11.56am, Saturday 20th March, Whole Foods Market, Cupertino, CA, USA
Morning folks, I’m on the road heading to Fresno to see the rodeo – PBR Bullriding actually – and we’ve made a three-hour stopover in Cupertino at the Whole Foods market as we’re doing an in-store Yalumba tasting for Diana “The Business Dynamo” Malloy.
So we – and by we I mean Suzanne “The machinery that makes the wine orders in our world happen ” Brigham from the NUSA office – have arrived early to take advantage of the faaaaaabulous food bar for lunch. We’ve just shared a small cup of beef burgundy stew, a pork tamale, and a picnic salad that we made up ourselves that is a total picture of health – Kale & Seaweed salad, Asian Noodles salad, Chicken Poblano lasagna, Spinach Orzo with black olives, Bhutanese Red Rice Salad (with teriaki tofu), and Mango Quinoa Salad (with edamame beans, cranberries and almonds). Did I mention in the blog previously how much I like this place? I was staying overnight on Wednesday in Orange and drove 11 miles to the nearest Whole Foods Market to have a hot lunch, and then I made a chicken combination salad to take with me to the motel for dinner. It’s worth it to get that shot of good fresh food in the arm!
I thought it would be a good opportunity to take advantage of the free wifi thing and catch up on Thursday in Orange County and Friday in LA.
Thursday March 18th, Orange County
We started at the Wine Exchange with Patton Penhallagon, our man from the distributor. If you think the name is sharp, you should check the cool look he is always moving with out there. I’m with that boy! Orange County really got the Australian story and the Barossa in particular very early, and the Wine Exchange boys (along with Hi Time, Southern Hemisphere and Grape Expectations ) were right at the forefront of that whole wave of Australian wine flowing into California initially. They have remained incredibly supportive – but very constructively critical – of what we as a country and region Barossa are and have been doing. So good thing to start the day there as you’ll always get a solidly real opinion of how you are travelling as a country, region , and winery in the complete world of wine. The boys always taste as at least a trio, so again, realistic picture of where you stand.
I am happy to report that we’re travelling very well with a couple of things – the 2008 Botrytis Viognier raised eyebrows in a good way. It’s leaving an apricot, honey and marmalade jetstream as it flies by, winning folks over to well-made and ungluggy sweet wines. The 2004 Signature yet again performed beautifully. I’ll have to ring the winery and see if there are any large bottles for me to use at some of the consumer events I’m doing across Australia in May and June – that would be a treat. Throw in the 2008 Y Viognier – my pick for crabcakes, shrimp anything, pad thai, and this fish over called Mahi Mahi that’s fleshy but sweet – and the 2008 Bush Vine Grenache, and we did OK on the day!
Thanks again Wine Exchange – I always seem to make them laugh (not always intentionally) – and this time because I was tired, this is what slid out – as I was about to leave and we were talking about Yalumba and business longevity: “Maybe it’s like brown corduroy pants – you just have to be around long enough to become trendy!”
Then I jumped into the black jelly bean and wound him right up – zipping 25 miles across to Laguna Beach to work with Judy “The Smooth” Flanders – our gal from the distributor who looks after this part of coastal Southern Cal – very sharp, very hip, and some of the luxury destination jewels in the Californian crown. We presented our wines to the top dining establishment in one of these luxury beachside hotels, and I put a picture of the view in for you, just so you can see the sort of day we were in the middle of. Due to the level of discretion required I can only report that we do have some Signature in their cellars, but have now been able to bring the sommelier up to speed with how it is travelling, plus proved a pleasant surprise with the elegant wild ferment style of the Eden Valley Chardonnay. With any luck we may very well see another wine on the list, and I look forward to working with the boys down the track, as they teach wine and food as well.
OK – have to leave it there as we are on! Off to set up and talk Yalumba to the good folks of Cupertino! See ya when we’re in Fresno!