13 February 2009

At Bin Ends with Thin Ends

(Ernie has more hair in his beard than I do on my head.)

Roots a-blazing, hairline receding, I headed out with Ernie and the boys to a wine tasting at Bin Ends in Braintree last night. It's a great discount wine retailer we recently discovered while watching a Tivo-ed Chronicle, probably while eating dinner at 5 p.m. They've got a business model identical to that of Filene's Basement. They keep marking the wines down until they're gone. (Although I don't think you could pull off hiding a bottle of wine around this place until it was $1 like you could a shirt at the Basement.) Also, you can go on their website, assemble your own case of different wines and have it shipped -- for free! -- right to your door.

Three French winemakers from the Burgundy region were in the house last night, probably wondering how they'd landed in this industrial nomansland between Konditormeister and the F1 racetrack. The crowd was a little sketchy. For instance, when Ernie's roommate asked one of the women pouring the wine if there was a tip jar, she answered, "yeah, in my bra!!" Yikes. He backed away like a cat. Some among the crowd were wine snobs or pretending to be (guy in a woolen ascot), others were there to get wasted and gorge themselves on smoked Gouda and assorted cheese tartlettes (I ate a lot of crackers and grapes), and some were there for the free vino (us). And some women -- "les skanks" -- were definitely there hoping to take one of the Frenchmen home with a bottle or two of Bourgogne.

(Ern, Jeff, and Paul B. by the bins)

"I get more wine in church!" - Jeff, on the paltry pour. He also brought his own reusable shopping bag to the event.

It was a Twitter Taste Live event which apparently meant the tasting was being broadcast worldwide online. Some poor guy named Dale was mauling a plate of canapes (unknowingly, I assume) right in front of one of the cameras, which one of the Bin End's owners noted in his speech to the entire tasting crowd about 15 minutes into the event. But Dale didn't seem to care.

We learned that there is actually white Burgundy wine, even though the region in France has become synonymous with the red (actually, vice-versa). And it was good too, but we kept going back to one of the red wine stations, dubbed "Dale's Station" because it was adjacent to the scene of the manic nosh.

We spoke to the winemaker from Nicolas Potel (which looking back I think was actually Nicolas Potel but I can't be sure because during the introduction speeches, I was too distracted thinking/laughing to myself about Paul B.'s childhood story about how his mother once packed him quail (that his father had hunted and shot) in his lunchbox. His classmates reportedly watched in horror as he nibbled away on the teeny, tiny bird legs.)

Confession: I think we also hovered around the Nicolas Potel station because the winemaker who may have been Nicolas Potel resembled a 40ish French Paul McCartney (I should've taken a pic, I know that's impossible to envision.)

Since wine is not really on my anti-cancer diet -- save a glass or three of red on the weekends -- I convinced myself it was ok to buy a $78 bottle of Volnay wine from NP and savor it. But then I talked myself out of it and went with his $20 Pinot Noir, which I actually liked better anyway. Ern took home a $7 bottle of MAN Vintners vino. I spied a bottle of Bald Hills wine on the way out but decided against toasting my imminent hair loss.

7 Songs of the Day

1) The Inlaw Josie Wales -Trey Anastasio
2) Yours to Discover -The Sadies
3) Warrior -Matisyahu
4) Changes -David Bowie
5) Life Itself -Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
6) Handle With Care -The Traveling Wilburys
7) Who Loves The Sun -The Velvet Underground

-- Courtesy of Alex S. in SF


lpd said...

Ooooh...would be VERY interested in taking a trip to Bin Ends someday, when Sweet Baby D #2 is born and mama can partake in the glory of the fermented red grape once more.

KJ, you know I love to wear wigs, so if you ever want a little faux fro company, say the word.

Just went to Nicolas Potel's website to see if there were any pics of the Paul McCartney-esque winemaker (sadly, no) and saw that they have a 2003 Gevrey Chambertin. Now, I know almost nothing about wine, but was once awestruck by a Gevrey Chambertin (a beautiful red burgundy, crimson and velvety as a Paul Mahoney blazer) at a restaurant in NYC. I highly recommend trying one if you're in the market for a fantastic glass of red wine.


Mark Rowlette said...

Why is it that I have never heard of this place, I can't believe witht the abuse I put my liver through on a weekly basis that I have been paying retail.

I am so close to grabbing my keys and heading down there.

Kate if you can now find me a place that make Fish and Chips the way Liberos in Deansgrange did, I will buy you that $78 dollar bottle and all the Gouda you can eat.

Hope to see you guys on Sunday

Mark R.

Anonymous said...

Is this your Potel? http://www.b-21.com/images2/nicolas-potel-caption.jpg

Roving Lemon said...

"The crowd was a little sketchy"--yep, sounds like the Basement alright. You could always find a couple of les skanks there, on the hunt for something clingy and prominently labelled.

This sounds like a much better reason to head down to Granite Street than the Plah-zah. It's now on my To Do list for my next trip Stateside.

Hope there's more fun planned for the 'off' weekend!


Bean Down Under said...

KJ - great time last night. You captured the time perfectly. You are too hard on yourself and your hair. My roommate said when I got home 'she is SO pretty'. I agreed.

btw..as I am writing this I just saw on the channel 5 news that a new study came out saying that Olive Oil is a cancer fighter for Breast Cancer! Gives you a reason to enjoy some good ol' EVOO!

Dr. Nic said...

They deliver it to your door !!!!!! Alright - I'm getting on this..excellent information Kate! You look GREAT in the photo my friend !!

jal said...

For olive oil check out Stonehouse olive oil. The best I've ever had! The extra dark balsamic is absolutely incredible too.