Bob’s Winings
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

This page contains Winings from the 1st Quarter of the year 2002.

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March 31, 2002

“Whenever two or more of you are gathered around a wine bottle, rejoice and celebrate”
Wino Bob  19:12:21

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to one and all.  The weather is a balmy 68 degrees, buds are awakening from their winter slumber and a sense of renewal is in the air.  Last evening, I had a most enjoyable dinner at Bacchus with my buddy Wino Rocker.  Yes, the one I was sharing a wine with when he was telling me about his life’s new direction.  Turns out that things have turned around and he and his old lady are doing well. 

Needing my shot of Red Meat, I ordered the pastrami encrusted Buffalo shell Steak Medium Rare, kick-ass.  This was done with a Cabernet reduction that made it fantastic.  Since the rest of the crew had the tuna special, I selected a Spanish Wine from a producer who made his money to buy the winery from trading barrels.  Everyone enjoyed the wine so much we ripped through 2 bottles before the meal was over.  I am taking a liking to the Spanish wines from the Priorat region and this one did not disappoint.

1998 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses $$ (40.00 rest.)   Alvaro Palacios brought the Rhone style wines and the French prices to this region and is making high quality stuff.  Flavorful, fruit-filled and long on the finish, this is a pleasurable wine from the cork to the punt.  This wine has the range to please a variety of foods with the bold fruits and subtle spice the wine delivers.

March 27, 2002

Fat, large, huge, mammoth, gigantic, rotund….gigundis.  When I was a kid, to speak politely about my fat Aunt, we called her gigundis.  As a lover of Rhone wines and one lacking in the mega dot com dollar windfalls, I look for those bargains on Big Fat Red Wines.  With restaurant mark ups on Chateauneuf du Papes reaching insanity, I grabbed a bottle of wine from a neighboring region- Gigondas.

I read, and was told, that these wines are quickly becoming the “Great Value” wines to go after.  Quality is great and the pricing structures will not sink the boat.  So I gave one a try recently, but feel there is a lot of tasting for me to do before I am convinced.  Promise is there, but the richness and fullness I was hoping for did not show itself with my dinner last night.

I will make an effort to hunt down the diamonds in the rough, so if any of you winos have suggestions, please keep me informed.

1999 Domaine du Pesquier, Gigondas $$ (32.00 rest.)    Give me more, the nose had me anticipating a flavorful fruit-laden, spicy wine, but the taste was thin and short.  Drinking down to the punt did not alter the first impressions I got from this wine.  OK for quaffing or letting your crazy relatives ice down.

March 24, 2002

Well the move is finally over and 18 years have been sent in different directions, some to the new office (with the original 18 years of dirt), some to our PA branch and the rest to that big landfill in the sky.  Working out of two places has left little time for wine.  By next week I will be ripped off my ass every night so it will be business as usual.

I did manage a lunch meeting with Wino John and a monthly card game. From the descriptions below, can you guess which one I enjoyed with Wino John?

1999 Monterra Merlot $ (10.99)   This is actually an interesting blend of 76.5% Merlot, 9.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.3% Zinfandel, 4.1% Sangiovese, 2.4% Petite Sirah, 1% Pinot Noir and I think that leaves 2% for some other stuff.  Soft and fruity, like some people I know in San Francisco, with hints of black cherry, and smoke.  Minimal tannins and a touch of vanilla from the 10-month aging in American oak.

1998 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (41.00)   Breathe deep, not you, the wine.  This one needs air to reveal its beauty, plenty of rich fruit and saucy tannins.  Elegance and sophistication define this wine.


March 18, 2002

You know how I am always confused about bringing wine to people’s homes.  If you bring a really good bottle and they hide it, I feel like I lost an appendage.  Then again, if you bring a so-so bottle and they serve it, it reflects poorly on me as a wino.  I found the solution, become friends with Wino Lou.  Not only did he save the wine I gave him a gift; he’s also a top-notch cook and lays out a spread like you wouldn’t believe.  With his cooking ability and my wine selections, we can open a restaurant; only I don’t have any revenue stream from this web page that would allow me to bankroll the deal.  Just, Wino John, how much more do we have in the bank this month then last?  Oh, right, we still don’t have a bank account…

As was expected, dinner was fantastic and the wine worked well. Nothing better than a slab of bloody cow and a big California Cab (I learned that from Wino John).  How’s this for the name of a fine dining establishment, Wine and Food and Shit.  I use the words and shit as a general description of all the other stuff that would be included, like the ability to smoke a cigar or have a scotch instead of wine.  I do not use the term "and shit" to mean what it means. 

We spent most of the meal discussing the wine and how it went well with the food and what other foods Wino Lou is versed in cooking.  He threw down the challenge for several dinners I must pair the wine to, I can’t wait; though it sounds like I am getting too serious about the wine and food thing.  It kind of detracts from my Wino moniker. 

1996 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon ($ It was a B-Day present to Wino Lou, I can’t tell him how much I spent but you can look it up)     This wine requires the oxidation process to release the fruit from the strangle hold the tannins have on it.  Early tasting leaves your mouth without saliva for 5 minutes.  Then the grand structure of fruits and cassis and oak and smoke all swirl around your mouth like a carrousel ride.  Drink this with winos that don’t put ice in red wine.

March 17, 2002

Happy St. Patty’s Day to you Irish Winos, though now that I think about it, you can’t add green food coloring to wine, so I doubt there are any of you reading this.  At what point do people think it enhances food and drink by adding a green color to the things that should not be green.  When I was in college, there was a lot of shit in my refrigerator that was green, but I threw that stuff out.  Green fuzz is not a pleasant tasting item.

For those of you who like their wine red on St. Patty’s Day, Erin Go Bra, or something like that.

A close friend of mine had a first date last night and he emailed me that he wanted to impress this young lady by taking her to Bacchus.  So, like the bad penny that I am, I waited till they were almost finished with dinner and stopped up to check this new situation out.  They were just on their way out when I popped in and convinced them to stay for a nightcap.  Interestingly, they told me how good the meal was.  When I inquired as to what they had, they informed me of the seafood special.  And what fine wine did they enjoy?  Amstel Light, who the, what the?  You go to a wine bar and chop house and have fish and beer?  What is up with that?

Anyway, towards the end of the evening, Ryan offered us a taste of a wine that a customer informed him it just doesn’t taste good.  It is a new winery coming out, which has employed the former winemaker from Duckhorn Vineyards.  Yes, the Duckhorn vineyards of Pinot Noir fame, et al.  As truth is told, I wasn’t much impressed with this wine either, but that’s why you go and taste.

1999 Provenance Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford $$ (50.00 rest.)    The aroma off the wine reminded me of the amoxicynin I took as a kid for an inner ear infection, a sweet artificial bubble-gum, medicine nose.  This wine dries your tongue faster than peanut butter, but over time, releases the dark cherry fruits one expects.  Even over time, the medicinal aroma stays, even as the sweetness disappears.


March 10, 2002 

Greeting from Never Never Land.  As has been customary in my life, I have a confession to make. (What the hell is with this religious context all the time?) I can hear Wino John clear on the other side of Route 80 shuddering at those words.  Oh no Wino Bob, not another time you tells us about your time in court when the judge asked you to show him where on the puppet the priest…. Never mind.

Yes, ever since I can recall, I am a binger and purger.  So that explains the stick-like depiction on your page.  No, I have never put my finger down my throat after a meal.  My binging and purging relates to my work habits.  Are you Winos like me?  Either I am lying around on my fat ass watching 20 hours of TV Land or I am juggling 3 major projects.  As you know from over the summer, I submitted early pictures of the wine area I was fixing up.  Then it seemed like I couldn’t motivate myself to finish the job.  So what changed and got me back into the project you ask?  OK, so you didn’t ask, I’m just going to tell you anyway, it’s your choice to read this or not.

Geek life has me in a major move of my office after a seven-month complex situation, the end is near for the building I worked out of since 1988 and I am moving 14 years of shit.  This pressure to get the move over in 2 weeks has me revved up to complete the wine area in the cellar.  So this weekend, I tiled, plumbed and grouted every spare moment to get me through another milestone in the creation process.  I have so much PVC cement and grout stuck on my right hand, I am afraid to scratch myself in that way for fear of sanding it off.

So here are the latest rounds of updated pictures:


The trap was there folks; I had to match the drain to the trap.


Afterwards, I decided to layout a few of my favorites to see how they look on my new counter top, what do you think?


While I was finishing up the plumbing last night, I opened a bottle I enjoyed.

1997 Mystic Cliffs Shiraz $ (7.99)     Though it says Shiraz, this is from California.  The oak aging definitely brings distinction to this stainless steel fermented wine.  It shows nice blackberry, pepper and spicy overtones and a soft supple texture.  Drink this one for fun, but it will stand up well to a stew.


March 3, 2002

I was passing by my closet today and a voice called me over, “Hey Wino Bob, it’s me, your Black Suit.  You should put me on and head into Manhattan.”  Actually, friends of mine that own the Happy Dog Gallery were exhibiting at the Art Expo show taking place this week at the Jacob Javits Center.  Picking out my best black shirt, I headed to NYC to walk the show.  Art is not something that comes naturally to me and understanding art is near impossible.  Why is it that a tree by a brook painted by one-artist sells for tens of thousands of dollars and a tree by a brook by another artist is available at a show price of twelve hundred dollars? 

I did find myself captivated by the female form in all it’s natural beauty, but it was that art that looked like what I see on the web as opposed to the art where a woman’s breast appears somewhere on her shoulder and her buttocks is firmly depicted where her arm should be.  Over half of the booths had at least one piece containing a patriotic image if not the World Trade Centers themselves. 

Frustrated for not getting the point, or the beauty or the desire to spend my life savings on a naked lady (picture that is), I walked down the last aisle ready to head for the door.  Just then, I glanced over at a picture of a bottle of Silver Oak, and then I looked in the booth and saw a painting of an Opus One wine poured out for enjoyment.  Screw the naked ladies, there are paintings of wine…

I had an enjoyable chat with the people representing Thomas Arvid, an artist gaining national notoriety for his passion for wine.  Recently, Mr. Arvid was covered in Wine Spectator for his compositions being sought out by art and wine collectors alike.  My favorite was titled, “Two To Choose”.  I don’t know if it was that I am starting to understand art or the fact that I have a bottle of the 1993 Silver Oak Napa in my cellar.  If anyone is interested in more information regarding Mr. Arvid’s work, let me know and I would be happy to pass along more details.

March 1, 2002

I can’t believe we are into March.  Bless me father for I have sinned, I have enjoyed the following wines without updating my entries in a timely fashion.  I have been spending time tiling the counter in my cellar and have neglected to post.  These are my wines:

1997 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz $ (12.00)   Deep ruby-purple liquid pours into your glass and the aromas of pepper, chocolate, and dark fruit greet your nose.  Mild tannins and medium body with a crisp finish invade your mouth.

1998 Oxford Landing Shiraz $ (9.00)   A medium-bodied wine with dark cherry, tobacco, and a hint of dried herbs.  Light on the palate and on the finish.

1998 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon, Rapel Valley $$ (31.00 rest.)   This wine boasts plenty of black fruit and oak aromas, but disappoints on the palette, drinking lighter and thinner then expected.

1997 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, The Cutrer, Sonoma County $$ (27.99)   A golden yellow with plenty of wood and citrus fruit flavors.  This is a wine at its prime with a major “drink now” sign on it.  There is a pleasant mineral flavor on the finish.

1998 Echelon Syrah  ? (Only had one glass at $6.00)   Full-bodied, deep rich red-purple, big bold and chewy immediately roll off my tongue.  Plenty of fruit, soft, sultry tannins and a hint of oak to top this off.

February 18, 2002

In my techno-dweeb life, I have recently begun representing a manufacturer located in Barcelona, Spain.  After we reached our business agreement, I turned the conversation over to wine and began negotiating several cases of wine with our first stocking order.  When hit with the simple question, by the owner of the company, “What kind of Spanish wine do you like?”, I quickly blurted out, “Red, is there any other kind made in Spain?”  Uh, that’s a good one, Butt-head…

So back to the books and learning more about Spanish wines other than Rioja Grand Reserva.

With the company located in Barcelona, I read up on many of the surrounding regions and located a wine style that sounded like it would go well in my CAVA.  The region that captured my interest is Priorat.

For those Wino’s out there knowledgeable on the offerings from Priorat, please email me or post a note, I need all the input I can get.  What interests me most is the description of the wines from this region.  Wines made largely from Grenache and Carinena, intense in flavor, color and body.  Big, bold, purple wines, with adverse growing conditions, arid climates and minimal water.  Let’s see, what other region makes intense reds with blends of Grenache and flavors described as black cherry, plum, rosemary, mint and pepper?  Could this wine cradle me in the comfort of a Spanish Rhone style beverage?  Could this be a not to well know region for me to buy up some great inexpensive wine?

Wrong, I went wine hunting this weekend and the wines of Priorat do not come in the bargain bins.  I managed to average down by finding a ten-dollar bottle at Kings, but most wine from Priorat range in the $35-50 dollar bracket for the ones on the shelf.

With dinner tonight, I put this wine to the challenge, peppercorn glazed pork loin.  Much to my delight, the cheap one held it’s own and has me craving a Wino dinner party to open up the more expensive stuff.  As a good Wino knows, to date I have only tasted the second best wine of my life.  OK, so I borrowed the line from Get Smart….

1999 Vinicola del Priorat Onix, Priorat $ (10.99)    A purplish hue floats in the glass and the wine comes out hot so give this room to open its wings.  Concentrated with mouthfuls of sweet dark cherry and plum.  The mint aroma surprises you every so often since rosemary and black pepper dominate.  A meat lover’s friend.


February 17, 2002

I found myself in a routine lately that had me drinking wines I have already posted.  Not much about the wines or the situations was interesting to me, so I won't bore you with it.  However, yesterday I had a meeting in Piermont, NY, a town that collectively wears black.  If you have never been there, Piermont rests on the western bank of the Hudson River about 11 miles North of the City.  It has become a chic place for the art world with tons of small galleries.  I am working on a project with a friend that will eventually lead to an art exhibit in NYC and a coffee table-style book.  After several hours of discussion over wine and cheese, we went to a nearby restaurant to celebrate our endeavor.  I requested the wine list and was handed a two-inch binder.  Wow, this should be a treat, selecting a wine at a waterfront restaurant in an area that is frequented by famous residents like Al Pacino, William Hurt, and Joe Smith.  Ok, so nobody knows Joe Smith, but he’s wealthy enough to live on the same block as Al, I saw it on a mailbox.  As I flipped through this book, my stomach twitched, not from the likes of finding rare and expensive wines that famous people like to spend their money on; but rather a wine book that was thickened by pasting a wine label on a page to add girth.  The worst thing you ever want to do is falsely add girth to anything, because sooner or later you have to drop your pants and you quickly become the laughing stock of your seventh grade gym class……never mind.

This list from this famous steakhouse in Piermont was disappointing at best and on the pages that listed multiple wines, the type looked like 32 point New Times Roman.

1998 Cline Syrah $ (10.49)   A nice complement to the cheese, quiche, and fruit finger foods and a good lubricant for business discussions.  Firm fruit and mellow tannins went well in the clear plastic water glasses from which we drank.  Dark fruit, tobacco, spice and a hint of smoke.


February 10, 2002

Reading Wino John’s side bar about Zinfandel and its DNA being traced to Croatia, I realized how little I paid attention in school.  Other than Vladi Divak (sorry for the inability for me to spell a second string center who is seven feet tall and has the vertical leaping ability of 3.5 inches), I admit to you I never learned much about Croatia and it’s wines.  This weekend, I sat in the Wino Bob resource room and drank a bottle of this Croatian grape we are now calling Zinfandel and looked through book after book with very little resulting information.  The most information I was able to get was from a book entitled, “Oz Clark’s encyclopedia of Grapes.”  But Oz himself ties the Primitivo-Zinfandel knot and discusses Croatia as the link dating back to 700 B.C., but identifies a grape called Plavac Mali has the genetic forefather.

All this confusion leads to one simple answer; we must assemble the O.J. courtroom in total.  Who better to help us untangle this Zinfandel genealogical nightmare then Denis Fang, Johnny Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and Judge Lance Ito?  Look, just because O.J. and the killer had the same DNA, pointing to a one in five billion chance it was not him, then maybe Zinfandel really isn’t Primitivo or from any grapes in Croatia.  Maybe it was really a Chardonnay grape planted in a vineyard in Southern California, behind a cottage, in the dark of night by an angry winemaker.  Besides, is Oz Clarke related to Marcia Clarke and is that the reason we cannot get to the truth in this matter?

Whatever the genetic history of the Zinfandel grape, I will stand by it as the Grape of the Year 2002.  So think less about where it originated, don’t think at all about White Zinfandel, and go out and drink the grape that now is thought of as a California powerhouse.

1999 Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel $ (17.99)   A nice wine that starts a bit hot, but the alcohol settles and lets the dark berry, and raisin flavors come out.  Hints of oregano, spice and vanilla round this wine out.


February 8, 2002

The only thing I hate more than being asked to select the wine at dinner with non-wine drinkers, is being asked to select a wine by someone far more knowledgeable then I.  Last evening, Wino John and I had an emergency meeting of the stagger committee and we met at Bacchus. Now Wino John is the person who encouraged me to put down the brown 12 oz bottle and pick up a stemmed glass.  So, last night as Carlos was presenting the dinner specials, I was fingering the plastic page protectors of the Bacchus wine list looking for a wine under one hundred dollars that would meet our needs. It seems
that the wine list is moving further away from the mid range wines and you find yourself staring at inexpensive wines that are marked up to make them mid-range priced wines. Where has the middle class gone?  Secondly, Wino John enjoys the rough-around-the-edges, big, bold, slap-you-in-the-face, crunchy wines. I was going to select a Pinotage, but after the way he reacted to my review of Smoking Loon (he informed me it was undrinkable to the point he poured it down the drain) I thought
better. I really wanted that soft, well rounded, smooth, voluptuous, fleshy wine, but I could not do that to Wino John.  So with the grilled ostrich, we drank a crunchy syrah that turned, by the end of the bottle, into a thing of beauty.  After dinner, we went to the bar area to listen to the sounds of jazz and unwind with an after dinner cigar. Wino John ordered up 2 glasses of
a very nice Italian red that brought the value back into focus.  That little hot Italian wine was something to behold...
Editor's note:  The hot little Italian was quite voluptuous.  The wine wasn't bad either...

1999 Monte Antico Toscano $ (8.99)    This Piedmont is fresh with red rasberry and light cherry flavors and has a sexiness to it that makes it drinkable by itself or with a nice dish.

1998 Pariso Springs Syrah $$ (33.00 rest.)    Hold onto your hats, this is a tannin dominant wine that is not meant for the weak of heart. Don't get discouraged and bailout early, let this wine open up and show it's beauty

February 5, 2002

I realize it has been longer than reasonable since I posted something fresh and new, but after that beer-, too-kill-a-, and sake-soaked trip to San Diego, I had to check into the dry-out room and exchange my blood for that of a small boy’s.  Like a vampire, I must retire from the light and replenish the elements necessary for basic life.  As the moon rises high in the night, my thirst for wine gets the better of me and sends me back on the prowl.  Blood, wine, I have to stay away from these religious tie-ins. 

Over the past several days, I did have some wine, but nothing too exciting and the circumstances around the drinking were far less noteworthy then ever.  So for the sake of brevity and the inability for me to allow my mind to ramble senselessly, I wanted to post up the following. 

Rest assured, better things are on the horizon, Wino John has called an emergency meeting this Thursday of the WinoStuff staggering and weaving committee. (Most companies call it a steering committee, but most companies do not require committee members to imbibe a bottle of wine over a 2 hour period.  You should see us leave the place.)

1998 Clos Du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot $$ (36.00 rest.)  As you are well aware; Merlot is not a grape that tickles my fancy.  This is a soft, mellow wine for a dinner party that wants to drink red, but enjoy white.  The surprise here was the toasted oak that flavored this wine and made it more than a fruit drink.

1999 Vermonte Cabernet Sauvignon $ (7.99)   As Chile is an up and comer, I look to her for value wines.  This one was harsh and immature.  Most people would not hang around long enough to find the dark fruit flavor, too little, too late.

2000 Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto D’Alba $ (9.99)   Light, and fruity, this wine goes well with red sauce pasta dishes, but would not stand up to bolder Italian food.  You may want to give this a go with pizza, but hold the pepperoni.

January 25, 2002

Day 5 - Weak from mal-winishment, I have been trapped in a warp of Mexican food and margaritas.  The only temporary relief I received came from an evening of Sushi and sake.  How does one come up with the idea of making wine from rice, then heat till hot enough to blister your tongue?  Can this be an ancient secret that the French have ignored for 4000 years?  Would a nice 1997 Lafite Rothschild be enhanced by microwaving it to a temperature just below the formation of tiny gas bubbles?  I think NOT.

Day 6 - Relief came in the form of a steak-eating, wine-loving friend/customer.  Dinner at The Dakota Grill on 5th placed the first wine list in my bony fingers and xylophone-ribbed body.  I did it and enjoyed it.  I ordered the lamb shank in a mushroom, red wine reduction and a bottle of syrah.

Day 7 - Color is starting to creep back into my pasty-white face.  You know, pasty-white is a stark contrast to my black apparel.  To further combat my mal-winishment, I found a restaurant that was well suited for high-powered people, like our own Wino Wally.  They only let me in because of the person I was with.  I half expected to see WW seated in the large wingback chair in the wine cellar (which happens to be located on the second floor).  The menu item that grabbed me was the ELK chop (lean, medium-rare with a peppery crust).  Though it took 6 days, I finally found salvation at the top of the punt.

1998 Turnbull Syrah $$ (45.00 rest.)   Smooth, full, with a great display of fruit and tannins, hints of tobacco, leather and dark fruits.  The finish was not long enough to make this a three, but it is right on the edge.

1997 Meritage “Valley of the Moon” Reserve  $$ (it was 15.00 per glass)   This wine had cherry, berry and tannin, earth-tones and a sophisticated finish will greet you as you bring this wine into your mouth.  This was a strong enough wine to handle the peppery Elk, yet elegant enough to support the side dishes.


January 19, 2002

I know it has been awhile since I posted, but it has been awhile since I drank wine.  I feel like I’m on an expedition in a remote location.  Journal entry: Day three here in San Diego.  I am surrounded by unfamiliar scenery (sunny and warm with palm trees and a view of the harbor).  I have yet to find a native I can communicate with (the guys at Dick’s Last Resort serve more than 75 different beers and the bartender at Rock Bottom Microbrewery nearly threw me out when I asked if they only serve the 8 beers they brew on location).

Things are looking up.  Today I went on a scouting mission and saw a sign on 5th Street that read “Wine Bar”.  I will await the darkness, don my best black shirt and pants and see what the local Gas Lamp Quarter has to offer for outsiders wanting to learn about the local customs.


January 12, 2002

How’s your Endothelin-1?  Have you suppressed it lately?  Do you think that quercetin, resveratrol, malvidin or peonidin will help?  Can the results of BAEC (bovine aortic endothelial cells) suppression from Cabernet Sauvignon relate to me?  Why are bovine drinking Cabernet Sauvignon and are they getting Screaming Eagle?  Do I sound more intelligent since I have been hanging out with the smart crowd that Wino Lou treated me too?  OK, let’s get back to Wino Bob speak…. I was discussing my depression oriented, cut-your-wrist and slowly bleed style music I enjoy with a group of friends and told them how Joe Jackson has hit the nail on the head.  One of my favorite songs is, “Everything Gives You Cancer”.  You know it, sing it with me, Everything gives you cancer.  There’s no cure, there’s no answer.  Don’t touch that dial, don’t try to smile, no caffeine, no protein, no booze or nicotine… Ok, I can’t sing. 

In the midst of my depression, Wino Lou informed me that there is chemical evidence that a compound or series of compounds depress the production of ET-1 which has proven to reduce coronary infarctions, or infractions, or instructions, I just can’t seem to understand when Wino Lou uses words bigger than my name.  I did enjoy a bottle of wine during the discussion and will continue to work on my ET-1 suppression, if in fact there is a ET-1 suppression, depression, or regression.  Hey call Bob Dylan, I think there is a song here.

2000 Altos de Medrano Malbec $ (14.00)   Don’t be shy with this wine.  It will step up and grab you.  Chock full of tannins and fruit, the first sip will wake your mouth with a roar.  Blackberry and oak spiciness.


January 7, 2002

Major props go out to my friend, neighbor, and wine/food-pairing partner, Wino Lou.  Yesterday, Wino Lou and his family had tickets to the Giants game so we carpooled to the stadium.  Wino Lou works for a mega-health services company (the evil empire, per Mrs. Clinton) and as one of the resources for the elite to unwind and plan the next major drug scam to suck the life savings out of poor old people, the wildly successful company has a box a Giant stadium.  After plying Wino Lou with just enough wine, he fell into one of those, “I love you man” moods and cleared they way with the powers that be to get me into the corporate luxury  box.  As a life long Giants fan and one who sat through the 1986 play-off game against the 49ers with wind chill in the sub-zeros, getting to see a game from the comfort of a luxury box is a football fan’s utopia.  Though the game was a route and Mike Strahan’s sack record is under question, it just doesn’t matter this morning.  Wino Lou made my year with a hot dog, sausage and peppers, and Robert Mondavi Costal Chardonnay (OK, I lied, the Chardonnay sucked and didn’t make my year). 

I must say at this time, I offer myself as the Official Sommelier to the Giant Stadium’s luxury box organization.  With the prestige of a luxury box, one would expect 1963 Lafite or a 1982 Sassicia.  For the mere cost of a ticket on the fifty-yard line, Wino Bob will stock the luxury boxes with wines that the owners will talk about during the game and throughout the week.

Side note to Wino John- can we budget for a Winostuff luxury Box at Giant Stadium where we could host NY elite wine industry Big Wigs while watching a football game and eating Goose Liver Pate?  What?  Oh yeah, we don’t have a budget. Right, we don’t have an income.  Sorry, I forgot…

1999 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Clone Zinfandel $ (16.99)   This wine poured a deep, rich purple into our Tailgating wine glass pack and it was a bit harder to get the true nose off it.  It did exhibit blackberry, pepper and anise and showed a good balance of oak and acidity to let you know this one can hang around for a few years in the cellar.

January 5, 2002

Has this happened to you yet?  I say YET, because, trust me, it happens to all of us.  I had a room-painting project to do today.  The toughest thing for me in this operation is trimming the ceiling/wall interface.  As usual, instead of getting the appropriate ladders and materials from the basement, I find the closest object that looks like will support my weight and I hop up on it.  Then, the still youthful thinking side of my cerebral cortex (I really don’t know if that is such a body part in the head, I heard it on an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Man) has my body trying to stretch and strains to reach as far as I can without moving the box I am perched upon.  You know, your brain starts talking to you, “Go ahead, you don’t have to climb down and move the box, if you put the brush in your left hand and stand on your left foot with your right leg extended to the side for balance, you can reach the corner from here.” 

The part of the process that has me most worried is realizing I have started to make “Old People” sounds when I stress myself like that.  Yes, I found myself making grunts and groans akin to the noises Frankenstein made on his wedding night.  These low grunts and growls that involuntarily leave my body as I twist and contort myself in a project seem to be coming more frequently.  Don’t worry; you too will be hearing these sounds as you move on in age.  Then, the reality stick hit me and I internally acknowledged that these are the same orgasmic Frankenstein noises that came out of my father when I helped him during my misspent youth. 

The question I needed to ponder with the help of a bottle of wine is, “Are these sounds inherited or are they the sounds I learned while helping at the Wino Bob homestead?”  As time moves forward, I catch myself making a gesture or comment I could clearly see my father making.  Have I crossed over?  Has the second hand of my biological Timex swept past the number twelve of my youth to permanently place me in “Old Manhood”?  Warning, the gravitational force of the Black Hole called “Over-the-Hill” has increased to the strength that there is no escaping it.  Wino Bob, soon you will be unable to suppress your farts in mixed company.  Gravity will begin, from this day forward, to overtake those parts of your body that, as a youth, seemed to never want to come down.

Crisis- shop for fire engine red convertible.  Mid-life approaching at next exit, dangerous curve, slow down to 45 mph…

Wanting to not push myself into a fat, balding, stick figure, I whipped up some tofu stir-fry and sat with a Riesling wondering, “Since I’m past the picture at Splash Mountain, will wine enhance the rest of the ride?”

2000 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling $ (9.00)    This wine has a pale gold color and presents a nice mix of apple and honeysuckle with enough acid to remind me of a Granny Smith.  The sweetness level was a bit high for my liking but it went well with Sesame Stir fry tofu and rice noodles.


January 3, 2002

1997 Storybook Mountain Vineyards, Zinfandel, Eastern Exposure $$ (27.00)  This Zin is tempered with a touch of Viognier to soften and round off this wine.  Decant this one, it starts out Hot (alcohol) and takes time to mellow to reveal its berry and black cherry fruit, low acidity and nice length to the finish

1999 Millbrook Cabernet Franc $ (8.00)     This is a good example of the wines coming from the Hudson Valley of NY.  Cabernet Franc grows well in the climate and delivers a solid everyday drinking wine with good fruit and flavor.

1997 Charles Krug Family Reserve Generations, Napa Valley $$ (28.00)     This meritage is made up of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc and 17% Merlot.  The wine pours out soft on the tongue and shows the interplay of the grapes.  Plum, cherry and dark chocolate flavors are enhanced by the oak and spices.


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