Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Sea of Reds, a Defensive Back and a Lover of Karen Black

Let it be known, I am not a big box store kind of girl. Growing up in a small East Coast town provided me with a deep and abiding appreciation for Mom and Pop-style establishments, of which I honestly don't believe there are enough in this town.

Enter Vern and Paulette Wright of PS Wine and Specialty Foods in downtown Palm Springs. Aside from reminding me of a favorite aunt and uncle back home, this lovely couple knows their wines. They also know how to help you feel welcome on a chilly desert Friday night.

This particular tasting I enjoyed with friends included a pair of Zins, a Cabernet Franc and a reserve Merlot from Washington. The Zins were heavenly, an '07 Joel Gott that was jammy with good structure, the other an '03 Edmeades, a jem from Mendocino County that's like fruit in a glass and too silky for words. Our Cab Franc was from Napa's Cosantino Winery and was light on the fruit, big and full. The '04 Hogue Reserve Merlot was bright and terrific, laden with berries and popped on the finish. After tasting this one, we weren't surprised when Vern and Paulette announced that their next wine country tour would be of Washington State.

You are guaranteed to find an assortment of colorful folks at these tastings, and last night was no exception. I found myself sipping and swirling with a teacher, a notary and a former defensive back for the Baltimore Colts and St. Louis Cardinals (for the football-uninitiated, those were the cities of origin for these teams). Also joining us was my friend Yo, an actress who shares my strange and delightful penchant for Karen Black films. As we involved ourselves in yet one more animated discussion about Burnt Offerings and Trilogy of Terror, Yo managed to outguess me on the alcohol-content of both Zins, part of a contest we were apparently engaged in but didn't realize it.

If you ever find yourself with a hankering for good wine, great conversation and a taste of old town hospitality, you need to look no further than this unassuming and wonderful wine shop that could. Who knows, maybe Karen Black will grace us with her presence one of these Friday nights, Zuni fetish doll in tow.

For information on Friday night tastings at PS Wine and Specialty Foods, call 760-322-4411 or email

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