Wine Miracles in Alaska: Number 1: My Parents’ First (and Second) Burgundy

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One of the things to know about wine menus in Anchorage, Alaska is that they’ve tended to be dominated by California big fruit reds. It’s a recent phenomenon that the lists have changed to begin including, first French wines, and more recently (mainly in wine shops, however), also Italian. As a result, many Alaskans have a decidedly California palate, my parents included.

My Parents’ First Burgundy

My parents’ first Burgundy

Upon hearing my daughter and I were actually literally full on scheduled and booked for a visit to Alaska (I get the 12-year old up at least twice a year but as for myself visits these days are rare), my mom asked if she and my dad could take us out to dinner. My dad just had a birthday so we’d go out to celebrate.

The wine list at the restaurant was primarily California (my parents’ preference) and French (mine) focused but my parents decided to let me select the wine, then my dad excitedly added–get a Pinot! The thing to know here is my that my parents are generally resistant to French and Italian wine; that my mom likes reds she “can chew on” and has a history of strongly disliking Pinot Noir, while my dad reaches for Pinot Noir always first.

When both my parents announced they were getting seafood for dinner I felt compelled to take a risk and see if they were open to trying a Burgundy. After talking to the Sommelier we settled on the Gagnerot 2001 Gevrey-Chambertin with the hopes it would have enough richness of flavor to hit some points for my mom, with the body that would appeal to my dad, and the everything that would work for me. Alongside my dad’s king salmon dinner, and my mom’s scallops on pasta the thought was the wine would also really do well by the food.

To shorten this blast story down finally, here’s the point–they loved it. This really is a moment of family wine triumph. Really. Dinners in the past that have started with my parents asking me to select the wine have all quickly shifted to them suggesting immediately after that I select a California Cabernet Sauvignon, then telling me too which California Cabernet. Being the not-visiting-much-and-so-when-visiting-diligent-daughter in those moments I’ve always complied.

My Parents’ Second Burgundy

My parents’ second burgundy

The miracle continues, however. The sommelier at the restaurant liked us well enough that when we finished our bottle of burgundy she came over and offered us a taste of the house burgundy too–the Bellene 2009–a wine with less subtlety than the Gagnerot, of course, but an excellent value. The wait staff misunderstood the suggestion and poured us each full glasses on the house, and, here’s the kicker–my parents liked that too (the burgundy itself AND the free glasses, of course), and the next day I went to a wine shop with my mom and helped her find the Bellene 2009 for home.

Here’s to building bridges of affection through wine!

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Thank you to Trisha of The Marx Brothers, Anchorage for her generosity, great service, and fun personality. We had a wonderful dinner. The wines were lovely, and the food was fantastic!

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