10.21am Friday, 16th April, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA
Big day out yesterday, starting with a Viognier Breakfast for the local trade at the Edina Grill in Edina (strangely enough), which is another suburb of Minneapolis. This was organised by Jason “I’ve been to Yalumba” Kallsen, our man in Minneapolis with World Class Wines, the family-owned distributor. Jason sat through one of these breakfasts when he visited the winery and adapted it beautifully with the chef at the Edina Grill. We were able to showcase all our Viogniers – the 2008 Oxford Landing ,the 2008 Y Series, 2008 Eden Valley, 2007 Virgilius and 2008 Botrytis – and explain the our history with the variety, and how our various vineyards in different regions – as well as how we handle the fruit – contribute to the light and shade of aroma, flavour and texture that we see in the glass.
We had a group of 16 people at breakfast, mostly from one of our top supporters in Minneapolis – the Blue Plate Restaurant Group (includes the Edina Grill) – and we asked them to try all the Viogniers, comparing them and contrasting them with a range of foods chosen for the range of flavours and textures that they gave us to work with.
So, with fresh mango, raspberries and apples; with a range of soft cheeses; with an egg and peppers scramble; with local grilled sausage; and with small sections of French toast – our folks “mixed and matched”.
We have Viognier on by the glass at the Edina Grill, so the Blue Plate folks are familiar with our wine – but hadn’t seen the range – and we had some pleasantly surprised people chatting away afterward, which is always a good sign that the tasting has done a good job. David, Luke and Steph are the owners of the group, and have really jumped in behind us with the variety, so this was a great way for us to say thanks – and to show our whole viognier world to them and all the restaurant managers. So thanks to Jason, the Edina chef, and all the folks at Three Square Restaurant, Longfellow Grill, Highland Grill and Groveland Tap – all top addresses to be at in Minneapolis St Paul.After the tasting, we made our way into the city, to get amongst the hot new thing in Minneapolis – outdoor baseball. Goodbye to the dome and hello Target Field. We made a motley bunch – Dave, Jason, Luke, Steph and me – but we made the most of a stellar spring day in the Twin Cities. We watched the local heroes Joe Mauer and ‘The Twinkies’ belt the Boston Red Sox 8 – 0. Here’s the mandatory Twins Big Dog made by local meat company Schweigerts (Minnesotan since 1937!) with all the stuff available on top – tomato ketchup, sweet mustard, relish (the bright green stuff) and hot cheese sauce. And no – I didn’t eat it all. In the background of the hot dog pic, as well as the one of Jason and me down at the fence after the game, is the neon sign of the two players Minnie and Paul with the river running between – the old logo of the Twins, for the Twin Cities. It will be lit up properly for the first time tonight, as the Twins host the Kansas City Royals in their first home night game. After the game, we walked a few blocks across to Lee’s Liquor Lounge to let all the traffic die down, and I had a catch up with legendary owner Louie. This is a picture Jason took showing Louie and me solving the problems of the world. This place has been immortalised by Texan Troubadour Dale Watson and his Lone Stars in the song Lee’s Liquor Lounge on the CD “People I’ve Known Places I’ve Been”, and Louie has this little piece of local Americana intact and clean as a pin – just like the last time I was here. Only now that Target Field is just across the way, they’ll see a lot of Twins fans across the season – letting the traffic die down. And I couldn’t think of a better place to do it.
Now I have to shoot off, as we’re doing a presentation to the World Class Wines sales force in 45 minutes.
See ya when it’s done, and we’re heading for the weekend