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swirl and savor

Drink Like a Pro, Mondays at Serendipity

Beth Ribblett

The newest restaurant in the city, Serendipity @American Can, announces a new weekly wine seminar program for Mondays that we call, "Drink Like a Pro Mondays." Chef Chris DeBarr, who won a Top 100 Wine Restaurant in the Nation honor this year from Wine Enthusiast Magazine for his previous wine selections at Green Goddess, is leading wine drinkers to new, unusual wine finds all over the globe at his new restaurant, Serendipity.

"What we want to do with 'Drink Like a Pro Mondays' is to give wine lovers a backstage pass at how we wine professionals evaluate wine-- in little 2 oz. pours, paired with a bit of food from my kitchen," says Chef DeBarr, "with at least 6 wines evaluated in each session." The idea to show & tell about wines, about the grapes in their vineyards & the committed farmers & winemakers who care for their treasured old vines, came from the sheer joy of learning that Chef DeBarr experiences buying wines to match his eclectic, soulful cuisine. It will be a rare chance to share experiences with a wide variety of committed pros who love the stories, flavors , and knowledge of what goes into great wine.

Reservations can be made for "Drink Like a Pro Mondays" at Serendipity by calling the restaurant at (504) 407-0818. The seminar starts at 5:45 and lasts about an hour, although DeBarr cautions that he "loves telling stories so as long as we are having fun..." and costs $25, which includes 6 wines and a glass of your favorite choice, with plates of precise matched dishes to illustrate the character & interplay of the wines.

The first 'Drink Like a Pro' features a New Orleans native, Karla Kilgore, who represents a terrific Spanish portfolio of small producers with Bonafide Wine Estates. Now based in Seattle, Karla graduated from Grace King High School and still has family here! We are proud of her accomplishments & her exquisite, daring palate and can't wait to showcase her treasures, particularly from Galicia. From maritime Albariño, to the ancient & steep vineyards of Godello in the Ribeiro Sacra, to the dark yet versatile red grape Mencia, Galicia offers fascinating wines that deliver depths of delicious history in every bottle. "Galicia," says Chef DeBarr enthusiastically, "is now one of my favorite wine destinations for my food! I am very excited to have Karla be our first pro & I hope we welcome her with a great event at Serendipity!" Karla also represents the better known Spanish portfolio of Classical Wines, where the Cava originates, but we adore finding such small, artisanal producers of outstanding quality in her Bonafide line.

'Drink Like a Pro Monday" with Karla Kilgore of Bonafide Wine Estates is this Monday, Oct. 22 from 5:45-6:45 at Serendipity @ American Can. We will also feature a lovely Cava & a very rare example of the nearly vanished Prieto Picudo grape, which makes an utterly memorable Rosé that sings! There will also be a whisper of Sherry from a small producer that we will all be lucky to have tasted once the seminar is finished! It's all quite a bargain for $25, which includes tax & tips and a few tasty treats from the kitchen at Serendipity.

On Monday Oct. 29, we are very excited to showcase Greek wines from one excellent producer, Ktima Pavlidas, from the Drama province in the northern reaches of Greece. High altitude and natural winemaking lead to a unique blending of Old World grapes, like Sauvingon Blanc & Syrah, with indigenous Greek varietals such as Assyritiko & St. George. We will kickoff the weeklong celebration of Pavlidis wines (Ktima means the equivalent of bodega or estate) with our 'Drink Like a Pro Monday' featuring Chris Badini of Athenee Wines, a terrific importer of Greek wines & spirits. Then we will showcase a "Wine & Dine Me" Tasting and Wine Pairing Menu all week...featuring these great Pavlidis wines & our Serendipity cuisine. It will be a remarkable exploration of flavors & places as we join Serendipity with Ktima Pavlidis wines.

In subsequent weeks, we have my good hoops buddy, Erik Christensen of Uncorked Wines, based here in New Orleans, postulating about the essence of 'Winter Whites' that are deft, expressive & capable of standing up to richer, creamier winter fare. Erik's 'Drink Like a Pro Monday' is set for Nov. 5th, and we have some real shockers planned to illustrate our point!

Then on Monday, Nov. 12th, my dear friend & veteran wine pro, Mike Procido from Wines Unlimited, will sit down with me as we make the point about 'Wines That Aren't Turkeys' as we discuss terrific, yet often overlooked, classic holiday wine pairings. The key to a a happy holiday pairing is versatilty in both the weight & taste, with good value. Mike and I are willing to share our trade secrets for happy wine drinking during family celebrations, which include lovely Beaujolais, sexy Valpolicella, and affordable sparkling wines.

In tandem, with 'Wines That Aren't Turkeys' on Mon. Nov 12th, we are looking into developing a Nola Locavore Dinner, "What Would Happen If the Pilgrims Landed in New Orleans?!!" at Serendipity. Chef DeBarr is steeped in the history of food & ingredients, and he promises to bring his creative pirate mentality to the foods that were here in Louisiana before the European conquest of the Americas. More news on that event, with menu & pricing, to soon follow....

We have more wine events headed your way, including the possibility that we might sneak in a visitor on other weeknights, whenever visiting wine pros from the wide world of Dionysian splendor show up in New Orleans. Please stay tuned...and don't hesitate to leave a message for us at (504) 407-0818 on the Serendipity hotline for reservations or questions! This is your chance to learn how a Top 100 chef/sommelier in Chef Chris DeBarr works to find his rare wine discoveries, every week!

We surely hope you will join us for these inaugural 'Drink Like a Pro Mondays' at Serendipity, especially if you feel like joining Karla Kilgore of Bonafide Wine Estates & Classical Spanish Wines this Mon., Oct 22nd to jump start our festive but very informative wine seminars. We promise that we will all have a ball....!

Remember Serendipity is now open 7 nights a week, 5-midnight, located at 3700 Orleans Ave. in the spacious American Can Apts, next to the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

For press contacts: reach Chef DeBarr at his cell (504) 919-7394 or on his email: for further details on 'Drink Like a Pro Mondays' @Serendipity.

Chef Chris DeBarr of Serendipity @American Can

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