February 19, 2009

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Drinks with Dan Aykroyd
Blues singer, ghost buster and now wine guy

By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

On a mission from God? Well, maybe, but actor Dan Aykroyd is definitely on a mission to introduce New Hampshire to his line of wines. The star of movies such as The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters and Dragnet will be at the Bedford Village Inn on Tuesday, Feb. 24, for a special wine dinner featuring his Discovery Series Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Earlier that day, Aykroyd will be at the state liquor store at 27 Coliseum Ave. in Nashua for a wine tasting and bottle signing from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Bedford Village Inn owner Jack Carnevale said he was introduced to the wines and the dinner idea through Martignetti Companies of New Hampshire. The sold-out event will feature a menu created by executive chef Peter Agostinelli that includes chilled Maine lobster and crispy-skin sea bass to go with the chardonnay and a slow-roasted filet of beef for the cabernet sauvignon.

“It should be a real fun night with Dan Aykroyd in the room,” Carnevale said. “From what I understand, he is a real people person. I can see him mingling with the guests and talking about wine and his movies. It’s just what the world needs right now — to laugh a little and drink a little.”

Aykroyd began his wine venture in 2007 with a line from the Niagara region of Canada. Those wines, produced and distributed by Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits, quickly became popular north of the border. For the U.S. selection, Aykroyd turned to DeLoach Vineyards in Sonoma County, Calif., which is owned by Boisset Family Estates, a family-owned producer and exporter of fine wines based in Burgundy, France. The Hippo recently spoke with Aykroyd about his wines and how he got interested in the business:

Why did you want your own line of wines?
Let me start by talking about the trend of celebrities endorsing wines. There have been some very successful endeavors in celebrities putting their names on wines. Francis Coppola was able to take his persona and develop a successful line of wines. And Greg Norman down in Australia has also developed a respected wine line with his name on it. So it wasn’t a large leap for me to put my name on a line of wines that offer high value and high quality at a reasonable price.

I’m a hands-on licenser of my name. I would never just slap my name on a wine and try to sell it.

I heard you are very involved with picking your wines.
I work with great winemakers. Tom Green [with Diamond Estates] in Canada and now Jean-Charles Boisset in California.

I understand you like to pair your wines with food.
If you look at how much my weight has come up, it is pretty obvious I like to eat and drink. My friends will attest to that. The wines I’ve built are for food. Have some chicken or a nice piece of fish with the chardonnay. I picture a meal of baby lamb chops with a mint sauce and rosemary roasted potatoes. I would have it with the red. I built them as table wines.

It was around the time you were filming The Blues Brothers that you got interested in wines, wasn’t it?
Well, serious wines.

That’s right — I heard that during college you drank the cheap stuff.
Ah yes, the Jewish standby of Manischewitz and Morgan David were all we could afford.

What is it about wine that appeals to you?
My whole point is to offer quality and taste at a good price. Say you have a hardworking couple — a nurse and a drywaller. People are exposed more and more to fine dining thanks to people like Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart. So the nurse and the drywaller want to enjoy a meal with a good wine, but at a good price. Everybody can have good wine without paying an outrageous price for it.

Wines are like what they say about art — I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like when I see it. I couldn’t give you all the information on sulfites or the percentage of the type of grapes in a wine, but I know what I like to drink. You don’t have to be a wine geek to enjoy wine. It’s unrestricted.

I’ve heard that some people who will be attending the dinner are planning to dress in Blues Brothers attire. Any chance that Elwood might show up and sing a line or two?
Well, Elwood has trouble traveling around the United States. Too many warrants out for his arrest. But if there’s a band around, I might could jump up and do some singing in his place.

Is there anything else you would like people to know?
I’m having the time of my life and engaging with people much smarter than I am about this business. The passion of these guys — the passion that Tom Green and Jean-Charles have about wine is outstanding.


Actor Dan Aykroyd. Courtesy photo.

Dan Aykroyd’s wine
Both Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series wines can be purchased at various state liquor stores, including the locations on Interstate 93 in Hooksett, two Nashua locations, the Bedford store and the Storrs Street store in Concord. Check www.nh.gov/liquor for all the locations. Each bottle retails for $19.99.


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12/18/2008 Manchestert brewing opens in Concord
12/11/2008 Delicious gifts for the foodie
12/4/2008 New chef at UnWine'd
11/27/2008 Corks pops at BVI
11/20/2008 Big plates, big food
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11/6/2008 You want it? He'll bring it.
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9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
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8/16/2007 Festival weekend
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8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
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6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
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1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
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11/9/2006 The new classic
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01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
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01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic ó itís romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead ó run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
Itís not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken ó no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: itís whatís for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch