"Who the fuck is Sean D. Enright, and why the fuck should I give a shit about his stupid wine picks?"
Okay... that's a reasonable question to ask (though I'm not sure all of the explicit language was completely necessary).
Who and why?
Who am I, tied into why should you care, but also why am I writing a wine blog?
Let's start with "who is Sean D. Enright".
Well, I was born and raised in Norwell, Massachusetts. A short drive from Boston. I spent my youth along the colonial sea coast of the South Shore. I was schooled in the hills of Vermont and the rolling plains of Ohio. I've hiked the Himalayas, squatted in London, settled in (for) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I've toiled as a yacht club maintenance worker, late night gas station attendant, clothing store manager, Indian & Nepalese clothing importer, dive bar bouncer, beer & pizza delivery driver, cook, dishwasher, usher, newspaper photographer, small poetry 'zine editor, graphic designer and concert promoter... all leading up to my first Front Of House (FOH) restaurant position as a busboy at one of Pittsburgh's premiere French Riviera restaurant, Cafe Allegro at the ripe young age of 27. When I started at Cafe Allegro, I was the head bouncer at Dee's Cafe just down the street, and, also, working for three (count 'em 3) local newspapers as staff photographer; The Carnegie Signal Item, The Bridgeville Area News and The Cranberry Journal.
My son, Colwyn, had just been born, and a year later my girlfriend at the time actually agreed to marry her bouncer/busboy/photographer boyfriend. So I left Dee's and the newspapers (though the photography job, I'd be a liar to say the decision to leave there was purely my own to make...read:fired) and started waiting tables at Cafe Allegro, while also bartending across the street at the Club Cafe.
At Cafe Allegro it was quickly realized by our then wine director, that while I was lacking wine knowledge, I had one of the most impressive palates he had encountered. I was also very adept at translating my interpretation of flavor profiles to guests who were themselves just discovering the wonders of wine. Jim Kwiecinski (sp?) was mentor in those early days, and he relished in my enthusiasms for wine. He trained me to have a deep appreciation for old world style, at a time when big, fruit forward, high alcohol wines were the current wine craze. Jim trained my palate to find the pleasures in the murky sea blown grapes of Bordeaux, like Coin Cache, crisp earthy sancerres from Loire Valley, and off-the-wall unique reds like the peppery carmenere of Chile and the unique Austrian originated Lemberger - best realized (in my humblest of opinions - but that is why you are still reading this blog - for my admitted humble opinion) in Jed Steele's Washington State Shooting Star Blue Franc.
During this period I also learned the subtle craft of martini and cocktail making from my drink mentor Don Bistarkey, and grew to have an advanced appreciation for bars and bartenders, wine stewards, beer & booze - and I hope to pass that appreciation along to you.
We'll discuss in this blog, not only wine related issues (though wine will be the basis of most discussions), but we'll also touch on other alcohol related subjects as well as foodie stuff I've picked up along the way, working for the top restaurants in Pittsburgh.
(to be continued)