We never know when we’re in the midst of greatness. Whether it’s a cooking demonstration from a fantastic Priest/Cook from the Baltimore, Maryland area or a former United Nations Ambassador and former Mayor of Atlanta, greatness is an opinion offered up by those who care to leave an opinion.
Last week in this space, we wrote about a Catholic Priest from the Baltimore Diocese whose cooking prowess landed him in front of one of America’s Iron Chefs’. Yep, Father Leo Patlinghung bested Bobby Flay in a fajita throwdown and the rest—they say–is history. Today, in San Marcos, we had the opportunity to meet andm hear from former United Nations Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew Young. Yep…the man who was THE MAN in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Time has mellowed the statesman, but you can tell that the fire still burns. He’s a man who’ll be 81 in March, but his voice and his memory are anything but old. To the 80+ people who cared to come out at 7:30 a.m. on a Friday morning on the first day of February, the moment was sweet and the memories will forever be imparted in our brains. Forget about the politics. . .we were in the presence of a statesman and his daughter. You don’t get many opportunities to visit with folks who’ve put on Olympic Games in their cities, or folks who’ve been a part of a movement that changed the world.
Today we had a chance at redemption–the opportunity to meet an iconic figure from our not-too-distant past and relish in the stories he recanted. As a person who stood by at our meeting and watched–not the speaker–but the audience, we can tell that people were mesmerized; interested and engaged. Not a bad combination for a Friday morning!
Tonight we sampled a 2007 Redemption Zinfandel from Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg, California. We’ve previously written about wines from AVV, so you know that they are among our favorites. This 2007 Zin is a nice combination of fruit and spice. It has lots of blackberry, a little vanilla, traditional Zinfandel spice and a long finish. With some left over kung pao chicken, it was the perfect wine to enjoy with the spicy food. It’s amazing how a good wine can pair so perfectly with good food. At a normal retail price of $21 per bottle, you can usually find it on sale for around $16-$17 a bottle and it’s been rated as high as 93 points! We love the spicy taste of this wine. The pepper on the finish is classic Zinfandel and the fruit on the front is something worth tasting over and over. There are wines that cost two to three times this amount and don’t deliver the flavor that this Zin delivers! Of course, we’re biased because we LOVE good Zinfandels, but beyond that is a commitment to quality and production that we’ve come to expect from Alexander Valley Vineyards. Here’s the deal, you can spend a LOT of money on a good wine or you can spend a LITTLE less money on a BETTER wine. . .do the math and find your Redemption. At Gabriel’s, you won’t be disappointed.
As we wrapped up today, the visit with Ambassador Young was a true revelation of the country’s past. Here was a man who fought the fight. We sat there in full awareness that 40 years ago, very few in attendance would have cared or wanted to be there. Times change and when they do, history changes with them. Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.