10.20pm, Friday 6th March, Bluegrass Parkway, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Here we are right in the middle of Bourbon country folks, in Louisville, Kentucky – they’ve been turning out Louisville Slugger baseball bats here since 1884, and the home of the Churchill Downs racetrack with its trademark twin spires, where the Kentucky Derby has been run since 1875. Yep….there’s a lot to like about Louisville, Kentucky. And I do.There was a massive arctic blast here on Wednesday night that only faded away at 10am Thursday morning, leaving 12 – 24 inches of snow across the state – bringing I 65 to a complete stop, and closing down most of the town. Today was a different matter – bright sunshine from Dawn to dusk, the big melt is on, and the snowploughs of all shapes and sizes have pretty much opened the place back up for business. And Elvis – there’s no ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ in the sky tonight, it’s clear as a bell, and the moon is completely full, sitting up there looking like a big fat scoop of honeycomb ice cream!
And we’ve had a big day.We started out at 6.30am – over the road to Starbucks first thing, as they’ve put on the new “Australian” style coffee – the ‘flat white’. It’s not as good as Jason’s Flat White at Soul Cafe in the Main Street of Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia – 2 minutes away from our home base Yalumba – but it’s not a bad effort at all. Then we hit the interstate (highway) and headed north for Hebron, KY which is just on this side of the Ohio River from Cincinnatti OH – and is the headquarters of our new distributor for the state of Kentucky – Heidelberg. We had the 9.10am slot in their sales team meeting, and that means 30 minutes to tell them our story, win their hearts and palates, and illustrate our points with 5 wines – the Y Unwooded Chardonnay, Eden Valley Viognier, Y Cabernet, The Strapper GSM, and the Patchwork Shiraz. No pressure! Fortunately, we had the first morning slot in the program, and it seemed to go pretty well. The slot you don’t want is the one immediately after lunch – I call that one ‘the death seat’ because it’s hard to make an impact after folks have eaten and essentially want to shoot off and finish the week!
After the sales meeting, we went across the river – which is also the Kentucky / Ohio state line, and into Cincinnati. We went in to see the folks at the Jeff Ruby Steakhouse and presented some of our top Reds – tailor made for their tremendous meaty menu – beef and lamb centric. It was mt first visit and I fell in love with the place – all Art Deco and old school cruise liner interior – just the sort of place that you could see Frank Sinatra sliding into after the show. And the aroma as soon as you crossed heir threshold – like walking right into a fabulous steak, onion, and mushroom sandwich. Any rate have a look for yourself – this is the bar and dining room, and the small corner stage is behind me, over my left shoulder.
Then we headed across town to a top little corner eatery – Dutch’s – which has just listed our ‘Strapper’ Grenache Shiraz Mataro. I had the short rib cheese melt sandwich for lunch – but no photo, because you’ll just be disappointed you couldn’t be there too! It was THAT good!
After lunch, it was back across the river into Kentucky, pick up a rental car, and back to Louisville for me. I went off to meet our local Sales king Dave Z ( you know who you are!) at Jack’s Lounge – a local Louisville institution since forever – and we wanted to sat “thanks a huge amount” in person, as they’ve just put our Patchwork Shiraz on by the glass. Well done Dave, and especially our Chicago based area manager for the Midwest – Anthony the Australian. Welcome to Jacks….and it was jumping! The second pic is a bit dark, but that’s the 2012 Patchwork Shiraz about to hit Dave’s glass
So a jolly good all round, back to the hotel to pack up, and tomorrow it’s off to Baltimore for me. I’ll be based there for 8 nights (luxury! I’ll be able to put the washing through, and not repack for a week!) – doing events in Baltimore, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia and Elkton MD.
So I’ll see Ya when it’s Baltimore – Ravens and Orioles country