September is here, and changes are in the air.
At the wine store, the school crossing guard’s insistent whistle-blowing once again permeates our mid-day tastings, and red wine sales are beginning to significantly dwarf those of whites. People are no longer buying something to drink by the pool or to beat the heat with but, instead, something to accompany the woodsy smell of changing leaves and the last grill-out of the season.
This autumn, I’m experiencing changes far beyond the usual seasonal adjustments: In a few days’ time, I will be hitting the road for graduate school in California, a place where, ironically, it will feel more like summer than autumn.
This is my final Wilder on Wine column for The City Paper. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing “Wilder on Wine” since May of 2008. The time has flown by, and it’s been challenging yet fun coming up with a new wine-related topic to discuss each week.
When I first began learning about wine here in Nashville, there were far fewer options for the oenophile. Now, we have so many excellent businesses and events that have taken impressive steps toward educating Nashvillians about wine and expanding the choices available on local wine lists. I think few outsiders would guess how quickly the wine market here is growing and increasing in its sophistication.
I’m looking forward to all the new wines I’ll be experiencing in California as my adventure there unfolds, and I’ll be blogging about them at http://www.nashvillefille.blogger.com. I invite you to come along!
But there's no doubt that I’ll be homesick for so many of Nashville’s unique offerings. Here are the wine-related things I’ll miss the most:
Woodland Wine Merchant (1001 Woodland St.) — Even if I hadn’t worked here for more than two years now, and even if I didn’t think the world of my coworkers Will and Tyler, this would be my favorite wine shop. A truly unique and hand-picked selection of affordable bottles that reflect the world’s wines at their most genuine.
The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills (2109 Abbott Martin Road) — “The man in the beret,” a.k.a. Josh Fowler, has an enthusiasm for wine that is inspiring. As individual as they come!
Rumours Wine and Art Bar (2304 12th Ave. S.) and Rumours East (1112 Woodland St.) — These fun, artsy and distinctive wine bars have had a large hand in showing many Nashvillians that wine can be the center of an evening’s experience, as opposed to a mere accent.
Flyte World Dining & Wine (718 Division St.) — Scott Sears has put together what is, in my opinion, the best wine list in town. Cult favorite Lebanese wine Chateau Musar by the glass? In Nashville? That alone gets a huge high-five. Even if you aren’t in the market for a nice meal, you can nibble on more inexpensive bar food and pick from an absorbing list that makes exotic wines sound incredibly user-friendly.
The Patterson House (1711 Division St.) — Thanks to these cocktail connoisseurs, things like creme de violette, orange bitters and Hayman’s Old Tom Gin are now available to discerning drinkers here in town.
Other places I will pine for that take wine above and beyond: F. Scott’s, Tayst Restaurant & Wine Bar, Fido (check out the great new wine tastings they’ve begun), Grand Cru Wine & Spirits, City House Restaurant, Margot Cafe & Bar, Ombi (RIP, old friend, as you offered, to this day, the best Manhattan I’ve had; I look forward to trying mixmaster Terrell Raley’s new project, Holland House, on a future visit), and the ones I am surely overlooking.
Nashville will always feel like my home, and that’s thanks to all the wonderful people I’ve met in my time here. If anyone in California reacts to my being from Nashville with a hint of pity, I’ll be sure to set them straight.
Keep trying new things, and keep in touch!