Pours crafted to pair with Louisiana cooking

by Mary Tutwiler

Take New Orleans' rogue politicians, her historic architecture, her love of living well, her creative cuisine and her kick-ass football team.

Blend with care. Paste on an irreverent label. Wait for the right occasion and samurai off the corks with a saber.

The pour is a trio of artisanally-crafted wines - Loula's Revenge, Double Shotgun and Crooked Mayor, all from New Orleans label Vending Machine Winery. Owner Neil Gernon, 37, has been in his cups since he was 23, working his way through the wine business in its various incarnations. Last year he and his wife, Monica, decided to take the plunge, working with wine maker Christopher Vandendriessche from White Rock Vineyards to create a handful of wines made to pair with Crescent City cuisine.

"Crooked Mayor" is 100 percent cab, and "Loula's Revenge" is pressed from chardonnay, both high profile grapes. But "Double Shotgun" packs a 50/50 cab franc/petit verdot blend, quite unusual, with herbal and green pepper notes that beg to be decanted and served with wild things, say a ragout of goat spiced with pimenton.

All three wines, $25-$45, can be found on the wine shelves at Village Café; call 981-8085 for more info.