Bob’s Winings
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

This page contains Winings from the 1st Quarter of the year 2005.

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March 27, 2005

And on the third day he arose from the tomb, saw his shadow and declared six more weeks of winter.  Not funny, I heard this and thought to myself, there are two things not to screw with in life, Jesus and the Mafia.  Living in northern NJ, I’m sure one of the two does exist, but until I die, I’m believing in both and hoping neither rains a shit storm on my little attempt at humor.  Enough said, between the black late model Lincoln and the fire and brimstone, this has been a tough week for my funny bone.  

Not wanting to piss off any other Gods, if there are any, not that I believe in any other Gods, your holiest of nesses.  But I did take a bit from the reading I heard at the traditional Blessing of the Food service I have been attending on Holy Saturday ever since I was a small God-fearing lad.  The reading explicitly described for those following the just and loving God, to prepare a Passover meal by slaughtering a one-year-old male goat or sheep with no ailments and enough meat to fill those invited to your table.  In preparation, mark the corner posts of your door and stick a mark above the door signifying this is a house heeding the word of the just and loving God.  Therefore this just and loving God would Passover this house and not rain a shit storm of terror on you as he would on the hedonistic, pagan Egyptian blasphemers.  Not being a goat nor sheep herder, and not having a goat or sheep shop in Caldwell to purchase said one year old male fatted dinner, I figure I would at least pay homage to the God I really don’t want to piss off, Bacchus.  So I headed down to the cellar and opened a fatted bottle of red wine that would service, well, me.  As I poured and swilled, I brought the bottle outside and marked the doorposts and above the center of my door. 

I sat inside, hoping any ill fate would Passover my house.  One hour passed and the cock crowed.  OK, there are no crowing cocks in Caldwell, I made that up.  But one hour hence, the noon light faded and a terrible rumbling sound rolled towards my house.  The rumble and roar intensified and the leaded glass of my third floor windows began to rattle.  The dark ominous sky and the noise found me on bended knee, praying that I hadn’t pissed off the kind and just God by mockingly marking my door posts and center above my front door with wine.  I prayed the Lord’s Prayer out loud as I heard thunderous footsteps on my front porch.  The crack of lightning in the distance and a booming voice called out, “Wino Bob, I know you're home.”  Christ, this God could see inside.  Why did I think I could hide?  “Wino Bob, I command you to open this door.” 

Half frightened, half curious, I descended the stairs to see what this unexpected visitor looked like and why he was commanding me to open the door.  As I hit the first floor landing, I could hear the doorknob shaking as God was attempting to enter my home.  As I reached the door, and flung it open to meet my maker, Jesus H. Christ, it was Wino Rocker looking for shelter as his motorcycle ride was interrupted by the sudden storm.  That’s no Holy Man, that’s a heathen. 

So I offered him a glass of sacrificial wine and gave him a towel to dry his helmet, for what ever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me.  Actually Wino Rocker is more like Bacchus.  He drinks till he pukes, then wants to drink all over again.

Christ has died, Christ has Risen, Christ will come again, and so it is written and with those words my religion and the religion of millions is defined.  But this morning, during the homily of the visiting priest, I started thinking about the story he told of Mary coming upon the cave in which Jesus was entombed and finding the stone rolled aside, the body missing and his burial clothes lying in the corner.  The religious gophers, those in the Catholic church that only come out of their homes on Christmas and Easter, lined the aisles and filled the pews and graciously accepted this message.  I on the other hand, still reeling from a night of drinking with WR, had a childish thought.  I say it's childish as all simple thinkers have thought the same but never asked aloud, what if one of the disciples, in his zeal to fulfill the prophecy, stole Jesus’ body?  OK, so I’m no theologian, since I don’t know chapter and verse of the new testament, but what if Judas, in a moment of remorse for handing Jesus over to the mob, not the Gottis and not the Sopranos, just the mob in 33AD, decided his act of atonement would be to remove Jesus’ body from the tomb so those believers could truly have the sign that Jesus is the son of God and the birth of the Christian religion.  Look, Judas threw the silver pieces back into the temple as he did not want the blood money, then he killed himself.  But not wanting to go to hell, he took the body on day three and threw the middle finger to the Sanhedrin. 

The Da Vinci code sold 25 million copies, the Last Temptation of Christ (movie) was a box office success, the Life of Brian amused Monty Python fans, so I offer the Gospel according to Wino Bob, the Wino Bob Code.  Hey two of those other pieces suggested Jesus was doing the Vatican Mombo with Mary Magdalena.  I’m not going that far to say he was of fleshly enjoyments, I’m just saying the man who is going to be the most famous and controversial religious figure in the world, save L.Ron Hubbard, would not go to see his Father in the nude.  Jesus, I’m still squeamish sleeping without sweatpants at my folk’s house, never mind would I think of defining a religion in the nude.  And when he came back to show himself to Doubting Thomas, where did he get the robes?  Judas, the tailor, that’s right Judas, was always good with the needle, sewing the fishing nets and stuff.  I’m not saying I believe this, I’m just saying what if Judas or one other disciples, removed the body, allegedly.  I learned through living in NNJ, that 'allegedly' is a must when discussing the mob and Jesus’ body being stolen.

So please excuse me I have more Blood of Christ to drink.  Happy Easter  (Editor's note:  Uhhh... Bob?  Fire of Hell?  Eternal Damnation?  Any of these ring a bell???  For the record, I don't even know this Bob guy.)

1990 Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Hermitage Rouge, Les Nobles Rives $$ (gift from BB)   If they served this at mass, I would go to church every Sunday.  A nose of lush black fruits that tempts and tantalizes.  The flavors are expressive with spice and black berry with firm tannins and a smooth, soft finish.   Amen.

March 25, 2005

I haven’t been to the new Rascals in awhile, so last night, I met a friend for a drink.  Rascals has never had much of a wine offering, so I looked over the taps and pointed to one I never had before, Blue Moon Belgium White.  As the Russian-accented service waif carried the glass towards me, I saw a slice of orange rimming the glass.  Orange, what the hell is this?  I have had the lemon in Weissen and the lime in Mexican Beer but an orange was a totally new taste sensation.  The beer was one I definitely would buy and drink and serve at the house, but the disappointment is that it comes from one of those large, corporate companies.  Yes, this gem is from the Adolph Coors Brewing Company.  I bet he’s glad his parents named him Adolph.)  None the less, I did like the body and flavor of this beer, and the orange cut the bite just enough to enhance the flavor.  It’s the water, remember that, otherwise Adolph may send a train to pick you up.

  171 calories per 12-ounce serving and 5.4% alcohol by volume.

March 24, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining me today on the EIB, Endulging in Beverages network (look, I have SpellCheck and I know 'indulge' is spelled with an “I”, but go with the flow).  It has been awhile since I made stupid observations about the crap in the news.  It seems that since the acting Governor threatened to kill two whacky talk show guys, he has kept a low profile, unless you read deeply down the articles on the Jets’ move to a stadium in NYC.  It seems Gov. Codey is in line to take over the Sports Authority Commission post the day Senator Corzine buys the Governorship.  Hoping to lock up a big deal with the Jets, he tried to hold things up until he had that position to bring in the big deal.  But noooooooooooo!  While Codey crowed, the Jets upped their bid to the West Side deal and won the bid over Comcast.  As things go, the Giants are now thinking of a new stadium and they might look outside NJ.  Way to go Dick!  Is your home life so happy that you don’t need a Sunday afternoon away from the family?  See Dick Run, Run Dick Run!  Actually let’s run Dick out of the State.

I turn to TV, my second passion, and have found the show of the year.  I don’t know what the awards are called for cable TV shows, but this foreign entry is a hands-down winner.  Don’t watch this show drunk, you will need to read sub titles as the foreign language is difficult to try and interpret to match with the action on the screen.  But make no mistakes, the action is fast and fun and the women are hot.  So if you have time next Monday night, before CSI, not the CSI that’s on Tuesday or Weds, or Friday, you know the 10pm Monday CSI show, switch to A&E, pour a glass of wine and sit close to the set so you can read the sub titles and let me know if you enjoy the show as much as I do.  The name of the show, oh, “Growing Up Gotti.”  It took me five shows to realize it actually is in English, but when the fun-loving young Gotti boys get together, they have to run the text on the screen so you can understand what they are saying.  Think about that, a reality show based on Long Island, in New York, in the United States, and we are sub-titling our own language.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, I love the Gottis, I love the sub titles, as Victoria is the daughter of John Gotti Sr., enough said.  I watch the Sopranos, I know what can happen, so I’m just saying this show should be nominated for a Golden Globe, or Oscar, or whatever the F&$# award Victoria and her sons want to win in whatever category they want to be nominated, drama, soap opera, comedy, its yours.

There’s a black Lincoln, pulling up the street, I gotta go….

March 20, 2005

I got to get my head together.  The late night binders, three, four days go by, then bam!  I’m locked up in the dark, dingy third floor, typing something out.  Drinking, I have down to a science, small doses everyday, well, maybe not so small some days, but the entries have been too sporadic.  I think my rut is that I am drinking wines I have already written up, so days might go by until I try something different.  Pledge to myself, variety is the spice to life and I need some more variety in the less than ten dollars a bottle category.  Having the three white wines on Friday sure added spice and variety.  I had to go to a tractor pull last night just to get my masculinity back.  Two more weekends like that and they will be subpoenaing me to the Michael Jackson trial.  Is it true, Wino Bob, that you have been drinking white Jesus juice at Neverland Ranch?  And isn’t it true that while drinking this white Jesus juice Mr. Jackson showed you his twig and berries?  I rest my case.

So today, while at Kings, I grabbed a bottle of red, a Rhone red, in hopes of growing hair back on my berry sac.  Crap, did I pick a loser.  This doesn’t come close to what I expected but I drank enough to get a buzz and stained teeth and a purple tongue, so life isn’t all that bad.  This one came with a screw cap, the first red I have had with a screw cap, not counting the Friday night college fix of Riunite Lambrusco.  Nothing better than spending 10 dollars for a pizza and bottle of wine in college, living large some might say.  I wonder if anyone has conducted a study correlating teen pregnancy with Lambrusco, Blue Nun, Boone's Farm, or Yago.  Then we should look at teen pregnancy relating to consumption of Opus One, Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Screaming Eagle.  My drunken money is on that less than 1% of teen pregnancies resulted from consuming the big Five of Bordeaux or the Cult Cabs of California.  Except for some rich, Hollywood kids whose parents have a wine cellar to rival 21 Club and whose father is a pedantic wine snob, I’m going with cheap wine and teen pregnancy.  Though if I really had to roll the bones, I’m thinking only 11% is wine related, 35% is beer related and 54% is related to teens being too scared or too stupid to purchase Totes rain boots.

That has to be the first time in twenty years I referred to anything from my college experience, correlating data; except for my liver tainting.  Yes, a sociology degree comes in handy for making a living, if you want to be a statistic below the poverty line.  So kids, listen to Wino Bob, don’t drink and stay in school and if you are lucky enough and in a progressive school system, go to the nurse and ask for your condoms before you buy your Riunite for the weekend. 

2003 La Vieille Ferme Cote du Ventoux $ (8.99)   Take my advice.  Admire the label, then place it back on the shelf and move on.

March 20, 2005

Thank you for calling Winostuff Consulting, home of brash reviews, Wino Babes, Horoscopes and Drunken Gibberish.  This is Wino Bob, how may I help UUUUU. (Sorry, I let my Bloomfieldionics slip into my professional telephone voice).  Last night, as I was trying to rush out of the house for a dinner with our good friends, I got a phone call from my old high school, cigar-smoking buddy, Rich.

“Wino Bob, that Silver Oak we drank cost about 60 bucks, right?”

"Yes and I have the unpaid credit card bill to prove it. "

“I was in a wine shop in Bedminster” (right there I’m hearing several problems- first the friggin' guy makes a lot of money and lives in a much nicer place than I, no me.  One night out and he already has Silver Oakitis and now he’s wine shopping) “The guy is trying to sell me a Silver Oak for $129.00.  We paid sixty!  The asshole is rippin' me off.”

"What year is it?"


"Is it Napa or Alexander Valley?"

“How the f&$# should I know?”

"What color is the label?"

“Not sure, I’ll have to go back in the store and check.  Hold on...”

Like I have nothing better to do, in fact I did have something better to do, and that was to keep a dinner appointment with Winette Maggie and Wino Jim to taste a few different white wines they might serve at an upcoming dinner party.  I’ve had these plans for weeks and I’m going to be late.  More frightening is the fact that I’ve turned into kind of a wine geek.  Actually, the geek thing is in the genes, the wine thing is new.  Cutting my personal phone call to the quick, it turned out that newly infected Silver Oakitis boy wasn’t getting ripped off.  Well, maybe Bedminster has a luxury surcharge, but for the year and it being a Napa, the price wasn’t over the top.  I told him my services don’t come cheap, and he owes me a bottle from the case he was buying.  Look, I haven’t figured out how to make money at this thing yet, but free wine is a start.

God Damn it, Cartman, its 7:05 and the reservation is for 7.  I don’t have time to go to Home Liquors.  Fortunately, Costa’s is two buildings away from Casa’s so, like Clark Kent looking for a phone booth, I dashed into the wine shop, more accurately, like Michael Jackson attending a cub scout meeting, I swished into..., never mind.

“John, where are your New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs?”

"Back to the left, under the mirror."

Crap, they didn’t have what I wanted, nor did he have the Aussie Chard, so I was left to making snap decisions keeping in mind the price point and style differences I wanted to show.  Jesus, there I go again with the wine geek crap.  I thought I was doing this for fun.

Fifteen minutes late, I fly up the stairs like Michael Jackson seeing a ferris wheel full of cancer kids, bag full of wine in tow.  As the waitress gave me that “if you got three bottles in a bag for yourself, you must be an alcoholic” look, she showed me to our table.   I sat down and immediately started snapping out requests for the waitress to bring me a wine bucket and ice and since these are not chilled, I need a bowl of ice we can cool the glasses down other wise the acid is going to scar away the fruit and the selections will flop and I will look like an asshole for bringing crappy wine.  And you there, miss judgmental waitress, we are not putting the ice into the wine like my crazy aunt, we are swirling the ice around in the glass to chill the bowl and help bring the liquid down to the appropriate temperature, then dumping the ice out of the glass before I pour and...   Holy Crap Marie, I’m A-hole Wine Geek to the third power. 

To continue in my A-hole Geek mode, I then poured light to heavy commenting on the wine.  Hey, that’s a load of fun.  They just wanted to sip a few different white wines and see what they liked and I am Mr. Grape-Hole.  Dinner, by the way, was delicious.  Since I was having three different white wines, I went with the Chilean Sea Bass in lemon, butter and white wine with chopped shrimp on top.  Wow, was that good.  We managed to finish off the three bottles of white and pour into Wino Jim’s Argentinean Malbec rounding up to one bottle per person and having Miss Snotty Waitress think we are all Winos for consuming a bottle per person.  Actually, I apologize, we are Winos and that’s the fun of it.  Dinner was great, we had a barrelful of laughs and we totally enjoyed ourselves once I shut up about the pedantic wine bullshit of region and flavor and style. 

As a side note to Big Bob, when the Nederburg Chard numbers spike at Costa’s, can I get a commission?  It turned out that Winette Maggie liked the chard the best and the rest of us liked the Sauvignon Blanc, the Riesling was ok, but we just enjoy more character and complexity on our sophisticated Wino palates as the nuances of oak imparted a bouquet that was…… now I can’t even stand myself.  Seacrest Out.

2000 Vin d’ Alsace Riesling $ (9.99)    Not a bad wine, but no one was excited by it.  Mellow with an OK fruit offering, kind of a wall flower, just blending in the background.

2003 Nederburg Chardonnay $ (7.99)   This one is a good value chard for those liking the buttery, nutty chards.  The caramel and vanilla on the nose captures you and the flavor is full for this inexpensive South African Chardonnay.  Pick a few of these up and open them anytime at $7.99

2003 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc $ (12.99)    This is why I like New Zealand SB, a citrus, gooseberry, lemon grass party in your mouth.  Not for the casual white drinker, but the pucker you get out of this may help during the after dinner activities.

March 15, 2005

Has your day ever been ruined by a glance?  Not from a person, but from the peripheral recognition and then the glance at the horoscope in the paper.  God Damn it, Cartman, the other day I was reading the sports page getting ready to see who was making the NCAA tournament so I could use more than a dartboard to select my final four.  It turned out that the page adjacent to the lead sports page was one containing horoscopes.  I know I don’t buy into this stars and moon and planet force stuff, but I do find myself reading the blurb.  Then the words get in my head and I spend the entire day trying to match events as they naturally occur, with the general bullshit of some college intern making this stuff up after a bong full of Panama Red (is that a relevant pot in this day and age?).  Yesterday, it said, "be cautious as Mars is crossing your seventh house and a personal change maybe in the air."  I got up and banged my knee on my desk.  How did they know that would happen?

I would rather they be really direct, like, "today all you born under the sign of Cancer, will actually contract cancer.  You have three months of a painful, hideous torment in front of you, have a nice day."  Did the Pagans know something about the worship of the sun and moon and stars and large stones carved to look like faces or rocks in a circle?  I did get sucked in one day when they told me I was going to have a financial win, so I ran over to Sanjay’s and bought $100.00 in lottery tickets.  As you can see, my luck wasn’t in the numbered ping pong ball contest and I have yet to come into that fortune.  What if you are dating or married to someone of the same sign and the prediction is for a rough time in your love life.  Is it rough for me, or for her or for both or does her rough time become my rough time even if I’m not feeling like it should be rough?  I guess I should stick to what I believe in most, praying to Bacchus and occasionally the porcelain idol in my bathroom. 

Here’s a prediction for all you Pisces- beware of the latter part of your month as someone you might consider a confidant, stabs you in the back with a dull knife as the rest of the Senators stand around and watch-   Et tu, Brute?"  

2001 Bodega Coperativa San Isidro Mentrida Bastion de Camarena $ (8.99)    This blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha is a medium bodied wine with red fruits, caramel and spice on the palate but the finish was a bit rural. 

March 11, 2005

We at are proud of the week we had in new readership.  Statistics emails and phone calls have provided a unique expansion.  First, to my new friends in Spain, I would like to offer this greeting in your native tongue, “Dé la bienvenida a mis amigos nuevos, nosotros adoramos la uva rellenita de su mujer.”  We are pleased that Christian went back and told his drunken friends to read our site.  See what happens when you put someone on the front page?  May the sun beat down and shrivel your berries to produce those deep rich reds we love.  Please forward all new wines to our PO Box in Caldwell.  We'd love to “review” your latest Jesus juice.

OK, so our international readership has grown, actually from the stats, now that Christian is logging in, our hits from Spain have doubled. Now what are we doing to keep the readers at home happy, you ask?  Meeting drunken people in bars and obnoxiously promoting our site.  And I am pleased to say that out of the 25 people I spoke with last week, one actually decided to check in.  As the domestic stats go, we are 100% in line with our growth in Spain.  The crazy thing is that our newest wino has a funky email address.  Yes, Wino Chris graduated from the school of Darts.  Look, I spent plenty of time during college at pubs playing cricket, 301 and baseball, but I never realized they actually had a college dedicated to drinking and darts.  Needing a bit more 411 on this, I searched the email address and boy did I feel silly founding out my new drinking buddy didn’t graduate from darts college, but rather he is a blue blood from an Ivy League college.  Holy crap Mary, I guess I’m going to have to purchase a dictionary and thesaurus to upgrade my linguistic skills.  Check this out,  Dartmouth was founded in1769 by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock for the education of "youth of the Indian Tribes ... English Youth and others."  Nickname: "Big Green."  Colors: Dartmouth Green and white.  Motto: "Vox clamantis in deserto" ("a voice crying in the wilderness"). 

First of all in 1769, the only reason anyone was giving an Indian anything was for peyote in exchange, just ask the folks.  I would like to know the number of Indian tribe youths that graduated from Dartmouth:  Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Chief Wild Eagle (F Troop reference.  I reached for that one)?  Anyway, when I looked up the majors offered, there was no basket weaving, blanket making or peace pipe smoking, The only voice crying in the wilderness was from the misplaced Indian tribes as the wealthy white Anglo-Saxon Protestants moved them to Vermont so they could build the prestigious educational institution.   Personally, I think the good Reverend was running some kind of scam on the Fuckouwees.  I’m sure some ex-Dartmouthian brainoid will correct me that some white woman who has 1/64th Cherokee in her once matriculated a class there to keep Eleazer out of the stockade, but that ain’t an Indian tribe school of higher learning.  Sorry, I don’t want to piss off my  smart friends, so for them, I offer a welcome greeting from our WinoBabe of the Month, “Is that a slide rule in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”

Vino, Verdis, Vectoris, Mons Venus, Faschizzle   (doesn’t anyone speak Latin any longer?)

1998 Casa Lapostelle Cuvee Alexandre $ (16.00)    Chilean cabernet sauvignon lovers will find this a solid example of the good side of the quality/price continuum.  Black cherry, tobacco, blackberry and good tone tannins make this a nice one to drink on a Friday afternoon.

March 8, 2005

Since the recent death/suicide/homicide/21-gun salute in Colorado to the alcohol-soaked, drug-induced, writer par excellence, Hunter S. Thompson, the word 'Gonzo' has been on everyone’s lips, minds and reports.  Stupidly, I had no idea what Gonzo really referred to, so I went on the web and found out that there is actually a Gonzo Organization.  And as of 2AM, today, I declare myself to be a member.  I don’t know what I am actually joining, or if there is a Gonzo initiation where I have to get whacked on the bare ass with a wooden paddle and ask for another, or if I have to sign over a check for thousands of dollars and I get a lapel pin and a membership card to carry in my wallet that reveals the secret hand shake, or I pledge to question authority and anyone wearing a navy blue suit and white shirt.  What ever the case, I think I would be in.  I found a concise definition on Wikipedia that I offer below so you too can understand the word and style that is so prevalent in the news today.

Origin- from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

It's a misconception that the term was coined by Rolling Stone writer Hunter S. Thompson to describe his (often extreme) reporting. The word is attributed to Thompson, but it was first used by Boston Sunday Globe reporter Bill Cardoso who, after reading Thompson's infamous Scanlan Monthly article on the Kentucky Derby, proclaimed "That is pure Gonzo!" According to Cardoso, 'Gonzo' is South Boston Irish slang describing the last man standing after a drinking marathon.[1] ( Thompson himself would instigate events, often in a prankish or belligerent manner, and then document both his actions and those of others. The term has also come into (sometimes pejorative) use to describe journalism (or generally any writing) that is broadly in the vein of Thompson's writing, characterized by a drug-fueled, stream of consciousness technique.

The intention of this is partly to involve the audience in the action, in a manner similar to the theater technique of breaking the fourth wall, but it is also economical as no one has to remember any lines.

It is interesting to note that the "Gonzo fist" has six fingers as opposed to the regular five. According to (, this is "...a symbol of freak power."

The Gonzo Brand logo. The Gonzo hand is a two-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button.

If I might boil it down to my beliefs, the following phrases capture the essence for me: marathon drinking, prankish and belligerent, drug fueled, peyote button, freak power and the obligatory fourth wall.  As a former attendee at Arizona State University, I attempted to join the Apache Tribe as peyote is a religious offering similar to the cardboardish wafer of my current religion.  Yes, I placed one button on my tongue and was catching fish with Jesus the Christ himself.  (Note to Wino John, can you have your patent attorney lock up the trademark, Jesus the Christ Fishing Tackle™.(Note to WinoBob: You're going to hell...)

I guess the real reason I will now call myself "gonzo" is that my drunken rambling will be something more than just my drunken ramblings.  And when WJ bitches out my lack of grammar, sentence structure, spelling and intellectual thought, I will merely hold up my two thumbed fist and yell out, “Gonzo, Baby, Gonzo.”

R.I.P. or at least in a field of peyote buttons and single malt scotch, Hunter S. Thompson.

1997 Nederburg Private Bin Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon     A gift from Big Bob, this Nederburg Auction Wine is a well-crafted blend of two grapes I appreciate.  A thrill ride of dark fruit, black currant, coffee and spice with nicely tamed tannins.  A treat.

March 5, 2005

Where are the simple days, heading out to the park for a pick up game of basketball, hanging out down by Clarks Pond talking about the hot chick in math class, sitting in Brookdale Park and wondering what that cloud looks like?.  Then come jobs and life and responsibilities and the best friends you had in school head in different directions, physically or socially.  Fortunately, I had very few friends in high school so for me keeping in touch is easy, “You don’t call me and I won’t call you and we’ll see each other once a year for dinner.”  Try as we might, what starts out as a promise for the end of January, bleeds into the spring or summer at times.  Last night, not wanting this yearly tradition to fade, I had dinner with my oldest friend from high school.  Older and mellower, we ate at a sushi place in East Hanover.  Never having been there before, I wasn’t sure how authentic it would be, but as I sat at the table and looked at the other diners, I thought I could have been in Osaka.  He and I were the only round eyes in the joint.  The place was packed and the food was great, I enjoyed a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc with the eda mane and fried bean curd appetizer.  My main meal was two different specialty rolls and they were well proportioned for their price and tasty as sin. 

After we ate, we headed down to JR’s and did what old men do, we bought cigars and a nice bottle of California Cabernet and laughed about the shit we did as precocious youngsters.  During high school we were inseparable, as we played football and ran track together or took our hot Bloomfield babettes to the Royal theater for a movie and attempts at some teenage groping (our dates, not each other).  Though as high school geeks, we spent more time talking and less time actually groping (our dates, not each other).  His older sister was hot, so I loved going over to his house and hanging out, in hopes I could run my smooth Wino Bob lines on his college age sis.  As you can imagine, the tolerant pat on the head in a dismissive manner put me right back into my pimply faced place, as my crackly voice called out “Mary Ann you are soooo cool.”  I get douche chills just thinking about it.

It was a running conversation picked up where we left off last year and will continue next January or February or March.  I enjoyed a nice Fuente Churchill with a Maduro wrapper and I picked a bottle that was made for a special celebration.  We toasted to our health, and our families and our friendship that has endured over the hills, valleys, mesas and rivers for thirty years.  We are not as close as we were in our twenties, but we did a lot of growing up together.  So, I toast my friend, old high school buddy, that we may be alive 45 years hence to celebrate together and drink a nice California cabernet and smoke a pleasurable cigar, through our tracheotomy blow holes.  May you all have a friend, who has seen you naked in the boy’s locker room in tenth grade, and decided to stay friends any way.  And to the old gang that hung at Brookdale Park, or Rock Bottom, or Foley Field, let us never forget where we have come from, and appreciate the journey that has brought us to where we are today. And to my buddy’s sister, who was nice enough to let us borrow her car and cruise Broad Street on Saturday nights, I want to unburden my soul after thirty years.  It wasn’t mud on the passenger car door that Sunday morning in May when you bitched your brother out.  No, it was the contents of my stomach from a Saturday night of Southern Comfort and Rolling Rock and seeing who could drink the most Flaming Arrows in 5 minutes.  For those not familiar with the ritual, you all get a shot glass, and a nip of Southern Comfort, pour up a short, light it on fire, down it and quench the flames off your face with a beer, while chanting the “Oh can you do a flaming arrow, flaming arrow, oh yes can you do the flaming arrow” song.  Now that I think about it, except for the varsity jacket not fitting anymore and there is no one else here on a Saturday night, my life hasn’t changed much. 

2003 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc ?   A crisp, tart, refreshing SB with nice grapefruit and lime flavors, this wine was a treat with the sushi meal I had.

2000 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (55.00)   A nice offering of dark cherry, tobacco, and cassis with a velvety long stride on the finish.  A great bottle for a celebration.   

March 2, 2005

You know you have friends when your posting hasn’t changed in awhile and they email to make sure you’re alive.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen to me.  No, I went 8 days between posts without the least of contacts.  Hey, it’s a Whining column.  Fortunately, Big Bob read about the lack of wine consumption on my part during my Geek trip and extended an olive branch, actually a vine, and asked Wino John and I if we would like to meet the winemaker from Torres. 

Let me think, head home to shovel more snow and then retire to the dark dull third floor room and eat a grilled cheese sandwich, or head to a nice restaurant and sample a flight of Torres wines with comments by the winemaker.  The 8 inches of snow looks exciting, but I’m sure it will be there when I get home.  Off to dinner and an evening to make up for the lack of wine in California.  Taxi!  Taxi!

Big Bob and his NY counterpart, the French-speaking Bordeaux-bloodline, Louie, were already at the bar with Christian Gonzalez of Miguel Torres and this young lady ----->
(Actually she wasn’t at the restaurant, I took her picture from the Torres web site.)
But we did find a suitable replacement. -----> 

Since Wino John always has to make a grand entrance, he sat out in his expensive sports car for 10 minutes while we had a beer and got to know one another.  For some reason, the seating arrangements at the bar didn’t allow much social intercourse (me, empty seat, Big Bob, the well dressed Louie and Christian), so I sipped my beer and watched TV.  Finally, WJ made his Hollywoodesque entrance and we were good to go into the dining room for our sensory titillation and intense, pedantic wine dissection.  OK, they talked wine while I tried to interject lines from the movie Sideways to make like I actually know about wine.  Sideways was a topic as the increase in Pinot Noir sales has Big Bob dancing the Happy Pinot dance.  As Big Bob tried to quiet me quickly, he pulled a cornucopia of Torres wines out of his satchel and suddenly, I saw myself running with the bulls in a white shirt and red bandana. Olé!  While we browsed the menu, we lined up the offerings shortest to tallest, weakest to strongest, white wines through reds. 

We enjoyed the first three wines before I even decided on my main course, but knowing Torres’ wines on the red side of the spectrum, I knew it would be some slice of bloody dead cow.  Now I hate to be too hard on new friends and a potential new source for wine, but I am not much of a white wine drinker so the first batch didn’t stir my loin, though the new Winette we met did. --->

2003 Vina Esmeralda - Summer chick wine all the way.  A blend of 85% Moscatel and 15% Gewurztraminer.  Light and floral.  Serve well chilled.

2003 De Casta - Its a Rose, not white Zin, made from 65% Garnacha Tinta and 35% Carinena and is dry, crisp and a nice wine for summer grilling or hanging on the porch.  Serve well chilled.

2002 Gran Vina Sol - 85% Chardonnay and 15% Parellada made in a bigger style with a nice oak influence for a buttery feel and peach and vanilla flavors.

Politely, I drank.  Actually, I wanted to lubricate the system so the reds would more easily enter my bloodstream.  Note to the readers:  It was around this time that a table of Sideways enthusiasts sat within eye sight.  Being caught in the mass hysteria of Paul Giamatti’s Pinot pedance, they ordered a Pinot which turned out to be one of Big Bob's wines  The good will ambassador of Pinot, Big Bob stopped by their table several times to enlighten, educate, and to warn them not to listen to the off-color comments about the thinned-skinned, fussy grape that WJ and I were making.  Sideways, forward or reverse, Pinot is just one of those grapes that can be affected by the temperature of the picker’s hands or the amount of sweat dripping off his brow into his basket. 

Just in time, my musculin salad dressed with gorgonzola arrived and I ditched the Gan Vina Sol like a matador’s Veronica and dressed in my best Traje de luces I performed a estocada recibido on the first of the Torres reds.

2000 Gran Sangre de Toro - Like the plaza de toros, this wine is the ring, the place, the starting point of reds blended with 60% Garnacha, 25% Carinena and 15% Syrah.  The black cherry and spice handled the gorgonzola like a banderillero.  I could drink this wine every night if I had some.

To cleanse our palates before the main event, before the Torero met the Toro, we enjoyed a step up the ladder to a cabernet-based red. 

2000 Gran Coronas - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Tempranillo with an offering of red and black fruit and an under tone of Mocha, I would bring this one to a BYOB with friends.

As conversation flowed..., well..., as the wine flowed, Christian kept trying to get Big Bob’s attention in hopes of changing his seat (which was next to mine) to Big Bob’s seat which was across the table.  Big Bob just kept ignoring these signals, as he, too, is fed up with sitting next to me.  Christian politely listened to my prattling and leaned across my plate to invite Wino John to Spain for a visit to the vineyards.

As the main course arrived, the waiter placed steaks in front of Wino John, BB, Christian and me, as WJ’s new best friend proceeded to uncork the jewel of the picador, a 1975 Gran Coronas which they located during their activities earlier in the day.  Then, the waiter placed an entire pizza in front of Louie.   Now that’s a wine-confident guy, ordering pizza with the 1975 Gran Coronas.  See, I wouldn’t have thought of that.   With the skill of a matador, Christian extracted a fading cork, carefully protecting the Mother’s Milk inside.  The condition of the cork had us anxious as to the structure of the wine, but Bacchus himself smiled upon the Columbia Inn and allowed us a treat of treats.  Wow.  Though the color had faded and the wine was making its last stand, it delivered a big nose and a delightfully jammy fig- and plum-flavored beverage with similarities to an Oporto.  A friend of the rib eye, I wanted to bathe in the bowl of my glass.  With her ----->

Christian then put us in our Back-to-the-Future vehicle and Wino John produced 1.21 gigawatts of power so we could enjoy the 24 year younger version of the bottle we were drinking. 

1999 Mas La Plana - Penedes is as Penedes does and Cabernet Sauvignon is its Gump.  Though this one needs time to settle the aggressive tannins and develop the fruit, it has nice potential for a real winner 5 years from now.  

Color me jaded, color me biased, color me drunk, but the wines of Miguel Torres are a charming change from the Rioja standards.  Pacs del Penedes is a region for the cab lovers in the crowd and the Torres family knows how to do it.  I found the experience scintillating and think that one day, Christian and I will be hanging out.  I’ll go to Spain and see a bullfight and, the next time he’s in the US, I’ll take him to NASCAR.  If Wino John’s going, I’m finding a way to tag along….


Nasty props to BigBob, Christian and Ryan for the great fun, food and wine.

March 1, 2005

As you can tell, I had a lapse in posting.  Last week I was on a Geek trip in the land of fruits and nuts and vines.  Unfortunately, my 6 days in California, left me with little wine time.  Actually, I drank a volume two nights, but one was a house and the other night was a wine I’ve had before.  Having to do company dinners and set scheduled events, the free time was minimal.  The nicest place I had dinner at was Mr. Stox in Anaheim. 

"An award-winning Gold Medal restaurant, Mr. Stox is known for classic California cuisine including homemade breads, fresh pasta, prime New York steaks, lamb, veal, and seafood. Featuring a choice of dining rooms, each with its own atmosphere yet all equally elegant, Mr. Stox also boasts a wine cellar with over 900 wine choices, recognized as one of the best in the world."

Since this was a small private party, they offered a Cabernet and a Chardonnay.  The Cab I drank was the 2002 BV Coastal.  It was enjoyable, as it was provided by the host and I went with the Prime Rib to slow down my drinking.  The word I heard about Mr. Stox that intrigued me is that you can have a wine locker there.  I knew of this from a time my father had dined there and his host had a wine locker they selected from.  When Bacchus opened and I was “in”, I tried to get them to set up this type of program.  Joe the Wineguy told me they didn’t have a large enough wine cellar to set something like this up, but it was a nice idea.  Do any California readers know if Mr. Stox still offers the wine locker program?  It might be a fun thing to do for my once a year trip to Geekdom in Ca.  I like this place, but do not know if I could afford dinner there myself.

February 28, 2005

And the winner is...

<strong>Writing (Adapted Screenplay)</strong> 

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

• "Before Sunset"

• "Finding Neverland"

• "Million Dollar Baby"

• "The Motorcycle Diaries"


What the hell is the matter with the Academy?  Screen play adapted"?  Are they not drinking wine at the voting meeting?  Come on people!  California, wine, movies, this could have been the right place at the right time.  The first problem was that Paul, son of Bart, did not get a nomination.  It seems that Howard Hughes still casts a spell over Tinsel Town.  Which was even funnier as Sixty Minutes did a piece on Howard Hughes being the reason that President Nixon schemed up the break-in plot at the DNC office in the Watergate Hotel, leading to his resignation.  Last night Mr. Hughes’ ghost ran the show. 

It seems the Academy also snubbed the French-residing Johnny Depp.  Is there an anti-wine theme running through the voters, an anti-wine consuming region theme, or were Sideways and Finding Neverland loved by the people and not by the industry? 

Personally, I think it revolves around Pinot Noir.  What do the French-residing Johnny Depp and Sideways have in common?  Yes, the Pinot and, as we know, its such a delicate, thin skinned, cantankerous bugger and so is the grape.

February 20, 2005

Though I have banned them from actually having access to this site, I want to wish my folks a Happy Anniversary as tomorrow, February 21st, I will be far too busy to contact them.  Here’s wishing a day of slaking and snagging all night long.  Dad, remember, no trapeze this year.  Mom’s liable to break a hip.  I have to call my siblings and ask them if they think the old folks still do the nasty. 

I just realized something other than the fact I am not supposed to think about my 70 plus year old parents snordling.  I just realized that I am screwed this June.  God damn it, my June is going to be totally F’ed.  I always look forward to hockey and June is the month I start paying attention to it.  Jiminy Christmas, do they need to play a season from November through May, just to eliminate 4 teams from the play off picture?  Here’s a novel idea, make hockey be more like rugby.  If you don’t make the playoffs, they drop you to minor league status and you have to win your way back into contention.  Here’s another novel idea for sports in general, don’t guarantee large salaries.  Make it more like the real world, give them decent money, then have them establish MBO’s to receive bonuses that would be the big bucks.  Does a guy play better if he earns 20 million a year or two million then has to produce to get the other 18 million? 

I found something in my mail the other day that has me freaked out a bit.  There was a copy of Details magazine with my name and address on it.  I never ordered this, in fact, I haven’t ordered a magazine in the mail since junior high school when we had to sell magazine subscriptions and I happened to address the Playboy to myself.  It was cool until the day my grandmother (yes, the one I walked in on in the bathroom) got to the mailbox first and dropped all the mail on the kitchen table in front of my mom.  I tried to explain it was for an art project, that we were studying the female form, but that didn’t fly.  “Does that mean I have to give back the coffee mug I won for selling the most subscriptions?” 

I digress.  I spent a sober Sunday combing through the checkbook and credit card receipts to make sure I didn’t order it during a drunken stooper.  (Yes, Wino Wally, my tilted, drunk, lamppost hugging posture)  So, I assume it was sent to me by someone, most likely my stylish, wealthy younger brother who always makes it seem like I am Jed Clampett showing up when I meet him in the city.  I’m seriously thinking he is trying to impart the “happening” scene thing on me.  So last night, I took the magazine into the bathroom with me so I could do a little reading and, Holy Crap Marie.  This magazine covers all the trendy things you should be doing and wearing and saying and all the hot spots you should be hanging out at and all the hot stars that are on the move.  Let me start out by saying, if I had $2,105.00 to buy a sport coat, I’d be buying a car.  Who the fuck are the people that can afford a shirt for more than 19.99?  Shoes, watches, gloves, sound systems, cologne, you name it, this magazine covers what is in.  So I guess I am out.  There were some nice things I saw, but be serious, the total on the one casual outfit they had on this dude was 7,400.00.  My first three cars didn’t cost me that much, and do I really need a crystal paper clip holder for my desk at a mere 1,400.00? 

The other trend I guess I am too out of it to realize is that the show Desperate Housewives is ruining my masculinity.  Note to the author of the article, Desperate Housewives is not ruining my masculinity since I have never seen the show.  I do admit, I goggled Teri Hatcher naked once, but that was during her days as Superman’s damsel in distress.  The only other person I can connect to the show is Nicolette Sheridan, because of the Monday Night Football opening with her naked in the locker room pouncing on Tyrell Owens and the entire flap that came out of it.  Are you ready for some Desperate Housewives naked chicks?  Note to Wino John, we need to see if Teri Hatcher has naked pictures drinking wine and she can be our next wino babe of the month.  (Editor's note:  I could probably bikinitize the following picture.  The crack WinoStuff censors may not allow me to nakedize it...)  

Teri Hatcher, out of control at the last WinoStuff Christmas party...

So, I guess, I prefer cotton t-shirts and washed out Levi’s to Polo and Armani.  And I prefer simple BYOBs over the trendy hot spots of the City, and I like reasonably priced red wines rather than overpriced Bordeaux.  If the magazine comes next month, I will scour it to see what I am not, but the thing that most concerns me is how in the hell anyone could remember what designer to wear for shoes, but who’s out for suits and who’s in for shirts, but where not to be seen this month.  No, I will continue to weave my way home from Costa’s with a different bottle of ten dollar wine and sit at home, and taste, in my crappy old sweater and jeans. 

2002 Chaddsford Proprietor’s White $    A blend of Pennsylvania’s favorite grapes offers up a tropical fruit and citrus wonder with decent acidity and a finish of melon.

February 19, 2005

Every once in awhile, you have to sit back and have a simple dinner with a nice glass of wine.  Unfortunately, I could never get to that point.  This week, WJ and I actually had to meet and drink wine.  Yes, we had a tasting commitment and we had to find time in our busy schedules.  Actually, I am available at the drop of a hat since I really have nothing important in my life, but WJ is a very import business executive.  Finding the only two-hour opening in his much-committed life, we agreed on a day and time.  I took to the Internet to find a BYOB somewhere in between he and me.  One of the NJ restaurant guides presented choices by county, or cuisine, so I hunted through the descriptions to see which were BYOB.  It turned out that there was one that fit best so I emailed WJ the info and we were set.  Except for the fact that the restaurant was closed on a Wednesday, at 6:45PM.  What the F%$@?  Closed, dark, locked down.  Crap, what the hell are we going to do now? 

Fortunately, within two miles, you can throw a rock in any direction in NJ and hit a small strip mall containing an Italian restaurant that is BYOB.  Not being far from several I was familiar with, we caravanned over to Marra’s, an Italian Restaurant in a small strip mall in NJ.  To be clear, I use the word caravan in the descriptive form of several cars in a row, as opposed to me or WJ owning a Dodge caravan.  Geekdom and all, I would not own a caravan.  Marra’s was packed, which simply means that the other 10 tables were full, but we were able to secure the last remaining place to park and eat.  Glances and murmurs greeted us as the two of us sat down and placed more bottles then bodies on the white linen table cloth.  Oh my God, those gay guys are alcoholics.  Why do people take in stride two women dining at a quite, candlelit table, but point, stare and snicker when to neat thin gentlemen dine at a cozy, candlelit table?  Hey, that was the last table in the place, how did I know it was the “lovers” special.

Nonetheless, undaunted, we proceeded to open and drink and ignore the discomfort of the regulars.  Actually, Marra’s is a great place and the food is delicious.  At the end of the meal, Wino John actually agreed to review one of the wines, so I will not be addressing that one.  Panic set in when one of the other bottles was corked. We panicked since we brought it and couldn’t send it back for another.  Which left us with the bottle I will comment on.  

And to careless web sites with dead links and bad information, get your shit together before I report you to Al Gore.  For those of you who don’t listen to the left wing, hate spewing ramblings on Air America, they reported on Friday that Al is still seeking gainful employment, but as a filler job for his resume, he has declared himself Head of Internet Policing of Policy, Organizational Content, Regulations and Text, or as we like to call him HIPPOCRT.

2001 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $ (11.99)   Nice, this wine hands you a solid everyday wine with black fruit, cassis and vanilla on the finish.  A wine I could bring to a BYOB or sit at him with as I cruise porn on the Internet.

February 13, 2005

Since three bottles for the crowd on Friday night, doesn’t seem like 'more bottles than bodies', two wines were not new to the reviews so I didn’t include them and this last one I hadn’t finished.  We hit the point where we opened it, took a few sips and passed out.  So into the refridge it went and I tasted it, well actually finished the bottle, off on Saturday.  I am actually glad; I didn’t dump this one out, as under a lifted fog, I saw this one more clearly on Saturday.  I was so wine-soaked on Friday that I most likely would have rated this lower. I am glad the instinct of wine sense kicked in and overrode the haze of drunkenness.

In addition, we had dinner Saturday night at the Court Jester Café in the lobby of the Sheraton Tara in Parsippany.  Let me send out a big FU to them.  The wine selection sucks and the balls of you to charge $9.00 per glass for Parallel 45.  I could by the GD bottle retail for $7.99.   FU.

2001 L de Lyeth Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $ (11.00)     A weighty wine with good mouth feel and flavors of plum and black currant.  A smooth silky finish with nice length.

February 12, 2005

It's a good thing those pills the doctor gave me worked last night, as a 'more bottles than bodies' Friday night found Wino Rocker making himself at home on the couch.  God forbid I had my brain turn into 'my brain on wine' after the gang cleared.  The angora body-haired Wino Rocker lends a great deal of credibility to Charles Darwin’s theory that we climbed down from the trees and onto the Savannas of Africa.  That man could send an electrolysis technician’s kid to Harvard with the amount of treatments he would need to resemble modern man.

Speaking of Charles Darwin, I believe today is his birthday, which should fuel the debate on creation versus evolution.  Did we evolve from that organic scum that floated on top of the ocean for millions of years, or did God indeed rip the rib from Adam, spit on the dirt and sculpt Eve to be weak and betray the eternal bliss of Eden we were granted, by falling to a cleaver talking snake that caused her to eat a snack between meals?  Thanks, you bitch, we could have all been living in Paradise, but you fell for a talking snake.  Think about it, it’s a snake, God damn it.  When have you seen any snake or any other animal for that matter, talk?  Do you have teenagers? Christ, they barely speak and they are human!  How in the hell could you be fooled into taking advice from a reptile that smells by lashing out its tongue?  It doesn’t have a nose, why would it have vocal cords?

To make matters worse, as soon as she bites the apple, they look at each other and realize they are naked and go and put fig leaves on their danger zones.  Do you know what life would be like, living in Paradise, naked?  Just think what the Wino Babes of the Month would look like, no thongs here.  And the Janet Jackson boob thing wouldn’t have us rewriting the First Amendment.  Let’s think about this, if we evolved we would still be walking up to chicks, mounting them and they would in turn pick the lice off my body.  No, that’s not my lifestyle.  So we must have been created, because I do not live in Paradise and the women in the neighborhood all walk around in clothing to hide their hey-nanny-nannies.  OK, so I was created in the likeness of God, but Wino Rocker, he definitely looks like a silverback.  Come to think of it, I’m missing several bananas from the fruit bowl on the kitchen table.

2002 Chaddsford Winery Proprietors Reserve Red $ (gift)   This red blend from the best known winery in Penn, is a light, spicy red that is easy to drink with decent fruit and a soft structure.  Not bad for the region.

2002 Santa Ema Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Miapo Valley $ (9.99)   Cabernet from Chile is becoming a habit.  This is a nice wine with plenty of mocha, cassis and tobacco.  The finish offers up a touch of vanilla and the tannins, unlike Wino Rocker, visit and leave.

2002 Michele Chiarlo Barbera D’Asti Superiore Le Orme $ (11.99)    A nice wine for the price showing bright cherry, ripe raspberry and grape jam with mild sweet earth hints and a touch of tar. In the mouth it has a smooth texture with very clean fruit. A nice example pf Piedmont’s other grape.

February 9, 2005

Wine is a key that unlocks my ability to suppress the juvenile reactions in me, like when you see someone trip or hear a word, that as an adult, we stoically process the information and move on.  However, with me, my brain pictured here has a tendency to revert to junior high school humor no matter what the setting.

Finding myself laughing inappropriately, for an adult, at words and situations, I went to a doctor who immediately sent me for an MRI, to see if they could find any area of my brain which was under- or over-active, just before the doctor hit the floor he handed me the result.  This is my brain on wine.


So I come to this entry with a note from my doctor explaining it is not in my composition to let easy sexual innuendo or humor pass without comment, tune out if you must, but I have duly warned you.

Congratulations to our yellow friends, all 2.4 billion of them as today is the Chinese New Year, 4703.  For those of you who follow the squints, they use animal symbols to represent some ancient cultural thing for what type of year you will have.  This year is the year of the Cock, they say Rooster, but we all know they are just trying to be politically correct.  Our friends at the Rainbow Winery, the all-gay winery WJ named WOTM in his attempt to touch his lighter side, were prancing around excitedly as this for them will be a big year.  Sparkling wine corks popped deep into the night as they promised to soak up all the Rooster (euphemism) they could get this year.  Currently under development is their new wine rack which holds just one bottle, but boy oh boy does it promise an evening you will never forget…

Which brings me to my next topic.  Coincidently, today is Ash Wednesday for all good Catholics.  Yes, this 40-day period of reflection, atonement and new fad dieting had me thinking about the Pope, and Italy and Italian wine.  Now first, I do need to wish the Polish Pope the very best as his health is ailing, though he did email that the wino babes of the month have his heart beating more regularly, but it may be time to park the Pope Mobile and head off to Pope retirement in the old Pope’s home.  I get to thinking about Italian red wine and the WOTM being Chianti.  The Italians make quality wine and they denote their quality wine from the Chianti region with a DOCG symbol as pictured below.

Now why, I ask my wine soaked over-active medulla oblongata, would anyone place a black Rooster on their Chianti bottles?  So I do a bit of research and find out that the Rooster (euphemism) is said to be independent and flamboyant, unwavering, hard working with a flare of confidence.

The year 1924 saw the formation of the Consorzio per la difesa del vino tipico del Chianti, a group taking as its symbol the black cockerel, the Gallo Nero still seen on all bottles today.

As you can see, today is full of Rooster (euphemism) and to my Winette friends who were born under the symbol of the Cock (they rotate the animals every twelve years so I am not referring to girls born this year), I say, grab a bottle of Chianti, Da Vinci might just be right, and enjoy the knowledge that a black cock is guaranteeing you the best there is to offer.

February 5, 2005

I became concerned last night while sitting in front of the TV watching a show regarding the dark period in America.  No, not the Revolutionary War, nor the War of 1812.  The Civil War gets close, but from what this show presented, I have the impression the Civil War behaviors lead to this very dark, depressing time in our country’s history.  I speak of the actions of the sexually frustrated, PMS-suffering, hatchet-wielding antics of Carry Amelia Moore Nation.  This psycho bitch is credited with a red state bible thumping, the likes we could not think of today.  It seems Ms. Nation set out to rid the world of the pleasures of enjoying a little drink, a little heavy petting and a fleeting moment of mutual dolphin flogging, if you get my point. 

So I did a little investigating into Ms. Nation’s background and clearly understand why she was so pissed off.  I submit this picture as it is worth 1000 words, none of which have anything to do with "happy", "sexy", "hot", "milf", "life-of-the-party", "babe-o-licious", "wino-babe-of-the-month" nor "slaking". 

Standing at nearly 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, Carry Amelia Moore Nation, Carrie Nation, as she came to be known, cut an imposing figure. Wielding a hatchet, she was downright frightful.

It seems Ms. Nation had a rough childhood.  Boo-hoo, who hasn’t?  Christ, I walked in on my grandmother taking a crap once when I was eight and I still have nightmares about it.  You don’t see me taking up a cause to rid the world of wrinkled old smelly people, nor am I throwing bricks through the Eljer factory window.  So she has this tough childhood and seeks refuge by marrying a Doctor, whom it turns out was an alcoholic.  Why in the hell else would he have considered marrying you?  At 6 feet, 180, there ain’t a whole lot of womanly things going on!  The poor guy had to be blind drunk to think that face was worth hooking up with.  Plus I am sure your bitchy attitude kept him hitting the bottle so he wouldn’t hit you.

Self-righteous and formidable, Nation mocked her opponents as "rum-soaked, whiskey-swilled, saturn-faced rummies."

Then there is this whole issue with how she spelled her first name.  She spelled it Carrie, her father spelled it Carry.  This ambiguity may have led to deep seeded sexual identity issues, especially when you are a 6-foot, 180 lb. chick in 1890.  Except for President Lincoln, I don’t think men in general were that tall in those days and look what happened to Lincoln.  There is a book out that claims (allegedly) he slept with a bunch of dudes.  Face it, he was shot in the theater.  What in the hell was going on at the turn of that century?  Thank God Bill Clinton used a cigar on a chick, a fat pig, but at least the DNA evidence says she’s a chick.  So her father is referring to her by the masculine spelling of Carrie and her mother goes through a period thinking she was Queen Victoria, and sending Carrie off to be looked after in the slave quarters.  I would rather have seen slave quarters then the likes of my 79-year-old grandmother reaching for some toilet tissue, Holy Crap Marie.

Amazingly, her first husband died and she was able to hook up with a lawyer, minister and newspaper editor.  And it is with Mr. Nation that Carrie, or Carry, or Karie, or PMS laden, hatchet-wielding bitch gets involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and busts up any saloon, beer keg and party spot her chubby legs could get her near.  Remember she’s 6-foot, 180 swinging a hatchet and throwing rocks, fueled by sexual frustration, cramps, heavy flow and not drinking to take the edge off. 

That is why I choose to drink and mellow the rough spots in life with wine.  Maybe I will never be recognized by a country for helping get an amendment to the constitution passed, unless of course, I could get Senator Corzine to pass a law prohibiting, tall, fat, PMS, dry bitches from hanging out in bars and restaurants.  What did I do with my list of Senator’s phone numbers?

2002 Laurel Glen Reds California Red $ ($8.99)    I will take this as an everyday drinking wine made from a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane.  This inky-dark purple wine shows a distinctly Zin-like personality.  Black cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose with hints of tar and tobacco give this wine an interesting depth.

February 3, 2005

In the strange-but-true category of wine and people and strange things people do with wine, this little item caught my eye.  I am always looking for new and exciting ways to enjoy the fruit of the vine and have talked about wine in cheese, wine with chocolate wine and health benefits, but it took a 42 year old woman from Texas to enlighten me of using wine to flush my brake lines, if you know what I mean…

Yes, a warm red rubber bag of wine, as this story shows, is not a cure for constipation, spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome, polyps, a hot Carl or a Dirty Sanchez.  Oh sure, it all starts out as fun and games, “Hey honey, you know what I feel like tonight?”  Then someone goes a bit too far by filling the bladder with not one, but two 1.5-liter bottles of that crappy fortified wine from Spain.  Next thing you know, some one gets drunk, really drunk, then dead.  After reading this, I have decided to stick to the cliché’s I know best, like having someone blow smoke up my ass.  At least there is a limit to how much smoke they could blow at one time. 

Woman Accused of Giving Lethal Sherry Enema

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas woman has been indicted for criminally negligent homicide for causing her husband's death by giving him a sherry enema, a police detective said on Wednesday.

Tammy Jean Warner, 42, gave Michael Warner two large bottles of sherry on May 21, which raised his blood alcohol level to 0.47 percent, or nearly six times the level considered legally drunk in Texas, police detective Robert Turner in Lake Jackson, Texas, told the Houston Chronicle.

"We're not talking about little bottles here," Turner said. "These were at least 1.5-liter bottles."

Warner, 58, was said to have an alcohol problem and received the wine enema because a throat ailment left him unable to drink the sherry, Turner told the newspaper.

"I heard of this kind of thing in mortuary school in 1970, but this is the first time I've ever heard of someone actually doing it," said Turner, who led the lengthy investigation in the case.

The woman admitted administering the enema, but denied causing her husband's death, the Chronicle said.

A dispatcher for the Lake Jackson police said only Turner could discuss the case, but he did not return phone calls from Reuters.

Along with negligent homicide, Mrs. Warner was indicted for burning her husband's will a month before his death. Both charges carry maximum penalties of two years in prison.

Mrs. Warner surrendered to police on Monday and was released on $30,000 bail, the newspaper said.

So now the big question... what brand of sherry did Mr. Warner enjoy at his last hooray, and is that company going to be dragged into a lawsuit as being partly responsible for not labeling their sherry with the following, soon-to-be-required warning label?

WARNING- this wine-based product is not intended to be enjoyed through your ass.  Drinking sherry through your ass constitutes a clear violation of the intended use of this product and may lead to fever, cramps, explosive diarrhea and death.  However, if you choose to drink our product through your ass, my we suggest a soft cheese like brie since Pecorino may be too sharp to ingest.  Drink responsibly, intended for mature audiences.

Overheard by one reporter was Mrs. Warner telling the officer she was innocent since she does not drink sherry.  It always left a bad taste in her mouth.  Hey don’t blame me for this one, I know the difference between my ass and my elbow and my mouth…. 

February 1, 2005

One month down and an exciting one coming up, stay tuned, winos.  Who knows, I just wanted a grabbing opening sentence.  Last night I got my advanced screening copy of the movie, Sideways.  OK, actually, as you know the movie has been out since October and made $40 million to date with it being recognized by the academy for best picture, best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best director.  How does that happen without Paul Giamatti getting consideration for best actor?

Anyway, with time to kill, last night I saw that Sideways had come to a theater near me, the crappy, small, cut-up warehouse being called a multiplex, within walking distance from Costa’s Wine shop so I used a ten-dollar bill to get in to see what the buzz was about.  Monday night downtown is less than exciting and I found myself seated alone, in the second to last row in a sparsely attended theater.  Three old folk couples dotted the rows in front of me and several small groups of women sprinkled the left side of the middle aisle.  With much anticipation, I sat through three previews and listened to the cackles of the two groups of woman friends that were out for a good night.  Interesting to me was the audience reaction to the movie.  I snickered to myself as the wine pedants guffawed, at every mention of a wine label, winery, or grape varietal.  The over-the-top, cliché tasting styles of Miles (Paul Giamatti) had three people in stitches, but for the most part appeared socially acceptable to the pedants.  Paul plays the part well, but it is not a stretch from the quirky, nerdy parts I have seen him play in American Splendor.  I found the storyline well worn but understand why Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) was recognized.  His character was the life and breath of an otherwise body at rest.  I was surprised to see them get through the censors, their drinking while driving and driving after mass consumption of wine.  That will be my next excuse when I get pulled over by the local authorities.  "No, really, Mr. Policeman, I was just reenacting the scene from Sideways after Miles leaves Stephanie’s house having consumed 6 bottles of wine between the four of them and the last bottle is shared by only me and Maya."

The very last scene sets the sequel, as the old folks clamored to know if Maya was home.  The biggest laugh I got was the burger and Cheval as the fried onion rings must have played nicely with the fare.  Maybe I have met too many people into wine that are too much like Miles and not enough people like Jack.  Oh, laugh two was the spit bucket at Frass Winery.  For the most part, it was OK, but Pinot Noir’s precious journey to becoming wine as a metaphor for Mile’s fragile existence left me searching for the quote Miles uses about toilet tissue floating out to sea.  Sideways seemed more mainstream tasting pedantic stereotyping then a deep life changing experience, or maybe its just sour grapes on my part…

January 24, 2005

Yoo Hoo, Mr. wine-drinking neighbors, it’s the traveling wino gnome, wanting to drink.  Actually, I went out Saturday to do the first pass of clean up and the neighborhood was dark.  It turned out that Sunday morning saw about an equal amount of material as Saturday.  Way more time was spent cleaning up, then drinking up.  So last night, after I bathed in Ben Gay (he said gay), I decided to soothe my sore muscles with a bottle of wine more upscale.  I grabbed a bottle of red from the techno dweeb.  When I say techno dweeb, though it does apply that WJ gave me this bottle during our holiday party, I am actually refereeing to the techno dweeb wine producer, E. Guigal.  We have written in the past that Philippe is a techno dweeb in his own right.  Bringing computers and software and what not into the mix makes this company one of the dweebiest, and as wine goes, the Rhone is one of my favoritest. 

Dinner be damned as I throw caution to the wind and matched my chicken parm and pasta with this Rhone dweeb.  I must tell you, I even treated myself to enjoy this in my Riedel Sommelier Series Syrah glass, woo hoo!  I’m runnin with scissors now.  I sat by myself, stinking like an old bastard, listening out my window for the cheers coming from the Eagle-loving Wino Lou’s house as he and most likely the rest of our neighbors watched the game on his 60 inch plasma HDTV, while I sat alone, drinking my Rhone, like a rolling stone…..

2001 E. Guigal Hermitage Rouge (it was a gift)     When I die, I want this wine dabbed behind each ear so when  they slam the lid on me, I will be perfumed in black currant, spice, cedar and vanilla and the feeling of dweeb love crafted into liquid heaven.  Enjoy this on a cold snowy night, alone, in front of a TV and the faint sounds of your neighbors having a party.

January 22, 2005

What is it with AWD or 4-wheel drive assholes that see snow and decide to drive all over town?  Don’t you know some of us are on potentially life critical missions as this blizzard of ’05 pounds our area?  You, a-hole, are out tooling around to see how well your all-terrain tires grip the snow-covered, unplowed, hilly back streets of Caldwell, while I am desperately trying to get to the store and secure necessary supplies for what may be a 24 hour snow storm.  Milk, bread, eggs- I guess old people love French toast when it snows, salt, snow shovels, snow blowers- I guess some people never think ahead.  Hey asshole, move your BMW X5 so I can park closer to the door!  I will be coming out with a handful of much needed… red wine.  OK, so I joined the ranks of SUV owners and clogged up Bloomfield Ave, so I could ensure I had enough red wine in the cellar in case I get snowed in, or better yet, a snow blower party spontaneously combusts this evening as males on the corner converge, engines screaming in the background, frozen snot hanging from the tips of our noses, and we make the command decision as to whose house we drink at tonight.  Fireplaces ablaze, potluck dinner and plenty of red wine are all I need to make it through a night like this.  Actually, as I wanted to place a small amount of anti-freeze in my blood lines, to keep them from freezing up later while I shovel, I cracked open an inexpensive Chianti to help me out. 

2002 Nando Chianti Classico $ (8.99)    Not bad as this wine offers up some nice raspberry, red cherry and a hint of vanilla with a balance of acidity that works well.  An everyday table wine, but don’t expect raves if you bring it to a dinner party.

January 21, 2005

I do not want to detract from the January 17th entry by posting this too closely to it, but since the January 17th update just got through the screening process of the censors, lawyers, editors and agents for the stars, it made me look like I fell down on the job.  As restrictions go, the legal, PR and management teams for Big Bob proved to be the most difficult.  They wanted final photo approval to insure Mr. Big’s image was not being used on a porn site, or worse, a bogus industry site.  How the hell does John Stewart make it look so easy?  His fake news has less restrictions than our fake news.  The one picture we could not use was of Bob and a friend, no wait, I apologize, that was the Sponge Bob picture we could not use.  Yes, since he is coming out of the sponge closest, we decided not to show the drunken Sponge soaking up the spills of red wine at the Bobby Valentine Event.  Just a question, is it right for a Sponge to have a best friend named Pink Starfish (I know the San Fran crowd gets the joke.  Do I need to spell it out for the rest of you)?  Sponge Bob was recently seen poking and prodding Pink Starfish.  Sponge Bob loves Pink Starfish.  Wow, this religious right thing could be funny.

Sorry, I had the news on and they were speaking about some issue with Sponge Bob promoting 'tolerance', code word for 'homosexual' in religious right decoder rings.  Heard breathing a sigh of relief was Tinkie Winkie, the gay Tele Tubbie. 

Anyway, I did drink a decent bottle of Italian red so here it is.

2001 Banfi Cum Laude $$ (29.99)     This is a nice baby super Tuscan from one of my favorite producers.  A blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 25% Sangiovese, and 15% Syrah.  It shows promise of red fruits and nice acidity but lacks the big lasting finish.  A wine well suited for red meat sauces and spicy sausage.

January 18, 2005

Holy crap Marie, what a night!  The fanfare, the food, the wines, the fawning crowds, the autograph seekers! OK, not for me.  No, my ego took a severe blow.  I wasn’t really part of the celebrity thing, but rather a person lucky enough to be an invited guest to a great affair.  Yesterday, Big Bob and I headed straight from our Martin Luther King Memorial celebration, to the northbound lanes of I-95 into the blue blood circulatory system of Connecticut.  Arriving out-of-town early, Big Bob headed to the event venue as I tagged along like a new puppy and headed up the escalator into the main room.  We were quickly greeted by the main man from Bevmax, Michael Berkoff, who graciously introduced us to the host and active fundraiser for the evening’s event, ex baseball player and manager, Bobby Valentine.  Here, before he figured out who I was, he graciously agreed to pose with me for a picture.

Several minutes after that picture, a man with an earpiece and walkie-talkie approached to inform me I was to keep 100 feet from Mr. Valentine.  So here it was, an hour before the official start of the event and Mr. Valentine’s security has me looking for the nearest mouse hole to hide until the crowd came and I would artfully blend into the blue blood wealthy, well dressed, good looking...  Never mind.  At best, I could duck in the crowd.  Fortunately, there was a familiar face that I could kill time with, my wine friend, Brian Badlowski (actually he’s WJ’s friend, but as you know, WJ has things going on so I was the default invitee).  Brian was sharing a table with the lovely and talented Kelly Winter, regional wine manager for Brescome Barton, a wholesaler from North Haven. 

Actually, I found my way over there as they were right next to the Moet & Chandon folks, and who doesn’t start their evening off with a nice heapin' helping of Dom Perignon.  Yes, the M&C folks were nice enough to hire two attractive pourers that obviously did not have inkling as to the value of the Dom and as I placed my full size wine glass out and it was filled to the brim.  Ah, my pee just went up to $7.50 per ounce.  As I found out, the wine offerings were both high in quality and generous in pour levels as we were treated to wines from around the globe.  Feeling more comfortable as the crowd swelled to near 1000, the band enhanced the mood and the seafood table opened.  I followed the industry lead of Big Bob and started drinking light to heavy at each of the 20 plus tables of wine.  Stopping only intermittently to lengthen my building second phase of alcohol effects by eating a gourmet offering of sushi, leg of lamb, braised beef, zinfandel glazed Kobe filet mignon, oysters, shrimp, lump crab and half a lobster.  I had too many wines to aptly comment on their qualities and nuances so I will run down the high lights:

  • Ferrari Carano Siena- at $19.99, a great wine

  • Duckhorn Paraduxx- big and bold

  • 2000 Phelps Insignia- I had to be escorted away from this table

  • 2002 Louis Jadot Santenay Clos De Malte- I drank this one for Big Bob

  • 2001 Jadot Gevrey Chambertin- as Pinot Noir goes, much more my style

  • 2001 BV Sterling SVR- not much interest here

  • 2001 BV Dulcet Reserve- solid

  • 2001 BV Tapestry- liquid heaven

  • 2002 Tacama Selection Especial- raspberry and blackberry nose

  • 2000 Antinori Villa Red IGT- acerbic

  • 2000 Antinori Tignanello- deliciously fruity and artfully complex

  • 2002 Antinori Guado Al Tasso- no badger tasked this good by a river…  (Editor's note:  What???)

  • 2002 Antinori Pian Brunello di Montalcino- well crafted

  • Robert Mondavi- my sample of Oakville and Bob’s Napa Cab both carried an off odor.  We passed.

  • Leonardo LoCascio Allegrini Amarone- a fig tree in your mouth

  • 2001 Sequoia Grove Napa Cabernet Sauvignon- nice cab with mint and blackberry

  • 1999 Frogs Leap Beuhler Estate Cabernet Sauvignon- Beuhler, Beuhler, anyone.. don’t miss this one

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Reserve Syrah- bland

  • Kendall Jackson - I passed……..

  • Jorge Ordonez Wrongo Dongo- Mourvedre in an approachable style

  • Foley Rancho Santa Rosa Syrah- this delivered a style I look for in my syrah, dark plum and spice

  • 2000 Quintessa- I went back for seconds

  • Da Vinci Reserva- WJ’s little find

So as you might expect, I drank what I could of the generous pourings, not to be rude to anyone by spitting out a mouthful of $89.00 wine.  Too little food and too much alcohol turned me into one of the guys I was watching all night, making fun of.  What is it that makes a 40, or 50, or 60 year old businessman chase an athlete, tap him on his shoulder, hug him, pat him, and look at him with sweet sixteen first love eyes?  Unlike me, it wasn’t the alcohol that caused this either, since the first moment one of the celebs walked into the room, small crowds of grown men gathered just to touch, be close to, and have their picture taken with them. 

So 22 sips of wine later, and the rib poking of Big Bob, he grabbed my digital camera from me and turned me into that “GUY”, that fanatical sports nut who needs proof for his friends and readers that he really is not lying and he did meet Tiki Barber and Phil Simms.  No really, I told Tiki, congrats on the record as many more intelligible humans communicated thanks for his support to the charity.  Through the crowd of nearly 1000, I chased the sports stars on the move to get into a position for a quick photo as Big Bob kept egging me on.  Two things I came out with from the experience, Phil Simms, a hero of mine as he brought the great Big Blue machine to the Super Bowl in 1986, seemed bothered and not really interested in interacting with the people.  Tiki Barber, the current rushing record holder for the Giants, has the best tailor and the finest quality material of the suits in the room.  As I was caught up in getting behind the sports stars and patting them on the shoulder so they would turn to look towards me as BB snapped the picture.  Unfortunately, I am so NOT in, there were people in the crowd, standing next to me at times that I did not know who they were.  I missed out on some people like Gerry Cooney and Armen Kytillian (spelling).  Actually, I did get more attention from the crowd than Charles Groden, the toupee-wearing father of the St. Bernard in the movie Beethoven.  Unfortunately, my attention was when I was escorted away from the hot chicks glugging out the Dom.

Here I am with Tiki      and Phil     

But after all the sports stars and fan fare, I guess the best part of the night was just hanging with my wino friends, (yes, Kelly, you are now an official Winette) and drinking a nice glass of affordable wine.  Many thanks to Michael Berkoff, Brian Badlowski and Big Bob.  I hope the event was successful and raised a good deal of money for the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund


January 17, 2005

Happy Martin Luther King Day!  Yes, President Lincoln’s birthday is now rolled into a general President’s day, but the kids are off and the malls are offering great specials for MLK day.  Anyway, I am off to the big event to see how the rich and famous live, though this weekend, I had a glimpse of that when my younger, wealthier younger brother treated us to a Broadway show and dinner at the Spice Market.  It seems that since we were rejected last summer, he has developed an in at this John George eatery in the meat packing district of NYC.  The city was a buzz on Saturday night and the funniest thing we saw was a movie crew setting up a shot outside the first floor window of a building on 15th, but the backdrop was of the upper floors of the NY skyline.  Ah, the magic of Hollywood.  Since I was designated driver, I drank diet coke at the Spice Market, but I did look at their eclectic, over priced wine list.  Last night I did get home and opened a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  Unfortunately, I did not drink much of it.

2003 Brampton Sauvignon Blanc $ (9.99)   If you are looking for zest and citrus, stay far away from this South African SB, it isn’t hiding anywhere in the bottle.

January 14, 2005

Hey now, the world order is spinning in reverse, aligning itself closer to normalcy.  Primarily, to WJ’s dad, I wish a speedy recovery.  The rye farmers do not know what to do with their excess grain.  Actually, now that I am thinking this through, the first order towards normalcy should be the fact that the Wino Babe of the Month is actually female and a snappy little dish if I must say so.  The Big Bob thing was all wrong for a wine site that openly mocks Pinot Noir.  I say, more females in thongs is more GOODER.  Reading up on WJ’s new squeeze, I see she is into the champagne sabering thing.  Maybe I could get a few lessons, as my initial attempts ended with blood and broken glass.  More normalcy came in the form of the What’s New carrying a 2005 date stamp.  However, the most interesting item I discovered when catching up on Wino John’s whereabouts was that he had a bottle of Da Vinci Chianti.  I too had one, not with Wino John as he had the reserve and has yet to invite me to his palatial estate.   Also, he could afford the reserve and he had some reasons behind selecting it.  I, on the other hand stumbled upon it, as it was the closest wine to the checkout stand at Food Town that was less than ten dollars.  I did not read the Da Vinci Code, nor am I a member of the secret order of the Raccoon Lodge (Norton, I will never woo-woo you again…Hey Ralph, woo-woo).  My selection was the after thought of a quick trip to Food Town to pick up some fettuccini for dinner the other evening. 

As you can see, the new year is here, and we have rededicated ourselves to bringing the most entertaining,  most timely, made up wine information in the world as we continue to build our audience and be ignored by the mainstream wine community.  I look forward to drinking a lot, rambling incoherently and being choked by at least two important wine industry people this year.  Now if only Wino Wally would take me seriously about starting our own wine label, life would be a bowl of dark cherries, tobacco, smoke, saddle leather and barnyard.

2003 Da Vinci Chianti $ (9.99)   An enjoyable wine with a nice balance of fruits like red cherry and plum cloaked in a snappy, vibrant finish.  A wine I will be enjoying at one of the 300 BYOB Italian restaurants on my block.

January 10, 2005

So last night, after the football games were over, I fired up the computer to see if WinoJohn’s page has changed.  Not yet, so I started clicking around some of my bookmarks, looking for..., uh, well, you know…   Hey, check the stats!  I am not the only one in the world on the internet looking for interesting information.  ne of my inquiries about 'wine highlights', a site I have been on before (not for wine info, but for salacious dirt on celebrities) came up.  Yes, from time to time, I click on a site called The Smoking Gun and it has details of things like contract disputes and lawsuit details, blah, blah, blah.  The interesting thing about last night’s search is that the words 'Pinot Noir' were in bold on this page.  What page you ask?  Well, I will tell you, the "Michael Jackson alleged touching of young boys" page.  It seems that the wine (the Jesus Juice that WJ reported on months back) was identified in the evidence list collected at the last alleged sweeping of his alleged love nest, allegedly.   For legal reasons, I will be throwing in the alleged word in any form necessary to make it clear that he might not really have slept in the same bed with a size small, white Hanes underwear-clad, alleged minor and showed him alleged porno mags and made him drink alleged wine. 

Please do not believe me, go to yourself for the wine of choice for the alleged Peter Pan boy who never grew up, allegedly.  Now, turning a new leaf for 2005, I do not want to piss off Big Boy with why we here at WinoStuff are partial to big reds of Cabernet Sauvignon and bold super Tuscans and rowdy Aussie Shiraz.  Curiously, not one of those wines appear in the court papers of said Mr. Jackson, defendant.  The obvious question that is foremost in my mind, did Michael enjoy Pinot Noir, then become an alleged small boy aficionado?  Or was it because he wanted to impress the young lad that he went with Pinot?  Someone has got to get to the bottom of this and I openly request the help of my Bourguignon friend and fine wine importer, Big Bob, to see if he can find out which winery’s Pinot was Michael Jackson partial to.  Enquiring minds want to know.

2003 Roger Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de Pays $ (8.99)   Not a good one, I will pass if I see this one again.


3rd Annual Bobby Valentine Celebrity Wine and Food Experience

This year’s fundraiser to benefit the Mickey Lione, Jr. Fund will be our biggest and best event. The fun begins at 6pm at a new location – the Westin Stamford Hotel, 1 First Stamford Place, Stamford, CT 06902. Enjoy the best food and wine; meet celebrities from the world of sports, entertainment, and fashion. Take part in our live and silent auction, and raffle – and support a good cause.

Tickets are available now. Event Tickets $150. Raffle Tickets $100. or call 203 316-8305.Event and raffle tickets are also available at Bennett’s Steak & Fish, Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Café, and BEVMAX.

Join Bobby, and a host of celebrities - NY Giant Tiki Barber, Actor and talk show host Tony Danza, U.S. Women's Soccer Team Gold Medal Winner Kristine Lilly, NBA Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich, Brian Cashman, Yankees general manager, former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, NY Mets general manager Omar Minaya, former NY Met Keith Hernandez, Armen Keteyian of CBS Sports, Ed Randall, NY sportscaster, YES broadcaster Michael Kay, Dana Tyler of WCBS-TV, Former Olympic swimmer Donna deVarona, former MLB player Willie Upshaw, and more…Travis Simms, Tony Lip from the Sopranos, Bishop Lori, US Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team member Sue Merz. former NY Giants coach Jim Fassel, WFAN's Chris Russo, and Baltimore Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli.

This is your chance to sample food and wine from the area’s best restaurants and wineries.    

*** Information provided from

Our good friends asked us to post this, as there are still some tickets to this star-studded event available.  Our good friends at Bevmax, Mike Berkoff and Brain Badlowski would like all our tri-state Winos and Winettes to help support this exciting event.  And as a surprise special feature, so special it had to be kept off all the official promotional materials, the event will be covered by the staff at  Check back several days after the event, as most likely, I will be spending the immediate next few days hanging with my new friends, Tiki Barber (he isn’t going to the playoffs so what else does he have to do), Tony Danza (I might just be a guest host on that talk show thing of his) or Chris “Mad Dog” Russo…

See you on the 17th.   

January 1, 2005

One more page has been ripped from the calendar, one more year has been torn from my existence, never to be replaced or resurrected.  Life marches forward with time and you are faced with one of two choices, accept what it hands you and steadily slide into non existence, or find a new place and make a come back bigger and better.  The year 2004 delivered many knocks, many challenges and an uprooting of sorts on fronts of politics, war and life.

The enjoyment of being counted among the desired, though a minor part, unfurled to distain, disgust, and down right abandonment.  January begins anew and with it a cold stark choice of accepting the abandonment or  taking the challenge to move on and develop a persona others will find exciting, enticing and seductive.   It is time to show those who lost interest and left you by the wayside, to take notice, maybe even yearn for your return.  The move can be good, better than the stay, by allowing those issues that kept you in the background to become strengths in your new home.  You no longer take the supporting role, quietly in the background, giving unrecognized structure and backbone for all those years to your friends.  No, it is time to shine on your own, as your new home nurtures your attributes to become a star unto yourself.  You gain world acceptance and recognition and deliver enjoyment, laughs and good times to the masses.  You have done the right thing, you have stepped out and you are your own man, I mean grape.  God Damn it Cartman, I started this thing as the preamble to the Grape of the Year for 2005 and I must have drifted…

Actually, I just reread it and though similarities exist, it is actually relevant to the coveted Grape of the Year.  Yes, the grape I selected to represent 2005 is a road less traveled.  Once hailed in the power zone of the wine world along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot, its name confusion and its sensitivity to an array of maladies that affect grapes, including coulure*, frost damage, downy mildew and bunch rot.  (I think Wino John suffered from bunch rot until his doctor gave him an ointment) had it cast aside in Bordeaux.

*COULURE (French) or SHATTER (English) is the consequence of metabolic and weather conditions that cause either the grapevine flowers to not pollinate, so they do not becomes berries, or the tiny berries to fall off soon after they form. This means a poor fruit set. Depending upon the severity, the net result is low or poor quantity, or even no crop at all.

 Winos and Winettes, I officially declare 2005 the Year of:


This one time participant in the approved wines of Bordeaux has fallen from favor as a blending grape to add structure to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. At its best, It shows an inky color, rich tannins and full body adding flavors of blackberry, anise, plum and dark chocolate on the palate.  However, the tendency for this grape to rot made it unwelcome in Bordeaux and vines are still being uprooted.  Once grown in volume, it can be identified by more than 40 different names in France, but Cot, Pressac and Auxerrios are still referenced in the areas of Cahors and Loire as it struggles for life.

It was not until the 1990’s that Malbec found its star quality in Argentina where growing conditions are better suited to let out its true personality.  Early examples and that annoying root rot nearly dashed its hopes in the early plantings.  Shielded from the moist Pacific winds by the Andes Mountain range, Argentina’s Mendoza region has given this failed French grape a name, a place and a character that has it unofficially the official grape of Argentina.  Success has created the interest of other regions to look at Malbec in ways it never did before; Chile is having success along with USA, Italy, South Africa and Australia.

This year is a coming of age of those whom willingly played a supporting role for others, never seeking the limelight, offering all and asking for nothing in return.  Malbec’s life story should be read understood and held up as an example of perseverance.  Good things come to those who wait, Malbec has waited to the point that a great many good things will be coming over the next decade, and most of it will be in quality wine at acceptable pricing.  That is of course, until we, Winos and Winettes drink a boatload of this grape in 2005 and diminish the inventory of Argentina.

 Some Malbecs to try:

  Premier Producers

  • Bodega Weinert

  • Catena Alta

  • Catena Lunlunta Vineyard

  • Terrazas

  Great Producers

  • Altos de Madrano

  • Bodega Norton Reserva

  • Bodegas Lurton (Malbec-Tempranillo)

  • Etchart

  • Luigi Bosea

  • Navarro Correas

  • Nicolas Fazio

  • Nieto y Sentiner Cadus

  • San Telmo

  • Tikal

 Dependable Producers

  • Bodega San Telmo Cuesta del Madero

  • Bodegas La Rural

  • Humberto Canale

  • Leon Unzue

  • Santa Ana (Merlot-Malbec)

  • Trapiche (Oak Cask Reserve)

  • Trapiche (Cabernet-Malbec Medalla)

  •  Valentín Bianchi

  • Vistalba


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