By Andy J. Gordon
When someone mentions Playboy Playmates, what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you thought of a selection of delicious wines, most people would think you were crazy. Not Dan Dunn, the country’s preeminent booze writer, who selected a flight of eight wines inspired by some of history’s most iconic Playmates. Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar (www.pourtal.com) in Santa Monica hosted a launch party to kick off the Playmate-inspired tasting tour on October 6, 2009.
Dunn, who has a regular column in Playboy, a web site called The Imbiber (www.theImbiber.net), and has written for several national publications, was on hand to sign his semi-fictional memoir, “Nobody Likes a Quitter.” Also in attendance was Lisa Semler (Miss September 1980), whom Dunn chose as his inspiration to select her family’s 2001 Semler Cabernet Sauvignon from Malibu (www.malibufamilywines.com). Andrea Lowell, host of XM radio’s Playboy show was on hand pouring a 2005 Waterbrook Columbia Valley Melange (www.waterbrook.com/).
Wines that stood out from the launch party flight included the 2007 Sandrone Dolcetto, from Piedmont, Italy, inspired by Jayne Mansfield. It had a light, fruity, and pleasant flavor. The 2006 Paraduxx, from the Napa Valley’s legendary Duckhorn Winery, inspired by Bettie Page, was a full-bodied blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot (www.duckhorn.com).
Pamela Anderson was the inspiration for the 2006 Bad Boy Red from Rocca Family Vineyards (www.roccawines.com) in Napa Valley. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, this delicious, big red seemed an appropriate complement to the shapely Anderson. The star of the flight paid tribute to the playmate that started it all, Marilyn Monroe. Dunn chose the 2006 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley (www.plumpjack.com/plumpjack/). With big fruit flavors, a deep aroma, and smooth finish, the delicious Plumpjack lives up to the iconic memory of Miss Monroe.
The evening’s host, Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar, offers a wide selection of wines by the glass as well as one ounce tastes via a high-tech Enomatic dispensing system. They also have a nice selection of small-plate menu items designed to complement the wines. They use fresh, locally grown ingredients, and have gourmet cheeses from their neighbor, Andrew’s Cheese Shop. Pourtal has happy hour prices from 4pm to 7pm Monday through Friday, and has ongoing events that highlight various wineries.
Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar
104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Photos courtesy Peter Bigler.