by Fred McMillin
for January 13, 1999
Pink Wine and Gold Cavier
The black limousine hurtled out of the Russian
Embassy and smashed into my taxi that was taking me
early to my first day of work in Teheran. The
Russians scurried back into their embassy, my
company driver fled down the street, and I sat
there alone, watching the skin
turn purple where the impact had driven my wrist watch
into my forearm. Being unable to speak or read
the language called Farsi, I was three hours late
and totally dishevelled when I reached my new
Harvest time at AB-E-ALI vineyard. The most popular wine at the time was a pink called "Velvet".
At that office a few days later, my wife phoned
to say one of the movers was lying on the floor
in a pool of blood with a large piece of
glass in his back. He had raced through the front
door with a table leaf, shattering the plate-glass
overhead lintel with disasterous results. He
The Rest of the Story
OK. The start was rugged, but the finish was
marvelous. For example, when leaving the office
I could purchase a large tin of perfectly-salted
fresh caviar from a friendly street vendor for
pocket change; (See photo.)
Occasionally, he'd come up with a can of the
ultimate, golden-hued sturgeon roe.
Instead of the traditional vodka, the country's
most popular table wine was our usual choice to
accompany the delicate Beluga. Occasionally, I'd
spring for the most treasured.
It was called Velvet, a pink wine with more
backbone than most, since it was a blend of sturdy
red with a white wine. (Western winemakers do not approve.)
If you want to try a rosé (roh-zay) and roe
combo, the most powerful pink we've had recently
is the Simi Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fred McMillin buys very affordable caviar on way home in Teheran.
'97 Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Rating—This is Simi's 27th successive vintage.
The New York Times long ago knighted it with
the the words, "One of the great rosés (roh-zays)
of the world." If you like pink wines, you
MUST try this one.
Contact—Nancy Gilbert, (707) 433-6981
Food Affinities—If your palate or budget rejects the
caviar experiment, serve with spicy or charbroiled entrees.
Note: For more, see the Oct. 22, 1997 WineDay article
During World War II a British general obtained
a shipment of caviar for his battle-weary troops. Touring
the tents to hear their words of appreciation, a corporal
stuck out his head and said, "Sir, this jam tastes fishy."
||About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history
for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine
courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.
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