It is well known that Bonny Doon Vineyard founder Randall Grahm has an uncommon approach to wine. To say that he marches to a different drummer is grossly short of the mark. Grahm marches to a Martian linguist employing smoke signals. While typical wine prattle includes descriptors like "delicate hints of black currant, smoke and truffle," Grahm says his best wines smell like horse farts and Raid. At least that's how he gushed over a vertical flight of inconsecutive Le Cigare Volant vintages ranging from 1988 through 1999 paired with a daringly deft but restrained dinner by chef David McMillan at Nana Grill recently. Le Cigare Volant is a Rhône blend named after the French term for "flying saucer" inspired by Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a village in the southern Rhône that in 1954 passed a law forbidding flying saucers from landing within town limits. Since the landmark ordinance passed, Grahm points out, none have. But Grahm not only talked about his wines, he also talked about his groundbreaking projects. "People always talk about bringing terroir [French for soil] to wine. But I'm working on bringing wine to terroir," he explained. To that end, Grahm is embarking on a series of experiments soaking rocks in various Bonny Doon wines to see what comes out. "This is the next phase of Bonny Doon before they take me away," he announced.
Speaking of announcements, Nana Grill manager Paul Pinnell explained the restaurant will shut down July 1 for a $3.5 million face-lift that will include an eradication of the ubiquitous burgundy hues, a reconfiguration of the seating to assure clear skyline views throughout the restaurant, new lighting, a lightening of the mahogany paneling, a chef's table and a new wine cellar. The restaurant will reopen October 1. No word on what it will smell like.
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Studio Movie Grill President Brian Schultz says he's going to implement a number of enhancements to the theaters he operates after he and his partners picked up the Granada Prestonwood movie grill early last month. Tweaks include upgraded sound and video systems at the Granada and the installation of corporate chef Thad Kelly, a Brinker alumni, who will upgrade the menus at both theaters. "I just bought it back," says Schultz of the Granada, which will be transformed into a Studio Movie Grill. "My old partner just wasn't doing well with it." Schultz was the prime mover behind the now shuttered Granada Cinema and Grill spawned on Greenville Avenue in 1992. A sibling emerged up north some six years later before Schultz split from the Granada in early 1999. He launched the Studio Movie Grill later that year. The new menus should hit in time for Pearl Harbor.