier that in Arthur's world is the decanter. Dale is in charge of a new wine oriented restaurant and retail place that’s coming here. He wants to set this town on its side, with low restaurant wine list prices and great sommelier service. A place where our generation can say to the GenExers, “Hey old geezers, wake up and smell the Tulipano Nero.”

He says it will be his show to run. There won't be some corporate suit from up north telling him what he can and can’t do. No Vito or Boss Hogg telling him he can't buy Voerzio or Gravner.

He’s been telling IWG that he wanted to hire me, but I had other things going on. But then the heavens opened up and money poured down from above. So, just like that, I have a full-time gig.

I almost got a dog. Not one of the small ones that gets lost in a purse. He was abandoned, and had been abused pretty bad. But he was so badly beaten that the vet had to put him to sleep. Just my luck. Dogs and humans.

IWG has a “project” this week. He’s been holed up for days in front of a computer with a couple of special programs. One is a way to find wines that are selling well, for the press. The other is to see how his vendors products are selling vs. the amount of dollars they locked up with inventory. There really is no talking to him. I saw peeking over his shoulder, Lambrusco sales up 30% and operating with ¼ of the inventory on hand. A very hot Pinot Grigio up 250% in the last year. So why is he such a grouch? He should really chill, take a couple of days off.

Best wine this week? A 2005 Chateau Thivin Côte de Brouilly. The old Italian Wine Guy brought a French wine home along with leftover Peking duck he had with his buds. IWG was real secretive about this dinner. Only thing I can tell is, he has obsessed over these hidden kitchens that he used to go to in Palermo. He says there are Mayan and Cambodian hidden kitchens here, but they are closed to non-natives. He is obsessed with finding authentic cooking. I guess it’s safe to say he hasn’t found his Italian place here. Yet. Actually, he mentioned a couple, David and Rafaella. Said her gnocchi was as good as anywhere he had in Italy. So he does have his hidden Italian kitchen. But I guess Mayan or Cambodian sound more exotic.

Oh, the wine. It was pretty. Gamay. The color was light but deep. Old World. Hand picked. Earthy. Not Americanized, it had character. Tasty with the duck, a direct hit. I can has Beaujolais?

So I’m glad, I've got a job and a cool place to stay. Oh, I almost forgot about the apartment, this is too much luck. This Senior VP dude, works for Coca-Cola, friend of friend, has a house in the Park Cities, empty nester, just him and his wife. They live on Bordeaux Street and have a garage apartment. 600 square feet and a lap pool in the back yard. He’s always traveling and his wife goes with him a lot. They have an apartment in NY and a house in Colorado. If I watch their place when they are gone I can have this wicked crash pad for $500 a month. I have already started moving in, and they have wireless, so I don’t have to lose my link with my glo-bal-tri-bal-fam-ily. Totally hot. Later.

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