Monday, May 16, 2011

Requiem for a Friend

I found out about a week ago that Rick Lewis, the man who taught me more about wine than anyone I've known, died in March.

Rick was an amiable South African chemist who ran the Madison Wine Shop in Madison, Ct. Every Saturday, he held court at the back of his store, a huge grin across his face and as many as a dozen bottles of wine open before him ready for tasting. His one rule, an indeed a good one, was that you had to try everything.

What I loved about Rick was his lack of pretension. He firmly believed that a good wine could be had for $15 or less. He wasn't your stereotypical wine snob, looking down his nose at those who lacked his knowledge and expertise. He was the opposite, always eager to educate, always joyful to mint a new oenophile.

My wife and I loved his Rick's Picks newsletter, which was chock-o-blocked with unusual and interesting varieties. He introduced us to Argentine Malbecs, New Zealand whites, French Roses and Austrian dessert wines.

Here is one of the first wines we sampled at a Rick's tasting and still love:

And it's only $7.99, a steal. A little fizzy, it goes great with spicy food. I recall Rick recounting how he drank it for the first time with a spicy meal in Portuguese East Africa, today Mozambique, in about 1946. The label had not changed since, he said.

I will miss Rick tremendously. Here's to you Rick. If there's an afterlife, I hope you get to spend it tasting wine.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about Rick's passing. I do remember him from my younger days with my parents in downtown Madison. He always was a friendly and affable gentleman. May he rest in peace.