This is a true story...
The telephone rang at 2 A.M. The young lady
sleepily answered it.
"How're you doing, babe?"
Taken aback, she said, "To whom did you wish to speak?"
"0h...not to anyone who says 'to whom.'"
At NBC Channel 4 in San Francisco, when you
enter the studios to tape a wine program with
ace host Henry Tenenbaum, they say "to whom."
I had three impressions: the people are courteous,
efficient and sharp. Example:
You Don't Have To Tell Henry Twice
On a Wednesday, Henry and I talked for five
minutes on the phone about the wines we would
taste, and their background.
Two days later we taped the show. with no notes,
Henry led the sipping and chatting exactly as
planned. Having done a number of other interviews
that I regarded as train wrecks, this one was a
So what was the topic?.."From Noah to Napa, the
History of Wine," a course I'll be teaching
next spring at San Francisco State's College of
Extended Learning (phone 415-563-5712 to enroll).
Here are the wines Henry and I tasted, but first,
Noah - After the flood subsided, a window of the
ark was opened. "All of mankind had turned to
clay. The ground was flat like an [ancient] roof."
Modern archeology found the flood. In Iraq, it
left a deposit of clay 100 miles wide and 400
miles long, deposited some 5,000 years ago.
After the deluge, Noah planted a Muscat. About
five years later, there were sufficient grapes
for a harvest. The resulting wine was tasted
about the following February.
A descendant of Noah's vine is the Muscat of Alexandria,
the oldest living wine grape. We tasted Charles
Mitchell's version, Sierra Foothills, $9. For
much more about all of this, see the August 27, 1997
WineDay titled, "The Flood and the Vine".
Dom Perignon—Henry's favorite of the tasting
was this $100 sparkler. How did it get it's name?
It is made by the Champagne house of Moet and Chandon.
Dom Perignon was the semi-blind Benedictine monk
credited by most as inventing Champagne in the
1690s. Claude Moet knew him well and started the
Moet firm before long. In 1936 M. & S. decided
to make the world's first prestige Champagne, and
named it after this friend of their founder. For
much more see our WineDay article about, "Dom Foam",
Nov. 26, 1999. The other wines were Story Winery's
Mission, Mirassou's Merlot and Robert Mondavi's
Fumé Blanc. We'll cover them next month.
About those sharp and courteous people I must
mention two others.
Production manager Christina Ricci....since Italy is the world's
largest wine producer, and Ricci is an Italian name, we had a
lot to discuss. Cameraman Christian is a fondue and wine
fan from Alsace. He had my mouth watering.