Lunch with Gilooly and Alex in their new 25,000 sqft wine cellar.

Not one of the three wines reviewed is under $20. Not my fault. And, as you will learn, I cannot say I regret it.
During these dog days of summer when the temps hit 100 in the LA industrial interior you need a really good reason to drive 50 miles one way just to see some old pals starting a new wine venture. truck-jam-%23A.jpgAs I passed the Commerce Casino on a stretch of freeway where trucks outnumber automobiles I considered what I was doing here…so far from my pool and bike trails.
I was on my way for lunch with old friend and wine biz veteran Greg Gilooly and his partner Alex Correa. Greg is like the Hoyt Wilhelm of wine, well traveled because he can still throw the drop ball. If Greg is the cagey vet, then Alex is Tom Glavine, the steady winner. Greg has been in every part of the business and more than once in each. Want to know more? Founding partner in the Wine House, arguably LA’s biggest wine retailer. They carry everything you would ever want. He owned a distribution company, a wine shipping and storage and another more recent wine retail shop. Now he is back in the storage and shipping business with WineBridge. He graciously invited me to visit the facility in an industrial part of LA most people pass through. Seems like there are two trucks for every car on that stretch of concrete.
After we visited, toured the “airplane hangar” perfectly temp controlled, and talked about trucking strategies, it was off to lunch at ABC Seafood in Monterey Park. For those not from these parts Monterey Park is home to reputedly the finest Chinese restaurants west of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Like Grampappy Amos used to say (“Luke…”) “no brag just fact”.
I was pleased to see that Greg’s sense of direction was as bad as mine. Neither Alex or I offered advice being content to roam until we ran into the place. DokkerM would call this the way of men or something like that.
There ten_/.gifare so many ABC restaurants in LA I have to wonder if the same thing happens in China. This is stupid of course since I cannot read Chinese script and Chinese people will say anything just to laugh at how stupid I am. Dim sum at lunch as one would expect. So good I tried to engineer a “special” birthday brunch for the subsequent Sunday for my daughter’s 20th. But she saw through my ploy and we ended up eating pizza.
2005 Sea Smoke Ten: Brooding, serious, medium weight, one of the main the reasons Santa Rita Hills are a hot area for growing and producing pinot noir. There are tea flavors but mostly ripe SRH fruit. Winemaker Kris Curran is one of the important names behind the wine. The Ten is the high end bottling from 10 different clones in the estate vineyard. OK. 14.9% alcohol. Yow. At least it doesn’t burn. I’m probably a wimp in the eyes of SRH winemakers.
2004 Vocoret Chablis Vaillons Premier Cru: When did I lose track of these wines? w-leopardo.jpgI used to love Chablis wines. I think I memorized the Grand Cru vineyards. Maybe they got too pricey (likely) and I just burned out on white burgs (not likely). This wine was once sold by Greg G around $15. Today? $XX. It is not in the flinty style often attributed to Chablis. Has lemon nuance, ripeness, neither plump or lean. Was 2004 a ripe vintage? Absolutely lovely. 2005 village wine is $15. The Blanchot will run you $40 (but it is Grand Cru). You can still buy Vocoret at Heritage Wines in Pasadena.
2000 Uvaggio Il Leopardo: The question is whether the wine is tired. It is California Nebbiolo made by Mr. Jim Moore. The wine has sat in my cellar for a week with temp controlled. It is brackish red in the glass. The nose is delicate, suggesting something aged but not retired. The flavor is aged Barolo, lighter, delicate, familiar flavors of rose and tar. Delicate. We start lunch with this wine and finish with it 90 minutes later, still charmed.
All three wines were excellent with the dishes of BBQ pork, broccoli, shrimp and some kind of shellfish dumpling. I selected cubes of bean curd with sesame flecks for desert. It tasted like sesame gelatin and looked like opaque pepper jello. It was terrific. When do we go again boys?

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