Saturday, May 17, 2008

Glass Half Full

This morning's Chronicle brought the news of the death of wine maker and mogul Robert Mondavi and a vivid memory of my mother.

My mother was the kind of hostess who really excelled when she had company to impress - my Dad in a speech once told his audience that his men earned him his second Admiral's star, luck earned him the third but his wife earned him the first one.

She didn't like to have people in the kitchen when she was cooking, however, preferring to present her masterpieces once they had achieved perfection. In addition, her starchy New England upbringing decreed that a guest must never inquire as to "What's for dinner?" So, when her dinner guest poked his head into the kitchen and, worse, over her shoulder to ask the forbidden question, she glowered at him and said something along the lines of "What's it to ya?"

"Take it easy, Floss," he replied, "I just want to know which wine to choose."

The guest was Bob Mondavi, out in Hawaii on one of his early sales trips in the 1970s, trying to drum up interest in his wines. Once he discerned the menu, he went out to the trunk of his rented car and selected a wine to enhance the dinner.

I have no idea how they met and became friends but each time he would come to the Islands he would have dinner on Kolohala Street and he always brought the wine, which we referred to as "Bob's Plonk" in those days. He always left a couple of extra bottles with us, too, as his way of saying thank you for a home-cooked meal when he was on the road. He was successful in introducing fine wines to our family - before Bob, our standard was Mateus rose' - and then went on to play a major role in doing the same for a huge number of Americans.

So, today I raise a glass to toast to Mom and to Robert Mondavi - he's probably up there in heaven with his head poked over her shoulder asking the forbidden question and she's still shooing him out of her kitchen.

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Blogger Kitt said...

What a nice memory, of your mom as much as Bob.

"Bob's plonk" makes me smile. I am sorry for the wine left in a rental car trunk, though! A winemaker friend always tells me to let any wine he ships to me rest up from its jet lag at least several weeks.

Saturday, May 17, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kitt, perhaps he shipped it over well ahead of his visit and let it "rest" until he got there? Anyway, it was far better than the Mateus! :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Don't you just love the word Plonk? My parents always used it and now, so do I. "Shall I bring a couple of bottles of plonk?"

Saturday, May 17, 2008  
Blogger Moonbear said...

Here's to Bob Mondavi-- a household name in my parents' home, and to yr Mom!

Saturday, May 17, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

DMM, yes, love plonk - so descriptive!

Moonbear, I imagine lots of people are toasting him today!

Sunday, May 18, 2008  
Blogger katiez said...

What a nice story!
I haven't had a Mondavi wine in years...But Mateause Rose is alive and well and drunk often in Andorra during the summer!

Sunday, May 25, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katie, I've moved on from Mateus but I still like rose wines, especially in the summer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008  

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