This page contains Winings
from the 1st Quarter of the year 2002.
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two or more of you are gathered around a wine bottle, rejoice and celebrate”
Wino Bob 19:12:21
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.
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.
Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses $$ (40.00 rest.)
Palacios brought the Rhone style wines and the French prices to this region and
is making high quality stuff. Flavorful,
fruit-filled and long on the finish, this is a pleasurable wine from the cork to
the punt. This wine has the range
to please a variety of foods with the bold fruits and subtle spice the wine
huge, mammoth, gigantic, rotund….gigundis.
When I was a kid, to speak politely about my fat Aunt, we called her
gigundis. As a lover of Rhone wines
and one lacking in the mega dot com dollar windfalls, I look for those bargains
on Big Fat Red Wines. With
restaurant mark ups on Chateauneuf du Papes reaching insanity, I grabbed a
bottle of wine from a neighboring region- Gigondas.
I read, and was
told, that these wines are quickly becoming the “Great Value” wines to go
after. Quality is great and the pricing structures will not sink the
boat. So I gave one a try recently,
but feel there is a lot of tasting for me to do before I am convinced.
Promise is there, but the richness and fullness I was hoping for did not
show itself with my dinner last night.
I will make an
effort to hunt down the diamonds in the rough, so if any of you winos have
suggestions, please keep me informed.
du Pesquier, Gigondas $$
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.
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?
Monterra Merlot $
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.
Cabernet Sauvignon $$
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.
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
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?
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.
Provenance Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford $$
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
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
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.
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.
Cliffs Shiraz $
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon, Rapel Valley $$
This wine boasts plenty of black fruit and oak aromas, but disappoints on the
palette, drinking lighter and thinner then expected.
Chardonnay, The Cutrer, Sonoma County $$ (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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