The downtownster faithful have no doubt noticed the absence of “Hello Wne Lovers” of late. Our champion of the corkscrew and wine glass, Mike Berger, has been called into even more pressing service at Ralphs downtown than his usual 60-hour workweek and apparently he has to blog on his own time. Since he has so precious little of that, he hasn’t been able to schedule blogging. This is not to say that the wine tastings at the famed “rolling wine bar” have slipped. Au contraire, mes amis! They are as wonderful as ever and still in our top three recommendations for happy hour.
Tonight, the focus will be on French wines and, as this is an immense subject, I cannot predict what to expect. Suffice it to say that France produces the crème de la crème of sparkling wine (Champagne) and dry Chardonnay (white Burgundy). Beyond that they also make some of the finest Pinot Noir (red Burgundy), dry Sauvignon Blanc (Loire Valley wines) and blended red wines driven by Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot or Cabernet Franc (red Bordeaux). “But, wait! There’s more. If you order now…” Seriously, I could go on for hours.
Please note that the wine tastings for Wednesday and Thursday this week have been cancelled, so if you have Mike’s calendar for July on your computer or have his hand-out version, plan accordingly. At every tasting there is a selection world-class gourmet cheeses and artisanal bread. We never know when “The Berger of Ralphs” is gonna whoop some of his mojo on us. That’s his cooking. It’s averaged about once a week and it’s a delight every time. Talk to Mike about his catering business; the man has serious talent.
The “wine corps” continues to grow as a result of the exceptional value, vast variety and the word of mouth that the experience engenders. The much-lionized Mr. Berger has cultivated a warm, salon-like ambience with regulars genuinely pleased to see one another. Sadly, the French will have to be drunk without me tonight. Sacre bleu!
There’s sure to be a good time had by all on Friday and Saturday this week as well. All tastings run from five to eight p.m. Hope to see you there, dear reader. If you’d like to get on Mike’s e-mail list (to receive the monthly tasting calendar and event updates) he may be contacted at: