Maralyn and I were fortunate to meet Bill Cutris, owner of Tastings. Tastings is a charming wine shop, restaurant and wine bar in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Luckier still, we sipped his wine and tasted his food. Back in the kitchen, Bill’s sous chef handed me a slab of crackling turkey skin when he caught me practcally droolling over the scent and sight of the rich golden bird.

There are many reasons for Bill’s success. One reason is simply Bill. He has a genuine love of people, wine and food. We rate passion as a chef’s best ingredient.

In his restaurant, Chef Curtis and his team present only fresh, true flavors from local products, either all-natural (sustainably-raised) or organically- raised. His mantra has always been to “put the customer in better touch with his or her palate”.

As for the wine, Bill takes an annual pilgrimage to Oregon, as well as other wine regions, for the most dellicious and value priced wines. He tastes every wine before buying. Our team has traveled the Oregon Wine Trail for some unusual finds.

We like his menu and wine descriptions such as  “a porch sippin  pinot perfumed with ripe strawberries jump from the glass”.

If Bill will send us a recipe and wine pairing we will publish more of his success secrets. We especially enjoyed his crab cake. I also want to know how he seasoned that turkey before our annual Thanksgiving column for The Big Blend.

Email address for his newsletter:

Tastings of Charlottsville
500 East Jefferson St. (305)
Charlottsville, Va. 22902
Reservations accepted