Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Exodus

"Soylent Green is made from PEOPLE!" -Charlton Heston from The Ten Commandments...

...oh, wait. That was Soylent Green.

With a heavy heart, I today say goodbye to another one of Atlanta's finest wine bloggers. It was almost a year today- literally within hours- that The Dirty's favorite son, Hardy Wallace, shipped off to Sonoma for what was to become the 6-month trip that never ended.

Now, Fast Eddie Thralls, the steady rudder behind the good ship Wine Tonite!, has departed for a 3-month apprenticeship at Holdredge Wines in Healdsburg, CA (the very town where Hardy/Dirty landed).

In the short time I've known Ed, we've built a strong friendship, one that even supersedes my venomous hatred for his alma mater, the University of Florida. As we subscribe to the profound notion that wine brings people together, then a mutual love for the grape by Ed and myself broke down these walls, and I was able to see past the jorts, the horrid orange-and-blue camo jerseys, and the acrid stench of North Florida crystal meth.

I kid, I kid. It's a testament to the sense of humor of the little fella. In all seriousness, Ed's been beyond generous with his wine, his hospitality, and his knowledge. And- knowing both how passionate he is about the wine biz and that he's on the prowl for a winery job- I fear my buddy's never coming back. Turn on the Led Zeppelin II; another of Atlanta's finest has rambled on. Selflessness aside, I hope Ed Thralls doesn't come back; that would only mean his quest to realize his dreams has been fulfilled.

So, with Irish wake music in the background, I toast both displaced Peach-staters the best way I can: with a bottle of 2003 Garretson Peach State Cuvée. I found this Paso Robles, CA wine discounted at Cost Plus World Market (one of those types of places I hated to go with my mom as a kid, but now...well, I guess I'm just pretty damn lame). It has to be one of the most random and interesting bottles I've ever seen. The winemaker- Mat Garretson, an Atlanta native- created this bottling to honor all his friends and family back in Georgia. Though the label was devoid of grapes, Garretson's reputation as a Rhône-lover, along with the meaty, berry, funky tar, smoke, pepper, and alcoholic heat aromas suggested to me that it was a blend of some percentage of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, and/or Zinfandel, for good measure. It still packed some tannins in the mouth for a 7-year-old Cali wine. Overall, for the bargain price of $14 I paid, it was a proper quaff to both drink and pour a little out for my homies who have moved on (without feeling guilty about it).

Alas (very sadly), Garretson Wine Company is no more. A faded memory of two states connected by wine. However, we wish Ed well, and we remain confident that his connection to the great state of Georgia will remain. I look forward to cracking a bottle with Ed and Hardy when they come back to visit, as I am firmly planted in Atlanta...

...well, at least until the next Exodus.

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