Local restaurants, movie stars, fine wines

The wine economy update:When I wrote this post about a month ago in advance of this publication preceded the greatest economic event in our lifetlme. The current financial crisis in world markets has bearing upon what we will be buying and drinking over the next couple years. It is more important than ever to find value wines and avoid the vinous equivalents of institutions deep into credit debt swaps
The end-of-days folks are getting new airtime. tBoW finds that contemplating the mass psychology of cataclysmic disaster scenarios makes it all the more important to attend to more rational minds breaking new ground in their own way.
New York Times wine columnist Eric Asimov recently published a column that addressed the “intersection of price and value”. It is definitely worth a read. With the economy slipping into darkness we are going to be reading a lot more about the broader issue of price and value – a favorite and frequent tBoW subject. Click here to read a pdf version of “Modest Luxuries for Lean Times” posted with permission from Mr. A.
tBoW interviewed an industry insider who has seen plenty of ebb and flow over the past 30 years. Here is what he sees in his looking glass. (1) Trophy wines are a dead market and have been for 6 months. After all, even Sumner Redstone had to sell off stock at depreciated values to cover his margin calls. (2) We will be seeing more and more wines form South Africa and South America because they are the only wine producing nations that can compete at the sub-$10 level with Two Buck Chuck. (3) California wines have to recalibrate and re-negotiate in order to avoid pricing themselves almost completely out of a declining consumer market. Look for this to be a painful process that will not be realized until 2010 as California vintners hang on to the vapor from their Mondavi-style hangover.
And this is just the start. Here is what tBoW was thinking about a few weeks ago.
The Canyon Bistro in Topanga Canyon has been open less than a year. The history of dining establishments in Topanga Canyon is checkered, to be blunt. Topanga is the canyon where time stands still. eastLA.jpgI suppose time also stands still in East LA where mariachis and homies have been alive and kicking for more than 60 years. The Topanga equivalent is hippies, pot and artists…since the 60s.
topangasnake.jpgThe last decent restaurant predictably folded [ed. ca 1993] undone by Topanga’s finest hippies, artists and reefer. The place was a home with a fireplace masquerading as a dining establishment. Dining was very relaxed.
Steaks were broiled on a grill in the fireplace in the dining room. [ed. That had to be out of code] Sometimes you had to remind the waiter the steak was ready to come off. diner.jpgService was a direct function of what weed was in the canyon that month. All the servers were stoned. We saw Steve Guttenberg in there a couple of times [ed. and Rebecca Romijn in Canyon Bistro]. Now it’s an “antique” clothing store.
The Canyon Bistro is sober and quite charming. The tBoW team hopes they make it. Service is alert, food is prepared well, and the wine list is decent. One recent evening we brought in a wine and ordered one off their list.
rochilittlehill06.jpg1996 Rochioli Little Hill Pinot Noir $475 (today online): If I had to pick a favorite Rochioli pinot noir this would be it. 1996 was a very good vintage in Russian River. The lineup used to be East Block, West Block, Three Corners and Little Hill. The color on this 12 year old wine is cherry red. The nose is exotic in the way Broadbent describes the exotic nose of Mouton as Chinese spices. We have tea, truffles (funk), cardamon. Indian spices? There is acid in the front. Fruit is high toned. It all settles down and wasn’t this a very fine bottle of wine? 13%
latourmaconlugny06.gif2006 Louis Latour Macon Lugny “Les Genievres” $42 (on the list, $20 retail): Stony, citric. Green apples. Mineral-like and lean. No oak. tBoW prefers this style of Chardonnay. Very nice bottle. 13.5%
grangemarsanne05.jpg2005 Grange des Rouquette Marsanne Viognier$8: A Robert Kacher Selection from the Languedoc. Chalky nose, lightly woody, call it balsa. On the lean side. Some honeydew melon emerges but it is too late. Lost interest. Probably one year past prime! 13%
I know what you’re thinking. Where is Steve Guttenberg now? Find out easy enough online. Just turned 50. Hot work period was in the 80s. Still works on stage, Dancing With The Stars showing off a “hot press” facelift. Playing it a little safe. Best line from his IMDb bio “Spent a week volunteering at the Houston Astrodome after Hurricane Katrina hit”. Bravo.

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