Wines to Talk About

Getting into the world of wine, I decided to take some classes with the International Sommelier Guild and was lucky enough to study under a very talented and passionate mentor, D.J. Kearney. She helped shape our perspective and attitude toward wines and the food and beverage industry as a whole. One of her little sayings that stuck with me was that “there are wines to talk over, and wines to talk about.”
 
As a wine buyer, I get the opportunity to try a lot of obscure varietals and styles I know most diners would never drink. I also get to try wines made by huge wineries with globetrotting rock star winemakers. And they are good. The challenge in trying to balance a cellar when it isn’t for your own taste is to maintain diversity while having as many wines on the list as possible that provide an opportunity to have something to talk about rather than just talk over.   
 
The majority of the wines that we have by the glass here at George’s do have a story. I have some standard wines like a cabernet sauvignon blend by Robert Pepi Jr. that is fun because Bob’s dad sold his name; Bob Pepi can’t make wine with his name on the label, so he bottles his wines under the name “Eponymous” with a shadowy figure walking away from the name.

I have the “Saldo” zinfandel from Orin Swift (best known for their “Prisoner” zinfandel) that was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco for its minimalist label.   
 
Some of the others on the list just appeal to my “cork dork” side and I can’t shut up about them. For the summer, we decided we needed some more adventurous wines on the list that you can’t find elsewhere and that compliment the cuisine. I brought in a Moschofilero from Boutari; this Greek white wine is waxy, perfumed and aromatic with a huge floral and melon flavor profile. For a red, I brought in the Clos Lojen Bobal by Ponce from Manchuela, Spain. This wine has a huge fruit profile and smells like Jolly Ranchers and banana Laffy Taffy with mushrooms, but doesn’t disappoint on the palate.    
 
 

There are two on the list that are just special to George’s.  

 

The first is the Hans Lang “Sabrina,” a beautiful riesling from the Rheingau in Germany. This is the wine that every young couple and first date table swoons for. First I have to tell you about Damon – he imports German wines including those from Hans Lang. Back in 1998, Damon came to George’s and met a blind date for dinner on the Ocean Terrace. A few months ago Damon was in again, this time after renewing his wedding vows on his 10th anniversary with his blind date…Sabrina. (How’s that for a story?!)   
 
And the most popular wine here at George’s hands down is the Hill Family “Carly’s Cuvee” chardonnay. This wine is special to us for many reasons. It is a perfect example of an oaky, buttery Napa chardonnay with great quality that would normally cost quite a bit more, but the Hill Family’s ties to San Diego and George’s run deep. Ryan Hill worked for George’s in California Modern years ago and is still friends with many staffers. Ryan’s sister Carly is the namesake of the cuvee. She is a San Diegan and to be honest her story is what makes this wine a staple on our list. Carly is a cancer survivor who decided to do something different as a career than play with grapes (Ryan has that covered); she works in the San Diego area as a dietician helping young girls that have or are recovering from cancer or other medical conditions live full and productive lives.
 
There are many wines on our list – especially when you venture away from the wines by the glass – that have amazing stories and are produced by very special people. So the next time you join us, whether you want to about the wine or talk over it, we hope you find one that is special to you. And if you have a favorite wine story to share, we're all ears.