Counter Intelligence

Odysseus is My Bag

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on October 13, 2009

It’s a good thing I got to know Wine Director John Wabeck when he moved to Tysons Corner–far from me– or I fear I’d be sampling 19 wines every time I visited, which I have no business doing. I really like his palate and like being led around to try things I wouldn’t otherwise. On my last visit to INOX, Wabeck poured two wines I’d never have chosen:  a fall rose named Odysseus and a rind-scented Chablis.

Odysseus bugged me at the start. Not to mention, I’m teaching all twenty four chapters to freshman this quarter. And while the real deal is super rich and complex, naming a wine after the hero reminds me of Music Is My Bagdom in Meghan Daum’s collection of essays, My Misspent Youth. Not to be confused with the slur, there are all kinds of bagdom: Dogs are My Bag. Harleys are My Bag. Where I Went to College is My Bag. “Having a Bag connotes the state of being overly interested in something, and yet, in a certain way, not interested enough.” A defining characteristic of people who embrace bagdom is that they’re slightly dorky in their enthusiasm for whatever it is they love. They wear it on their shirts, cars, screensavers, keychains, on tote bags, in frames around their homes. Think Halloween earrings, I Brake for Jazz Hands car signs and piano keyboard scarves.

So here I was at a lovely dinner drinking wine from someone for whom Literature is Their Bag. The name and the cutesy label made me want to club someone.

Except this was a rose. For fall. And it was really good.  As in– four people who drink a-lot of wines oohed and ahhed over it– good. And whatever I thought of the name and the label, it’s the only name I remembered of the night.  Paired with the halibut with lobster mushrooms,baby turnips, cippolini onions and a ginger bouillon, the rose was medium bodied and balanced– not the ephemeral summer renditions that are either bone dry or very strawberry. Despite the name, Odysseus Rosado is now my favorite rose.

I’ve also been craving an interesting Chablis Wabeck poured that smelled like cheese rind.  It’s a winning combination with the crispy skate wing and day boat scallops.

I’m not sure I’d order it on a date, since that nose is super-funky, though Wabeck says it’s a fairly common characteristic for a Chablis. On the palate, it was beautiful–subtle and gradual:  like the delayed realization a striking woman is a stunner.

Other things of interest going on at Inox. One, Jonathan Krinn has moved from the kitchen to the front of the house, while Mathieson is helming the line. Two, if you have not been, the INOX lunch is a delicious deal: three courses, $28. I’m a fan of beef carpaccio, and short ribs ravioli or fish and chips as the main. I think I’ve been something like eight times, half of them solo. In Tysons, way far away.

In the wind down to our dinner last week, it was fun to talk with three Jo(h)ns about the restaurant, their James Beard dinner and food related news. Some trivia from chatting: I’m a Budweiser fan, but was surprised to learn Wabeck and Jon Mathieson drink Bud. And two, Mathieson calls his kids every night to find out what they’d like for breakfast, so he can mise en place before they wake, be it for waffles with fruit, an omlette or a frittata. How cute is that? Cuter than the horse on the Odysseus label.

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5 Responses

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  1. kathy said, on October 14, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I found myself smiling as I read this post…not a fan of rose, but will have to try this one…another excuse to drink wine

  2. melissamccart said, on October 14, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Notes from Wabeck:
    There is a nice spice to the rose that makes me think of squash. The weight works too. Chablis can certainly have cheese or oyster shell notes.

  3. Ladies' bags said, on October 30, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Hey, congrats! It is well deserved! :-)

  4. Redding Restaurants said, on November 14, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Now, onwards Odysseus is my favorite rose also. Keep it up with your work.

    Redding Restaurants


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