Belle Meade Wine; a modest suggestion

January 14, 2008

The operators of Belle Meade, the plantation home/attraction just outside Nashville, have announced that they will begin producing wine and hope to start popping the corks in 2010. The plantation folks hope to emulate the success that Biltmore house and gardens have achieved outside of Ashville, North Carolina with their fruits of the grape.

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A winery will fit right in with plantation life–no doubt Harding family meals were graced with a nice red or white. In these days, however, when customers pull up to Tennessee vineyards, they are looking for the sweeter wines. Fruit wines and anything with “scuppernong” on the label sell out more quickly than the drier varieties.

For that reason, and with a name that is perfect for this purpose, Belle Meade should distinguish itself from the other wineries by skipping the grapes entirely and fermenting honey to produce mead.

Can’t you just see the label? Belle Meade Mead! Perfect!

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.


Running short of George Dickel

December 17, 2007

The Tennessean has an interesting piece on how retailers are running short of Tennessee’s other whiskey. George Dickel, distilled outside of Normandy, Tennessee, uses the same Lincoln County Process that has made Jack Daniel’s whiskey so famous. The process consists of filtering newly distilled whiskey through sugar maple charcoal.

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Wonderful ribs in Memphis

November 14, 2007

Having been disappointed at the ribs served up at the famous Rendezvous in Memphis, I headed south to 2265 Third Street and the home of Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que. I have not eaten in all of the Memphis rib joints, but I have to say that, so far, these are the best ribs I have ever had in my life.

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Memphis’s Rendezvous: the thrill is gone

November 6, 2007

Years ago, seemingly like everyone who comes to Memphis, I ducked in the alley and ate ribs at Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous restaurant and pronounced them great. I had never had dry ribs before–ones with the seasoning applied as ground spices instead of a sauce–and I thought they were wonderful. When I wrote my guidebook, I had Fredric Koeppel of the Memphis Commercial Appeal review the restaurants, and in the last edition, he wrote the following:

The Rendezvous inspires such loyalty that criticism of the place seems to merit fluffin’ up the feathers and heatin’ up the tar. Sure, Elvis had Rendezvous ribs flown to Vegas when he performed there, but he also loved banana and peanut butter sandwiches. Even the Vergos family, owners of the Rendezvous, admit that the dry ribs they produce, rubbed with a unique spice mixture, partake more of Greece than the mid-South, but that fact doesn’t keep Yankee writers from proclaiming the Rendezvous ground zero of Memphis barbecue. To our minds, these ribs are interesting but not the Real Thing, but who’s going to argue with 100,000 tourists?

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