Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge’

2008 Knights Bridge Cab

June 7, 2014

For my 30th birthday, I wanted to open something special. Naturally. While my wine collection consists of barely 20 bottles, I can reflect upon where and why I acquired each of them. In my opinion, this shows the quality of a collection. I may never have a 20,000+ bottle cellar, but I do have gems that are priceless to me. Of such was one 2008 Knights Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2012, I was working the floor one afternoon at Del Frisco’s. It was a Sunday but we were crushing it! I’d received a $50-bill-handshake, several tables were financially on board for magnums and I believe there was a 3-liter of Cain Five on table 50. We were rocking our previous 2011 numbers, so I took a moment to stop selling and enjoy the room.

I’ve never seen a venue equal to that of my former employer, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Right on the waterfront in the Boston Seaport, no other steak house in Massachusetts could touch our numbers or service. The amount of money spent on raising up the pillars and glass walls was only matched by the exorbitant size of the checks signed each and every night. The dining room was one enormous entertaining stage; dinner and a show I always said. The hum of the guests, the bustle of the servers, the click of stilettos and the gaff-ah of buzzed businessmen created an unforgettable soundtrack. And it was on a night such as this when I met Jim Bailey.

At table 62, right along side the massive windows which pushed your gaze out to the harbor, sat a well-dressed elderly gentleman. He was alone but with him, he carried a small dark business bag. My evening was going so well –  I couldn’t help but take a moment to greet this single guest. I walked up to introduce myself and perhaps offer some assistance with our 32-page wine list. He offered his name back as well:

“My name is Jim Bailey,” he stated and extended his hand. We shook out a greeting and got to talking about wines. Jim told me he made wine. To be frank, I heard this all the time. Everyone and their mother makes wine. Not everyone and their mother makes good wine! I faned interest until Jim told me where he made wine.

“I have a winery in Knights Valley called Knights Bridge,” Jim Bailey told me. “My vineyards are about a football throw’s away from Peter Michael.”

That’s Sir Peter Michael. Yes, he has been knighted. How befitting that he should have settled in Knights Valley and revolutionized the AVA which shares territory between Napa and Sonoma. Peter Michael is a titan in the world of wine. After starting his vineyards in 1982, he quickly rose to the top of his class by crafting some of the most coveted wine in Sonoma before venturing over the Mayacamas to Napa. Peter Michael spares no expense creating his wines and bottles sit on wine lists between $330-$500 a pop. He practices biodynamic and sustainable farming; hand crafting in my opinion some of the most memorable Bordeaux style blends. Name dropping typically doesn’t impress me, but this caught me off guard. Also: You can’t just BUY property in Knights Valley. It’s beyond expensive and as allocated as DRC. It’s something you’re essentially born into like royalty.

Jim went on to talk about his Cabernet Sauvignon project and how he’d been working the AVA since 2006. While I’ve never been to Sonoma, I distinctly remember a photo in my Jancis Robinson wine book which shows a glorious photo of Knights Valley. There’s this massive tree, hanging heavy with age and from the moss grasping the branches. The tree is in the forefront of the photo but behind it is a large vineyard, bathed in the sunlight. The tree is lit up with sunbeams shining through the long, dangling branches and the trunk is knotted and craggy. For me, this was Knights Valley. For me, this was where Jim kept his grounds: Knights Bridge Winery.

“I happen to have two bottles here for you,” he reached into his business bag and brought out two dark bottles with pristine medieval labels. I stared at the gift: 2008 Knights Bridge To Kalon Cabernet and the 2008 Knight Valley Cabernet.

“Thank you so much, I’m not familiar with Knights Bridge,” I admitted. Jim and I spoke about this wine project he and his business partner, Tim Carl, had started in ’06 and cultivated over the years with sustainable means. Both men were Harvard legends who caught the wine bug hard. And one of them was sitting at table 62.

I brought the wine onto my Del Frisco’s wine list immediately from one of my distributors, Carolina Fine Wines through Martignetti. This was what wine was all about: Relationships. Who walks into a steakhouse to eat dinner and makes a placement? It was serendipitous.

2009 Knights Bridge Release Party

2009 Knights Bridge Release Party

Jim Bailey became my friend. He invited me to the release of the 2009 Knights Bridge, complete with the new vintage of Chardonnay and their Pont du Chevalier Sauvignon Blanc. Jim’s house was like a chateau in the middle of Cambridge, MA. The grounds were groomed to perfection with a reflection pool in the middle of the yard, surrounded by tables of wine, gorgeous flower beds and lavishly dressed guests. Further into the yard, stood a massive gold statue of some Greek deity. The entire event took my breath away. I was in love with Knights Bridge.

I left Del Frisco’s and joined Martignetti – I started selling Jim’s wine in a different manner, but still with a proud smile on my face. I apologized to no one for the price. If you had to ask how much it was…. well. The wines performed for me at accounts like Cirace’s in the North End and I received another invitation to the vintage release of Knights Bridge. The 2010 vintage party out did the 2009 party – being on the Bailey grounds made me feel like I was a part of something so much more incredible than simply selling grapes and water. I was proud of his wine; I was proud to have them in my portfolio. It made me remember why I loved wine.

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2008 Knights Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon

So I turned 30 this year while living in Seattle.  I moved back to my birth state about two months ago with a job and my family waiting. At first, I had reasoned to turn 29 again since my last birthday was very difficult for a mirage of reasons. However, since I’ve been home, I’ve started seeing someone and I feel hopeful and happy again. I wanted to pop open something special to commemorate my birth year. While I pondered over my small collection, my eyes fell to the 2008 Knights Bridge and I remembered Jim Bailey. I remembered being happy at work and venturing over to introduce myself to table 62. I remembered him giving me the two bottles and hearing about his amazing winery. I remembered feeling like royalty at his vintage parties and I remembered selling the wine table side and then to accounts with Martignetti. Just looking at the bottle made me feel happy all over again. So I selected the 2008 Knights Bridge for my birthday dinner.

And I was once again, happy.

 

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Can somebody spare a dollar? PLEASE!!!

May 1, 2011

Dad once came home from work and told us about a woman he and a coworker had encountered on the streets of Kirkland, WA. She was crying, pleading for $9 for a bus ticket. She only needed that $9 to see her sick son, I don’t remember where he lived. Dad’s coworker told her to get lost and snickered as the two of them walked off. Dad felt differently. He said she looked so sad and scared. I heard that story when I was about 7… I’m now 26 and I’ll never forget how I felt inside: Angry at the coworker, very sad for the poor woman, confused at how no one would help her.

Is this really what Seattle is known for?

 In the 1990s, Seattle used to scare the shit out of me because all over the city streets, bums would approach pedestrians and beg, they’d sit on curbs and stink, you’d hear them getting jeered by naughty college boys. I hated driving into Seattle on Sundays for our usual Science Center trips because we’d always pass a dirty bearded man with a “Please Help, God Bless” sign. Sometimes we’d give him money from our car windows, sometimes we’d drive by like everyone else. I still remember that feeling emanating from the pit of my stomach: hot and knotted, embarrassed for complaining about not getting an extra scoop of ice cream, grateful for my little twin bed.

Last summer, I was at my favorite coffee shop in Cambridge, sitting outside with my laptop. The breeze running through my hair felt fresh, I had a new dress on, and somebody close by was making their baby coo. Suddenly, from nowhere, a shrieking voice yelled,

“DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY MONEY AT ALL!? I NEED A NEW SHIRT!.. IT’S HOT AN’… AN’… THERE’S NO PLACE FOR THE HOMELESS ANYMORE!! …. PLEASE!… PLEASE!!”

His cries grew louder, he started sobbing in the middle of Cambridge on the common way. I stared at him like the other people who had been enjoying the sunny day until a moment ago. Finally, a man walked up to the pacing, upset young man and handed him what appeared to be a large bill.

“HOLY SHIT!!! THANKS MAN! YOU’RE AMAZING!!!… THAT MAN IS A SAINT!” He pointed at the man who was now walking away. The homeless youth sauntered off to hopefully buy a shirt with his winnings. I never thought of him again until last week.

The Boston city public transportation system is the hub for us lower tax bracket individuals to come and go without paying the ridiculous parking fees around our jobs. While many of us try to keep to ourselves, every now and then, we crash into one another by means of the trains jerking and breaking suddenly. Or, more figuratively by a common uncomfortable experience shared by a group waiting for a late train. Last week after leaving work, I opted to take the T home and save a little money. However, I’ve noticed what I save in money, I pay for through socially awkward experiences. On that particular night, I was waiting for a very late 1am train on the red line platform with ten other people when I heard a dreadful noise from behind me. Grotesque crying and moaning follow by a repetitious slapping shoe sound. I accidentally turned around to see a disheveled young man hobbling towards the platform with one boot in his hand and his right foot exposed. He was limping horribly and quickly, trying to reach the small crowd before the train took us away.

“DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY MONEY?! PLEASE! I NEED THREE MORE DOLLARS TO GET TO THE HOMELESS SHELTER!! PLEASE, MY FOOT IS INFECTED! I CAN’T BE OUTSIDE!”

He was sobbing and looking around at each of us. The man caught my eye and I immediately recognized him. He was the young man from Cambridge! The very same! I recognized his tone and sobbing pleases as well. Was he still homeless from the summer?

“COME ON! PLEASE, ANYBODY! I CAN’T GO TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE THEY ONLY LET ME STAY AN HOUR, THEN THEY GIVE ME SOCKS BUT WHAT GOOD DOES THAT DO? PLEASE! I’M IN PAIN!….. COME ON!”

Sobbing and miserable, he laid down in the middle of the platform and cried out loud. A student approached him and gave him some money. The crying continued. I had no money at all, most people taking the T don’t have a ton of extra dough. But I felt nervous about what he might do if no one else gave him anything. Fortunately, I was saved by the approaching T and I left the crying man on that awful platform. Aboard the train, a couple of girls nervously laughed amongst themselves about the whole affair. I stared off, trying to regain some late night peace. The image of the crying man with his swollen foot didn’t leave me for a few days and sometimes when I was having a meal or laughing about something with friends, his image would reappear and ruin my attitude.

For Easter, Nick and I went to his family’s house in Princetown for dinner. Surrounded by sweet ham, homemade rolls and a savory salad, my boyfriend’s uncle and I lamented about having to utilized public transportation.

“You really encounter some crazies on the T, don’tcha?” He started. “Why, just last week I was on the T at Downtown Crossing when a man started screaming and cry on the train. He was saying something about his foot being infected.”

I was stunned. We both saw the same man! He was really making the rounds!

“He kept it up for a while and just as a buddy of mine reached into his wallet, a stranger yelled, “Don’t give him a fuckin’ thing! He’s been doing this act for the whole week! He’s faking!” And the weeping man shut up after that! He walked off the T at the next stop. You really can’t help anybody, they’re all actors,” the uncle concluded.

“Wait, he just walked away? No limping?” I asked.

I for one appreciate the honesty!

“Nothing, he walked away perfectly fine. He was acting,” claimed Nick’s uncle. I was annoyed…. and very angry. I had felt so badly for this “bum” with his plight seared into my brain for the past week but everything had been a sham. Who’s to say who’s a real bum and who’s an actor? Was the young man acting last summer in Cambridge too? He made some very compelling arguments if he truly was an actor.

Yesterday, I was shopping at the smaller Whole Foods in Cambridge when I was greeted by a man at the front door.

“Spare Change for the homeless. Remember us on your way out,” he said, holding up a newspaper advocating for the homeless and services for them. When I concluded my shopping (I was making bacon-wrapped scallops and sweet chili pork chops for dinner!), I started to drive off, passing the Spare Change man. But I stopped. I had just been paid, so why not give him a couple bucks? I got out of my car and gave him some money in exchange for the newspaper.

“Thanks hon, have a good day!” He smiled and I walked back to my car. As I drove off, I noticed the man pull out a BlackBerry phone and make a phone call. WTF. Wasn’t he homeless? Where did the nice phone come from? Maybe he was a writer for the paper? God, I hope so! It was just a little ridiculous to have someone begging for money with one breath and talking on a BlackBerry with the next breath. Which leads me to wonder, are all bums frauds? Actors and swindlers? How can you tell if you’re providing food for a homeless person or simply funding an actor’s ticket to California?

April has left me jaded towards beggars.