Whither Virginia Beach?

FOR PORT FOLIO MAGAZINE
THURSDAY, JULY 1, 1999
BY ALEX MARSHALL

Virginia Beach. The promised land.

It glistens in the sun, a shimmering mecca of backyards, beaches, prosperity and space. A wide open terrain where schools are good and crime is low, a destination, a place to start a life or fulfill one.

It still has that reputation to many, even as the city enters its 37th year and faces trend lines that dispute much of what I just said.

Those Old Rules Can Come In Handy. Just ask James Bond.

WINE COLUMN
First Published in PORT FOLIO MAGAZINE
SEPT. 23, 1999
BY ALEX MARSHALL

Knowing and paying attention to the old rules can come in handy. Just ask James Bond.

When the Russian agent managed to point a gun at Bond’s heart in the novel “From Russia With Love,” Bondmentally kicked himself for not realizing at dinner an hour earlier that the blond gentleman across from him was not who he appeared to be.

The gentleman’s English accent had been perfect. But, while chatting with Bond over a nice filet of sole, the beefy guy had ordered a glass of red wine. Bond had noticed this curious behavior, but only now, with his life in danger, did Bond realize that this had been the sign the proper English gentleman was actually a Russian agent.

Searching For The Heart Of Darkness

BY ALEX MARSHALL
WINE COLUMN FOR PORT FOLIO MAGAZINE
JAN. 11, 2001

The fluid in the glass was black and dark, as if someone had emptied out his fountain pen into a glass of water. I eyed it suspiciously, then swirled, sniffed and tasted.

It was wonderful. A rich assortment of tastes cascaded over my tongue, backed up by a healthy dose of tannins. It was like a variation of a good Bordeaux.

I smiled appreciatively at the waitress. I had never heard of the wine she steered me toward: Madiran. I was in a small, French restaurant in Manhattan, Chez Bernard on West Broadway. It had classic French food at reasonable prices — and a wine list worthy of a three-star restaurant in Paris. The waitress had steered me away from the $2,000 bottles of old Bordeauxs, and to this wine I had never heard of, Madiran, for $30.

In Paris, The Wine Bar Is The Place To Drink Some Wine

FOR: PORT FOLIO MAGAZINE
BY ALEX MARSHALL

PARIS — It was with some trepidation that I first walked in off the sidewalk into the small establishment on the narrow Rue Daguerre near Montparnasse with the words “Bar A Vin” written across its front glass window. It was 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night, a strange hour. In Paris, it was neither late, nor early. An uncertain hour.

I had been headed home to my nearby hotel bed, having eaten a full dinner down the street and decided I needed a good nigh’s sleep. But I couldn’t resist the pull of this small restaurant. Inside, I could see people huddled around the small bar, talking and laughing while they swirled liquid in glass goblets.