Facing the wine list
Thursday night, I’m sitting down to dinner — which we will get to soon — and my cell phone rings. LL says, “O.K., I’m looking at this wine list, and I need some advice.”

By way of explanation, she is the director of a university art museum, and a couple times a year she travels to conferences in other cities. Some years ago, I think she was in Santa Fe, I got the first of these calls. She tells me what kind of restaurant she’s in, what she and friends and colleagues have ordered, narrows the price range and then reads me the choices she’s considering. And I, as quickly as one can sort out the information in about a minute, lend my opinion.

She was in L.A. this week, and, as it happened, was having dinner with her son, who was also in town on business.

“It’s a French restaurant,” she said. ” — is having cassoulet and I’m having pork shank. I’m thinking Southern Rhone.” And you, readers, are thinking, Gee, doesn’t sound as if she needs any help.

There were, however, the issues of labels and prices, so LL read the names of several Southern Rhone wines, a Gigondas, a Vacqueyras and so on, notable producers, old vines, tempting indeed, but at prices ranging from $55 to $82, more than she wanted to pay.

“There’s a page of ‘House Favorites,’” she said, “let me look at that. The prices are around $35. Here’s a Saumur,” and she read the label and the producer.

“That sounds good,” I said. “A cabernet franc should be a good match with the cassoulet and pork shank.”

“All right,” she said. “Bye.”

She called Friday morning. “The wine was great.”

And all through the wonders of modern technology!

Image from theage.com.au.