Bob’s Winings
                                                                           former
                  
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker


This page contains Winings from the 1st Quarter of the year 2003.

To contact WinoBob, click here


March 29, 2003

I will not spend a great deal of time giving my opinion of the world situation.  I ditto Wino John’s editorial and since he can write more eloquently and use gooder grammar, I will leave it at that.  I want to get back to the theme of the page and tell you how excited I was today as I headed to the mailbox and picked up my Winostuff box of Goodies.  Except for the fact that I had to pay full retail, I am elated.  OK, except for the fact that I had to pay full retail, I thought this job had some perks, and except for the fact that I now am the owner of a Winostuff thong and no one to fill it, I am elated.  OK, except for the fact that I paid full retail, have a thong that needs to be filled out by a woman, I will at least be smiling as I fill out my coffee mug with a pot of fresh brew. 

I am now in search of a model that will pose in my freshly purchased and once sniffed thong for us to liven up the products page.  The items Wino John has selected are great, but the white background with the white clothing seems a bit dull.  In search of flesh tones to model and add market appeal, inquire within.  And while you are there, don’t forget to pick up a Winostuff Lunchbox.  I hear it’s the rage in Ms. McFeeley’s third grade class in the Valley.

2000 Monte Antico Toscano $ (9.99)     For Sangiovese lovers, this wine is a must for those who like an everyday drinking wine.  Danny DeVito, as appeared in the WS article, could dunk all the Italian bread he wants in this wine without offending the host.  A good compliment to your basic spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parm.

2000 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet-Shiraz $ (22.00)   This wine has a deep ruby hue and generous amounts of black fruit, chocolate and mint.  A bit tannic, which do settle with time to a pleasant but short finish.

 

March 21, 2003

"Raise your hand if you like the French.  Raise both hands if you are French… "

"Seen on ebay- Authentic French Military Rifle, dropped once, never fired, $129.95."

The jokes are flying, unlike the French Air Force.  Last night I spent my time clicking between MSNBC and Fox News, viewing the videophone live footage from the embedded reporters.  As things went relatively smoothly, we get up close and personal with the action, but I have major reservations if we are ready for War as a reality show.  How much live coverage will they be showing when a firefight breaks out?  Will they show the exchange of artillery and incoming ordinance as it rips through bunkers or trenches?  And how did Geraldo Rivera go from opening Al Capone’s vault, defending Clinton in his extra-sexual endeavors, then become the embedded reporter for the 1000 troops that strategically struck Afghanistan two nights ago? 

“I’m here in an undisclosed location in the high hills of Afghanistan and in mere moments will be entering the cave where Bin Laden has been holed up for weeks.  Come with me as we get the first look at, hey wait a minute, where did Dan Rather come from and Peter Arnet?  CBS, I understand, but CNN beat me here?  OK, Rather, put up you dukes.  This is my report…."

"Hi, Jerry Springer here reporting from an undisclosed location in the high hills of Afghanistan where Dan Rather and Geraldo Rivera are about to undertake a Shock and Awe campaign like none other we have seen to date.  Geraldo, I understand Dan just said you changed your name from Jerry Rivers to get a quota appointment to ABC studios and your mama eats rice and beans…"

Please let the reporting on the war not be the story that overshadows the mission of the war.  We are there for one purpose, to win with all the power and force necessary to give our troops the best opportunity for a safe campaign.  I am afraid that the embedded reporters can fuel the structure of the anti-war crowd.  Hey, didn’t I see you guys at the don’t wear fur protest?  Or was it the save the rainforest from the logging industry protest?  No, it was the don’t drill for oil in Alaska protest.  Ok, so this war is about oil, but we have an oil reserve in Alaska, but you all protested us wanting to use that oil.  I guess I don’t know what you really want.  I know now, you were the same protesters that marched on Washington when our pilots were shot down in Bosnia.  Oh that’s right, you stood behind Clinton then as he was the most brilliant military mind since Napoleon.  That’s right, you didn’t protest Bosnia and Kosavos’ military action.  That’s where I recognize you protesters from….

God's speed to the US Forces!

1997 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (32.00)   The cork says it all.  Call it Woody, but the woody here is the intense oak that greets you and then the fruit pours in.  Plenty of dark fruits and tannins to make this one a wine for years to come.  Let it relax in the rack and tone the tannins before you approach this bottle.

 

March 18, 2003

Main Entry: 1ad ho·mi·nem
Pronunciation: (')ad-'hä-m&-"nem, -n&m
Function: adjective
Etymology: New Latin, literally, to the person
Date: 1598
1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

Though Wino John toils his evenings away developing the unabridged version of the Bobglish to English dictionary, I did happen to luck out and use a word that is defined in Webster’s Collegian. 

A belated Happy St. Patty’s Day to all my Irish friends, relatives and winos in the crowd.  But I must confess, I am elated that the Irish are not Big Wine People.  They can place cheesy Green food dye in their beer, their bagels, their whiskey and their hair, but thank God they don’t attempt to dye my wine.  Did you ever see what that green bagel looks like after it passes through you?  Enough said.  I find it most interesting that the Irish celebration has taken on this need to dye everything we ingest that day, Green.  I don’t drink Red, White and Blue beer on the 4th of July, nor do I eat red, white and green spaghetti on Columbus Day.  So why the fascination with Green Dye number 4?  I will admit that one evening I stained my lawn a weird color when red wine and yellow bile flowed forth from the involuntary rejection my body imposed on the massive amount of wine I drank at UnBacchus, but even that wasn’t Green.  So, dance and sing and lead the snakes to the sea, but please refrain from altering the solids and liquids I purchase on the 17th of March with Green Dye number 4. 

Yesterday, I heard the cracking of the insurmountable will of the French when they offered us the use of their air space.  Trust me, winos, within the week, as the sands in the 48 hour clock slip through the hour glass, the French will be standing shoulder to shoulder with us, doffed with their traditional White Flags in hand, and sending us all a case of wine as an apology for doubting this was the right thing to do.  As the hour draws near, I send out my prayers to the Men and Women in the U.S. Armed Forces who willingly volunteered their lives to keep this Country the Greatest in the World.  Be strong, Be safe, Be Decisive, and Be Proud for through you, the People of Iraq will soon understand the beauty of a free country.  (Editor's note:  OK, I'll give you "ad hominem" but tell me, what dictionary tells you to capitalize every third word in a sentence?)

 

March 15, 2003

Is it just me or is anyone else slightly bothered by the cover of Wine Spectator’s March 31, 3002?  Oh, yes, a belated birthday gift from my non-Wino Sister’s family is a subscription to WS.  Now I can find out about all those great wines I cannot afford.  This caught my eye, “A Traveler’s Guide to Bordeaux”-France; “Germany’s Classic 2001 Vintage:65 Rieslings Rate 95+”-Germany; and “Dining in America: The Mediterranean Trend”-The United States of America.  Hauntingly prophetic or a subliminal adhominem attack?  You be the judge.  As far as content, I won’t be traveling to France in the near future even if Veronique is willing to send the family private jet to pick me up at Caldwell Airport and whisk me away to barrel sample in Gevry Chambertine.  If 65 wines all rated so high, could the curve be skewed?  If everyone gets an A on the test, is it really a test?  Exactly.  (Editor's note: I tried but I couldn't translate "adhominem" into English...)

So here I am with my first issue wanting to further my wine knowledge database and I can’t read it.  The only article that I did read was one entitled, “Frequent Drinking May Lower Risk of Heart Attacks”.  Wahoo, it’s not how much but how often!  Hey, I’ll drink to that.

1999 Il Poggione San Leopoldo $$$ (34.00)   I did this wine a disservice by consuming it too young.  Like a mother croc eating her offspring, this wine is brash and acidic right now, but wait another 2 years and this will be a wine to remember.

 

March 14, 2003

Kudos to the NY Post for taking a stand and advocating dumping French and German wine.  Ausselassen keine mehr, or something like that.  Hell, high school was too long ago to remember the correct phraseology.  What it really means for us is that once this boycott gets legs, we who enjoyed those bargain, less sought-after wines will be paying more at the pump, so to speak.  I have seen Faithful Hound climb the price ladder in two years.  This was a great Bordeaux blend from South Africa that was under $20.00.  Now, it is selling for $22-25 and soon to be on the rise again. 

I was just starting to silently chuckle that the dot.com money was gone and the California wine pricing would be more reasonable in the next two years.  Now, when those Patriots amongst us clammer for California wine, bang-zoom, right to the moon Alice, the costs will inflate uncomfortably.  Word to President Bush, word to your mama, "I know you are leading the charge on boycotting French wine, but if you just start the war, kick ass and take names, and force the French to follow the leader, then things could calm down, and the French can apologize."  And in an Olive Branch gesture, they can send Wino John and I several cases of hard to find Bordeaux and we will spread the word to start drinking French wine again.  I offer our services as the Wino Diplomat to rebuild French/American wine relations, when rebuilding the new world order begins.  Maybe there can be a Cabinet Position in the Bush White House for WinoStuff’s staff.  I could be Ambassador of Wine Nations in the Southern Hemisphere and Wino John can be Ambassador in the Northern Hemisphere.  We would maintain the free trade between our country and those in the world that want to be like us, by jetting across the globe and giving important speeches on behalf of President Bush, since he’s so busy with those other issues and stuff.  Call me crazy, but I really think this could be a paid position in the Administration since there will be such a bitter taste left on the palates of all us Winos by France’s current opposition to surrender.  

 

March 11, 2003

I was so excited when Wino John cut the deal with that cyber store thing that I rushed out to buy the banana hammock and popped the cork on a frisky Italian.  I didn’t realize that Wino John was lurking in the bushes outside my home when I donned the thong and did the Wino Bob Happy Dance.

Thank God, he left before I turned around.  Winettes, I am available to autograph your thong and, if you are so inclined to send me your picture in your thong, I will include it in your Wino Love Connection Profile.  Just so you know, Wino Teddy, I will match you up with someone as soon as I get the profile from a female unless you want to change your choice to, “OPEN MINDED”.  Why are guys always the first to respond to a matchmaker offer?

Now we are building a site with a bit of titillation and the Best in Wine Information in our Minds.  This should skyrocket us up to porno numbers in hits-per-day.  So back to this frisky Italian, all I remember was waking up the next morning with my Wino Thong on my head like a gas mask.  Hey, did someone order Blue Cheese Dressing?

 

 

1997 Frescobaldi Pomino Rosso $$ (28.00)    When you want a wine that will handle the acidity of your aunt’s homemade Red Pasta Sauce, this wine family has been making them since 1300AD. A Sangiovese-dominant mix having a medium body, light ruby color with raspberry, cherry and vanilla flavors, brash tannins and acidity to drown your back teeth.

 

March 8, 2003

Wino John, please remove my picture from the web site.  Since it was posted, I have been receiving ads like the one below:

*As seen on TV*  The health discovery that reverses signs of aging naturally and that is completely safe and effective is on sale for a limited time! Buy a two-month supply of our product and we will give you one month free! All natural H_G_H Enhancer will help you with all of the following: - Reduce body fat and build muscle - Enrich your sex life - Help remove cellulite and wrinkles - Sleep better, improve vision and memory - Restore hair growth and color - Strengthen your immune system - Have more energy - Turn back time on your body's biological clock up to twenty years with just six months of use! *** IF YOU ARE NOT COMPLETELY SATISFIED WITH OUR PRODUCT WE WILL REFUND YOU YOUR MONEY, NO QUESTIONS ASKED ***

I guess all the years of hard drinking has made me look old beyond my years.  Fear not, now there is a magic snake oil I can use to restore my hair, rid me of cellulite and make me a wild man under the sheets.   For awhile I was worried that my super healthy heart and lungs would forever be contained in the body of Buddy Ebsen, but now I can reverse all the hard years back to my youthful pre-wine drinking days.  As Ricky Riccardo once said, “It is better to look good than to feel good.”  Unfortunately, I think my gear shift has passed reverse, neutral, drive and is hanging at Low 1 right now.  But for those of you that haven’t damaged yourself the way I have, please feel free to try these magic pills and let me know how it turns out.

Can’t you see I’m on a Rhone Jones that Jacques Chirac is keeping me from?  So I did venture into the world of California’s Rhone Rangers and purchased a wine made from Syrah, Grenache and Petite Syrah which will do until the French surrender and join us in this event in the Middle East. 

2000 Morgan Cotes du Crow’s $ (15.99)   A pleasant tasting wine of plum and raspberry with a spicy nose and a bit of acidity, but its short finish is a disappointment.  I can’t believe I miss the French…

 

March 7, 2003

Well, well, well.  The first quarter of 2003 is screaming to a close and I am just sitting down to close the 2002 Corporate books on WinoStuff.com.  Oh yeah, we have no income, we have no revenue, we do this for the love of wine and, and…  The sad thing is that we can’t even declare bankruptcy since we don’t have a bank account.  To get this web site to the next level, I began researching web-based businesses to see what we can do to become a financial dynamo.  I reached the same conclusion as you; We Need Porn.  It seems that every housewife in the world has now entered the private picture and video business and walked into the world of the rich and famous.  When I brought up the topic at our last planning meeting, the levelheaded, socially upstanding Wino John quickly dismissed the idea.  “Wino Bob, you deviant, we cannot take the morally sound reputation we have worked so hard to develop and drag it into the gutter that you seem to be so comfortable living in.”   What’s the matter Wino John, you can’t convince any woman to pose in front of a camera for us either?

Well then, let me tone it down a bit and propose this.  WinoStuff-Love Connection.  Face it; everyone checking in already has something in common, the love of wine.  And what goes after the love of wine, the need to find someone warm and breathing to help fight off the emptiness and despair felt by one whose best friend is a face painted on an empty bottle…  Sorry, I mean, there are a great deal of upscale, socially respectable people checking in everyday.  What better than having Wino Bob read through a small checklist of what you are looking for and match up those with similar wants and needs?  I will be like a Wino Cupid, already knowing that the women reading this sight are looking for a warm sensitive guy who could treat her to a nice dinner, take her on whirlwind vacations to exclusive resorts, has a great smile and sense of humor, drives an ultra expensive imported car, can lavish her in rare gems, provides an open account at Saks and has a Big One.  Most Winos are looking for, well, a warm body that doesn’t speak unless spoken to and goes home to her place after the minute and a half love making session.  OK, maybe I should take a step back and do this more objectively, kind of remove my personal outlook and leave it to a simple list, like this.

I am:  _________male   _________female

I am looking for ____male  ______female ______other

I am between ____21-35   ____36-40   ______Over the hill

My income level is ____50-100K   _____101-250K  ______Bill Gatesish

My ideal date would be:__________________________________________________________________

My ideal partner would be:_________________________________________________________________

The one thing I never told anyone about myself:__________________________________________________

I really get turned on when:_________________________________________________________________

My favorite TV show is___________________________________________________________________

My favorite music is ______________________________________________________________________

The wildest thing I ever did was_____________________________________________________________

If I were to date Wino Bob, I would__________________________________________________________

So let me know what you think of my ideal of a Winostuff-Love Connection service and I will fine tune the questionnaire to get at those import issues to allow me a better chance of matching 2 people who can spend the rest of their lives together until the wife decides to have an affair with Flavio the Gardener and his 4 illegal immigrant crew on the imported silk sheets of the Italian hand carved four-post bed while you are at work trying to close a deal to keep the money flowing so she could spend the day lounging poolside in a string bikini and sharing La Grande Dame with Flavio.

Please email pictures so we can post them up in the “Members Only Section”

 

March 3, 2003

1997 Quail Creek Cabernet Sauvignon $ (16.99)   For beef, this is a great partner.  A cab from the Rutherford Benchmark holding which also includes Quail Ridge, Bell and Fox Brook.  An enjoyable mix of tannins, chocolate and dark cherry with a snappy finish.

Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva 1994 $$ (21.00)   Tempranillo, Mazuelo, & Graciano. Aged for at least 30 months in oak casks and 4 years in the bottle, it is magnificent on the palate. Warm ruby tones reflect the wine's mellowness. This rich and elegant wine has great length and finish. A frosted bottle and gold netting give a distinctively individual presentation.

February 27, 2003

I had my people call their people, you know how that works.  This is the way the elite do business, those that get the special invites, the coveted tables at the chic places.  Ever sine the last Guest Book entry where Wino Wally chastised me for being a one note tune in dining, I decided to eat red meat somewhere other than Bacchus.  This week, Solder Paste Boy (sometimes Wino Paul) and an associate, sometimes Wino Tim, where looking to enjoy an evening out filled with good food, good wine and complex conversation.  I told them I could supply 2 out of 3.  Due to a prior commitment, I missed the briefing meeting, held at that now-famous club on Route 17 that is fictitiously owned by the fabricated Italian American crime family person on HBO.  Ever since my last rant on that issue, the heads of the Italo American Anti-Deformation League…have restrained me from using the term at describes a high pitched singer in an opera …

Right down the road on 17 South is the establishment of CK’s Steak House.  So I had my people call their people.  Well actually, I tried to contact Bill Gant who gave me his card and said call any time, but Bill was always at meetings and in conference when his secretary heard my name.  So I called the restaurant and made a reservation for our party of three.

In truth, we had a great time and Bill did stop by to make sure things were going well and he introduced us to Arthur, their Sommelier.  Also stopping by and making me feel like I was someone in front of people who know I’m no one, was the always smiling and effervescent Susan.  At the end of the evening, she bid us a fond farewell since she is off to LA to become a TV star. 

The fare we enjoyed was the world famous Steak Soup, house salad (included) and the NY 16 oz Strip Steak.  Mine was done to perfection and it could only be topped with a California Cabernet.  As I looked around the restaurant, and after a friendly discussion with Arthur, the wine of choice for the patrons that night was Silver Oak, Alexander Valley.  Arthur said it is their most requested California Cab and I saw several bottles being comforted in the hands of the hosts for the parties around us.  Silver Oak is a fav of mine, but the near $200.00 price was not in my budget so I selected a nice wine for fewer than 60.00.  Bill Gant was nice enough to tell me that anytime, I wanted to dine there, I could leave a message on his voice mail and he would see if there was a table available for that night and time and if not, I could sit in their lounge and have a glass of wine while I waited for a table to open up.  God, it’s great to be somebody and enjoy the special treatment that is usually reserved for the elite in society.

1997 Floral Springs Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (58.00 rest.)   A nicely structured wine with dark cherry and earthen tones that show a line of tannins to complement any medium rare steak on the menu. 

 

February 23, 2003

I can’t believe what a total disruption this whole France being whimps stuff has caused in my life.  As our Number One Techno Dweeb has posted, which has been supported by the likes of the current administration, restaurant owners, the Congress and George Will, if France is opposing us in the war, we shall oppose them economically.  Since the Citron dealership in NJ gave up years ago and TNN is no longer running Laurel and Hardy Join the Foreign Legion, French wine and cheese are the only import worth boycotting.  So yesterday, I went down to the cellar and isolated the French wine (which was purchased prior to their not supporting the US in the UN but after not letting us fly our jets over their air space to go after Libya) from the rest of the world wines I own.  I haven’t destroyed the wine as of yet, since history is on my side that when the heat gets turned up, the French will be falling in line, but I did have to send them to a different rack.  They no longer mingle with my Silver Oak and Caymus Special Selection.  I don’t even have them near my Carascal or Rosemount.  No, my Chateauneuf’s are in exile, awaiting a resolution to bring them back to the fold.  But that, my wino friends, was just the start of the day.  As I lunched at a small place in town, I opted out of the French Onion Soup for the heartier New England Clam Chowder and the salad came with Thousand Island dressing, if you know what I mean.  This whole French thing has me pissed off to the point that I asked the chef to replace the cheese in the recipe with Good Old American Goat Cheese, no Frog Cheese here.  So I am doing my part, not purchasing French wines, not eating French fare, but the one thing that really hit hardest is that until this is settled, I will no longer be French kissing.  And boy is my dog pissed…

1998 Henry Estate Pinot Noir Umpqua Valley Barrel Select $ (19.00)   This Oregon wine lacks the definition of fruit and acid balance to make it enjoyable.  Lackluster and a bit on the flabby side.

2000 Dr. Konstantin Frank Johannisberg Riesling, Salmon Run $ (10.99)   When you look to the Finger Lakes District of NY, think of the Good Old Doc.  He produces good quality Rieslings and Great Ice Wines.  Plenty of peach and tropical fruits, with a good balance of fruit and acidity that finishes smoothly.  Born in the USA….

 

February 22, 2003

It seems like some of you want me to be more like Joe Friday and hand out the facts, just the facts.  It appears that my rambling entries do not humor you as much as they do me.  So I submit this one as bone dry as I like my red wine, not semi-sweet, not port-like, just right to the fruit.  (Editor's note:  Thank God.)

1995 BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon $ (19.99)     Aging was kind to this wine and it allowed the tannins to soften and the fruit to develop.  Look for black cherries, tobacco, and oak that rounds out well and for under twenty dollars, a good solid wine. 

1997 Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve $$ (44.00)     This wine is full on the palate and has not yet tamed its tannins giving a crunchy, chewy feel to the wine.  Dark fruit and black berries fill your mouth and oak is all over this one.  Better to rest for several years than deal with the hard finish.

1998 BPE Vineyards Leydens Vale Shiraz $ (11.00)    This wine needs to grow up a bit to play with the big boys.  There is a plum and raspberry flavor to this wine but it lacks length and is rough around the edges.  OK for having this one on a Thursday night by yourself, but limit it’s exposure if you are trying to dine with the boss.

1999 Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (24.99)    Thin and unimpressive is what my palate said to me after this wine.  Hints of fruit showed up near the end but this wine lacked legs and arms and torso.  I have enjoyed the RS Sonoma and for a lesser price, it delivered more.

 

February 20, 2003

Justi-Fied or not.  Finishing my snowbound evening with Wino Wilson and a few neighbors, I circled the wagons in front of the fire for more wine drinking for those aching from the repetitiveness of slinging snow over the shoulder.  Looking to be hospitable, I opened a bottle that has been in the cellar for more than two years, a California Cab.  Excited by the enjoyment of this wine, I was out to lunch with Wino John and tried a syrah from the same winery.  Aging make a world of difference and the 2000 wines from Justin are not drinkable in my opinion.  The 1997 Cab was elegant and smooth with great fruit and a hint of tannins.  However, the 2000 Syrah is not at all ready for public consumption.  Look for 1998 and older from Justin of Paso Robles.  They make a good wine but release a young brash wine that is in need of rest before consumption.

1997 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon $ (15.00)   This is a good solid wine for dinner or sitting with friends, plenty of fruit and a long silky smooth finish

2000 Justin Syrah $ (20.00)    Too young to drink because the harsh tannins override any of the fruit that is in hiding.  Buy it, but let it rest for a year or two before consumption.

 

February 17, 2003

Snow bound and aching from the 3 hours of clearing snow, Wino Wilson and I decided to get drunk and shovel more later.  With snow still falling, I figured it is better to shovel in 3-hour intervals so the task doesn’t overwhelm me and cause me to jump off the roof.  It has been snowing for 16 hours and they say it won’t stop until this evening.  

Crisis two, I have neglected to replenish the cellar with everyday drinking wine.  With the economy still tight, withdrawals are outweighing deposits.  But if my heat goes out and I freeze to death tonight, I will have never enjoyed the few better bottles I have sleeping in the racks.  Though I cannot justify opening a Caymus Special Selection, I did dig into a higher end bottle for today.  I am guilt ridden by the fact that if I don’t freeze to death and do have company, I have one less nice bottle of wine to choose from.  Then again, if I do freeze to death, the person that finds me can enjoy a selection of fine wine of which I haven’t had the chance to review.  

To drink, or not to drink, to pay the heating bill or not to pay the heating bill, to get drunk or to graciously swirl, sip and spit.  What the hell, its Presidents Day, I must honor all the vineyard-owning Presidents.  Oh yeah, I’m also really happy that they formed a Democracy that allows me to babble insistently without direction or cause and for making this the Best Damn Country to Live in Bar None.  I’ll drink to the ability for anyone to have the chance to grow up and be President, as long as you have millions of dollars of personal wealth to fund the primary, have a prep school education, and can speak well in front of large hostile crowds.  I’ll drink to the fact that a man like Al Sharpton, who vehemently defended Tawana in some made up hoax, is now the lead candidate for the Democratic Party.  OK, so he’s not the lead, but he is the most powerful person in the 2004 race based on the number of votes he will deliver or remove from his fellow party members.  Yes, the Democratic Party, the Party of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, is caught in the dilemma of telling the world they are different from the Conservatives, yet are working behind the scenes to discredit the medallion-wearing, well-quaffed-hair and plain-speaking Mr. Sharpton.  This race will be fun to watch from the sidelines and I only hope there will be many public debates to allow each personality to ring out.  So I send out a toast to the Presidents that shaped our country and to those who even today are but Trivia Pursuit Questions.  Quick, tell me in one sentence Millard Filmore’s outlook on foreign affairs. Can you give a famous line from Calvin Coolidge?  Better yet, who was William Taft’s VP?  I do salute, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes, and Cleveland.  OK, I just threw Cleveland in there since he was born in Essex County NJ.  Happy Presidents Day and God Bless the USA.

1997 Qupe Bien Nacido Hillside Estate Syrah $$ (47.00)    A mellow, fruit and spice-filled wine with dark berries and plum, smoke, cedar and a hint of mint.  This wine drinks well and was much more enjoyable than the 1998 I had earlier.  A great compeiment to grilled pork or pepper steak.

 

February 14, 2003

Checking into the mailbag this week, I received the following Biblical quote from Solder Paste Boy telling me how evil my life is since wine is such a large part of my enjoyment.  But he referenced the book of Numbers.  What SPB doesn’t realize is that in my library, right next to the bowl, I have a Bible and have read through it to see the references to wine.  I figure leaving the Bible in the bathroom allows me to cleanse spiritually and mortally.  Wine is first referenced in Genesis 9:21-24 when God gave Noah the gift of farming and Noah is credited with being the first to plant a vineyard.  It did say that Noah got drunk, took off all his clothes and went to sleep in his tent which embarrassed his sons.  His youngest tried to cover him up and Noah got mad and damned his descendants.  Then he sobered up, the flood thing happened and he lived another 350 years to the ripe old age of 950.   I’m not sure why his kids got embarrassed.  My Dad did the same thing all the time and look how I turned out.  There does seem to be many references in the Old Testament regarding the evil of wine; but I am a New Testament Guy and when Wino Jesus was credited with making the equivalent to Screaming Eagle or Petrus at the Wedding at Canaan, they called it a miracle.   Though SPB thinks I’m a Druid, a Hedonist and a Bacchanalian, I do from time to time read more than Mad Magazine (is that even around any more?) and the Sunday Funnies.

Solder Paste Boy wrote:

Wino God seems to have a different spin on this wine thing.

"He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried."

-- Numbers 6:3 Bible: Hebrew (15th-16th century), (First known English translation
from the Latin) 

While writing this, I did manage to enjoy some fruit of the vine, not the one Noah planted, but I am sitting here naked and drunk and typing away.  I wanted to stay light tonight so I grabbed a Chardonnay from that one rack that held my Wino Wally Summer Whites competition.  I found a jewel (sorry I just looked down), I mean I found a nice surprise when I opened what could have been the winning wine in our tasting.  This one cost less than $12.00 and turned out to be a 1997, which matured this wine to a golden honey color.   I will have to drink out the rest of my Chards over the next few months, so next year we can actually have the contest.  

Yours in the Spiritual imbibing of wine; Wino Jesus and Wino Bob

1997 Forest Glen Sonoma Chardonnay $ (11.99)    This wine is in its Golden Years and the color is like honey with mellow tones of toast and vanilla and honey flavors.  Drink this now, before it slides into flabby flavorless juice.

 

February 13, 2003

Well, reality has washed back over me and the black suite is back in the closet.  Last night it was jeans, sweatshirt, microwave burrito and a bottle of $5.99 r ed wine.  Reality sucks, but the expense of high-end red and white Burgundies are not an everyday occurrence.  Remember, we do this site for nothing but the enjoyment of wine, love of wine experiences, and the fact that we can’t figure out how to get someone to fund us.  The fall from small, intimate wine dinner with megaweights in the industry to the couch, cheese, the Bachelorette (the TV show, not Trista since Wino Wally couldn’t get her people to call my people) and the conclusion of The Mole, is a great distance and I had to drown my misery.  I escaped to Spain, actually a red from Galicia.  But as with the best laid plans of mice and Winos, the wine left me like Jamie (hey, that’s a chick’s name) on his only date with Trista; unconfident and stuttering.   No diamond in the rough here.  What I believe that means is sometimes one might find a rock that may not look like much until the artful hands of a craftsman fractures it at just the right angle to unveil a multi-faceted exquisitely stunning gem.  Sorry, since I book marked the site that Wino Wally and Solder Paste Boy Paul referred me to, I have tried to educate myself before using a new cliche.

2000 Monsieur Touton Selections Mosaica $ (5.99)    I would have enjoyed a glass of ice water with red food coloring over this one.

 

February 11, 2003 

Thank God Monday Night Football is over and the Bachelorette is on Wednesdays.  Over the weekend, I received an email from a very famous Wine Industry Importer who cuffed me about for my lack of White Burgundy/Pinot Noir reviews.  Big Bob (guest book signature) of Dreyfus, Ashby & Company challenged me to open my Rhone-drenched gray matter and experience the complexities of Burgundy. As you winos know, Pinot Noir carries too much of a soft, temperamental and fleshy a reputation for me, but this being as near to a McInerny-moment as I will ever experience, I accepted the invitation.  Actually, I agreed to call the hotel and give them my Am Ex number.  Unlike Jay, I have yet to get one of those real invitations.  

The event just ended and I am driving home on Route 3 West with one hand on the wheel and the other pecking out this entry as testament to the fun and exciting experience this event delivered, though I was taken aback when no one was dressed in the ritualistic robe associated with such a celebration.  I read the email quickly, but I thought Big Bob said that we would be enjoying an evening of wine rituals with Veronique, a Druid.  So imagine my embarrassment when Big Bob introduced me to Veronique Drouhin, great-granddaughter of Joseph Drouhin and winemaker extraordinaire for Maison Joseph Drouhin (Beaune, France) and Domaine Drouhin Oregon (Dundee, Oregon).  Wino John may have his fascination with Ms. Immer, but as you can see, Veronique and I had our own special moment of private conversation as I asked her how long it takes to peel the red skins off the grapes to make a White Burgundy.

 

Hell, Burgundy was the green jug my father kept on top of the fridge to serve quarterly to our crazy neighbor as she made him load the ice and top it with a splash of seltzer. 

The dinner was held at CK’s Steak House, owned by world famous wine collector and holder of paddle number 111 at auctions world wide, Charles Klatskin.  At the reception, I attempted to impress Veronique by flashing my WinoStuff.com business card and telling her how she resembled my first serious love, Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched (from the Dick York era), at which point I did have the opportunity to meet Mr. Klatskin as he quickly whisked Veronique away and signaled house security to keep me at a safe distance.

As you can see from his expression, the name Wino Bob did little to impress CK.  From the quick conversation we shared, one can immediately sense his passion for wine and warm sense of humor.  So Jay McInerny gets invited to drink magnums of 1963 Chateau Margaux at CK’s home, Wino Bob at least was not escorted out by his private security detail after shaking hands.  The experience was highlighted by Wino John actually leaving his pocket protector and blue button-down oxford shirt home and donned a BLACK three button Manhattanesque shirt and blazer.  Wino John’s subscription to Popular Science must have been traded this month for GQ .  

A friendly staff member and famous actress, Susan (her credits include being a dead body on the original Law and Order), kept our glasses filled and plates warm as we dined and listened to Veronique discuss terrior differences between their properties in France and the US and the influences developed in the wines.  I need to develop an accent.  It just delivers instant credibility to the subject as one speaks of wine.  Unfortunately my life’s lottery didn’t provide the environment for, nor gene pool of, such a quality.

 I really thought the Wino Bob Mojo was kicking in high gear as Susan pleasantly smiled and occasionally touched me on the shoulder as she served our table.  Finally, I thought, I might be shedding the third-floor anti-social personality, only to be told by Bill Gant, the Manager or the Renaissance Hotel, that Susan was an actress. Pictured here are Bill and the smiling Susan

Imagine Susan with gray make up and laying face down with strangle marks about her neck and a blunt object wound on her head and you will remember the episode.

Also seated at our table was the host (and my new best friend), Big Bob, along with ex-Sonoma Grill owner-turned restaurant consultant and wine class presenter, John Foye.

The wine glasses in front of Big Bob are Wino John’s, though he wouldn’t get in the picture, he was drinking the Pinot and admittedly enjoyed it…

With a minimal database to draw from, as Big Bob so aptly informed me after clicking through our site, I will roll out my reviews over the next several days.  I know one thing, I leaned heavier toward the oaky Chardonnays and enjoyed the barrel selected Pinot.  The food and wine pairing went as follows:  

We opened with a 2000 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay and a 2001 Chablis Domaine de Vaudon as we snacked on Brie and crackers.  Our Lump Crab Cake was accompanied by the 2000 Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet and the Joseph Drouhin Chablis 1er Montmains, our Salmon and Asian Beurre Blanc Sauce was also brought out at this point, though the crab cake was supposed to be supported by the DDO Chardonnay and Chablis Domaine de Vaudon.  We just had to have Smiling Susan refill our glasses to show both dishes with the latter two wines.  Personally, I enjoyed the Salmon and the Puligny Montrachet.  The crab cake carried too much spice (pepper) for my taste with these wines. 

We were then treated to Roast Breast of Chicken with sun dried tomato Orzo and Lemon Caper Sauce and pours of 2000 Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet Folatieres and 2000 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche.  I think this Marquis guy is a real estate owner and has a management company in France, but I have to research this a little more.  He does grow some elegant Chardonnay.

As if that wasn’t enough, and the fact that all 6 wines to this point were white, we got down to some red meat and red wine.  Petite Filet Mignon Cabernet with Chanterelle Butter is something I could admire, but Pinot as a travel buddy had me thinking these guys were Burgundy fanatics that really don’t appreciate the desires of red meat and big bold wines.  But as education was the purpose of the night, I opened my mind and inhaled the Pinot Noir.  OK, so my mind is playing tricks on me.  You know, they fooled those wine experts in France by coloring white wine with red food dye and they all described the Chablis with cherry and plum flavors, but the 1999 DDO Pinot Noir Laurene (named for Veronique’s daughter) was a strong pairing and opened me up to the realization that I do need to spend more time drinking those fleshy, femme fatales.  The additional Pinot was the 1999 DDO Pinot Noir whose complexity was eye opening.  At one point, when I was able to breathe, I did mention to Veronique that if she was in need of another barrel selection label, I could have my representatives prepare the paperwork for the exclusive rights to use DDO Pinot Noir Wino Bob.  She said something to me in French as she was walking way that sounded very much like "stupid-idiot", but I’m sure when I look it up in my French-English dictionary, it must mean, “What a superb suggestion.”  

At this point I was self-absorbed in actually being in an intimate wine dinner experience with heavyweights of the world wine scene.  Part of me was a fan and I gazed like the first time I met Carl Banks of the Giants on a flight home from Chicago.  Another part of me had elevated the experience to the beginning of many "A List" invites to more industry events and private dinners with world renown wine people.  But then reality pushed into the fore-front of my brain that I was just Wino Bob, oft referred to in the guest book as a "stupid-idiot", seated in the back row of the classroom making Eddy Haskel-like wise cracks when the speakers mention Cote de Beaune. (Pronounced Coat the Bone).  Refraining from the lowbrow Wino Bob humor, I will leave the obvious Bevis and Butt Head joke list to the audience, but if you’d like to hear mine, I will privately email the page I jotted down last night.  

We also enjoyed an additional wine that Big Bob presented.  I wasn’t paying attention as Big Bob and Wino John spoke but it was a Charmes-Chambertin and the most robust wine of the evening.  Dessert, Berries Sabayon, was accompanied by a Port, not from Dreyfus Ashby’s portfolio so I will just say its sweetness went well with the fruit.

Veronique concluded the evening with a personal invitation for all in attendance to call her and set up a private visit to their properties in France and the US, though she did her best to face away from my side of the table and murmured it in as low a tone as possible.  The evening was a success as to the definition of what this wine site was developed for, sharing new wine experiences with new people in a fun and educational fashion until Wino Bob goes too far and shoots someone in the eye with a paper clip.  I personally want to apologize to Big Bob, CK and Veronique for me actually showing up and bringing my Blue Collar wine mentality to this sophisticated event, but I had a damn good time. It opened my eyes to a grape I shied from and I will be calling Veronique weekly to see how she is doing. Now back to potty humor and immature thoughts…. 

 

February 8, 2003

What does one do when holed up in the house with a bottle of Red Wine and 6 inches of freshly fallen snow blocking the doors to the outside world?  You go to the third floor retreat, cork screw, glass and bottle in tow, and you log on to the internet.  With Trista’s TV wine consumption in the back of my mind, I decided to look up how many movies or TV Shows have been produced with "Wine" in the title.  It looks to me like Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle would have been a frequent visitor to WinoStuff.com.  I wonder if he had wine the night his career ended?

Thanks to all who have emailed me with links to sites that explain the meanings of clichés.  I now have a plethora of resources to review prior to using a phrase.  As per Wino Wally and Wino (Solder Paste Boy) Paul, I believe "Blowing Smoke Up Someone’s Ass" is NOT a good thing.  Though not one of the sites explained anything further than "Blowing Smoke" coming from magicians and deception.  How it was sent up one’s private area eludes me to this point.  

Information for this list was compiled from a movie site database and I thank them for that.

Movies

  1. Wine (1997)

  2. Wine (1913)
    ...aka Wine Making (1913) (USA) Fatty Arbuckle

  3. Wine (1924)

  4. Wine Enema (1995)

  5. Wine From the Heart (2001)

  6. Wine Garden Scene (1896)

  7. Wine Girl, The (1918)

  8. Wine of Life, The (1924)

  9. Wine of Madness, The (1913)

  10. Wine of Youth (1924)

  11. Wine, Women and Bong (1951)

  12. Wine, Women and Horses (1937)

  13. Wine, Women and Sauerkraut (1927)

  14. Wine, Women, and Song (1925)

  15. Wine, Women and Song (1933)

  16. Wine, Women and Women (1969)

  17. Bodega, La (1929)
    ...aka Wine Cellars (1929) (International: English title)

  18. Bor, A (1933)
    ...aka Wine (1933) (International: English title)

  19. Friends and Lovers (1931)

  20. Jau si goo heung shun (2000)
    ...aka Country Spirit (2000) (Hong Kong: English title)
    ...aka Plain Love III (2000) (Hong Kong: English title)
    ...aka Wine Is Smoothest at Home (2000) (Hong Kong: English title: literal title)

  21. Vino whisky e acqua salata (1963)
    ...aka Wine, Whiskey and Salt Water (1963) (International: English title)

  22. May Wine (1990)

  23. New Wine (1941)
    ...aka Great Awakening, The (1941) (UK)
    ...aka Melody Master, The (1941)

  24. Red Wine (1928)
    ...aka Let's Make Whoopee (1928)

  25. Arak el-balah (1998)
    ...aka Date Wine (1999) (USA)
    ...aka Sweat of the Palms (1998) (literal English title)

  26. Elisir d'amore, L' (1946)
    ...aka This Wine of Love (1946) (USA)

  27. Big Fix, The (1978)
    ...aka Moses Wine detective (1978) (Italy)

  28. Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

  29. Fatty's Wine Party (1914)  Fatty Arbuckle

  30. Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey (1994)
    ...aka Jugular Wine (1994) (USA)

  31. Sip the Wine (1974)

  32. Vintage Wine (1935)

  33. Blood and Wine (1997)
    ...aka Blood & Wine (1997) (video box title)

  34. Model, The (1915)
    ...aka Woman and Wine (1915) (review title)

  35. Sekret vinodeliya (1994)
    ...aka Secret of Wine-Making, The (1994)

  36. Vino iz oduvanchikov (1997)
    ...aka Dandelion Wine (1997)

  37. Almonds and Wine (1999)

  38. Soubrettes' Wine Dinner, The (1898)

  39. How to Enjoy Wine (1984)
    ...aka Hugh Johnson's How to Enjoy Wine (1984) (USA: video box title)

  40. Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé, Le (1978)
    ...aka New Beaujolais Wine Has Arrived..., The (1978) (USA)

  41. Spring and Port Wine (1970)

  42. Strawberries and Wine (2000)

  43. Love Is Thicker Than Wine (1981)

  44. Duel to the Death (From the Melodrama 'Women and Wine') (1898)

TV-Movies

  1. Wine of India (1970) (TV)
    ...aka Wednesday Play: Wine of India (1970) (TV) (UK: series title)

  2. Noon Wine (1966) (TV)

  3. Noon Wine (1985) (TV)

  4. Orphans of a Wine Dark Sea (1993) (TV)

  5. Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War, The (1973) (TV)
    ...aka Wine, Women and War (1973) (TV) (USA: short title)

Made for Video

  1. Wine Course Box Set (1995) (V)

  2. Black Wine (2002) (V)

TV Series

  1. "Wine Lover's Guide to Australia, The" (1999) TV series

  2. "New World Wine Tour" (1993) TV series

  3. "Last of the Summer Wine" (1973) TV series

  4. "First of the Summer Wine" (1988) TV series

  5. "Vintage: A History of Wine" (1988) (mini) TV series

February 7, 2003

Anyone else self-employed?  Fourth Quarter taxes completed?  Depressed, or is just me?  Last night I completed the necessary Government-required check-writing ritual and flopped on the couch in front of the TV.  As I surfed the tube for something to take my mind off the depression of taxes, I just happened to stumble upon a show that caught my eye because of the festive mood and wine glass clinking.  I hung with the show for a while and observed the prominence that wine consumption had at every occasion right there in prime time on WABC-TV.  Caught by another Reality Show, this one interested me because the star must be a Winette; she was in every social setting with a red wine glass in hand, though the labels were never shown to see if she might have been drinking Wino John’s WOTM selection.  The show is something called The Bachelorette and features an attractive young woman who is on a quest to find true love by speed dating through 25 guys to pair down to the one true love of her life.  All this action is caught in front of a three-camera shoot and takes place over an 8-10 week timeframe.  I am now hooked, not on whom she ultimately selects to spend the rest of her life with, but rather by the volume of wine this woman consumed last night in the condensed version of her week.  As best as I can tell, she drank wine 5 of the last 7 days this week at planned lunches and dinners. 

I offer myself to the Reality TV world to have someone follow me around all week as I, well, drink wine to the point of incoherent babbling.  I would open the show, shopping for the wine I was going to drink, preparing the day by making sure I had the correct Riedel glass.  I would painstakingly linger over the opening, swirling and sipping routine.  Then I would have the host ask me thought provoking questions as I drank through the bottle to see how long it took for my thoughts to go from revolutionary, sober, structured essays to my more comfortable mental stammering that winds up in Wino John’s hands to edit back to intelligible sentences.  I would string this out for weeks as I consumed wines from different regions to see if Syrah from Northern Rhone made me smarter then a Pinotage from Stellenbosch. 

I will watch anxiously next week to see if Trista selects her Prince Charming or winds up in AA next to me with the words I have told my counselor for many years, “I drink because of my work, my audience, I could stop anytime I want.  It’s just not time yet.”

I say we enroll Trista into the Winostuff Hall of Fame for her obvious positive representation of those of us who consume wine more than 4 times a week.

 

February 2, 2003

My 'Devil May Care' attitude had me throw caution to the wind and try something different.  You know, there are a great many stupid sayings that we use in everyday language and I don’t know their origin.  These phrases and clichés may have been changed over time and the meaning I use them for my not be the meaning they were designed to be used as.  For example, I have a friend that constantly uses a phrase to interject in our conversation.  After hearing it, I am still baffled whether it is a positive or negative comment.  If there is any linguist out there that can point me in the direction of identifying the origins of phraseology, please email me.  The one I am most perplexed by is “You wouldn’t be blowing smoke up my ass?”  Who the hell came up with that saying and how did they determine if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  Ben Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”  I get that, but blowing smoke in that particular region on the anatomy escapes even my vivid imagination of its origin.  So I don’t think I’m blowing smoke up your ass, when I tell you that a good Rioja goes just as well with Italian food as a good Chianti.  Unless, it’s a good thing to do, then I am blowing smoke.  But to me, I don’t think it’s a good thing, I think.

Anyway, from the River Oja Valley, comes a fun little wine that stands up well to the Rigatoni Vodka Sauce and Chicken Parm I ate last night.  The 1998 Riojas carry a bit more tannin than the 1999 and 2000s, which allowed me to not be bowled over by the tomato base of the dish.  If I recall correctly, the "Only Wish I were A Giant Fan Wannabe", "Eagle Wound Licking" Wino John has said on occasion the he and the Mrs. have enjoyed a Rioja or two with Italian Fare.  And I don’t think he was blowing smoke, unless that’s a good thing, but I don’t think so yet. (Editor's note: I agree.  A good Rioja stands up well to a hearty red sauce.  Warning: Be careful with the Eagles-bashing, cirrhosis-boy.  The "Piss on the Giants" graphic could replace the stick figure drawing at the top of Bob's Winings.)

1998 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva $ (18.99)    A lip-smacking brace of tannins greet you but the fruit, ruby cast, and spice make this a delightful wine for lovers of woodsy, earthy pleasure.

 

January 31, 2003

They said it would never work, but Winos, have faith.  Trickle-Down Economics has hit the wine industry.  Oh no, Wino Bob, is this going to be one of those hair hurting economic lectures I slept through in college or some kind of Pro-Republican Political Drum thumping?  Oh no, as Jack Webb would say, “Just the facts.” It seems like the Dot-Com money that wildly inflated the cost of California Wines to me, is finally drying up.  Advantage, Wino Bob.  Now I can afford the elusive sought after collectables that would never make their way east to NJ.  Examples, Wino Bob, we need proof.  OK, I just have the following: Charles Shaw Wine and his current offering nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck”.  Yes Winos, the chain store Trade Joe’s is selling Charles Shaw, which is made by Bronco Wine Company of Central California for $1.99.  Speculation has been rampant behind this move.  Could it be poor quality grapes, surplus inventory from growers, or cancellation of large orders?  Either way, this could be the start of price corrections in the wine market.  Keep looking; more bargains just might be on the horizon.  (Editor's notes: 1) Thanks for the "timely" report, oh ye of little liver function.  Reports of Two-Buck Chuck have been all over the wine news for months!  2) If you consider Two-Buck Chuck as one of the "elusive, sought after collectibles", you need to get out more.)

 

January 29, 2003

I must confess, I cheated last night.  I feel guilty today. I keep looking over my shoulder waiting for someone to say, “Hey, I saw you out last night, sitting in that back table with your collar up hoping not to be noticed.  But I saw you, I saw you.”  OK, so here it goes. I must confess, I ate red meat and drank wine in a place other than Bacchus.  There, it’s off my chest and I can hold my head up in good conscience.  Last night was my annual dinner with one of the only other high school buddies I am still in touch with.  He lives south of me so we try to pick a halfway point and eat a hearty dinner, update a year's worth of family, friend and business conversation into a bottle of red wine and vow to meet quarterly so it doesn’t have to be an all nighter to check up.  Knowing our schedules, I will have dinner with Wino Rich January 27, 2004.  We wound up at Sabbastian's in Morristown, a quaint Manhattan Lite steakhouse near the Morristown rail station, which boasts more fish and chicken dishes than steak.  We chatted with one of the owners and he said the Yuppies that eat there after their commute home from NYC are looking for healthier dishes.  I had no problem zeroing in on the Rack of Lamb, with Gorgonzola au gratin potatoes.  Their food prices for the portion was very reasonable, but their small, overly pricey wine list is where they must be making up the shortfall on the food.  After being insulted by the trendy California Cabernet pricing, I overpaid for a simple syrah from Alexander Valley.

1999 Clos du Bois Shiraz $$ (38.00)   No, I didn’t make a faux pas.  Though Californian, they use the Aussie spelling.  This wine boasts a deep ruby color as evidenced when Wino Rich’s flailing hands knocked over his glass onto the crisp white linen tablecloth.  Good fruit, firm tannins and a delightful hint of chocolate.

 

January 28, 2003

Congratulations to all you Bucs fans and condolences to the Silver and Black.  I thought this Super Bowl would have been a chess match, similar to the great Fischer-Spatsky marathons of the seventies.  Though I was not a member of the chess club in high school, I do appreciate the strategic nuances of the game.  Yes, nothing better than mailing your best friend a small slip of paper by snail mail with the simple message; Pawn to Q4.  I’m sure the Egg Heads in the audience are roaring along with me, as we would move the piece along with our long distance partner and check the mail box for his counter to that powerful move.  

My weekend was rife with merriment and wine drinking, though my dinner at Bacchus was accompanied by a familiar glass of Argentinean Malbec.  I only mention this because the last time I ate at Bacchus was December 12th, the Immer dinner.  Oh yeah, to learn more about that check out Wino John’s What’s New page, his love of Immer has clouded his understanding of the word New.  One of Saturday’s offerings was the Hunter’s Special, a combo of Wild Boar and Venison.  Talk about Discovery Channel up close, I found myself envisioning the wind blowing through tall dry grass on the plains near a watering hole and I had just made a fresh kill.  Their venison was freshly struck by a Lincoln Navigator on Passaic Ave (Yuppies don’t always pay attention as they are talking on their cell phones heading to Caldwell Airport for their private plane to whisk them to Atlantic City).  Since this was my first time with Wild Boar (not that the last engineer I had to meet with wasn’t a Bore, he just wasn’t Wild), I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It did turn out to be a Red Meat Lover’s delight and the flavor was similar to the Buffalo Steak I once had at Bacchus. 

For the Big Game, it was just me and a bucket of Chicken Holiday, that greasy, delicious deep-fried, heart clogging chicken skin which tastes like Heaven.  So I decided to open something simple and red to keep the blood flowing.  Remembering back to one of the dinnertime discussions I was having with the King’s wine staff at the Immer Dinner (that was when Wino John was insulting the guy next to him for liking the Pinot), I grabbed a bottle of Cabernet Franc.  Yes, the King’s crowd defended the Franc as a grape worthy of standing alone and producing sexy wines.  So I thought to myself, boxer shorts, bucket o’Chicken, Super Bowl and Sexy Wine, Wooo Hooo.

1999 Nance Cabernet Franc $ (18.99)   This wine is like Mr. Tanner from the Harry Chapin song, it tries to make a stand on it’s own, but this critic thinks it’s best in it’s small shop in Ohio singing in his tailor shop.  Not enough character for my liking.

 

January 24, 2003

Sometimes there are unexpected surprises in life, though small in structure and miles in between, last night I found one.  After dinner, I headed down to look at my wine, which I have been spending a large amount of time doing lately.  There was one bottle I purchased several weeks ago at Costco which contains my GOTY.  This bottle’s shape has a longer, thinner neck and a wider stubbier bottom, kind of like my first girlfriend.  It couldn’t fit into a cubby in my rack so I had it setting on top of the pack since it’s arrival.  Being a bit of an organization freak, it has been annoying me since it was obviously misplaced.  The only way to solve the problem was to bring it up to the tiny, dank 3rd floor room and cut, uncork and aerate.  

This producer is well recognized for their well-crafted Zinfandels, but my interest was a Rhone Blend that contains our Grape of the Year.  The first tasting left me concerned that I had made a mistake by not buying the Zinfandel they are noted for.  I poured a full glass and set it out for a while and went on the Internet to cruise my favorite sites.  Time allowed this wine to soften and open and provided a very enjoyable, pleasant tasting wine that I would be happy to share with friends and guests before dinner or just kicking around on a Saturday night.  Experimentation still holds my fascination with searching for those lesser known, bargain wines to share with all you winos.  And as Wino Wally put it so clearly, all this for Nothing, where Robert Parker would charge those outrageous monthly fees, expensive speaking engagements royalties and high priced magazines bills.  From me you can always say, you get something for nothing…

1999 Ravenswood Icon $ (22.00)   This blend of 73% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre and 11% Grenache starts off tight and needs to be coerced out.  Air is it’s friend and the great flavors of raspberry, plum, chocolate and a spicy finish make this a fun, easy drinking wine to enjoy on a Thursday or bring it to your friend's next party.

 

January 22, 2003

In the theme of wine gifts, I have become the wine calendar dumping ground.  Last night, I was leafing through the calendar to see what important wine information was on important dates in my meaningless life.  Come on, we all do it.  We look for things like our birth date and see what info is on the calendar.  Crap, I was depressed the entire year of 1998 after reading my horoscope on a Chinese restaurant place mat.  Though the calendar didn’t bum me out, I did have to take exception with a comment for Priorat.  After listing 5 producers, she then specifically identified Miserere as a prime example of a quality wine.  My impression is below… Thank God it didn’t appear on my B-Day.

2000 Costers del Siurana Miserere $$ (34.99)     There fails to be much fruit or finish to this wine, though blended from 5 local grapes.  There is a small amount of dark cherry and spice but for the price, this wine gives very little enjoyment.

 

January 20, 2003

Let me start off with two personal messages.  I know this is highly unprofessional, but I never claimed to be professional so bear with me.

            First, a quick "Happy Birthday" to Wino Mom.  Yes, my newly found holiday drinking partner is celebrating a birthday, which she has asked to be kept unidentified.

            Second, and most import, my condolences to Wino John and Wino Lou for their EAGLES not getting it done when it counted.  Sure, anybody could beat a team during the regular season, but Andy Reid seems to be bitten by the Rich Kotite Playoff Bug.  I know it has been a really long time since you guys have cheered for your team in a Super Bowl, and it looks like it will continue for many more years.  This also goes out to Wino New Hampshire Mike (A chardonnay drinker.  Need I say more?) and Beer Guzzling John and Bob in Lansdale.  Sorry.  Maybe next year.  Nah, let’s face it.  It won’t happen next year either…   

So, I drank alone, in abstentia to celebrate these two exciting events, just me and my 13 inch black and white TV, with rabbit ears and tin foil to get a fuzzy picture of Ronde Barber picking off McNabb’s desperate drive to bring them within 3.  I don’t know if the wine tasted better because of the Buc’s win or if in fact it was just an enjoyable wine, either way, for those wanting a big jammy red, you got to give this one a try.

2000 Bogle Petite Sirah $ (11.00)    Please make sure you enjoy big red wines before uncorking this one.  This is a full-bodied, berry rich and mildly tannin wine that will benefit from spending time with you outside the bottle before consumption.  This will unveil plum and boysenberry fruit with chocolate, and tobacco nuances.  Enjoy.

(Editor's note: Be careful, winoboy.  Remember that I have total control over site content.)  

 

January 18, 2003

This was the first Saturday with no football in quiet awhile, so I decided to organize those holiday gifts that have been sitting piled in the corner of the cellar since December 25th.  Yes, as I have mentioned before, friends and family want to get me a little something related to wine, but of course, they don’t want to actually buy me wine.  I would be happy with a bottle, or an envelope marked, “Hey, pick out a nice bottle for yourself since we have no idea what is good”, and a nice chunk of good old hard cash is there for me to keep tucked away in the secret compartment of my wallet.  It could sit there for weeks or even months as I walk the aisles of wine shops throughout the tri-state area.  Then, on that oft-chance I see a bottle I really want but have yet to buy for myself, I can dig past the driver’s license, registration, library card, KOA card, MAN From U.N.C.L.E. Secret Agent Pass, and the G.I. Joe Young Commander’s Society Membership Card to the secret flap where Ben Franklin has been sleeping awaiting this moment.

But instead, I am starting to be the proud owner of items that others feel will enhance my cellar and will be sought out during their next visit to the wine room.  Soon, there will be a show on one of those cable stations where they will tour my cellar, not for the impressive collection of Rhone Wines, but rather for the unusually large collection of wine-related paraphernalia in North America.  What I like most about Wino John, besides his boyish smile and how he fills out a pair of Dockers, is his ability to give great wine as a present.  (Editor's note: Why are you looking at my butt?)   I, on the other hand, I gave him a piece of wine-related paraphernalia. 

I opened one of my gifts today; it was from Wino Mom and Beer Drinking Dad.  I believe they may have consulted with Wino Wally on this one, because it is a Sharper Image Wine Gadget Set.  This box contains a Triangular Foil Cutter, a Rabbitesque Wine Opener and an Aerator complete with 2 AAA batteries.  The instructions in the box informed me to use all three to enhance my enjoyment from this day forward for any wine I open as the foil cutter and opener ease the uncorking process and the aerator accelerates the aeration process to soften the tannins and bring the fruit forward in those big red wines.  So I cut my foil and uncorked with my mock-rabbit opener and loaded the batteries into the aerator.  I poured small amount into my glass and gave a taste.  Then I quickly removed the safety shield and extended the collapsible arm of the aerator, placed it into the wine, pressed the button on top and Viola La.  (Editor's note: I believe that "Viola La" is Bob-speak for "Voila"...)   The thing started humming and the LEDs on top turned from yellow to green as it timed off exactly one minute.   I then poured a small amount into the glass next to my initial glass.  Making sure my palate was clear, I sipped the aerated wine, and then re-tasted the original glass. Hmm, I tasted them again, and jotted some notes. 

As it turns out, I had to sample the entire bottle and I am now beyond the ability to decipher what I scribbled, but as far as I can tell, I need a whole lot more experience with this thing cause it did not make a noticeable difference to me for this one bottle.  Since Wino John is now an honored guest at Sandia Labs because of all the coverage they are now getting from their link on our WOTM, maybe I can get a grant to do more scientific testing to identify the difference between the aerated and non-aerated wines.  I bet they have a lot of cool aerators there and Bunsen Burners and laser guided cork screws, drone wine racking, GPS varietal identification, and let’s not forget cloning….

1999 Abadia Retuerta Selection Especial $$ (23.99) A nice example from Spain containing 65% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot showing an inky dark ruby, full-bodied wine that has a great amount of lush red berries and an olive hint at the finish.

 

1999 Canobah Bridge Reserve Shiraz $ (16.00)    If you are looking for an everyday drinking wine with dark cherry and plum, chocolate and eucalyptus, this one’s for you.  Though it fades quickly, it’s a good wine to accompany the grilled meats from the Bar-B.   

 

January 17, 2003

Wow, where am I and why are all the walls padded?  I just checked and it has been far too long since I drank wine, or at least written about the wine I drank.  I had the weirdest dream, you are not going to believe this, but I dreamed that Andrea Immer was acting as the Wine Consultant for Target Stores.  You know, the chain that wants to compete with Wal Mart.  What, I just checked the news on our site’s front page and she is the Master Wine Consultant to Target.  Holy Crap, will miracles never cease.  I then, will officially offer my services to K-Mart.  Since Martha Stewart is no longer a prized name there, let it be known that Wino Bob wants to be the Master Wine Consultant to K-Mart.  What, they haven’t asked me?  That’s fine, I’ll find another chain that wants my volume of damaged gray matter.  I’m open for the bidding.  My email is wide open and ready for the offers to come streaming in. 

I really have been light in my duties, but I did manage to open a bottle the other night with a hearty steak and a spicey Maryland Crab Cake.  Though void of Grenache, I will taste plenty throughout the year.  As you will see, I am in the padded cell because the Bordeaux I chose was from St. Emilion, and we know what that wine is loaded with…

1997 Chateau Saint-Lo St. Emilion Grand Cru $$ (24.99)    A mild Merlot-based Bordeaux that shows a bounty of cherry and currant with earthiness and wood to keep it interesting.

 

January 5, 2003

With an opening in my schedule last evening, I dialed up Wino Rocker and the Mrs. and we headed out for a post-holiday dinner.  Still glazed by the ice storm that hit us Friday evening, we did not want to venture far from home, especially after hearing about the 50-car pile up on Route 80 due to the black ice and over-confident 4 wheelers.  The local establishment I enjoy because of the good food and liberal BYOB policy is LUCE.  So we packed up the wine caddy and walked a few blocks in the crisp January night.  The truss and power lines glistened as the streetlights illuminated the frozen water.  It was a great night for a walk to a nice restaurant with fun guests.  Wanting to enjoy myself, I dug out a bottle I have been saving for several years, one of those California Big Cabs that Wino John trained me on and it really did a service to the NY Sirloin Gorgonzola I ordered.  We warmed up with one of the last bottles in my cellar from the GS Wine Club and came back to the house to watch the game with a Shiraz as an after dinner aperitif. 

Speaking of football, has this week been a football fan’s wet dream or what?  I really enjoyed the college bowl games being spread out over several nights so I did not have to arrange three TV’s side by side on New Years Day to see what was going on in each game.  I especially enjoyed the Fiesta Bowl, not only being played on the campus I spent many wild college nights, but also the win by Ohio State.  Think about it, Ohio State had to be my team.  Their star running back is named Claret.  OK, so he spells it a bit differently, but come on, he runs like a Cabernet-heavy Bordeaux.  As for the Pros, the Jets handed the Colts a thrashing that may put Payton Manning on a shrink’s couch this week.  Like Kelly and Marino, all the greatness of the season will be noted with an asterisk if he can’t win in the playoffs.  Michael Vick, on the other hand, heads into a blustery hostile Green Bay knowing the Packers own that playoff field and says to Mr. Favre, thanks for all the lessons, but I have youth, a cannon arm, crazy-legs and a desire that will make me a winner.  Mr. Favre looks like his last two seasons ended disappointingly and my have him thinking about his future.  Now if Jeremy Shockey can score early and quiet the SF crowd, this will have the papers in NY predicting a commuter’s bowl in San Diego. Go BIG BLUE…

1997 Guenoc Meritage Red $ (16.99)    The middle was enjoyable but this wine starts off with a bit of a harshness and doesn’t carry much on the finish.  You will find a pleasant red cherry and brown spice flavor in this wine but you have to look for it.  Hang in there and it becomes enjoyable.

2000 McGuigan Shiraz Bin 2000 $ (11.99)   A deep purple color pours into your glass that gives way to a fruity, dark cherry, chocolate and earthy wine.  This could be a great everyday wine with plenty of flavor, mild tannins and an easy drinking personality.

1996 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (35.00)   Big Cab Lovers will enjoy the ride with on this Bronco.  It starts untamed with tannins and oak that slap you in the face, but with some fresh air, you can take control of the reins and trots through the cherry groves of Napa and gives way to a silky smooth, elegant gate that brings a tear to your eye as you pour out the last bit into your guest’s glass.

 


 

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