Ten Questions With…
BIO: Rob is a long time supporter of LUSH, actually one of our first customers! Although he works mainly in construction, Rob’s latent talent is developing deep friendships and creating a growing appreciate for sharing moments, and sips, with amazing people. He also has phenomenal connections in the beer and wine world. On his ‘off’ time, Rob represents Linne Calodo wines in Chicago. This is one cool guy.
INTERVIEW: Thanks for agreeing to be a part of the Lush Wine & Spirits blog. Please answer the following questions in whatever way you see fit. We want your voice, personality, and opinions to come through!
1) What is the best thing you’ve drank in the last week? What about in the last year?
Best this week: a 2008 Pinot Noir rose from Maysara in Oregon.
Best this year: a 2005 Nemesis (rhone blend/syrah based) from Linne Calodo Cellars in Paso Robles, CA.
2) What do you think is the most underrated grape varietal or region? Overrated?
Underrated varietals: white variety – Hondarribi Zuria, red variety Hondarribi Beltza. (Used to create the Basque wine –Txakoli in red (rare), white and rosado)
Underrated region: Basque Country, Spain (perfect for spring and summer drinking. Lower in alcohol, good acidity and a little frizzante).
3) Who are your favorite food and wine writers?
Food Writers: Georgio Locatelli, an Italian chef in London, England. He is the proprietor of Locanda Locatelli. Carlo Petrini of Slow Food and Saveur Magazine.
Wine Writers: Donald and Petie Kladstrup authors of ‘Wine&War’ and ‘Champagne’. Oz Clarke from England, Eric Asimov of the New York Times and Alpana Singh with her blog ‘What would Alpana Drink’.
Beer Writers: The immortal Michael Jackson R.I.P, Charlie Papazian, Lew Bryson and Chuck Sudo is doing a great job of keeping people informed here locally on Chicagoist.com.
4) What are your three favorite food cities?
(1.) Chicago, (2.) New York and (3.) San Francisco
5) Top three restaurants you revisit all the time in Chicago?
(1.) Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap, (2.) La Sardine (3.) Moon Palace
6) What is your most memorable dining or drinking experience?
Dining at a restaurant in restaurant in Terracina, Italy (west coast, near Naples) that had been kept open exclusively for our table. The local-born chef had gone to culinary school in Philadelphia, PA. He prepared freshly caught ‘rhombo’ fish and several other courses using the best local seafood and produce. Simply amazing !
Also, eating my first ‘real’ pizza in Gaeta, Italy (also near Naples).
Beer: (1.) Drinking ‘doppio molto’ beers at the bars is Gaeta, Italy. (2.) Drinking Bitburger and watching soccer at a bar in my grandmother’s home town Santa Catarina, Sicily, Italy. (3.) Pouring Goose Island beers on the corner of Willow & Marcey Streets during the first street festival outside the original brewpub.
Wine: (1.) Drinking cheap Montepulciano di Abruzzo out of carafes in Little Italy, NYC while smoking cigars and loving it so much that we were late to the rehearsal dinner upstate. (2.) First time visiting Linne Calodo Cellars in Paso Robles, California. Tasting with the owner/winemaker’s wife and sister (who have since become great friends) for several hours and buying a lot of wine at the end. (3.) Tasting great Brunello at the Castello Romitorio in Montalcino, Italy with an Italian pal and his mom. The gal who gave the tour gave it in English and my friend’s mom nodded along the whole time. She only spoke Italian. What a doll!
7) Between wine, beer, and spirits – when do you reach for each? If you HAD to do without one, which would it be?
Wine – daily after work, with a meal, maybe a bit more on Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon. With friends and family always !
Beer – similar to wine, daily after work, Saturday or Sunday might see a visit to a far flung brewery or brewpub. We know a lot of brewmasters!
Spirits – usually after a larger meal. Some kind of a celebration. Not daily or even weekly usually. Sometimes with a good book.
If I HAD to do without one it would be spirits. Spirits are not as practical for my daily lifestyle as beer and wine are.
8) What is the best thing about your job?
Assuming you mean representing Linne Calodo Cellars apart from my full time job as a construction guy I would definitely say enlightening people to the pleasures of ‘blended’ wines as apposed to single varietals. Very few of the great wines of the ‘old world’ are 100% of any one varietal and more and more ‘new world’ producers are figuring out what’s in their spice cabinet. By that I mean blending different grapes, sometimes from different sites, using different cooperages, etc. Showing those aspects to people is gratifying. Also, introducing people to another, lesser known wine region: Paso Robles, California (“is that near Napa?” – Ah, no.)
9) If you had to describe yourself as a certain wine, what would it be? (i.e. Australian Shiraz – spicy, bold, and seductive. German Riesling – sometimes sweet (but hard to predict if it will be), elegant, and requiring of patience.)
What a loaded question ! I guess I will say American Zinfandel because it is kind of a bold and spicy wine. Nobody will identify me as a wallflower that is for sure. But it would be a zin with good acid and moderate alcohol so as to be good with food as I love to cook and entertain my friends. It would probably be a blended wine like the zin-rhone wines from my friends at Linne Calodo, ‘The Prisoner’ from Orin Swift or one of the many fine examples from Paul Draper at Ridge. The other varieties represent the fact that I am not one dimensional by any means. Kind of like an onion, peeling back the layers, etc. Above all it would have to be a reliable wine. One that wouldn’t let you down. Those zin based wines rarely disappoint.
10) You’re on death row (sorry). What’s your final meal?
Simple roast chicken that has been rubbed with great olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs cooked on the grill or under the broiler. Broccoli Rabe sautéed with garlic. Hand-made pasta of any sort. Good, crusty bread. And great red wine – preferably one made by a friend at a place I have visited many times.
BUT – I will take a baguette, a bottle of oil and the cheapest wine as long as my loved ones are with me. Sempre Famiglia !