R A D stands for Rose Advocacy Dinner, a wine dinner this Sunday at Pago which promises, five courses and five pink wines, plus "lots of rose stories. Something about lingering over a glass of wine and a good meal leads naturally to story telling–that's been true since the days when blind Homer was spinning yarns about Odysseus, Pago owner Scott Evans and sommelier Evan Lewandowski are looking forward to hearing some mythmaking stories set to the taste of pink wine.
It wasn't that long ago that rose wine was the redheaded stepchild of the wine cellar, blah, blah, blah. You've heard that story before, how after swimming through an ocean of pink zin palates found their way back to the true deliciousness of traditional roses. Now they're a hot category, especially in summer. The Rose Advocacy Dinner celebrates the beginning of the end of rose season. Sunday, August 10, 6:30 p.m., $35/food; $40/wine, plus gratuity.
Better snag a seat now. These wine dinners at Pago have been some of the best dinners I've had all year.
Now, just to get you in the mood for the rose raconteurs you'll hear from on Sunday here is the uncut version of one of Lewandowski's stories told through rose colored wine.
"The date is September 7th 2009, a Monday. It is Labor Day, in fact, and it is likely the last day off work I will see in a very long time as the Dry Creek Valley winegrape harvest is poised to explode into an 8-10 week long blur of 18 hour days where the only time you have to sit down is when you're on the forklift (or in the bathroom). It is 100 degrees, a few high wispy clouds and the occasional turkey vulture are floating overhead. I am relaxing and famously, floating on my back in the epic hillside pool at Quivira Vineyards and Winery's guesthouse. My head is bobbing above and below the water. As my ears crest the waterline I can hear music floating from the interior of the guest house...Portishead's Dummy. I have hired, God knows why, two good Australian buddies, Scott McDonald (now winemaker for Torbreck Vintners) and David Geyer (Geyer Bros. Wines) as my harvest 'help.' I can hear them arguing about something absolutely ridiculous (this never stops, by the way). I chuckle and then think to myself how 'thirsty' this type of work is. I open my eyes, right myself, and scan the water's surface for my bottle (don't you judge me). The bottle of 2007 Domaine Tempier Rosé has bobbed away from me and is nowhere to be seen. The Domaine Tempier is one of my favorites and is an absolute benchmark. This simply will not do. “Did I take it inside?” I wonder. “Wait, what's that?” Of course, its found its way to the skimmer on the far wall of the pool and is desperately trying to get inside the skimmer box. “Oh no you don't,” I murmur to myself as I plunge underwater and my feet find the wall behind me. I push off forcefully, gracefully into a streamline towards the other end of the pool and towards my fleeing Tempier. My eyes are closed, and midway across the pool I sweep my arms to my sides propelling me along the the bottom. I've done this a million times, and everything is going along quite like the other 999,999 instances, except...I have failed to calculate the underwater ledge at that, the shallow end of the pool, which acts as a sort of submerged bench seat. I realize this too late. Far too late, in fact, and really only as I've begun my arch upward toward the surface, simultaneously slamming full speed, face first into the concrete ledge. Forehead, nose, and left cheekbone all find the wall with such force, the sound underwater is deafening. My view goes white, then black. I don't pass out, luckily. I glance down, the water all around me is turning an ironic shade of pink. Tears want to come, but I push them down and drag myself out of the water and lay myself on the side of the pool. I'm lucky. I could've been paralyzed, snapped my neck, wheelchair-bound forever. Regardless, the Australians have seen the whole thing and are all but rolling on the deck in laughter. Typical. Eyes closed, world spinning, assuredly concussed. My head is throbbing, obviously, and I need a drink. I contort my arm far enough to reach inside the skimmer box and find the Tempier.
I feel like every wine drinker has at least one. I happen to have many, but that's potentially my favorite rose story to tell, “That one time a bottle of Tempier Rosé nearly killed me.” We'd love to hear your favorite 'rosé story,' or perhaps we can make a few rosé stories of our own (no underwater concussions necessary) at Pago's annual Rosé Advocacy Dinner (RAD). That's right, the 2014 RAD is nigh upon us. If you were lucky, you secured a seat to last year's event. If not, you were likely tortured by the Instagram and Facebook photos, as it was truly a mind-blowing affair. Suffice it to say that at this very instant, 'special order' rosés from far-flung and lesser-known Euro locales, the likes of which are rarely seen within the bounds of our great state, are converging on the UDABC warehouse, destination: Pago. This is another Sommelier Series event you do not want to miss.
Given my propensity to jump from one thing to another, to gently place that 'new hot thing' back on the rack once I've found out everyone else has climbed aboard the bandwagon, one would imagine I would be over pink wine. Because lets face it, rose has officially gone viral. What was once a category on the fringe, with very few quality offerings to choose from, is now widely accepted and enthusiastically consumed. We Utahans have caught up to the trend with gusto. These days, anyone can be caught 'Rose-handed' on a warm summer patio night, from the classiest of grandmas (the OG rose advocates) to body-building 'bears.' "