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Q and A Wine & Roses goes punk

Wine and Roses Chef Didier Gerbi taking wine, food underground for Six and Six event featuring Michael-David wines

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Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 7:43 am

The Wine & Roses pavilion will transform into a Euroband-punk underground Sunday as Wine & Roses celebrates Michael David Winery during its quarterly Six and Six event. The evening will be focused around the winemakers’ personality and interest in music from the ’80s.

Wine & Roses chef Didier Gerbi will create six courses that pair with six Michael-David wines. Here, Didier talks about this winemaker-focused event and his culinary background, such as growing up in Nice, France, and savoring his grandmother’s perfect meatballs.

Q: What do you like best about Lodi?

A: Agriculture. Everything that you have in California is the biggest and the worst, but you also have the masses. You have the best, the real artisan [products], the people who really know what they’re doing. It can be beef, grapes, almonds, walnuts.

Q: This will be Wine & Roses’ third Six and Six event. What is the idea behind it?

A: Our goal is to [feature] 90 percent of Lodi wine. By tasting and tasting, we realized that we can give a different angle on some wineries. We wanted to do an event with the winery and catch the winemakers’ real personality and do the food that goes perfectly with this winery. It can also be the decor, the atmosphere.

Last time, we featured Dave D’Art. We took the art on one side and the wine on the other side — and the food ... the food went perfectly with the art and perfectly with the wine. 

Q: What do you expect Sunday’s event featuring Michael-David Winery to be like?

A: It’s going to be extremely special. Michael David winery is very well known, and all wines are based around the 7 Deadly Zins. Just by the name, you can tell a little that they are rebels; you can tell they have a dark side.

Dave Phillips is very energetic. Both brothers have very strong personalities. It’s like the Bible — Cain and Abel; it’s true (laughs). They have a good balance. Dave is a big fan of the music of the ’80s and punk rock. So what we’re going to do is make the decor very Euroband, underground — a little bit black, a little bit punk. 

When you arrive, you’re going to have lights everywhere and all the table cloths will be black tie-dye with safety pins, chain and rubber tape. All the decor is going to be done by a graffiti artist. Seating will be done with couches and there will be more relaxed music in the back. It will be a mix of Velvet Underground and punk. 

But it will also be respectable to the wine, too.

Q: What kind of food will you share?

A: It’s a little bit complicated with the event. I think the food has to support conversation, so lots of finger food and comfortable foods — and surprising [food].

For example, [with a] zin, we are going to do black cherry, chocolate and pistachio ... in a truffle. 

Then, the sparkling wine will be done with the house smoked salmon and blini. This one is extremely complicated. You want something fresh for your palate. 

We’re going to have Asian-style pork belly. It’s extremely good: Pork belly rubbed the Asian way that you roast for almost three hours and then do a sandwich with pineapple. 

The winery has a new [wine] called Inkblot and it’s very rustic, you can almost feel the soil. You can feel the earth of this wine. 

When I taste wine, I start imaging things a little bit different. The wine is always paired with emotion. The first sip you’re going to have is a certain feeling, a certain reaction. It can be an emotion like, “Oh, I love it” or “Oh, I hate this thing.” It’s almost the same with the food. The first bite is a lot of things from the heart, a memory or a comfort feeling.

Q: How old were you when you started cooking?

A: Eight years old. It was a tradition in the family. My great-grandma and grandma cooked. In the south of France, there is always a big table and every day there is some big family [meal with] 16 to 20 people. 

Q: What is your favorite dish your grandma would serve?

A: It’s pasta with meatballs. It’s still a good dish.

I think it was the herb in the meatballs that made the difference. And — the bread soaking in olive oil. She would take a certain kind of bread and soak it in olive oil. 

We’d grill red bell peppers on the barbecue and serve them with a little bit of cherry vinegar. I remember we used to do a lot of barbecue and, at the end, when the fire is dying, we would cook all the veggies, cover it and wait until the day after to peel them. So don’t let the fire die! We’d use eggplant, zucchini, onion ... .

Q: Did you study culinary arts?

A: Between ’86 and ’90, I started (working in a pastry shop). It was my summer job. I was taking science classes, when one day, I decided to be a pastry chef. Big changes for my parents, eh? They want you to be a lawyer or science teacher and then you say, “Oh, I’m going to be pastry chef.”

Q: What do you cook when you’re home?

A: There’s nothing in my fridge ... I don’t cook at home. I taste everything here, so normally I don’t have to eat.

Kathryn [Munson, co-owner of Wine & Roses] is the guinea pig. It’s really a team. It’s very good because she’s got the tradition, she’s from here, she’s got the history and she’s got the palate.

Q: Who should attend Six and Six on Sunday?

A: Anybody should come ... if you want to discover. It’s not only about wine. It’s not only about food. It’s abut an ambiance.

[At the event for] d’Art Winery, we started with different people from different social classes. At the end, they were all at the same table. This was the coolest thing that I saw, people who didn’t know each other speaking together about the important things in life.

Contact Lodi Living Editor Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

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