It’s Come To This? A Sure Sign The Apocolypse Is Upon Us


I just returned from Las Vegas with fond food and wine memory’s which I’ll share in a minute, but first . . .

I have been to Vegas many times and this was a first for me – when ordering wine glasses from room service at the Paris Hotel, I was questioned as to whether or not I had bought the wine from them. I’m an honest person and said “No.” I was then told that because I did not buy wine from them that the glasses I was ordering would cost $2/each as a “corking fee.”


I’m not normally into bashing businesses, but this was a a new low in our economy. For what it’s worth, it was the icing on the cake with this hotel. For people that are lucky to have a job, these were THE MOST miserable employees I’ve ever encountered – with the exception of the check in clerk. She was nice. Seriously, I’ve never seen such rude people since I stayed at a hotel on the strip that was to be demolished in a month to become what is now known as the Mandalay Bay hotel. These people couldn’t get a job with one of the many new hotels springing up at the time and I’m convinced they probably were left in the building when it was dynamited. Man, they were awful. Flash forward to 2009: The Paris Hotel – their offspring are employed here.

Now, on to the great wine we had – at the Bellagio Hotel Restaurants . . . .

The first night we chose to dine at Michael Mina’s Restaurant and had the Chef’s Tasting Menu. Great dinner and we paired each course with their selected wines. The standout wine amongst the bunch was the 2006 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole Rosso Toscano (ironically it’s available at AGWS) – This was superb. An impeccable, pedigreed Tuscan red that flowed seamlessly onto the palate with layers of perfumed, silky fruit Buy a case today!

We also ordered a bottle that I’ve been storing in my cellar and was anxious to try – the 2001 Gangloff “La Sereine Noire” Cote Rotie. What a smokey-bacon, pork fat, white pepper bomb this was! I’m so glad I know what to expect when I decide to open mine.

The next night we noshed at Olives; Chef Todd English’s property. We sat on the patio and had a wonderful view of the Bellagio fountain pool. Paul the Server and Tammy the Sommelier, were our hosts for the evening. Both have been at Olives since the day it opened over 11 years ago. That says something about management and the food I suppose.

Tammy Ruesenberg (Sommelier at Olives) holding the McCrea Syrah with your’s truly.

I ordered a 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from Movia which is from Slovenia. That’s right, a Slovenian wine! Side note: When we opened our store five years ago, this wine showed up by mistake. What a wonderful “mistake!” This is not your usual Sauv Blanc; this wine is full bodied, “oily” and not a hint of cut grass!! If you love Sauvignon Blanc, you really should seek this wine out. It’s that good. I was shocked and excited to find it on her wine list. This choice caused Tammy and I to be instant friends!

Tammy then set us up with the 2001 Marilyn Remark Grenache, which sadly was her last one. I can’t find any more on the internet either. If you can find it, get it and drink it now as this was a beautiful blueberry cream pie of a wine. Gorgeous! Next up was a Syrah from McCrea – a gem of a winery in Washington. Beautiful fruit with a kiss of smoke that lingered on the palette for at least 5 minutes. Stood up very well with our beef dishes.

And finally; we finished the evening with a bottle of 2006 Bibi Graetz Soffocone di Vincigliata. A 2006 Sangiovese (90%) from Tuscany that was pure heaven in a bottle. A juicy mouthful of blackberries, blueberries and black cherry, Soffocone displayed hints of vanilla, leather and dark chocolate. With velvety tannins, medium acidity and medium-long length on the palate, the wine is both approachable but structured and pairable with a variety of foods.

Tammy has an interesting story regarding the name Soffocone and the label, which has been banned from US soils as the censorship department figured out what it means. Look it up or call her at the restaurant, it’s a great story!

Oh yeah, that wine I had the audacity to bring to the Paris Hotel . . . It was a Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon and it was amazing! Tasted great in our water glasses too, which were free of charge – for now!