Thursday, August 24, 2023

Bear With Me


My Bear Character Wine



I think I was the first on staff to get sucked into The Bear, the wildly popular, and wickedly intense series about a family operated Chicago Beef stand that is in the middle of absolute heartbreak and turmoil, now in its second season on Hulu. I tried to watch it when it first came out but, there was something in the first episode that failed to hook me, even though I am a fan of most shows involving food, cooking, and crazy ass family drama. Might have been that I put it on as one of those last of the night shows, you know that, just-one-more-before-bed kind of deals, and the intensity was too much. All the yelling, cacophonous slamming of pots, pans, plates and attitudes, along with the actual bear in the first episode, well it was too damn much and I turned it off and forgot about it.

A few months later I had read some interesting comments and reviews for the show I decided to give it another go one evening. Hours later I felt like Tom of Tom & Jerry, holding my eyelids open with toothpicks trying to stay awake to consume more. Finally fell asleep and woke at 5:30am to watch the rest. That my friends, is binging of the first order. Brought my way-too-tired butt to work the next day, a disciple on my soapbox telling anyone that would listen that they, “Have to watch this show!” And watch they did.



Now that the second season is out, and rightly devoured, it seems the series is bigger than ever and the world it appears to have fallen in love with the richly textured, multi-dimensional, erratic, emotionally saturated, brilliantly acted and stunningly shot show. It can be too intense for some but if you can, forgive me, bear through it, you will be gorgeously rewarded with a gift you just want to keep unwrapping. Much like the original star of the show, a Chicago Beef, the show is meaty, spicy, dripping with complexity and at times, undeniably perfect. Sink your teeth in everyone and bring some napkins.

Jeremy sent out an email asking the team if we thought it might be cool to pick a character in the series and see if there are any wines that remind us of them. I admit that at first I flashed on those insipid pairing wines with music, breakfast cereal or any other such silly thing it has nothing to do with but, the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. I often write descriptions for wine that read more emotionally, or as if I were speaking about a person and in that context, I loved the idea, and I knew exactly whom I would pick and which wine I thought they would be most like.




Cousin Richie Jerimovich



Identity Crisis







Exceptional, when given the chance


Syrah shares many of these same characteristics as the very charismatic cousin Richie. The variety is grown in many places throughout the world and shows so differently depending on where it’s from, thus a little tricky for those trying to figure out Syrah’s temperament. Bit of an identity crisis, right?

French Syrah, from the northern Rhone, can be lean, floral, more savory and packed with cured black olives and pepper. Many new world wines have those same notes, but you often find more generous, more extracted, and deeper fruit, and in the case of Australia you can throw in a bit of mint on top of all that chewy fruit. There are always exceptions of course, which is why it can be a little difficult to understand the variety. Just like cousin Richie, you never know exactly which version you are going to get, but given a chance, and in the hands of a great winemaker, they can be some of the best red wines there are.



French Syrah

2018 Domaine Des Combat Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone

2019 Verzier Chante-Perdrix Saint-Joseph, “Madone”, Rhone


New World

2019 Savage Red Coastal Region, South Africa

2019 d'Arenberg "The Foot Bolt"Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia

2020 Melville Syrah "Donna's", Sta. Rita Hills

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