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Jun 14, 201711:13 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Opportunity Pours

Iris Sherer, Getty Images, 2005

Seems like we are often chastised about opportunity knocking, and us not embracing the moment. I guess the mere fact that opportunity expects a warm response puts us on the defensive.

We may be distracted by life’s other demands, or just not interested at the moment when opportunity slides away, like some thief in the night. 

Among those nagging childhood questions, like “how are we supposed to know whether a name is Irish or Scottish heritage?” Or “Is there any way we can get around the requirement to eat green, leafy vegetables?” Or “how the hell am I supposed to learn about wine and its many facets or spirits and the endless possibilities of mixing?”

Can’t help you much on the first two questions, but I have some thoughts on the latter.

The first thought is that many of you really don’t want to know about the basics of wine knowledge or spirits mixology. Oh sure, you profess to want to know but when the time comes to put in a few moments on education, you are “too busy.”

That sort of attitude surprises me, because learning about wines and spirits is just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on or off. Your call here. What could possibly be the downside of popping corks or unscrewing screwcaps on a bunch of different wines and then evaluating how you perceive them from the viewpoint of your own palate and nose?

Or how horrible an afternoon would it be to play with different spirits, adding in all manner of elixirs and garnish, then seeing which one is the favorite to enjoy all evening along?

And here is the point: in order to learn about adult beverages, you have to taste and explore a bunch of adult beverages. Not a bad way to broaden your horizons.

We are most fortunate in our town to have a wide variety of approaches to a self-guided or expert-guided tour of the wide, wide world of wine. Any of the places noted below will be happy to stage for you a tasty representation of a wine growing area or a focus-study on a grape.

 

WINE BARS

Bacchanal

600 Poland Avenue

(Bywater)

504-948-9111

Free-form, Bohemian, and so darn comfortable, either outside or in. Ready to take you under the wing and construct something personal and enjoyable.

 

Patrick’s Bar Vin

730 Bienville Street

(French Quarter)

504-200-3180

Just a few doors away from Bourbon Street, but in lifestyle, nowhere close to the madness. Excellent breadth of product. Enjoy sitting by the large fountain at the Hotel Mazarin and put yourself in the hands of the Belgian, proprietor Patrick van Hoorebeek.

 

Nosh

752 Tchoupitoulas

(Warehouse District)

504-525-4790

Take a world tour of fine wines, pairing them with small plate specials. It’s a lively scene and no classroom you have experienced has ever been as happy and purposeful.

 

Effervescence

1036 N. Rampart Street

(edge of French Quarter)

504-509-7644

Another small-plate-cum-wine spot. This one has an emphasis on champagnes and sparkling wines. To make learning easier, there are many suggested flights of wine to assist you to figure out that you like.

 

In addition, there several wine bars that stage entertaining and educational wine tastings every week, and/or offer regular bar service

 

  • Martin’s Wine Cellar

Several locations all over town

  • Swirl

Bayou St. John area

3143 Ponce de Leon Street

  • Pearl

Mid-City

3700 Orleans Avenue

  • Spirit Wine

Uptown

3500 Magazine Street

 

Several other neighborhood spots also do a decent job of education and enjoyment. It’s really no fun learning about wine if you can’t have fun.

Yes, wine is a complicated topic and you should approach the subject matter in a non-threatening (to you) fashion. When it starts feeling like work, back off.

Next week, we will have a few suggestions concerning learning about spirits in Part 2 of this very informal and mercifully short discussion.

 

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Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life," hosted by Tim every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans. Previously broadcast episodes are available for viewing at http://www.wlae.com/appetite-for-life/

 

 

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

about

In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.

 

Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.

 

Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.

 

Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.

 

They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.

 

Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.

 

Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

 

Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.

 

It’s a good gig. 

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