He doesn’t know it, but Jim Harrison bought me a glass of pinot noir. Harrison is a well-known wine worshiper—read this oft-reprinted sermon, it’s worth it—but he won’t sacrifice the welfare of his friends just for the prospect of another wine connection. As the story goes, he told fellow Michiganders, Sarver Winery proprietors Chris and Erin Sarver, that they were crazy to leave the family brewery behind on the shores of Lake Superior to try their luck with the grape out Oregon way. They now keep a framed photo of their friend next to the cash register as a constant inspiration for their endeavors.
I was trying to decide between the 2009 Estate Pinot Nor and the 2009 Estate Pinot Noir Select (I like pepper and oak, that’s all I know) when I spotted the one-eyed icon and blurted out, “Is that Jim Harrison?” My pourer called down to his cohort at the other end of the bar, “Did you hear that?” Apparently he’d just been toying with buying a free glass for anyone who could ID the quirky image (homage?).
The offer was honored, and so was I.