Visions of The Blind Monk

We were in South Florida for the saddest occasion: a death in the family. For two days we sat with our dearest loved ones to remember and honor Uncle Carl, an extraordinary man and avid VinoDuo reader to boot!  Before flying home, we decided to explore West Palm Beach, a city known only to us as the place where they put the airport and the poor cousin to uber-swanky Palm Beach.

A quick Google search for wine bars brought us to The Blind Monk, a funky, beautifully-designed tapas and wine bar in a formerly-sketchy now hipster-izing downtown neighborhood. With low lighting and a moody vibe, it was the perfect venue for reflection. An added bonus: singer Ella Herrera, a WPB fixture on the coffee house circuit, sang 70s pop hits with an updated groove and a smokey, mysterious sound.


What We Ate
We found the bar's owner, Ben Lubin, and sommelier Reese Fisher (photo above right) on the floor that night. We immediately flashed our VinoDuo credentials, which got us big smiles and zero freebies, but plenty of inside chatter on the neighborhood and WPB's sophisticated wine scene.  At Ben and Reese's suggestion we ordered the Roasted Cauliflower with Manchego Cream, toasted almonds, and castelvetrano olives. Good suggestion: silky, creamy, lip-smackiing delicious.  A 3-cheese plate filled out the dining card.

What We Drank
An embarrassment of wines-by-the-glass riches graced the Blind Monk's menu. More than 20 whites and 20 reds were on the list, a dizzying mix of Old World, New World, and "yikes, they make wine in New Mexico"offerings. Old VinoDuo favorites like Riesling from the Finger Lakes (NY) and Zin from Paso Robles (CA) mingled with unknown (to us) wines from Slovenia, Macedonia, and, yes, New Mexico.

Not feeling very adventurous, Lisa ordered the Commanderie de la Bargemone Rosé (2012) from Provence. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, the pale salmon color belied plenty of fruit and spice, a hint of cinnamon, with melon and strawberry flavors. This dry Rosé was a perfect complement to the light-as-air cauliflower.

Gary selected the 2009 Corvidae Lenore Syrah from Washington's Columbia Valley. Deep, dark purple in the glass, the Lenore was intense but perfectly balanced. A fruit-forward New World-style Syrah but no fruit bomb, Gary noted a "cigar box" aroma on the nose and a mix of dark berry flavors and a touch of pepper on the palate.  Delicious!

We raised our glasses to Carl and the family and wished he were with us to discover the pleasures of The Blind Monk.


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