I've tasted his wines, listened to his CD's but finally got to hear Paul Cullen perform live last night at Twisted Vine Bistro in downtown Fort Myers, FL
Cullen, the former bassist for Bad Company, not only makes great music but delicious wine. I reviewed his Sonata Bianco and Sonata Rosso here, for an upcoming article in Times Of The Islands magazine and was really looking forward to trying his Rose' and the yet to be released Jazz Freak.
Cullen has combined his love of wine and music into a venture called "Unplugged And Uncorked". He travels the country selling his wine and playing his music at various wine events. The new tunes are perfectly suited for sipping.
Cullen is long-time friends with the new owners of Twisted Vine, so it was an obvious choice for a wine dinner. We began with passed appetizers and a crisp, Sparkling Rose'. The first seated course featured succulent PEI Mussels in a garlic sauce with Sonata Bianco; a Sauvignon Blanc blended with a bit of Chardonnay to, as Cullen says, "give it a nice round bottom." His hand gestures suggested grabbing one. The wine was acidic with apricots and when tasted after the mussels, had a nice spice.
I could hardly wait to try the beautiful, pink Sonata Rose', served with Pasta Pomodoro. The pasta was fresh and dressed with basil picked from Twisted Vine's new herb garden. The Rose' is a blend of Petit Syrah and Fiano. I got a bit of mint in the nose but not much else. It was dry and delicious with a some spice, cardamom and strawberry. Enjoyable pairing!
However, my favorite pairing of the night was the Sonata Rosso with a Pork Osso Bucco. The wine is a balanced blend of Syrah, Zinfnadel and Cabernet Franc with flavors of clove and red fruit. It was beautiful with the salt and fat of the pork. The Osso Bucco was cooked in a savory broth with fennel, artichoke rustica and plum tomatoes. The flavors exploded, the meat fell off of the bone. BRAVO!
Jazz Freak is Cullen's latest wine, a Barbera from the Sierra Foothills. It was juicy and tart, yet smooth. I was happy with it on it's own but wasn't about to turn down the dessert that came with it; Tiramisu in thin lovely layers. It was a creamy and delicious finale.
Cullen will be back at the Twisted Vine, performing live, Saturday night (5/26). Ask for his wines when sit down to dine!
Check out some some of my interview with Cullen here: