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letter of introduction & Dead Letter Office

June 28, 2008

Today, UPS stopped by. Confused by my multiplicity of doors, the person left a note about a package on the wrong one. With KCRW blasting and my mind long down Virgina Woolf’s tunnel of writing, I missed the call; when I exited the door, the note fluttered down. Nothing new: also waiting at the post office I have a certified letter from my (fill in the expletive here) neighbor, and another with my 2008 Burning Man tickets. If I do not pick them up soon, they will go to the Dead Letter Office or worse.

So tonight, with BBQ salmon (again, ahh yes yummm…with rice and squash), since we are still out of Australian red sparklers but we have more reds from the Grateful Palate warehouse sale, I open a bottle of Dead Letter Office, a 2004 shiraz from Australia’s Henry’s Drive, (55% Padthaway and 45% McLaren Vale). I get to test my salmon pairing theory that grenache-mourvedre RBJ 2001 theologicum theory is better with salmon than shiraz.

The answer is YES, the theologicum grenache-mourvedre goes better with the salmon, goes great actually I think, and in fact next salmon night I think I may try a straight grenache–like Bitch wine from R Wines, a grenache from the Barossa Valley. For salmon, this shiraz is too tannic, too overwhelming and 16% alcohol and not chill! However, when I have some rice, the palate is cleansed, the shiraz is more complex, more more everything! And such a beautiful deep dense red. Honestly, the theologicum tastes so lovely, so wonderful, so smooth I could drink it every night, it’s like a claret that way, I would never tire of it. But the Dead Letter office, with its artwork of old fashioned ink pen and cancellation marks, lingers on the palate, the imagination, has a nose of bubblegum! yes bubblegum, fruity, juicy bazooka bubblegum like we would get on Sundays at the gas station after church; the attendant would give each of us kids one piece of our own but we would share the comics on the wrapper. And black licorice, not my favorite candy or scent, but it adds that note, something more, as well as walnut, the tannins of the skins and the richness of the nut. I love nuts! hmmn, maybe I should get another bottle or two–with those tannins, this could be put away to develop a few more years!

So here I am, after dinner, swirling Dead Letters Office, dreaming of a new path to the waterfall and with my shoes gleaming, and I ask myself, where would I like to work, if I am not teaching at a college? Where would I like to use my writing and other creative talents? Who might need a storyteller in this day and age? The answer comes swiftly, rising from my glass to my nostrils and influencing my brain with its aromatherapy: The Grateful Palate would be the perfect place for me to work!

Dear Grateful Palate,

I am a passionate person who loves wonderful food, great coffee brewed strong, enjoyable wines, and music you can dance to. I even love bacon!

While I may not have the most sophisticated palate around (after all, I am one generation away from picking cotton in Bakersfield), it is sensitive, and I really do swoon over a lovely wine matched with a meal (good) and I can taste onions on my husband’s kisses when he’s had them cooked in chile for lunch (bad). I am someone who savors flavors, scents, sights, and sounds, (after all, I am the ART PREDATOR!) and I have always surprised people with the sensitivity of my nose and my palate.

When I was 20 and putting myself through college, I worked for Peet’s Coffee and Tea. Back then there were only four stores and Mr. Alfred Peet himself trained everyone for three days out in his office at the warehouse and roasting facility in Emeryville. Over time, I became familiar with many of the regular customers, including the four owners of Ridge Winery who asked me to come work for them so often that finally I did! I worked there about a year, mostly on Saturdays when the tasting room was open–until I backpacked from Mexico to Canada and went to Uncle Charley’s Summer Camp where I earned BAs in Environmental Studies and Literature/Creative Writhing. I also have a graduate certificate in education and a Masters in Engflish from the University of Northern Casinos as well as graduate work in conservation biology.

Last year, when I went to my first Grateful Palate warehouse sale and the Grateful Palate himself, Dan Philips helped me select a case of wine while I sampled bacon and snacks, I remember thinking as I drove home, “I would love to work here.”

I am by nature a story teller, from a long line of storytellers with a living history performer for a mother and an auctioneer for a father. Let me help you share the abundant stories you have about your wines and products with the world!!

References are available. Let me know what other information you might need!

Sincerely, Art Predator

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