2018 Sean Minor 4B Pinot Noir, California

Pinot Noir. It’s the most finicky grape in the game. It has thin skin and is very hard to grow. It has a specific temperature it likes and will throw a temper tantrum if it isn’t right. I always like finding value bottles of this varietal where I can.

Sean Minor Wines is a modern brand that doesn’t own any vineyards. That’s not uncommon these days. But what is, is the choice Sean Minor Wines to only work with sustainable farms out of California and Oregon. Real estate in wine growing regions is expensive so working with farms can be a win win.

The 4B or “Four Bear” is part of their California series that’s meant to reflect the terroir of California, have a broad appeal, and be in an everyday price bracket. As a parent, I love where the name 4B comes from. Originally the brand was called Four Bears because of the husband and wife owner’s children. They have three sons and one daughter. Not to mention when they would do tastings to pick what would be in the bottle, their daughter said it was like watching Goldilocks taste porridge trying to find the one that’s just right.

Photo courtesy of http://www.seanminorwines.com

This was exactly what I expected from a California Pinot Noir. It was bright with full red fruit nose. On the palate it’s medium bodied(lighter weight) with cola, cherries and strawberries. Super soft on the finish. As far as pairings go, we had it with turkey sloppy joes and it was great! Also try it out with burgers or pizza.

Typically, this wine will run you $15-17 a bottle.


Thinking out loud over here

I’ll start by saying this… 2020 has been wild and is shaping up to get even more sideways. Being a parent in a COVID world is nuts but throw in your revenue stream being bars and restaurants and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a mental breakdown. We’re fine. I’m fine. Staying positive gets harder everyday but we’ll make it through.

The beverage industry is in a really odd spot. You’ve got imported spirits and wines stuck on boats waiting to be checked in at borders, outages, and shortages. More so than normal and not just because some spirit category is hot right now. But amazingly, new trends are developing everywhere with bartenders, mixologist, and restauranteurs getting extremely creative with to go cocktail programs. Not to mention all the spirit companies jumping in with ready to drink cocktails in cans. The creativity of this industry is really flourishing under unprecedented times. And there’s another thing happening.

Seeing an industry band together to lift each other up is epic. Companies are donating to out of work hospitality works which gives me hope. I’ve see restaurants offering family meal to furloughed servers and bartenders a couple of times a week. I’ve seen local companies donate money to funds specifically for said workers in our local communities.

With that, I’ll say this… the bartenders and servers that are out there working right now are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones to provide service to their customers. A lot of them have to because that’s just the way it is. They have to work. They rely on tips to make a living. That being said, people should respect that. Respect that sacrifice. Wear a damn mask and comply with the ordinances that are imposed on the business to safely operate. It’s our new normal as my wife tells me all the time. I wish I had all the money to tip every server and bartender just for clocking in but I don’t. As Glassjaw titled one of my favorite tracks from the Worship and Tribute record, “Tip Your Bartender.” ….and wear a mask.

An Over Due Update

So here we are. Life is fast and takes some wild turns. Since the last post, maybe over a year ago, a lot has changed. I started out in this job with a mission to really learn the side of the business I jumped into. There is such a huge difference from being the guy that places an order to being the one that takes an order. Over a year has passed and I’m still learning everyday. Luckily I get to work with some people that have been doing this for 15 years and I try to never take their advice for granted.

My main interest still lies with wine. It’s been very eye opening to see how the other side works. There is so much more that goes into every aspect of getting a wine on a restaurant’s by the glass list or planning a wine tasting to try to help get a wine you believe in into someone’s glass.

I’m glad to see that my interest in cocktails is still intact and that my curiosity keeps pushing me to try something different, old, or new. Not only that but getting to influence and help restaurants with their cocktail list is a dream. I still get excited when someone decides to use one of my cocktails as a part of their cocktail program.

I’m going to try update as much as I can on as many topics as I can wrap my head around. Stay tuned.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

There have been so many changes since my last blog post that I hardly know where to begin. That’s really the main reason I haven’t updated in a while. That, plus I under estimated the extra time I’d have left after a 10 month old goes to sleep for the night. So here’s a little recap:

I left my position as Beverage Director for Jason Brady Restaurant Group(JBRG) in Shreveport, Louisiana after almost 10 years with the company. I watched it grow from 2 bottle shops and a restaurant doing a little bit of catering to a full blown machine of multiple restaurants and a catering service that can get literally any job done and done correctly. I had so much fun doing working with everyone there. Of course there were hectic times, steady times, and times we were all just hanging on because we were so incredibly busy. I left because I got an incredible opportunity and just couldn’t pass it up. I wouldn’t have been ready for my new job if it weren’t for all the time I put in with JBRG, so I owe them and Jason Brady a massive thank you. I know they will continue to crush it without me there. They are like family and I wish them the absolute best moving forward. Here are a few pictures from some of my favorite times over the last 10 years:

The new, incredible opportunity came to me via Memphis, Tennessee with a great company. I took a position in restaurant sales with Athens Distributing where I’ll be selling wine and spirits to restaurants in the Memphis area. It’s a huge area, much bigger than Shreveport. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me learning a new job but I’m still in a field that I love. Honestly, the biggest worry I have right now is figuring out the city and how to get to where I’m going. That will just take time. Like learning the new gig.

The toughest part of all this is that my wife Jess and our son Ward are both still in Shreveport. They’ll be here by the end of July though. It’s hard being a FaceTime dad when I’m naturally much more hands on. The night before my first day of work in Memphis was actually the first time I have ever been away from Ward over night since he was born. Needless to say, it’s hard but I see the light. I’m staying with family right now just outside of Memphis. They have been very accommodating and incredibly gracious to let me interrupt their lives. A debt is definitely owed.

I’m excited to learn the new job, get familiar with the city, and have my family here. All in time. I’ll get back to posting about wines, spirits, and even new restaurants soon. If you’ve got any suggestions, let me know at beardandbarrel@gmail.com!

Shreveport Green’s Feast 2016 | Photos

The restaurant group I work for has been involved with Feast for at least 3 years. It’s a celebration of local ingredients, farmers, and purveyors with the backdrop of a Louisiana landscape. Our community in Shreveport-Bossier has been very supportive of local farmers as well as breweries(Great Raft Brewing was a sponsor).

The context of this event is a dinner and this four course dining experience was created by collaborating chefs cooking in a park for well over 100 people while it was 97 degrees outside. So many thanks should always go to the people that prepare the food and cultivate the experience.

Here are a few photos from the event. Most are behind the scenes. The photos cut off about half way through the event because my memory card got corrupted. Apologies but I thought the ones from before show the excitement and beauty of the scene and the event.




The table is set



Chef Gabriel Balderas of El Cabo Verde





Chef Jason Brady and Chef Zach Schmidt of Parish Taceaux







When to Cellar: Worth the Wait?

After spending a significant amount of time in wine cellars this week, it had me thinking about cellar management on a large and small scale. Most of my friends have small wine racks in their kitchen rather than 200 bottle cellars but are they using it correctly? Here are a few, easy guidelines for people that buy wine to drink now or have a few special bottles and are looking to start collecting.

First of all, it’s important to know that just because it’s wine that doesn’t mean it’s will be better in 5 years. How do you know that without being a sommelier or a hobbiest oenophile? Easy. If you spent less than $20 or it has a screw cap(also know as a Stelvin enclosure), it’s meant to be drunk within a year or two max. Here’s why: at under $20 it’s usually meant to be consumed immediately. You wouldn’t pay $50 for something you intended on drinking every single day. If you can, that’s awesome and good for you. With the screw cap, the enclosure itself doesn’t allow the wine to age at the same rate as a cork. There are a few higher end wineries that have gone to all screw caps but most that you will encounter in the local wine market are meant to be enjoyed now.

Next, if you’re going to collect wine, you need to have a place to store it. My suggestion is a cool, dark place like the corner of your closet at least until you can get a wine refrigerator. A rack on your kitchen counter isn’t for wines you are saving for a special occasion. It’s for wines you want to drink on Thursday. With all the fluorescent and natural light as well as the varying temperature due to sunlight and cooking, it could damage the wine. When aging wine, you need to know what wine needs to do that. It’s a consistent temperature and little to no light exposure. Whether you plan to have it on your first anniversary or you fifth, wine needs consistency in storage.

When you do finally make the decision to get a temperature controlled wine refrigerator, you’ll need a system. I think one of the easiest systems is the rubber band system. It’s easy. All you have to do is put a rubber band on the neck of bottles you are saving or that are more expensive so that you and everyone else that has access to you selection knows that those aren’t to be touched. It’s so easy because no matter how many bottles you’ve had, you can always feel that rubber band when you reach for the next bottle.

These are laws but they will for sure help you get started in you wine pursuits.

Getting Back To Neutral

Just a small update:

I’m not usually one to make excuses but every now and then I find a good one to stick to it. I took an unannounced break from blogging during the holiday season because of the insane amount of busy we were in the retail shops as well as a huge, personal life event.  

I got married to this super hot lady. Which was completely, and continues to be, legendary. Speaking of hot ladies, try wine: 

2013 Revelry Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington $19.99
Bold blue and red fruits with some pipe tobacco, spice, and silky tannins. Perfect for a pork chop. Don’t wait on it because it’s Merlot. Drink the crap out of it because it’s a boss Merlot.


Now that I’m settling back into things as normal, I’m getting back to my passions. New Star Wars novels, mobile gaming binges, and wine. I’ve got some pretty cool things in mind for this year and I’m excited to get to work. In my blog hiatus, I have continued to write beverage columns for some local magazines: SB Magazine and Shreveport Magazine.  

In March, SB Magazine will run my article on Washington State Wine Month(which is obviously March) and the next issue of Shreveport Magazine will feature an article I wrote on last year’s Derby Day and how bummed I was that I couldn’t actually attend it because I had to bartend it. This year’s Derby Day is coming up and tickets are on sale now. Stay tuned for more reasons to drink!