Bob’s Winings
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Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

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This page contains Winings from the 1st Quarter of the year 2006.

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March 31, 2006

Blind item off AP:  What snarky, bespectacled, stick-figure wine critic was seen kanoodling with Catherine Zeta Jones in a quiet corner table at the chic, trendy, meat-packing district eatery, Spice Market?

Wow, how is that for an ego boost?  However, I must say, kanoodling is so inappropriate.  We were just enjoying some pork vandeloo and ginger-fried rice during her break from shooting a scene for her upcoming movie.  OK, so we were not even really "sharing" pork vandeloo.  And, Michael Douglas was there too.  And, we were not actually at the same table.  They were two tables away.  And I actually was kanoodling with Wino Paul and soon to be Wino Tim, two chuckleheads I happened to be enjoying dinner with.  Yes, the magic of New York City is that even a low life like me can enjoy a meal at a very nice restaurant and by chance be seated next to the affable, perky and stunningly beautiful Catherine Zeta Jones.   We have been doing a once a quarter dinner in the city and last night was my turn to set the table.  Fortunately, I had my younger brother treat me to the hot spots south of Chelsea and I cashed in on his knowledgebase.  We started with a cocktail at the south-beach style bar in the Maritime Hotel, my Americano was fittingly aperitif-ish. A tasty blend of orange zest, Campari and Sweet Vermouth.  Then it was off to our non-VIP early dinner 6:30 reservation at Spice Market for a compelling meal.  As we were winding down, a gentleman sat two tables away, alone, reading a paper, not traditional at such a hot spot.  The encyclopedia of stars (you must remember the Hollywood map of the stars adventure), Wino Paul immediately identified him as Michael Douglas.  I having had one Americano and four Singah (Thailand beer 6% abv) looked over and confidently bet it was not.  By the way, Wino Paul, I know I owe you double what I told you your gift was, as a woman from another table approached the man and asked for his autograph; which he graciously signed.  But it was the stunningly beautiful T-Mobil chick herself that made me stare like a tourist.  My oh my, money has its privileges.

Being dragged out of Spice market, with my saliva soaked tongue dragging on the filthy NYC sidewalk, we headed back to 15th for an anti-Spice Market experience.  We stopped in the camouflaged, small, local Passerby for a reasonably priced beer and a quite locals only, non-trendy, not-hipster down home experience.  Rounding out the night with a final Budweiser at the biker bar, turned quasi-yuppie Hogs and Heffers with barmaids hopping on the bar cowgirl stomping to songs.  Shots of alcohol encourage female patrons to hop up and join them, for the mere pleasure of a free shot.  Well, not exactly free, they first must offer their bra, or at least bare it to the drunken, gawking male heavy on-lookers.  We were treated to two locals loaded enough to breakdown their inhibitions and offering their version of dance moves. 

As old fart geeks, we called it a night around 10:45 to catch the PATH back to suburbia and I headed back to my non-trendy, non-hip, non-exciting dark, dank third floor room.  Nevertheless, for one fleeting moment, I lived the hustle and bustle of the New York scene.

March 26, 2006

As I sat swirling, and sipping a glass of Spanish wine from my newest region of interest, Ribera del Duero, I opened mail from the PO Box that had been collecting for a while.  Ribera del Duero is a region I have little experience with as I have drank my way through the Albarinos of Rias Baixas, the Cabernets of Penedes and the red jam of Priorat.  I decided it was time to move to the stepchild of Rioja and start tasting the more reasonably priced reds from Ribera.  Heaped into the pile of bills, wine stuff and member enlargement advertisings was a nice note and autographed picture from our news FOWS (Friend of WinoStuff), Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling.  I always loved Jackie’s humor (for which he got little credit for on the Stern show), as Martling would feed funny one liners with Gatling gun speed to Stern during his interview of guests.  Jackie’s comedic timing and topical commentary made Stern look like the funny one.  All the time behind the scenes, Jackie was pounding out quick responses and hilarious one-liners.  Thanks for the picture, Jackie, it hangs on my wine cellar wall with the quickly-expanding famous FOWS.  We are looking forward to the upcoming show.

The Ribera del Duero red was a nice complement to the mail-reading on the cold, rainy Sunday.  Winter just does not want to release its bony finger hold on springtime.  The cold rain antidote was a gut warming red made from 100% tempranillo.  I will be spending more time in this region of the world to get a good cross section of what I like, so join me in a bottle of Ribera del Duero’s famous grape and let me know what I should be trying.

2004 Bodegas Arrocal Arrocal Ribera del Duero $ (15.99)   A nice nose of spice and dark raspberry with a touch of licorice on the finish.  Nice balance of fruit and acidity make this a food friendly companion.

Interestingly, this is what Robert Parker said about this wine:

This excellent 2004 Arrocal is a deep ruby/purple-tinged effort boasting a sweet nose of plums, black cherries, and currants, a medium to full-bodied, silky smooth style, and a hint of barrique. Lusciously fruity, opulent, and hedonistically as well as intellectually satisfying, this fruit-driven, modern-styled Spanish red should be consumed over the next 1-2 years. Score: 90. —Robert Parker, June 30, 2005.

March 23, 2006

Over Tandoori Chicken and Curry Lamb, I found out that, a) cabernet sauvignon goes well with Indian cuisine and b) Wino John is so wealthy he has someone shop for him.  Sharing several bottles of cab and goat on a stick, WJ and I had a dinner to celebrate the large order we just received for our WinoStuff Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir when I started my grousing about the Governor Corzine budget deal.  I have been remiss in commenting on the new Governor’s conduct and seeming inability to make words (pledges) mean anything.  It seems that Mr. Corzine has little interest in spending time looking at innovative ways to balance the budget.  You know, innovation, such as the companies that Goldman Sachs wants to invest in because they find unique solutions to their customer’s problems.  Unfortunately the frizzy-haired, uber-wealthy Hobokenite (in blue jeans and ball cap for that everyman look), feels that a tax increase on the water we drink, the gas we use, the wine or beer we buy, the cigerettes we smoke and the 3 billion other things that fall under our state sales tax is the only way for him to govern.  Wow, we should have kept Florio in office.  At least he only raised our tax revenues by 2 billion.  It seems that Mr. Corzine is looking to tax the shirt on our backs.

This brings up the very interesting topic that the soon to be uber-wealthy WJ was unaware of the tax-free clothing in NJ as he admitted out loud that he does not shop for his wardrobe.  WJ must have a ward, kind of like Batman had the boy wonder.  I wonder if someone dresses him in the morning?  “Sir, your waist coat.  Sir, your wing tipped brogues.  Sir, your Brooks Brothers 120's two-ply broadcloth button-down collar shirt in French blue.”  Oh clothes boy, fetch me a new pair of dress slacks and a very expensive, yet tasteful new blue blazer.  Wow, I guess wine shopping is the only thing he does himself.   (Editor's note:  I don't go clothes shopping because a) I spend all my discretionary income on soccer and gymnastics training for my two little princesses, and b) the clothes that I bought in the '70's are still perfectly good today...)

More to follow on the new governor in the wine and politics section...

2003 Casa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon $ (9.99)   Black fruit and oak aging fill the glass but don’t hang around as long as they should, otherwise this would be a great find.

March 21, 2006

I spend a great deal of time understanding the contours of a bottle, so much so that I decided to see what I could stick into it.  Having several failed experiments and two trips to the emergency room at Mountainside Hospital, with shaky hands and blurry eyes, I finally managed to find something that fits.  Yes, the entire schooner that once was docked at Liberty Park has been disassembled piece by piece and reassembled inside this bottle.   

This ship reminded me of the great nations that owned the seas in the 15th and 16th centuries.  I went down to my Spanish section and grabbed a bottle from a region I have yet to taste, Sardon del Duero.  The reason I purchased this bottle was its ownership. (Wino Lou, we have to talk).  This winery is owned by the pharmaceutical giant, Novartis.  The little I actually know about Novartis, besides the big building on Route 10 that once was Sandoz, is that they make a bunch of anti-depressants.   A beautifully orchestrated circle of life, you drink red wine that depresses your nervous system, you wake up with the weight of the world on your back and a pounding headache and you reach for your Novartis anti-depressants and anti-inflammation and migraine fighting drugs.  Brilliant!!!

Whether they are doping their wine with drugs or not, I appreciate their products. 

2003 Abadia Retuerta Sardon del Duero “Rivola” $ (13.99)   This blend of 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon shows dark berry, rich cassis and a finish of vanilla from the oak aging, look for the convenient blister pack of wine pills coming to local drugstores in your area.

March 20, 2006

A weekend of losers...  First, the pairing down to the sweet 16 has me three from the bottom of the pool.  I think a chicken, the 4- and 6-year-old sons of the pool organizer are below me.  I guess I just b-l-o-w at picking the final four.  The second disappointment was the Sopranos, the show of shows I waited almost two years for had me hitting the fast forward button on the TiVo.  Please, bring back the mad shot Russian, bring back the one legged guy Tony did on the couch, bring back the plot.  I am ready to declare Tony jumping the shark, but I do not think he could.  Next week better bring excitement, suspense and a good whacking.  Finally, the Grand Vin de Bordeaux I had to keep me company was anything but exciting.  I figure it was a fitting disappointment for the disappointing day.

2000 Château Jalousie Beaulieu Bordeaux Supérieur AOC $ (8.79)   This merlot-based Bordeaux is shallow and vacant and disappointing.

March 19, 2006

Do you have the Madness?  Yes, it is that time of year when all types of betting surround an event, the college basketball road to the final four.  Each year I get a call from a good friend with an invitation to meet for a late lunch on day one of the tournament.  Then I am emailed a list of the 64 teams and I need to pair them down until I clairvoyantly determine who survives and who goes home.  I reviewed all the sixains of Nostradamus and ended up as I always do, with a dart, the brackets, a bottle of wine and a $20.00 bill.  Most years, I burn the 20 right on the spot.  It saves me the agony of coming in last each year.  However, this year, I dove in the pool headfirst and am anxiously awaiting the results over the next two weeks.  I figure a bookies kids have to eat too, so why not contribute to his cause?  Besides, the IRS thrives on the tax revenues contributed from office betting, right?

Before getting started, I headed to my local wine shop to see if the Shinas Estates new arrivals had landed.  Not yet, but I did some purchasing of inexpensive wines so I could have things to write about over the next few weeks as I watch my national champion selection go down to some Cinderella team.  I, being a cheap bastard, ended up with a case of wine, after my 20% discount for what Wino John spends on two bottles.  Yes, even on the $6.99 offerings, since they were not on sale, I got my 20%.  The interesting thing, as I combed the shelves was a bottle of gruner veltliner from Hoffman Estates that had the alternative closure of all alternative closures.  As you know we have written on the composite cork, the synthetic cork and even the variety of screw caps, but yesterday I saw my first wine with a beer bottle type cap.  Yes, imagine the boorishly snobby sommelier presenting a bottle of this wine at your corporate dinner and pulling out his corkscrew to use the bottle top opener side of the lever.  “Masseur Cheap Bastard, would like to sniff the pop top?  I heard it was a very good year for steel and plastic.”  Even I was too appalled to purchase this wine, though I have been thinking about it all night.  Christ I must be a loser if I spent my night thinking about a wine that has a beer cap closure.  I am so intrigued that I might find myself back at that store today just to buy that bottle.  Anyway, my money is riding on Bloomfield College to take it all.  Go Fighting Inner Suburban Metrosexuals…!!!

2002 Lindemans Bin 77 $ 7.99  I was hoping for more out of this 77% Semillon and 23% chardonnay but it just did nothing for me. 

March 16, 2006

I guess all that pinot noir finally pushed Big Bob to the other side.  He sent me an email inviting me to an A.S.S. tasting.  Holy crap Marie!  An A.S.S tasting?  What in the good grace of God is that?  Oh yeah, and he said he was featuring three of his Italian friends.  I don’t care, Italian ass, Big Bob ass, I ain't interested!  (until he clarified that it stood for something like "Annual Spring Sale".  Now you're talking!  No hairy man ass, just a room full of wine and an empty glass in my hand.  It turned out to be an event hosted by his distributor and he did have three of his Italian wine producers there. 

As I entered the room, the first face I saw was my good friend Riccardo Tedeschi.  Ricky and I shared dinner and his wines at Bacchus one night when Big Bob showed these wines about a year ago.  Looks like someone might be sleeping in the barrel room in Venice this summer.  I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Christian Oberdorfer of Girlan from the Alto Adige region of northern Italy.  After exchanging some pleasantries and verifying I didn’t have to taste any ass as an admission fee, I headed to the whites and tasted a few Alsacean (wines).  I wanted to experience a wine I have little exposure to, their famed Gewurztraminer.  I found the Dopff & Irion Les Sorcieres and the Leon Beyer Comtes d’Eguisheim vibrant but the Girlan I sipped with Doc was full of honey and pear flavors that had me thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.  I figure I would list a few of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

  • 2002 Paraiso Syrah

  • 2002 Poppy Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2003 Rabbit Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2003 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon2003 Hugo Estate Shiraz

  • 2003 Ey Grenache Vigne d’en Gaume

  • 2003 Domaine du Pesquier Gigondas

  • 2003 Alain Voge Cornas Vieilles Vignes

  • 2003 Mulderbosch Chardonnay

  • 2002 Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon Zondernaam

  • 2004 Dominio de Tares Mencia Baltos

  • 2003 Exaltos

  • 2005 Brampton Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2003 Kanonkop Kadette

 

The Bad

  • 2004 King Estates Pint Gris Vin Glace

  • 2003 Kluge Estate Simply Red

  • 2004 Casa Silva Carmenere Reserva

  • 2003 Domaine de Galets des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape

  • 2004 Domaine Brusset Cotes du Rhone

 

The Ugly

  • 2003 Tomasello Chambourcin

 

The Highly Recommended to try by Wino Bob

  • 2002 Stuhlmuller Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2002 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

  • 2004 Dobogo Dry furmint

  • 2004 Montgras Quatro

  • 2002 Rustenberg John X. Merriman

  • 2003 Jean-Michael Gerin Trio Infernal

  • 2002 Pasanau La Planeta

  • 2004 Girlan Gewurtztraminer

  • 2003 Tedeschi Amarone

 

What can I say?  None of the wines tasted like ass, so except for the Chamboucin, I was very happy to have attended Big Bob’s A.S.S. tasting.  As I was leaving, he mentioned a K.N.O.B. tasting next week, boy I can’t wait.

 

March 15, 2006

Wondering, as I often do, what if oil was actually a renewable resource?  I remember the gas lines in the seventies and the commitment during the Carter Presidency and the projections that by 2010 we would be tapped out of oil.  Then it seems that decades later we readjust our assessment to find there is another 50 years of oil.  Pondering the life of my gas guzzling SUV, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, we need CFCs in our ecosystem.  I don’t want to make your hair hurt when I explain this, as I see it, the CFCs we just banned would react in the upper atmosphere with our ozone layer, this would create acid rain.  Environmentalists are afraid the acid rain will shower down on the landfills containing our old VCRs, cell phones, TVs, (all electronic junk).  The acid would leech out the lead and the lead would get into the ground water.  We would then drink the water and get brain damage. Immediate reason I do not drink water, but as the Romans, I safely opt for the wine.  What if the leeched lead was actually a fuel source for an enzyme host in the earth’s crust that can eat rock and secrete oil as their waste product?  I do not care how many dinosaurs roamed the earth, there cannot be that much oil from dead T-Rexs and meteor-fried vegetation.  What we need to do is study the microbes in aquifers as we dispense minute volumes of lead into their water source.  Oil just might be some sort of microbe urine.  Hey, if a spider could poop out a string 100 times tougher then steel, why can’t a micro organism poop out a black tarry substance we just found a way to run our economy on?  Having observed first hand the next day’s evacuation from a three-bottle Priorat night, I myself produce a black tarry substance, wow.  I must bury some of this sometime and check in a year.  Maybe I am an oil-producing microbe after several bottles of expensive wine.  I must pose this theory to the wine makers at many of the high end wineries and tell them a donation of two cases of their high end will go far in the future oil based economy of the USA.  Where did I leave those phone numbers for Screaming Eagle, Bryant, Colgin…….  

Beware the Ides of March - Et Tu.

March 12, 2006

I think I have mentioned once or twice that I am a listener of political talk radio and pundit politics from cable TV.  Today happened to be one of the days my mind was fueled with a bit of the red grapes (a blend) as the radio was playing in the background.  I was not concentrating on the discussion, but two people were arguing about a bill proposed to make flag burning illegal.  One side defines it as free speech, though with two glasses of wine, I have a difficult time understanding how lighting material on fire is speech.  The other side was saying we need to protect our flag and not allow protesters to blaze it.  I will be up front and tell you, I do not get the flag-burning thing and my gut twists inside when I see news footage of anti-American groups burning our flag or an effigy of our President, no matter who it is in office.  I cross party lines as an American not wanting to see Presidents of the other party being burned, and yes, even if it were Bill Clinton. 

It occurred to me, instead of this fight playing out in the Supreme Court, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars and further dividing the nation on the Bill of Rights; I offer my simple winological resolution to the issue. It would be prudent for the President to call Annin & Co.  (the oldest and largest manufacturer of flags in the United States) and tell them to make our flag out of flame retardant materials.

Annin & Co.
105 Eisenhower Parkway
Roseland, NJ 07068

I would love to see the new footage of some major anti-American protest spill out into the streets of say Iran, and the incendiary crowd that just finish stomping on our flag, affix to set it on fire as the chants of "down with America" begin.  As they gas it and hold a lighter to it…..nothing, the Stars and Stripes hold true to its form and symbolism.  It would be great to see the crowd turn on Akbar as his pyrotechnics failed to deliver the desired message. 

Obviously, they would only make the flame retardant flags for sales overseas, to tree hugging environmental groups and to Al Franken, Michael Moore and the Hollywood left.  And, oh yeah, Dan Rather.

2004 Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois Red $ (10.99)   This California blend brings zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon together though they do quite well by themselves.  Blackberry, blueberry, spice and a touch of toasted caramel visit the glass.  A pizza wine for Friday night in front of Fox News.

March 11, 2006

I was tooling around the local Foodtown, jonesin for a bottle of wine, with ten dollars in my pocket and the need to buy a quart of milk.  It didn’t leave me many options.  Actually, the option list was less than five.  Seeing a California cabernet sauvignon with a plain paper label, a “Super Cab” winner’s label from the 2004 Critics Challenge International Wine competition in San Diego, Ca., and a price of $6.99, I figured how bad could this wine be?

I stashed it in the basement and an hour and a half later was typing on this stupid computer hearing the faint voice of Mr. GOTY.  “Wino Bob, come down here and get me.  At $6.99, even if I’m not good, you really haven’t lost much.  Besides, you are becoming a fat bastard and the walk up and down the stairs will do you good, you lonely pathetic, loser who (or is it whom?) spends his time in a third floor dank room posting unprofessional comments about crafted wine that real wine critics get recognized by the professional community as having the knowledge….”

Hey, you are a bottle of wine, get off my back.  Where did you get your psychology degree from, and why am I having a conversation with a voice in my head that is a bottle of wine?

So I listened, and fetched, and opened and tasted.  Jesus, this is horrid!  What a waste of $6.99.  I should tank this plonk.  But the wine angels kept my hand from spilling the bottle into the sink.  I put the glass aside and focused back on my research.  Popping up Google, I typed in "women and wine bottle"………….."labels".  Geez, leave off the word "labels" and up pops some frightening stuff.  Scanning through sites and pictures of women with wine bottle………labels, a reflex caused me to unconsciously reach for the glass and take a sip.  Hey, who switched my wine?  This is better than the crap that was here before.  It turns out this one was not half bad.  In fact, I would buy it again.  It is not a big ass cab, but a friendly, approachable wine at an unimagined price.

2004 Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon $ (6.99)   This seven dollar bottle drinks like an eleven dollar bottle, so in my book, I am getting more than I paid for.  Dark fruit and cassis brush the palate with a soft easy finish. 

March 10, 2006

What a job! An afternoon of drinking fine wine, eating fruit and cheese and speaking with perky young women!  Oh, sorry, that's not my life.  I was referring to Big Bob’s scam of a job.  Slugging in between my geek world and familial obligations, I popped my bespectacled head into the Dreyfus Ashby 2004 release preview at the swank Stony Hill Inn.  To my alcoholic delight, the folder at the entrance table announced 73 bottles of liquid love awaiting my empty tasting glass.  As I saddled up to the first table, a Brokeback Mountain moment flashed through my mostly empty head.  Quandary: two tables of free wine to taste, the majority of which were the sheepherder’s companion, Burgundy.  Red Burgundy.  Pinot Noir.  So, do I skip to table #3 and hit the newest Rhone offering Dreyfus Ashby is handling or do I squeeze my ass cheeks tight and accept the Beaune?  As I looked around, there was nobody I knew, so I wet my whistle with a Drouhin white that I could drink openly.  I hit the whites and tasted:

  • Drouhin Corton Charlemagne

  • Drouhin Puligny Montrachet Clos de La Garnenne

  • Drouhin Puligny Montrachet Pucelles

  • Drouhin Batard Montrachet

The Pucelles had a nose of hot buttered popcorn that made me look for a movie theater ticket and the Batard was a wine I hope to have on my dinner table one Thanksgiving.

Feeling a bit more comfortable in liking sheepherders, I switched to a new glass and tasted the Drouhin Reds of:

  • Volnay

  • Cote de Beaune Red

  • Pommard

  • Nuits Saint George

  • Chambolle Musigny

  • And the wine I kept yelling at, “Why can’t I quit you?”; the Clos des Mouches

Woo Hoo, cowboy, get lonely on the range and do not be ashamed of your romance with a pinot noir….

But the fun, less assless chap wines were these that I did go back and try again, and again and again

  • Chateau Campuget offers a clean crisp Rose and their le Sommelier was a treat for us syrah junkies.

  • Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon shook some of the Brokeback soil from my jeans.

  • Renato Ratti Barolo Rocche and Tedeschi’s San Rocco Rosso and Classico Amarone Valpolicella were gripping. 

Thank God, I ran into Brian Badlowski and his new associate at the Italian red table, as I didn’t have to explain that I was drinking Burgundian Reds purely as research.  I thought I must have insulted Brian during an old posting as I haven’t heard from him since December, but it seems that cyberspace has several of his replies to my questions orbiting the Ort Cloud right now.

I rounded the fifth table still speaking clearly and drove head first into the Miguel Torres offerings.  A big winner for me was the Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc from Chile and their Gran Sangre de Toro.  I wrapped my bony fingers around the Mas La Plana Black Label, take that you man-loving sheepherder.  If only they had a few bottles of the Mas La Plana on Brokeback Mountain, those two dudes would have been punching each other in the arm and making love to the sheep like every red blooded sheepherder has since Biblical times.  Hollywood may have caved and given them an Oscar if they drank Mas La Plana and simply rode horses instead of each other. 

After Big Bob cleaned up and I sat on my ass talking to future Wino Babe of the Month, Cathy, we headed to the dining room at the Stony Hill Inn and enjoyed a fine meal.  The lump crabmeat cocktail was extremely well proportioned for the price and the Ahi tuna was seasoned just right.  Big Bob ordered a bottle of Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve

March 8, 2006

I cannot believe they sent this to me on the last day of the event.  My gold-leafed invitation must be stuck in snail mail space.  I thought I might have been one of the keynote speakers, BUT NO.  The wine writers don’t want me to inspire the next generation of drunken web bloggers.  Might it have been my lack of command of the English language, as I do not know when to use who or whom?  Could it be my sophomoric potty humor and obsession with bodily functions?  Perhaps it is my jingoistic, right-leaning perspective that threatens the vast left wing wine-writing conspirators.  No, it can only be a racist exclusion because I am a White Polish American living in New Jersey.  Yes, they are ignoring me because of the color of my skin and the fact that I drank vodka and beer in my baby bottle.  Let me make it perfectly clear, when they realize their racist ways and come knocking on my door next year to make amends, I will NOT, I repeat, NOT accept their offer, so do not expect to see me on the speakers list next year.  Now where is Jesse Jackson when I need him?  And what rhythms with Polish?

We are pleased to invite you to attend the 2006 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. This extraordinary four-day program will take place March 6 through 9, 2006 and is open to published editorial wine writers, wine/food writers, wine/travel writers and editors.

The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, a non-profit organization, was founded as a resource for professional writers, editors, and those emerging in the field with a mission of promoting excellence and camaraderie within the professional wine writing community. The conference, convened annually in Napa Valley, offers professionals an open forum for exploration of themes prevalent in contemporary wine writing.

In order to maintain the editorial caliber of this conference, the Symposium has solicited no outside sponsorship. A portion of the cost has of the program is underwritten by the Napa Valley Vintners, a non-profit organization representing 275 wineries and by Meadowood Napa Valley. Meadowood, which is also the annual home to Auction Napa Valley, continues its twenty-six-year tradition of service to the Napa Valley winegrowing community by providing a venue for the conference. The Symposium follows an intense plenary program for a limited number of attendees plus speakers.

We look forward to welcoming you in March 2006 to the second annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.

Sincerely,

Antonia Allegra signature
Antonia Allegra
Symposium Director

 

H. William Harlan signature
H. William Harlan
Proprietor
Meadowood Napa Valley

 

Linda Reiff signature
Linda Reiff
Executive Director
Napa Valley Vintners

 

March 5, 2006

Needing a mental break, I called up 'old reliable'.  Not Maytag, not my dog.  No, Wino Rocker.  It seems, if he is in New Jersey and not out at one of his 100 plus acre farms in Pa, he is up for dinner (which really means something to eat in between bottles of red).  The Rockers and I met at a BYOB that serves Italian food located halfway between their estate and my third floor room.  Yes, I know, we are the Italian food BYOB capital of the world.  Mrs. WR sipped from the syrah, her favorite, while Mr. WR and I drank around the syrah and into an Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon.  Most surprising for a Saturday night was the fact that Sofia’s was half-full, or half empty depending on your outlook on life.  They usually have a crowd with the wait staff knocking into the back of your chair as they maneuver their way through the labyrinth of chairs.  The food is consistently good and the pricing is on par with the umpteen other Italian BYOBs in the area so it surprised me to see empty tables.  I enjoyed their veal with porcini mushrooms, Italian ham, and mozzarella in a brown sauce; a nice dish for red wine.

2004 Qupe Central Coast Syrah $ (18.00)    This California Rhone is heavy syrah with support from a cast of Rhonie minor grapes, a favorite of mine, with lush dark fruit, hard spice on the finish and a hint of lavender on the nose.

2002 Bodegas San Huberto Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza $ (11.00)    The plum and cassis flavors were dampened by the harsh finish from their desire to oak this puppy.

March 4, 2006

The very first real job I had was with a South African businessman that settled into the US to import geekworld technical equipment.  He is near retirement age, living in Geneva, and recently purchased a home in a game reserve in the bush country of SA.  He called me the other day, as we speak every few months.  It’s not a Tuesdays with Morrie thing, but I do value the guidance he has given me over the years.  He knows of my interest in wine and someday having that WinoStuff label of wines.  He encouraged me to go on the South African consulate’s web page and search out wineries looking for a US importer as a way to start developing a relationship with a winery that one day might produce the Winostuff liquid gold. 

While I was cruising their web site I came across this info, though not wine related, it can help eliminate the scam letters clogging my WinoStuff email.  Check this out.

 

 


What is the 419 Scam?

The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud are often very creative and innovative. This fraud is called "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code that addresses fraud schemes. The scammers, purporting to be officials of their government or banking institutions, will fax or mail letters to individuals and businesses in the United States and other countries. The correspondence will inform the recipient that a reputable foreign company or individual is needed for the deposit of an overpayment on a procurement contract. The letter or email will claim that the government overpaid anywhere from $10 to $60 million on these contracts. The latest modified scam involves lotteries.

There is the perception that no one would enter such an obviously suspicious relationship; however, many victims have been enticed into believing they can share in such windfall profits.

Individuals are asked to provide funds to cover various fees and for personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and other similar data. Once this information is received, the victims find that they have lost large sums of money. It is hard to pinpoint how much has been lost in these scams since many victims do not report their losses to authorities due to fear or embarrassment.

    


What to do if you receive a Scam/ 419 email or letter

  • Please refrain from responding to these type of e-mails. Kindly forward all 419 scam e-mails/correspondence directly to hq.commercial@saps.org.za  (Commercial Branch, South African Police Service). Please mention whether or not you have incurred any financial loss. 
               
  • In response to this growing epidemic, the U.S. Secret Service established "Operation 4-1-9" to target Advance Fee Fraud on an international basis. Indications are that losses attributed to Advance Fee Fraud are in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. You can forward the email with its Internet header at 419.fcd@usss.treas.gov or send it by fax at (202) 406-5031
               
  • If you receive such a scam by mail, do not respond. Either throw it away or send it to:

US Postal Service Inspection Service Operations Support Group
Two Gateway Center, 9th Floor
Newark, NJ 07175-0001

Those who have lost money to the fraud should call their local US Secret Service.

Maybe now the personal assistant for the Oil Minister of Nigeria will stop trying to put 50 million dollars into my personal bank account.

 

March 4, 2006

I have had many a drunken night where “great ideas” flood through my cranium like the waters of Katrina.  I have written in past entries about the 2am bar napkin flow charts of the next great whatchamacallit.  I have tried my hand at an expensively designed leather bound wine journal, a mechanically superior corkscrew, a wine book, a wine show, you know the typical good ideas after three bottles of red.  Today I tip my hat to Australian composer Tony King.  Yes, Mr. King has recently released his latest creation, an album entitled The Wine Music, music composed of everything wine related, glasses of wine filled to different levels, wine barrels, and the obligatory popping cork.  BRILLIANT!!!!

Check out the melodious tunes of Tony King at the link below.  I wonder if he was partaking in a bit of the offerings from Shinas Estates when he came up with this idea?  I will have to ask George. 

www.winemusic.biz.

 

Inspired by Wine Music, I will be coming out with my own CD, sounds of Wino Bob falling down drunk.  It will be melodic sounds of me crashing down stairs, falling out of bed, collapsing on tables and knocking over lamps, wine bottles and glasses throughout my house and restaurants.  Look for it to hit the shelves this June on Off Hour Rockers label.

March 2, 2006

I had to take a quick trip down to the Atlanta area for a budget meeting/beat-up-sales-for-more-blood-from-a-rock session.  It happened to be Fat Tuesday when we had our kick-off dinner.  The host of the meeting selected a place called Fire of Brazil.  If you have never been to a Brazilian-style restaurant, it is worth the trip.  Two rules:  First, if you are a veggie-loving tree hugger, stay away, and second, please turn your card to red before you vomit or your stomach bursts at the table.  The basic process is to gorge yourself with as much of the meat offerings brought to your place setting and carved in front of your drooling chin.  They do everything from chicken wrapped in bacon to lamb to pork loin to beef in every body part except the testis and the tongue.  Family style dishes of fried plantain, rice and beans are placed on the table but it is the heart-stopping, blood-thickening meat offerings that you should partake in.  Leave the wilted salad for the women and hunt down a bottle of red to wash the slab-o-meat de skewer that one of the 18 servers are putting in front of your fat, bloated belly.  Hint to those newbies: pass on the salad bar, hold off on the first four meat offering as they try to burn you out before the filet mignon, prime rib and lamb chops.  Vegan’s, move over, this is Atkins at its best.

And now, for the next 40 days, I will be cleansing my mind and body and atoning for my hedonistic behavior the other and 325 days of the year.  As always, I have given up wine for the ultimate sacrifice in my near Christ-like behavior.  OK, so he held out for forty days and I made it forty minutes, but it is that grueling 40 minutes that has made me a better person.  I now understand true sacrifice and the sobering thoughts that the lack of wine can deliver.  Unfortunately, my life sucks so bad that I don’t think I can stand more than 40 minutes of sobriety at a time.

 

2003 Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon  $ (13.99- 40.00 in restaurant)     This blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 3% Merlot and 3% Petite Sirah hands you the black fruit in a small salad bowl but tops it with wood shavings too powerful for the berries.

 

February 25, 2006

Just a brief acknowledgement of the passing of Don Knotts, that lovable, bumbling deputy sheriff of the sleepy town of Mayberry, North Carolina.  A man seemingly scared of his own shadow, I chuckle at the Andy Griffith show even to this day.  I chuckle at the fact that Barney Fife was so naive, he could not recognize that Floyd was a pedophile and that Goober was so stupid, his name became part of the American lexicon for slow-witted, backwoods yahoos. Actually, a 'yahoo' today is far different from a yahoo when I was a kid as Al Gore had not yet invented the internet.  One of my favorite episodes was when Barney came to work unexpectedly one Sunday morning to find Aunt Bea dressed in a leather dominatrix outfit, riding Otis around cell number one after a night of vodka enemas and hash brownies.  Or was that a video I rented at the local adult shop?  Damn, sometimes these things just run together.

Anyway, I just wanted to say, "Good Night, Funnyman.  I loved you as Barney, but respected your acting talents for your roles as Henry Limpet, the socially awkward man who wanted to have a better life by becoming a fish and as Ralph Furley, the metro-sexual landlord in Three’s Company."


"Ang, can I but my bullet in my gun?"


“Life would be so much better if I were a fish”


“No, Chrissy, I was hoping Jack would bring the rent down dressed like that."

 

February 23, 2006

As I speed towards that day of reckoning, I realize that from time to time, I need to curry favor with the Big Guy.  No, not Wino John, I mean the real Big Guy.  This lead me to the dutiful son routine of yesterday.  My dad has been dealing with a health issue over the past year and yesterday they decided it should be resolved with surgery.  I volunteered to drive him to the hospital, which is an hour and a half from his house, that is an hour and a half from mine.  This extensive trip should garner more than a few 'get out of hell passes', I figure.  As with most procedures, nothing ever runs according to plan and the outpatient surgery became a bit more complex and far more time consuming then the doctor thought.  As evening passed into night, they could not release him as the surgery affected his throat and mouth area and they were concerned about swelling that might impede his air passages.  No problem, so I chauffeured my mom back to their house and I figured I’d crash there rather than head home, only to turn around in a few hours and head back to pick him up this morning. 

Sleeping anywhere but in the leather chair next to my computer, with an empty glass of wine balanced in my hand like a circus juggler, is not comfortable for me, so I figured I would have a few glasses of red to ease me into sleeping in a place other than mine.  I settled into the spare room, turned on the tube and headed to his liquor cabinet to see what he had hidden away for a cold winter’s night.  I was unhappy to discover that he, not thinking he would be in the hospital over night, had the key to the liquor cabinet an hour and a half away, in his trouser pocket, in room 675 of the hospital.  God Damn it, Cartman!  What the hell am I going to do?  In my best McGiever imitation, I artfully attempted to pick the lock with a paper clip, bobby pin, tooth pick and the rattling and shaking of said lock.  No luck on any attempt, so I thought I would wander across the street to Mr. Homemade Wine Guy, but seeing how it was past 11pm, I figured he wouldn’t appreciate the company.  There was only one thing to do.  “Hello nurse, can you please put me through to room 675?  I just have a quick question for the patient in bed two.  No, he should be recovered from the anesthesia by now.  No really, just hold the phone up to his ear so I can ask him a quick question.” 

I still don’t understand why my mother got so upset.  It wasn’t like he was sleeping yet.  He had just come out of a 4 hour operation!  Thankfully, she had a spare key and there was one bottle of homemade wine from the neighbor stashed on the bottom shelf.  There was no label, there was no writing, just a bottle of red that tasted great with enough oak and tannins to build a small home.  Thank you, Mr. Homemade Wine Guy. 

And to my dad, I just wanted to wish him a speedy recovery and next time I come down to do a good deed, please leave the key on the hook in the garage and tell Mr. HWG to restock the bottom shelf.   (Editor's Note:  You're in our thoughts and prayers, Ray.)

February 18, 2006

It took hours of digging to tunnel under the Bravo team and locate an entry point half a click southwest of the heavily-wooded, moat-protected, canine-enforced, and barbed wire-encamped home.  This place is so secretive that even Google earth misdirects you when you place the GPS coordinates into the system.  I know WJ works in the tech-geek world, but how can he redirect the Google earth program?  That is a lot of code-breaking, my friend.  As you might imagine, the party was well underway by the time I breached the IR sensors near the back porch.  Those that were allowed to drive in, say the secret password to security, and have their cars searched, only needed 45 minutes to make it from the main road turn-off to the living room.  I did not mind the dog bites, but the cavity search was a bit more than the Wino Bob bung was prepared to endure.  I was hoping to have a volume of pictures for the posting, but the head of security smashed my camera with the butt of his assault rifle. 

It turned out that everyone named Bob that drinks red wine was there in addition to Wino John.  The four of us dutifully placed our cab offerings on the island in the cavernous kitchen, smiled proudly like the hyena that just felled a water buffalo, and realized we hadn’t planned anything for dinner to accompany the 11, yes not 10, (our is one louder) bottles of the juice.  Fortunately, the Other Bob (not me Wino Bob, or Big Bob), but the Other Bob ran to his car and saved the night with slabs of beef just shy of a Flintstone sized serving.  Being a boy scout in his past life, he also unpacked a bag of charcoal, a charcoal firebox, matches, twigs, dried pine needles and a spool of twine.  As you might imagine, eating was the necessary evil to slow the absorption of alcohol.  I would have been OK with a Roman style-drinking binge, where we drink ourselves silly, void Roman-style, then take up the drinking again. 

As this was Cab Fest II and not a Cabernet tasting, the just shy of four bottles per person consumption ratio made it very difficult for me to accurately describe the nuances of each wine, especially by 11pm when WJ brought out the fruit bomb.  So to be fair, and not to merely toss flowery general descriptions about like some wine writers on the internet, I will make a simple list of the bottles we buried with the minimal impression that has lasted through the fog of a nasty hangover and the drum-beat pounding of the coinciding headache.  We did have the expertise of Big Bob to plot out the drinkability continuum as to not overpower one cab by incorrectly consuming a deeper richer wine before a lesser quality product.  Based on the wine drinker’s license granted to BB by the State of NJ, the list went as follows.

1999 Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon - left over spillage from WJ’s prior night’s consumption, still showing nice fruit and a buzz of tannins

2003 Big Ass Cab - this novelty offering was appropriate named for the evening and is a fun, easy drinking wine for under $15.00 retail. It will not make the top of any magazine list, but I recommend it for the affordable and good flavor category.

1994 Henry Lagarde Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - the first of the foreign Cab offering from Mendoza, this one had made the turn and was losing its fruit.

2001 Sadler-Wells Cabernet Sauvignon - a boutique Cab from Sonoma that has a great earthy nose and solid fruit structure, though at $44.00 it is not an everyday drinker for me.

1996 Signorello Estate - a prize from the Other Bob’s secret collection, this had a spicy herbaceous nose that danced with clove and cinnamon.

1995 Mount Veeder Reserve - one of the meritage of the group, and yes, this word will appear in the next release of Webster’s dictionary, the wine crowd wins a lobbying victory.  Deep, rich black fruit-driven wine that seemed to be peaking.

1995 Peter Michael Les Pavots - the second meritage of the night displaying the volcanic soil flavors and classy dark fruits.

1987 BV Rutherford - pick-pocketed from the WJ treasure trove hidden deep beneath the frost line, this soldier did not survive the journey, showing the wounds of heat or chemical warfare.

1983 Grand Vin de Chateau Latour - the crown jewel of the evening, WJ tossed aside his acerbic tongue towards frogland and offered up a wine that had the power and grace of Bordeaux as the treat of the night.  This, winos and winettes, is why one must understand France before understanding the new world wines.

1998 Chateau Los Boldos Grand Cru - a blend of Cabernet and Merlot (we let Big Bob sneak this one in) representing the quality that Chile has to offer to the wine world.  Refined, intense fruit and currant with and oak finish

1997 Adelaida Cabernet Sauvignon San Luis Obispo - a red fruit bomb in its wheelhouse of maturity, but honestly, at this point in the night I think I might have poured some pan drippings into my glass from the grilled steaks.

The last two wines were post Big Bob’s exit so they did not fit into his categorization sequence.  The last thing I remember was sliding from a sitting to slumping position on the train sized couch in the Wino John palatial television room, watching Letterman and being laughed at by WJ and the Other Bob from my mumble-to-snoring-to-mumbling stupor/coma.  At that point, my muscles were no longer being controlled by my brain, and I stayed there until the break of sun light and the chirping of morning birds roused me.  Like Otis from the Andy Griffith Show, I found the keys to the cell, unlocked the jail door and headed out into the brisk morning air. 

Cab Fest II was more aptly a drink-a-thon and my twig frame has me tapping out much earlier than the competition.  Big Bob is so named that the amount he inhaled did not even alter his speak pattern, unlike me who was starting and ending words with “sh’ sounds that do not belong.  I tried sitting down yesterday to write this up for my posting, but the clicking of the keys was more than my pea brain could handle.  It looks like the bar is set for Cab Fest III and I will have to hold up my share for we can break that elusive four bottles per person mark set by Team Alcoholics. 

On a side note, the Wino John wine collection is quite extensive with meticulously labeled bottles and neatly categorized wine by region of the world.  I tried to sleep in the wine cellar, but I could not focus on which of the two key holes I should put the key in to unlock the magic door.  A big thanks to the host of Cab Fest II for allowing me to sneak in and crash on the couch.  And a salute to OB-the Grill Master for the evening.  Except for the pain I was in the next day, the journey was extraordinary.

February 16, 2006

I have never seen 21 inches disappear so quickly, except maybe during that donkey show in Tijuana.  This massive snow dump is just about gone, as the 50-degree temperatures have melted just about all the snow on the lawn.  Hey, does anyone know where the commercial shipping terminal at Philly’s seaport is?  It seems that Justice Shinas let slip last night in our conversation that any day now, a reefer will arrive with the newest addition to the Shinas Estates offerings.  Without spilling the beans, this white wine has been receiving great reviews from his buddies in Australia.  I was hoping to go covert, slip into the port, and pick up a few bottles.  I was not familiar with the 'reefer' term in shipping, though I do own a copy of the movie Reefer Madness.  That has nothing to do with refrigerated container shipping, but worth a laugh.  Since curiosity is my middle name, I did a bit of investigation and found out that not only is this reefer thing relatively new, only the past few decades, but there actually is a Godfather of the Reefer.  Jumping Lizards, does there need to be a Godfather of the Reefer?  Now a God Father of Soul is necessary and James Brown will always spunk the funk, but little did I know until tonight that there is an official Godfather of the shipping container.  I am not the best Catholic but I think that means he is one-step below the Patron Saint of refrigerated shipping containers for wine.  So I offer to my readers, some of whom might have been as uneducated on this as me, Saint Kermit.  Yes, Kermit Lynch has been canonized for his understanding the deleterious effect of the long ocean journey to the US on the fragile freight of wine.   

There is a reefer, loaded with a new white wine offering from Shinas Estates due to land in Philly and I must get there to greet it and welcome it to the shores of the New World.  A few weeks later, the 2004 Guilty is to follow and land at the same said port.  So please email me the directions and meet me at the pier for the party of the year.

Another covert assignment is tagging Big Bob’s car with a GPS that I can track, as I understand CabFest II is taking place this weekend at the well-hidden, sprawling estate of Wino John.  BB has accepted the invite and will roll up early for the event.  I am relegated to discovering said location and stealthily passing the private security detail.  If I get in, I will be posting pictures of the deeply stocked wine cellar in this well concealed fiefdom.   (Editor's note:  BigBob, ixnay on inobobway...)

February 13, 2006

Well, when Sam Champion promises me a night full of 10-12 inches, and you find out he really delivers 20.5 inches, my Goodness, that is a man, a real weatherman.  With a Saturday evening snow fall, there was little else to do, but hunker down, light up the old fireplace and uncork a bottle of red.  The prediction for north Jersey was about 10-12 inches of pure white powder, but Sunday morning greeted my snow blower with a whopping 20.5 inches blanketing anything and everything in the neighborhood.  The fireplace, though originally built to burn kettle coal, has just enough draft, added by my persistent poking and prodding, to char the split oak I have seasoned for two years.  My old home, the first one I lived in, had a fire place that was so well designed I could burn anything and it threw heat to the front two rooms so long throughout the night that the thermostat wouldn’t kick on until the next day.  It was fantastic for the front two rooms of the house.  Unfortunately, the bedrooms were all in the back and would be bone chillingly cold in the morning.  I knew I had to get out of bed, when my snoring was interrupted by the ice dam in my nasal passages.  This fire place, though located in the same room as the thermostat, is so non-heat producing that my burner cycles the same whether I have a roaring fire or not.  The real benefit I get is dunnage reduction at Christmas when I spend the late morning burning all the wrapping paper and boxes from the Jolly Ole Fat Man.

The snow blowing and shoveling has me cognizant of muscle groups that Grey’s Anatomy does not define in the human species.  Here is hoping you are dug out by now, or at least can see the street.  Global warming lives in New Jersey….

2003 Fairview Goat Roti $ (18.99)   I like these people because they tweak the proverbial noses of the Rhôneys.  This South African wine fills your bowl with blueberry and blackberry and plum flavors with a hint of tobacco and chocolate on the nose.  I suggest you let this one rest for a bit, as it has plenty of tannins to preserve its fruit.

February 11, 2006

To those of you who have noticed the lack of posting on my part this past week, it was due to the fact I was at the annual Geek journey to Mecca.  Yes, once a year, like lemmings off the cliff, the pocket-protected, nerd-glasses wearing crowd journeys to a place out west, warmer and sunnier than the winter torn east, for a week of technical seminars on subjects that make your hair hurt just trying to understand the titles of the papers being presented.  As a function, the nerd herd looks for practical ways of implementing said theories and techniques into their everyday responsibilities.  I participate in the promotion of equipment, and materials to said eggheads in an effort to design in the new processes.  Sometimes it is a very unrewarding process.  Fortunately, there are some good people who have cracked the eggshell and make the process fun and rewarding by solving an issue that helps make things work more efficiently. (Editor's note:  WinoBob first met this egg-head, pocket-protected, dweeb editor at one of these tech trade shows...)

Being in California for this show allows the plane ride out to be filled with dreams of bathing in bold red wines at dinners in opulent LA restaurants.  Unfortunately, reality never collides with the hopes and dreams of a wino.  Most of the time it is a house glass of cabernet sauvignon at a non-descript chain eatery.  Five nights on the left coast yielded one evening at a decent restaurant and a bottle of red beyond BV coastal cabernet sauvignon which seems to be a favorite of a few of the places I stopped in.  Needing to locate a nice dining experience for a group that we were doing a project with, the convention center offered a kiosk with reservation services.   The place suggested was far enough away from the normal haunts that we would not be elbow to elbow with hat wearing, secret handshaking conventioneers and we would not have to talk business in code.  Too many times, I have been in situations where half way through the discussion at dinner, I got up to use the men’s room only to see a competitor sitting two tables away with a glass to his ear trying to hear every last detail of the conversation. 

We headed to Newport, to a small restaurant on the water called the Rusty Pelican, not to be confused in any way with the Rusty Trombone in West Hollywood.  I noticed it was a bit noisy when we headed to the bar, as they had to soak us for a few drinks before seating us.  We were quickly into the spirit and the level of our conversation soon elevated to match the surroundings and the laughs were rolling in like the waves in the harbor.  The concierge service must rate, as the table they did seat us at was one of a few window select.  The food was great and for me, it was the pan seared ahi tuna rare, woo hoo!  The wine list was limited and though I was asked to select, I was told I was not paying.   The consensus was red so I found a conveniently priced Alexander Valley Cab.  The group all muttered what a nice wine, though I appreciated it, I felt they did it out of obligation or expectation rather than truth.  The one thing I noticed was that the second bottle had a small funk dusting the finish not found on the first bottle, but the wine was not corked.  As it was the second bottle and we had run through some cocktails, no one paid much attention and the wine went down just as quickly.  That dinner was the bright spot in an otherwise Coors Light soaked week.

2002  Roth Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $$ (39.99 restaurant price was 54.00)   I will address the first bottle as it showed black cherry, plum and cassis and finished with spice and tobacco aromas.  The wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc.

February 5, 2006

Well, Super Bowl Sunday is finally here, and I do not have a dog in the race, as they say.  I am not quite sure who “they” are, but I do know they say that when they do not have a candidate in a political race or a person they are backing they are commenting on.  Google the term “dog in the race” and I bet it comes up with every cable news channel for the past five years.  I guess everyone likes a catch phrase, so I have taken one I have heard for the last many years and plugged it in as I saw fit.  I do not think my phrase, “serve it up with a side of kapusta” has the same ring, but I am trying to get Chris Mathews to use it on Hard Ball.

It is about 5 pm and I am two bottles down, little did I know the pre game show was not one hour prior to kick off, I think it actually started last night at midnight and is still an hour and a half from the coin toss.  Does having your coin tossed mean anything in prison?  I once heard the term licking the dirty penny, but was not sure if it was heads or tails or if it made a difference. 

As far as who wins, it does not matter to me, but I will make the following predictions: 

  • The coin lands heads

  • The first touchdown is via a pass

  • The halftime show exposes Mick Jagger’s nipple

  • There will be three commercials I do not understand until tomorrow when they are explained by the media

  • The score will be a run-away by the third quarter and we all will turn over to watch whatever is on channel 2.

  • Ben Roethlesburger is the MVP.

Enjoy the game and I hope your team wins. 

2003 Chateau d'Oupia Minervois  $ (8.99)   A blend from a less known part of the Rhone, made from Grenache, Syrah, Carignan.  You can expect an array of blackberry and olive flavors with mocha and espresso notes. Not bad for an inexpensive wine.

February 5, 2006

Want to buy some switchgrass?  I never knew my backyard was a source of energy.  It is because of my lack of energy to mow the lawn that I may now be phat in alternative fuel.   Last night, one of the cable channels ran a commercial I laughed at the first time I heard it, it referred to those of us who are optically challenged as Prespyopians.  And yes, I am a prespyopian as well as a dipsomaniac. Being a dipsomaniac has freed me from my methyphobia, thank God.  I know this is all a surprise because phobias and manias are usually followed by long stints with a psychologist. Me, I cured myself of my methyphobia by becoming a dipsomaniac.  It did not take me long, just a few sessions at UnBacchus and the friendly nature and service of the one behind the bar. 

Often, I sit and listen to a show and hear about an ailment and think I have it, so I grab my Grey’s Anatomy Home Edition to self determine if I have all the symptoms.  I can say with 100% certainty that I am a dipsomaniac, which ensures I do not suffer from methyphobia.

 Did you know that there is a cloud of alcohol in outer space with enough alcohol to make four trillion-trillion drinks. It's free for the taking. . . but it's 10,000 light years away from Earth.  God that Discovery Channel is well worth every penny I pay for it.  In an unrelated issue, I also found out that Wino John, the King Kong of China, may have not eaten dog during his last trip, but he probably imbibed dog.  There is one brand of Chinese beer which reportedly includes in its recipe "ground-up dog parts”.   I am researching the name, but I am confident it is the beer WJ had during his last business trip.

2004 BODEGAS OLIVARES ALTOS DE LA HOYA MONASTRELL $ (9.99)    92% Monastrell / 8% Garnacha throwing off flavors of blackcurrant, chocolate, black licorice and sweet blackberry.  Plenty of depth, ripe tannin, with a nice ending.

* Methyphobia is fear of alcohol and Dipsomania refers to an abnormal or insatiable craving for alcohol.

 

February 3, 2006

I, from time to time, wear my ethnic upbringings and family traditions on my shirtsleeve (Note to self:  Take ethnic shirt to cleaners).  My family taught me the significance of Ballantine Beer in our history and though my father was a cheap scotch drinker, vodka must have at one time careened through my bloodstream.  Unfortunately, to date I have not been able to locate a relative in the old country that runs a vodka plant or makes moonshine, though during a recent search on vodka, I did find a brand very closely located to my mother’s roots and the brand name is very close to her maiden name.  I immediately dispatched her to find anyone in that town and see if we have familial rites.  Vodka, in my mind was a potato-based distilled spirit.  You know us poor Poles farmed potatoes, one for the pot and one for the still.

In 1546, King Jan Olbrecht issued a decree allowing every citizen the right to make Vodka in Poland.  As a result, many families distilled their own spirit, and as early as the sixteenth century, there were forty-nine commercial distilleries in the town of Poznan alone.  Vodka making and drinking became established at all levels of society in Poland over the next few centuries. Poznan continues to be a major center for the production of Vodka today.

The art of making vodka in Poland really hit its high at the end of the 19th century. The most famous Vodka at the time was Baczewska, distilled by the Baczewski family in Lvov. Between the World Wars, excellent Vodkas were distilled by Jakub Haberfeld of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and Zygfryd Gessler of Bielsko Biala. In the unfortunate years of the People’s Republic of Poland, the honor of Polish vodka was held high primarily by Wyborowa. Wyborowa is a vodka with a long tradition and a registered trademark since 1927, one year prior to the trade marking of Smirnoff. The brand was famous enough to warrant setting up a distillery in Mexico. Unfortunately, the state-led Polmos monopoly led to a degradation of quality and its disappearance from many foreign markets. The FDA at one point questioned Bison Vodka due to the stem of grass inserted into each bottle to give it its distinct flavor.

The Chopin and Belvedere brands enjoyed spectacular success in the past years. The management of the Phillips Beverage Company (owner and exclusive distributor of the Chopin brand) decided that if wines, cognacs and whiskies have a premium segment, so should vodkas. They introduced the Chopin brand and priced it in the premium range. From 1995, they spent $60 million on marketing. This gamble paid off,  (2002) they sold 4 million bottles of Belvedere and 500,000 bottles of Chopin in the USA alone.

Pernod Ricard (owner of the Wyborowa brand) and the Phillips Beverage Company are gearing up for new marketing campaigns. This is caused by the intensifying competition in the premium segment. The major competitor of Belvedere and Chopin is the French Grey Goose. Right now, the two Polish brands dominate the premium market in the US; they currently hold 40% of it. Pernod Ricard is intensifying its campaign to promote Wyborowa; it is currently ranked number six by sales volume behind brands such as Stolichnaya, Smirnoff or Finlandia. It is currently the fastest growing brand so this ranking may soon change.

Vodka was originally known as "the water (voda) of life" from the similar word for water in both Russian and Polish, the countries from where the drink originated. Under European Commission regulations it must be made from alcohol of agricultural origin.

The most popular vodka is from grains, like rye, wheat and corn. Other options include using potatoes, beets or molasses.  Being the jingoist that I am, I propose we look more deeply into President Bush’s recent alternative fuel for not only driving our automobiles, but also driving our stills.  I say we look into the switchgrass solution, if it can make ethanol, I am four square behind it.  Besides, look at it, it might even do well in an easy wider.


Switchgrass, also known as Tall Panicgrass

By the way, the word for wine in Polish is wino pronounced veeno and I cop to both.  I do look up Polish phrases since I am unable to speak the language and in my Polish For Travelers book, this phase was in the dining section, “nie chce wina francuskiego”.  Let me translate, yes even the farmers from the war-torn section of Bobspoorrelativski are quick to say- "I don’t want French wine!" 

Który jest zdumienie napoju dla istnienia przyciskanego (zablokowany) ziemniak w waszym ośle, na zdrowie.

February 2, 2006

Today is the most important day during this winter season, when a sleepy groundhog wipes the groundhog crust from his little groundhog eyes, just after a fat, drunk town mayor sticks his ice cold hand into the warm toasty den of this rodent and pulls him out into the cold break of day.  That prognosticator of petulant weather yawned, peed and as usual, saw his shadow meaning 6 more weeks of winter.  I guess if we were really into global warming, that would have been far different, so is Punxsutawney Phil a weatherman the likes of Sam Champion, or an environmentalist, the likes of Woody Harrelson? 

Groundhog Day came into being in North America during the late 1800s thanks to the combined effort of Clymer H. Freas, a newspaper editor, and W. Smith, an American Congressman and newspaper publisher. They organized and popularized a yearly festival in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  German settlers populated the State predominantly. The festival featured a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil that used to foretell how long the winter would last. The said rodent comes out of his hole after winter hibernation to look for its shadow.  If the shadow is seen, it's a sunny day; the groundhog foretells 'six more weeks of bad weather and thus a lingering winter. However, spring is coming if no shadow is seen because of clouds. The groundhog then behaves accordingly. It goes back into the hole if the weather turns bad, but stays above ground if spring is near.

I would like to offer a bit more info about Punxsutawney and another great use for him.  Groundhog stew recipe brought to you by the wild game cookers at:  http://www.geocities.com/aliciainelpaso/wildgame/list.html

 

WOODCHUCK (GROUNDHOG) STEW

1 woodchuck
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
Flour
Vinegar and water
Salt and pepper
Cloves

Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into serving pieces. Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt. Drain, wash, and wipe. Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling water. Add one sliced onion, celery, a few cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour.

 

WOODCHUCK (GROUNDHOG) PIE

1 woodchuck, skinned and cleaned
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup green pepper
1/2 tbsp minced parsley
1 tbsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 1/2 tbsp. flour
3 cups broth

Biscuits:

1 cup flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. fat
1/4 cup milk

Cut woodchuck into 2 or 3 pieces. Parboil for 1 hour. Remove meat from bones in large pieces. Add onion, green pepper, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour to the broth and stir until it thickens. If the broth does not measure 3 cups, add water. Add the meat to the broth mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour into baking dish.

For biscuits: sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in the fat and add the liquid. Stir until the dry ingredients are moist. Roll only enough to make it fit the dish. Place dough on top of meat, put in a hot oven (400 degrees F.) and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until dough is browned. Serves 6-8.

 

My recommendation is a hardy Zinfandel for this gamey meat, the spice and robust fruit flavored wine will go well with Punxsutawney Phil and the fact that the alcohol content is around 15%, it held you forget you are eating the legendary weather predictor.  I suggest a 2001 Rosenblum "Monte Rosso Vineyard" (Sonoma Valley).  Boner petite.

January 30, 2006

Well, I might be rethinking this free-balling stance to protest the clothing tax.  Yesterday, I began my outward action to bring attention to the budget proposal from Mr. Corzine.  Unfortunately, I decided to wear a new pair of Kirkland jeans (yes, the Costco brand for those of us who cannot afford Levis).  The chaffing has the boys quite irritated and rather uncooperative.  I am hoping to build up the necessary calluses to continue.  I am sure Gandhi’s diaper caused him rashing and redness, but we who truly believe in a cause will not be deterred.  

In a deluge of emails, many of my well wishers were quick to let me know that Kevin Zraly, my mentor, has taken a position with Mr. Parker.  I took all the news personally as you proceeded to rub salt on my peter.  I did have a lengthy conversation with Mr. Zraly, he expressed the extensive financial package Mr. Parker has offered, but did tell me as a sign of friendship, he too will be joining in the 'free-balling for tax-free clothing' campaign.  So next time you are at an event Mr. Zraly is hosting, give him the nod and wink and tell him how much we appreciate his support, or lack there of, for stopping the NJ budget deal.

In a home chemistry experiment, I have decided to place wine in a cup and soak the chaffed boys for one hour to see if wine is good for healing chaffed free-ballers.  Last night, I started with a south African sauvignon blanc.  I have watched all ten episodes of Tribal Life (the series) and figure those guys know what they are doing.  They climb abrasive trees with a simple gourd and twine banana hammock.  Talk bout road rash, Jesus.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to extend a Happy Birthday wish to Wino Ray, reader and relative from Arizona, a child of the sixties.  I am sure he has free balled in protest many-a-time. 

2001 Rustenberg  "Brampton" Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc $ (9.99)   A mellow style shows hints of citrus and acidity but nothing to pucker over.  A light-weight approach to a stringing grape.

January 29, 2006

I officially declare this dank, small, dimly lit third floor room’s official cessation from New Jersey.  With little more than two weeks under his expanding belt, the newly installed Governor of this fine state has proposed to tax your underwear, or frilly panties which ever the case may be.  As word dribbles out about the budget that this pro-business, Wall Street wunderkind has hastily typed up on his hand held PDA, it looks like your BVDs and your 401Ks are in line for the proverbial nut squeezing.  The oft sign of New York licenses plates at Short Hills mall will soon be a sight in the rear view mirror as the now exempt clothing is in for a rude awakening.  NY has oppressively taxed their constituents a whopping 8.25 per cent sales tax which has boomed the mall traffic on the weekends as average New Yorkers drive into Jersey to purchase their Victoria Secret garters and fishnets, as a man needs to be comfortable under his Brooks Brothers suit in court.  Now, if the budget passes, not only will said high powered NY lawyers not be coming to Jersey to buy their frilly undergarments, us Jerseyans will be strangled with a 7% clothing tax.  Somehow I do not recall any mention of this in the debates or speeches given by Mr. Corzine during the run up to the election.  If pillow talk is ever appropriate, maybe the union leader who caused all the interest-free loan scandal could tell Mr. Corzine if he ever expects to see her black thong and 7 inch spiked heels again while leading him around his lavish Hoboken apartment on a dog leash, keep the tax off the sexy outfits or consider a blue ball tax. 

Pile on top, a proposal to tax out tax-deferred pittance of a nest egg and one is left to wonder why anyone would want to continue living here.  As a self-employed small potato, I struggle to set up a very meager nest egg, about the size Hershy spits out for filling Easter baskets.  Push forward 25 years when I am peeing myself, dribbling oatmeal from my lower lip and forgetting where I hid my own Easter eggs, and I will not be able to afford the nurse necessary to yell at me and punch me in the rib every time I pee myself.  Please people, do not go down without a fight.  It's bad enough that those wealthy folks who own several vacation homes are not getting the tax break on other mortgages.  If the wealthy pull out because of taxes on their golden parachutes, I might become the most wealthy person left in the state.  That, my friends, is a comment you never want to consider seeing how I would not even be the wealthiest person in Katrina-struck portions of New Orleans.  If the wealthy go, so goes the state.

As of this day forward, in protest of the clothing tax, I, Wino Bob, do solemnly swear to NOT wear underwear, frilly or not, from this day forward, or until the clothing tax goes down in flames.  That my wino friends, is directly imparted by the power vested in me by The State of Intoxication.   (Editor's note:  No boxers, No Jockeys. The only thing between him and us is a thin layer of Gaberdeen!  Ugghhh...)

January 28, 2006

I don’t travel much, but on the few occasions when I do fly somewhere, I have the good fortune of being able to use the Continental Lounge.  There are many frequent flyers and corporate movers and shakers on the phone making deals or speaking way too lovingly for them to be calling home to the wife.  But today I encountered something for the first time.  A woman made a call on her cell phone and spoke so loudly, I heard the conversation in the next room.  Her subsequent two phone calls were at moderate to low in volume so I do not know what they were about, but I do know that the producer for her segment is being a total jerk.  Which made me wonder, how far on the fringes of the entertainment business must one be to boom out loudly, words or phrases to let others know you are somebody, doing something in the “industry”?  I always see those pictures of stars in large hats pulled down low or hair tucked up to keep a low profile.  Today, this woman, whom I did not recognize was shouting for attention to the fact that she is doing something for television.  Maybe I should creep over there and ask for an autograph just in case she is somebody.  I am so out of it, I couldn’t recognize Brittany Spears from Broccoli Spears.  I guess I should read a few pop culture magazines so I can get my stars straightened out.  I saw several others glancing in her direction trying to figure out if she is somebody.  She did give me an idea that maybe I should be wailing the Wino Bob phone conversations in public so I can get those same looks.

Landing late and not wanting to go far from the hotel, I left the rented PT Cruiser Limited Edition in the lot of the Hampton Inn and strolled across the road to the strip mall.  There were several restaurants to choose from, but the Wild Wings Café held the least appeal.  I settled on the Trattoria Monaco, as it was not crowded, had a welcoming look about it and the aroma wafting out of the door was enticing.  It turned out to be a great choice as the lamb chops were larger than most at a very reasonable price.  The mussels in curry butter broth tied a spicy, sweetness to the mussels that I have never had before and the wine by the glass serving size agreed with my wine by the glass drinking desire. 

The highlight of the trip came during my breakfast meeting, when my associate suggested we meet at PJ’s for coffee.  PJ’s?  What is this, some Starbuck clone in Alpharetta trying to make hip coffee and streamed milk drinks with overstuffed chairs and wi-fi?  Well, kinda, but as I rolled up in my PT Cruiser Limited Edition rental car, the sign hit me and a smile branched across my face. This was no ordinary Starbucks wannabe, this Winos and Winettes, is heaven on earth.  This is what I have searched for all my drinking life.  This could actually be my next business venture.  This is not just a Ralph Kramden scheme; this is a brilliant, no... uber-brillant blending of market research.  Folks, I offer the next great franchise opportunity for the twenty something crowd.  (Wino John, see if Wino Wally has $100,000 in his loose change pocket and we can corner the NJ market with PJ’s Coffee and Wine Bar franchises.)  It would be an instant success in Montclair, and Stone Harbor, and Lambertville. 

 
www.pjscoffee.com

I have been thinking about this place all night.  Jesus, would I go there at night for some wine and just stay until daybreak for coffee, or would I go there at 7am for coffee and stay there until it was legal to start drinking wine?  Then, would I drink wine to dampen my coffee buzz, or would I drink coffee to wake me up enough to drive home?  But why should I drive home?  I could just have some coffee there until I was sober enough to start drinking again.  Now if we can just get them to add dancing girls, game over!  As it was a breakfast meeting, and not legal in Georgia to sell wine before 7:30 AM, I did not get to enjoy their offerings or view their wine list, but the dark roast Espresso Dolce was great.

2002 Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah $ (16.99)  Jammy and ripe with chocolate, mint and dark fruits are all over this one, a nice compliment to the lamb chops.

 

January 25, 2006

Hey, why do they always promote wine and cheese?  I do like cheese and I do have a tendency to put some out when people are coming over.  I do it mainly as I was told that cheese closes off the stomach and makes you feel fuller faster.  Being a cheap bastard, I figure the more cheese I could load guests up with, the less real food they will be eating.  Now, through the magic of science, or the science of magic, those real wine people at the  University of California - Davis, took said curdled milk and forced expert wine tasters to rate four cheap and four expensive wines.  The good news for cheap bastards like me, is that cheese stomps on all but the buttery aromas. Therefore, unless you have a stocked white Burgundy cellar like Wino John’s Latour du Jour, you can further save money by serving cheap wine.  Any of the berry and oak flavors along with sourness and astringency could not be detected by the most expertest of experts. 

The next time you are at a friend's house and make them open the expensive wine you brought, like I do when I go to Wino Lou’s house, skip the cheese and stick to the hot dogs in a blanket.  You will at least enjoy the wine.  As for my friends and family, my secret is out, if you see me passing the cheese plate early and often, you know the wine is some crap I once thought was great, until I sobered up and tasted it in the light of day.  Pas l'inquiétude, j'ai un vin pour égaler cette odeur de cheesey de votre slip.  s'il vous plaît laver votre slip, l'odeur de fromage assourdit le bouquet de mon bordeaux.

January 24, 2006

Wood is good and morning wood is much appreciated by an aging old bastard like me.  A response of  “wood Floor” from the right female will do wonders for that morning wood occurring more than just, well, in the morning.  However, wood that steps so much on the fruit it could only be likened to blowing Gepetto’s little creation is actually more wood then I need, or want in my glass.  (Editor's note:  Does your wife read this stuff???)

I happened upon a bottle of wood today as I try to keep pace with my cabernet-frenzied WinoStuff partner.  I do love the enhancements that wood can bring to a well rested red wine, but  I actually had to check the inside of the bottle for splinters after tasting this one.  The unfortunate thing was that the wood stayed through the first glass, framed the second glass, mitered the third and planked the fourth.  No matter how I agitated, swirled, breathed, or aerated the wine, it was what it was, a heaping glass of timber.  No matter how hard I wished that little wooden boy would become real wine, he did not.  He just lay there in my glass, looking up at me with those stupid wooden eyes and that tree branch nose.  He wouldn’t dance or sing or jump out of the glass to become my friend, but rather it remained that log, unchiseled, uncrafted, unwine-like, kind of lifeless and dormant and lacking a heart. 

2003 Odfjell Vineyards Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon $ (13.99)    What can I say, if you are looking for wall studs, this plank can be nailed with 10 penny galvanized.

January 23, 2006 

What do you marinade a fresh salmon steak with that also allows you to marinade your dashed Super Bowl dreams?  For me it turned out to be a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  It started simple enough, the NZSB would add to the orange juice and lemon I was soaking my salmon in before I placed it in the oven, then the Panther game came on and I started hitting the bottle as the Seahawks completely disregarded any run defense and  mixed blitz packages with nickel and dime schemes that stymied Jake and shutdown his favorite target.  In fact, I was preparing myself for a road trip to Detroit by driving through the Ironbound section of Newark with my windows down and Fiddy Cent blasting out my hoopdy.  Maybe it is not so bad that I am not heading to Detroit for the Big Game, especially after today’s news that Ford is shutting down 14 plants in the US.  As Bill Ford is insulated to the worries of food, shelter and a beer, the hourly employees will be taking to the streets.  I know I am not a football coach, guru or commentator, but if Mr. Smith was so well covered, where were the other receiving opportunities?  How about sending the tight end on a post pattern when covered by an inside linebacker?  Why didn’t they put Smith in the slot, send Carter on a shallow post, and drag Smith underneath on a corner route?  I guess with Foster breaking his leg last week and Goins getting hurt early, they just had no threat of a running game.

Panther’s, thanks for the excitement, but like the Eagles, and the Giants, we will be watching the Big Game from the couch.

2004 Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $ (11.99)   A nice blend of passion fruit, ripe gooseberry and hints of herbaceous tones finish off with a clean finish.

January 22, 2006

My, my, my, I never expected this reaction so quickly.  Like a virus, or the bubonic plague, Cali Cab Fever is infecting those who thought they were immune.  It appears that the Pinot vaccine serum is not very resistant to the overpowering Cali Cab Fever unleashed on the wine world this January 1st.  Though they have found ways to combat root louse, Burgundians may be less resistant to the web-borne disease infecting wine web page readers.  Yes, in what can only be described as the onset of Cali Cab Fever, our friend and Francophile extraordinaire and fine wine purveyor; Big Bob has come down with Cali Cab Fever.  The symptoms start with a desire for a big ass red wine, followed by mild fever, runny nose and the shakes.  If left untreated, one is thrust into a weakened state caused mainly by explosive diarrhea, uncontrollable colon spasms, and a mucous colored fluid dripping from unusual places in the body.  Rather than fight the disease, Big Bob decided to immunize his entire family with a strong dose of Cali Cab Fever antidote, proof submitted by Big Bob himself.

As you can see, in women, the antidote creates a desire for them to unzip their otherwise nun-like conservative apparel and become vivacious, gregarious hotties.  I knew there was a reason behind our Madam Curie-esque home chemistry.  Fortunately, Big Bob did finish the remaining wine in his glass and avoided the embarrassing rectal symphony.

Please, take the lead from this Burgundy lover and ingest at least the minimal requirement to ward off this Cali Cab Fever thing.  My understanding is for children and old people not able to drink big ass cabs, the medical community has stockpiled blood samples from Wino John.  They say he has been drinking so many Cali Cabs, his blood sample has enough antibodies to immunize the population of China and Madagascar.  You think the bird flu thing is bad, do not be caught without protection against the Cali Cab Fever.

January 21, 2006

I was figuring that this being the Year of the Cab, Wino John would be regaling us with the many fine cabernets he has stowed away in the fortress known only to a privileged few.  I see he has fessed up to the Cab Fest I he enjoyed, but if you read the WOTM closely, Arrowood is but one of six premium California cabernets with which he and his brothers christened their palates.  I look forward to the frequent updates this year as cabernet after cabernet flows with reckless abandon around Mr. Big Ass Cab himself.  To get things rolling, we did have a lunch at the tried-and-true JR’s in East Hanover and aptly indulged in a cabernet to officially begin the year that will be The Cab.  Unfortunately, it was not enough in the bottle, split between the three of us to give me the heaping helping of alcohol I need to fuel my reactor. 

I came home, rummaged in the cellar and grabbed something to further my advancement towards optimal alcohol balance, or OAB as I refer to it.  I took the bottle and a glass to the dank third floor hovel and rummaged through the hard drive.  I found an unfinished posting that I figured I would include here to bring my feng schui into balance.  As these are only a few days old, I submit for your approval.

On a sadder note, I did not know President Gerald Ford was still alive, never mind 92 and recently hospitalized.  I guess he was not one of those high impact Presidents.  I will remember him for his golf swing and pardoning Richard Nixon, and, and, let me think, well anyway, I am sorry to hear of his illness.

I promised myself I would not do it.  I actually told people that suggested I should, that there was no way I would, but last night, I got sucked in and now I’m hooked.  I have managed to resist getting hooked on another show on the television, but I surfed in last night to the second part of the hit show 24 and I became a zombie.  The show’s intensity and ability to keep moving glues you to the couch, or maybe it is my laziness and the high percent of alcohol in my system.   God, I need a life. 

2001     Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $$ (35.00)   A fine offering of black cherry and blackberry are in this glass with a finish of cassias and a touch of oak on the palate.

2003 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha Calatayud $ (8.99)   At first this wine shows why it is better as a blending grape than its own varietal, but after some mellowing in the glass, it offers black cherries, raspberries, pepper, and cedar with an enjoyable finish.

 

January 20, 2006

For those of you that were at the Park Avenue Club Port Pairing dinner last night, it was a fun time and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  What?  Park Avenue Club? Wino Bob, have you sold out like Howard Stern and moved from the everyman status into the social elite, plastic surgery, divorce-the-wife-for-a-young-trophy category?  Now Winos and Winettes, rest assured, I am nowhere near social elite status, as this Park Avenue Club is about 22 miles west of the real Park Avenue.  It rests in the suburban setting of Florham Park, New Jersey, not the fast track to elitedome of Manhattan high society.  Nonetheless, the PAC is a supper club for the movers and shakers of New Jersey.  Kinda.  The club is a non-profit that supports 11 charities with the members' funds and is strictly for corporate events and dinners for business and pleasure.  If you are in NJ, look them up at www.parkavenueclub.com.  It is an architecturally beautiful building and has a worthiness to its charter. 

Last night the executive chef offered a very reasonably priced port and food pairing.  The dinner was complete with a PowerPoint presentation on port and I learned some information that I will follow up on to make sure it was true.  The biggest statement I was apprehensive of was that port is not described with fruit characteristics by reviewers.  Looking up a few of my resources, I found that not to be the case.  I also had doubts about the story I was told of the origins of port, but that will take me a bit longer to verify.

Placing my pedant aside, the food was excellent, though I would have paired the ports differently.  The menu match was as follows:

  • Herb Crusted Venison with Parsnip Puree- Graham’s Six Grapes

  • Pan Seared Foie Gras with Baby Pears- Fonseca 10 Year Tawny

  • Grilled Quail with Sweet Potato Hash- Taylor Fladgate LBV

  • English Huntsman Cheese- Fonseca 20 Year Tawny

  • Truffles- Ferreira Vintage 1995

I tend to lean towards the Tawny when I have port as an after dinner drink, but the Ferreira, though young, was impressive.  I would like to taste that about ten years from now.  It seems like this year the Park Avenue Club will be doing several wine or distilled spirits events, the next up being Vodkas.  I found out about the club too late to attend the French wine blind tasting dinner, but several folks seated around me last night mentioned it was fun.  The champagne tasting was a huge hit and attended by everyone but me from the dinner last night.

I look forward to attending another event and if anyone is interested in joining, I would be happy to discuss sponsoring a new member or two to pump a new energy and wine loving crowd into the club.

Interesting side note, the ACLU is pushing to ban foie gras in the USA as it is cruel and unusual punishment for them to force feed the geese with an Abner Louima plunger to fatten their foie gras.  But with the current mass invasion of Canadian Geese, I say we service the community and clean up the goose droppings that are ruining properties and adding acidity to our water supplies by force feeding ACLU members to the geese.  There is nothing more rich and fattening than a misguided lawyer. 

I hope to see you at the Vodka tasting next month.

January 16, 2006

I do not know if it is just me, but age has taken its toll on my mettle.  I spent most of my life outwardly making fun of people that showed emotion, especially at a movie theater, or while watching a television show.  Hell, I once knew someone who cried over those studied AT & T commercials when a son or daughter phones a parent just to tell them they appreciate who they are and they love them, blah, blah, blah.  Not since Ole Yeller died, have I shed a tear while watching some Hollywood version of reality. That is, until this weekend.  First let me regain a bit of self respect and tell you, I was NOT drinking a glass of white zinfandel, nor was I on my period, nor were my panties in a wad and least of all I was not drinking a Royal Tokaji.  So then, Wino Bob, how did a testosterone heaping, heterosexual, rugged individual like yourself end up balling your eyes out in front of the tube, like an estrogen-laden sissy boy?  I am glad you asked, because I had no intention of ever balling my eyes out over a show.  It started out very normal, like many a Sunday.  It was too early for the games and the political shows had just finished trying very hard to tilt the world lefter.  I clicked over to the history channel, the one most intimate with Hitler proclivities for world domination, stylish facial hair and young boys. 

To my delight, the show featured the history of distilled spirits.  Bingo, what better topic in between politics and football for an alcohol-crazed derelict.  I was captivated, enthralled, educated, chilled, and broken down to a sobbing, quivering couch potato.  The lump in my throated started during the recanting of a conversation between George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.  Triumphant from the long, hard-fought seven year battle to free this colony from the oppressive taxation of the great grandparents of Limey dork, Hugh Johnson (the Brits), Mr. Washington had to devise a plan to repay the allies that funded to war (yes, the French were in there).  So what is the solution?  Tax the distilled spirits produced by every household in the new country.  What the f%$#???  Didn’t taxes lead to this battle, wasn’t it a tea tax that pushed the colonists to the limits?  OK, bring back the tea tax, who cares, but avoid the distilled spirits, my new soon to be dollar bill picture boy.  Well this won’t fly, and rightly, the farmers readied themselves to do battle.  Unfortunately, as with most drunken ideas, it sounds good at 2 am, until you wake up the next day, hung over, looking at the barrel of a rifle.  OK, we will do the next best thing.  Heading west to Kentucky, the colonists found the limestone rivers of water necessary to make the true spirit of the new country, and in Bourbon County Kentucky, our sour mash distilled spirit was born, and a stones throw away, the Tennesseans charcoal filtered this sour mash to give birth to Jack Daniels, the smoother, mellower bourbon. 

Don’t worry; I wasn’t boo-hooing yet.  Now, I hung with the new colonists up until that fat bitch, Molly Hatchet, fueled the temperance movement as a way to get men out of the bars and back to being productive members of the community by holding down a job and feeding their kids and going home to listen to their wife’s run at the mouth, blah, blah, blah.  It was the scene of a government official throwing bottles of whiskey against a wall, smashing them into a stream of undrinkable booze that started the waterworks for me, and I cried from 1919 until President Roosevelt signed the repeal.  Image after image of stills being blown up, barrels being axed apart and five-gallon cans being punctured by picks.  I wept.  Heaving body, streaming tears, heartache, I was crushed.

Nevertheless, the drunk craving alcohol can be very innovative and we fought back with rumrunner crafts dashing to the three-mile mark at sea to stealthily beach, unload and head back to the supply ships up and down the east coast.  A Mr. McCoy was the first to set his ship at the international water limit of three miles and head up Rum Row, and when you purchased high quality liquor from him, it was the real McCoy.  The moonshine (named for the clandestine stills run at night, by the light of the moon to slip detection) market, the bath tub gin market and oh yeah, Al Capone, the Valentines Day massacre, the Purple Gang in Detroit,  the whole crime thing, but still, the spirits flowed.    How could they kill all that innocent distilled spirit?  Oh the humanity, the callus hard hearted sons of bitches...  Damn you, ax wielding tea-totallers…

For those much stronger than I, do yourself a favor and watch this show next time it is on.  But I must warn you, some scenes are not suitable for those with weak hearts, those under 14 years of age and those sympathetic to any liquid fermented in any manner. 

2002 Lyndhurst Estate Oak Aged Cabernet Sauvignon $ (11.99)    The Barossa does wonders with shiraz, but this example of cabernet sauvignon is lackluster and unexciting.

January 15, 2006

Hey Canooks, keep your God Damn cold weather up where it belongs.  You pissed all over my weekend.  Actually, the balmy 48 degree temperatures were placed in a choke hold and strangled within an inch of their life yesterday when the God Damn cold winds started screaming down from the Great White North, across the great lakes, over the hills and valleys of upstate New York and landing garishly upon Caldwell, New Jersey.  The mild rain that was giving me the excuse not to do anything except watch football yesterday, soon turned to ice BBs that rattled across the windows propelled by the 40 mph winds from God Damn Canada.  The frozen rain blanketed the roads and walkways just enough to endanger the life of everyone wanting to head out.  Unfortunately, I did have to slip-slide my way out of the house for a bit, and upon my return, a car, two people and three bottles of wine were waiting in my driveway.  It seems that the Wino Rockers had been out and about and were caught in the sudden weather change.  Being closer to my house than theirs, they stopped to pick up some wine so we could hang by the fireplace, and watch the late game.  They must have been waiting awhile as one of the bottles was opened and Wino Rocker was self-medicating to ward off the cold.  That bottle, as I am germophobic, will not be reviewed since it went directly into a backwash cycle and Lord knows what lives within the mouth of an aging Rock and Roll ex-band member. 

I also found out, during my absence I missed a call from the Judge from Downunder who is in the middle of labeling all the 2004 The Guilty that will land in my basement.  I understand that he has increased the number of states where The Guilty, and his latest offering (I do not think I can disclose just yet) will be available.  Stay tuned, as I will be drinking both of these with him when he comes to the US.

As the wind has not let up and the wind chill is reported at -12 F, I will be again relegated to the lounge chair in front of the TV for the final two Divisional playoff games with the Panthers in Chicago to see if they can tame the Bears and meet up with the Seahawks in Seattle next Sunday for the Conference Championship.  If only Washington could have bought an offense.

And let me end this with a wish for a Happy Martin Luther King Day to my brothers, I feel your pain, as I too was born a poor black child.  Come on..., it was funny when Steve Martin said that line in his movie, The Jerk.  Just think of me as The Jerk…

2002 Heritage Road Bloodstone Shiraz $ (9.99)     A soft wine with muted fruit flavors of plum and red berry with a finish plus of spice.

2004 Woop Woop Shiraz $ (13.99)   A jammy wine with generous blackberry, and blueberry fruit. It is well balanced with black licorice, pepper on the finish. (the term 'woop woop' is used to denote the middle of nowhere in the outback.  For those in Jersey, it would be like us saying Bumfuck, Nebraska)

January 12, 2006

Sometimes, the imagination is far better then reality.  You know, you spend hours, no days, thinking about how good something might be; a date, a meeting, a bottle of wine, only to find out that it never lives up to expectations.  Two nights ago, as a member of a meeting, the hosts took us to a steakhouse in NY I have always wanted to visit.  On someone else’s budget, I was conjuring up the steak selection I would make, and the bottle of wine I would enjoy, and the dessert and the atmosphere and the lore.  Yes, it was not just any steakhouse.  It was a steakhouse with history, or rather infamy. The steakhouse that, on December 16, 1985, jumped to the front page of every newspaper and TV show in the area when allegedly four men in Russian-style fur hats, allegedly shot a gentleman by the name of Paul Castellano, Big Paulie, allegedly.  The steakhouse is Sparks and since that day has been known as the place that Big Paulie got whacked by the Gotti crew, allegedly.   

 

So I went, starry-eyed, and walked through the doors that allegedly Mr. Castellano exited around 3:45 pm on that December day after a nice lunch with friends.  The dinning area is large, noisey, and decorated in Victorian chic.  We were with a large group and they gave us four tables in the back, each table was designated with a person to select the wine.  The task did not fall to me so I went for the ride.  A Flintstone sized menu was handed to us and the four page excessively sized booklet was three pages of wine and one of food.  That is fine with me, however, the larger number of selections was fish.  The steakhouse I dreamed of having a nice porterhouse at, only offered three beef selections, a veal chop, lamb chops and fish upon fish both shell and flesh.  I got the Roquefort steak and a house salad.  The meat was nice, but not a porterhouse.  Our table had several bottles of a California Cabernet Sauvignon, so I must declare this as the first GOTY bottle for me.  Therefore, I guess I was not as impressed with this place as I thought I would have been.  The food was good, just not as extensive as I thought it would be.  The only good thing from the night was that I checked off one more from my to do list; sight were Big Paulie got whacked, done…..allegedly.

2001 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (69.00 rest.)   The wine was good, not exceptional, with an overwhelming nose of toasted toffee and flavors of black cherry and chocolate.

 

January 8, 2006

Wild Card Weekend, nothing better for a football fan and the fun began last night.  The Washington/Tampa Bay game was interesting but it was the night game between the Jaguars and the Patriots that had this wine lover enjoying both passions.  The game was called by the premier crew, the crème de la crème, the standard bearers for play by play and that is the soon to be separated Al Michaels and John Madden.  Al Michaels is the ultimate word smith, the purveyor of  pop culture and sayer of the point spread.  Madden, is Madden and no matter how many come after and try and capture his clichés, his syntax and his insight, none will, for he is the master.  So I am sitting in my recliner with a Spanish red in hand and a bag of chips on my ever expanding mid section.  The game is much out of hand with the Pats cruising in the game.  There were about 11 minutes left in the fourth and Madden and Michaels were rambling to fill the time.  They were speaking about the aging linebacker having a grand game, Willie McGuinnist.  Michaels drew an analogy that McGuinnist is like a "61 Pa-truce".  Madden mumbled something like, “er, ah, right.”

They cut to commercial, and it was on my way back from the porcelain pot that it hit me.  Michaels was throwing in a reference to a Bordeaux.  With my Joisey accent, I pronounce the names of many wines inappropriately.  I pronounce it Pét-truss, he pronounced it Pa-trúce.  Since he has tons more dough than me, he dines in finer restaurants than me and commands the King’s English, maybe I am the one out of sync.  I will have to go to the video with Big Bob, as he imports this much sought after Merlot.  But Al, I would have thought a 61 Haut Brion, or Mouton Rothschild not a Pa-truce. 

Whatever the call, it was the first time I have heard a wine analogy in a football game commentary.  Way to go, Al.  Next time you are in NJ, look me up and we can go over Big Bob’s and enjoy a bottle of 61 Petrus.

Speaking of commentary, can we ask Fox not to let Troy Aikman do a Giant game?  The guy is so biased from all his years as a Cowboy that he never can get past it.  He dumps on every little issue Eli Manning does.  Conversely, he finds the positive side of any opponent.  As you know my wish was to have these two teams meeting for the NFC championship game, that way one of them would be on their way to the Super Bowl.  Unfortunately, this weekend is the end of the playoff road for one of them.  The outside scenario I can hope for is if the Panthers do beat the Giants, they handle the Bears next week and Washington beats Seattle, then I can be in a seat at Bank of America stadium in Charlotte for the NFC battle for the big dance slot. 

2004 Ludovicus Red $ (8.99)     This Spanish blend did not twist my trunk enough for  what I expected from the grapes in it.  Mostly cherry flavors but little depth or complexity.

January 7, 2006

Wow, I was saddened yesterday to hear on my car radio (the old terrestrial kind) that a great musician died.  First, let me ask, are you caught up in this satellite radio verses terrestrial radio brew-ha-ha?  I find it completely over-exaggerated, satellite radio will grow, as does any new technology, with the common issues of people being reluctant to pay for something that is free.  Commercial radio will go through a metamorphosis and drop audience, then reformat and gain again.  Personally, I am a talk show junkie so the "all music, all the time" and need to have 100 plus channels when I only listen to one at a time, doesn’t create the burning desire to run out and lock into a monthly bill.  Let us face it, the alcoholic in me is screaming, '$12.95 per month is one less cheap bottle of wine.'  If I take away one review per month, that is 12 less per year, 120 less per decade…  You do the math.  With less reviews, it will be hard for us to maintain our position atop the competitive world of wine web sites, spiraling in revenues and ending up alone in a dank, dingy, third floor room typing to an audience of a few hardcore readers and my mother.  Wait a minute, maybe life will not change at all...   I should look into this satellite radio thing.  Unlike my other premature habits, I will wait until technology makes this satellite thing less expensive and more transportable with a strong signal.  I have read on line about people not being able to get a signal unless they have a window facing a certain direction in their office and my neighbor that has one in his car, tells me there are spots on Bloomfield Avenue in town that his radio signal goes dead.   

I digress….  As I have pontificated in the past that music is a very important part of my life, it pains me when any musician passes and one that was popular during my misspent youth holds that much more.  Compound that with the fact that he died from brain and lung cancer and it is tragic.  Life is special, but when someone can touch the lives of people he never met, through music, it is religious.  So, to the man that brought us great songs like:

Modern Dance
Why Do You Talk
Venus In Furs
Sweet Jane
Jesus
Romeo Had Juliette
Satellite Of Love
Ecstasy
The Blue Mask
Perfect Day

and the racy, transvestite anthem of the 70’s, we will always remember him for his song, Walk On The Wild Side.

Oh..., what?  It was not Lou Reed that died?  I apologize to Mr. Reed and his family.  It was Lou Rawls that died. 

Actually, I think I tried to sing Lady Love into the ear of a few high school chicks at dances as a young, macking Wino Bob.  I was trying to get some lady love.  As my hand at that point in my life was vice-grip strong, Lady Love would have been nice.

So, may I send my sympathy to the Rawls family.  Rest in peace, dear Lou.

2004 Fat Bastard Syrah $ (gift)  I actually thought twice if I really wanted to drink the entire glass of this one, but since I didn’t want to open another bottle, my craving for alcohol made me finish the bottle over the course of two days.

January 4, 2006

With our fifth snowfall of the winter, I was holed up in the house yesterday.  Digging around the cellar for a warmer-upper, I realized I might be the one that drinks the least amount of the GOTY.  Cabernet Sauvignon pricing keeps this big-ass wine at the bottom of my purchasing list.  I will have to get a second job or figure out a way to make money off this site to afford cabs for review.  I did manage to find a wine that I enjoyed from a South African producer that I have enjoyed for several years.  The marketing arm of Fairview has a good sense of humor as they have tweaked the French by bastardizing the names of great French wines.  The Goats-do-Roam is a wine I enjoy as an easy drinking, inexpensive everyday wine, along with their Goat-Roti, and Goat d' Afrique which poke the proverbial finger into the eye of the Rhone.

Last night I grabbed a bottle of their native fruit, the enigmatic Pinotage.  As you know, this is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.  Though this is a reasonably priced wine, I thoroughly enjoyed the nose and taste of this one.  Unfortunately, this grape is not widely planted, so it will never see the likes of the GOTY consideration list, but I do recommend if you have not tried a Pinotage, open your minds and palates and consider this one.  It is on the bigger style as this grape vacillates between a thin, unexciting wine to a Pinot Noir with balls.

2003 Fairview Pinotage $ (12.99)    This is a nice example of the manly side of pinotage, delighting you with a spicy, black fruit nose.  The wine opens after a while to present mulberry, dark cherry, and a finish of toasted marshmallow.  This wine shows the backbone I enjoy in my red wine.

January 2, 2006

How many times will I be writing 2005 on checks and stuff before it sinks in?  The end of the year was quiet, though I did get tired of sitting home, so I went down to the cellar and grabbed a bottle of champagne and walked across the icy street to Wino Lou’s house.  I figured it would be so much nicer to celebrate the Giants’ Divisional Championship on a 50-inch plasma HDTV, than on my 13 inch black and white.  Rudely, I walked into this Eagle fan’s nest, cheered the fact that Tiki Barber was running like a crazed man, handed Wino Lou a bottle of 1990 Dom Perignon and told him to open it now.  I have to take a course in manners and realize if you bring a gift, the host can do what he wants with it.  Instead, when I bring something I want, I just tell them to serve it to me.  Sorry WL, my wine etiquette needs to be fine-tuned.  And to my Eagle fan friends, Wino Lou, Wino John, Wino Mike, and Bruce M., sorry that T.O. was upset with his salary, and that McNabb couldn’t stay healthy.  Enjoy watching the play-offs in the same place your team will be, on the couch.  (Editor's note:  F the G-men!)

 

Yesterday was enjoyable again, as the Panthers, my second team of choice made their way into a wild card spot, though they could have had the division.  Problem for me next week, the Panthers come to NJ to play the Giants, so first round, one of my teams is not going any farther, though they still went farther than the Eagles and Dallas.  I watched the game enjoying an inexpensive easy drinking red that offered a lot for the price. I can see this as a great anytime wine which carries no oak so it is soft and smooth on the finish for non-red lovers.  As yesterday was a lazy time of football and reality show marathons, I put a roast beef in the oven and let it slow cook to the perfect 139 degrees for the medium rare treat I enjoy.  The wine went well with the nachos and salsa during the game and the beef with dinner. 

Here is looking for big things to happen this year, and to the Pinot Noir fans out there, like the Eagles, maybe next year you have a chance at GOTY.   (Editor's note:  Pinot?  GOTY?  I don't think so...)

2004 Carro Tino $ (8.99)   This Spanish blend is 50% monstrell, 20% syrah, 20% tempranillo and 10% merlot and is all fruit.  Enjoy dark cherry, black cherry, blackberry and raspberry with an easy finish and enough style to have you want another sip.  I put this on my good value list for those of us that do not spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine.

January 1, 2006

I have come to accept the fact that horoscopes, palm readers, tarot cards and yours truly cannot predict the future.  However, that will not inhibit me in any way, shape or form, from naming a Grape of the Year.  I was a perfect 100% in last years predictions, not a single one was remotely close to coming true.  I could not even twist and contort one prediction to point to and say, "Yes, Winos and Winettes, Winostuff.com has lived up to the sooth-sayer."  Unfortunately, I did predict the tsunami but since it had nothing to do with wine, I left it off last year’s published list. 

Not letting fact get in the way of my reality, I have again spent months, weeks, no...  hours contemplating the reasons behind a selection for Grape of the Year.  Last year fell short of WinoStuff being given their own feature in Wine Spectator, or a half hour show on Food Network.  Our boney fingers did reach larger numbers of readers and we continue to be a small seismic reading in the wine rumblings.  Hopefully our tectonic plates have created enough pressure that a flood of energy will finally be released.  (For the web site, I mean…)

Facts are facts and there is a grape that perfectly suits our palates, our style and our sense of humor.  Without further ado, I offer the GOTY for 2006.

2006 Grape of the Year

Cabernet Sauvignon

The "king" of the world’s red wine grapes, cabernet sauvignon originated in the Bordeaux region of France, but also produces superlative wines around the globe, including regions in California, Washington State, South America, South Africa, Eastern Europe, and Australia.

In California, the finest renditions generally come from the Napa Valley.

Cabernet Sauvignon is long thought to be an ancient varietal.  However, recent genetic studies at U.C. Davis have determined that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the hybrid offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Sauvignon berries are small, spherical with black, thick and very tough skin. This toughness makes the grapes fairly resistant to disease and spoilage and able to withstand some autumn rains with little damage. It is a mid to late season ripener. These growth characteristics, along with its flavor appeal have made Cabernet Sauvignon one of the most popular red wine varieties worldwide.

With age, its distinctive black currant aroma can develop bouquet nuances of cedar, violets, leather, or cigar box and its typically tannic edge may soften and smooth considerably.

California Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage Chart
(source: intowine.com)

  • 2002 Outstanding - Not Yet Ready to Drink

  • 2001 Classic - Drink or hold

  • 2000 Outstanding - Drink

  • 1999 Classic - Drink or hold

  • 1998 Outstanding - Drink

  • 1997 Classic - Drink or hold

  • 1996 Outstanding - Drink

  • 1995 Outstanding - Drink

  • 1994 Outstanding - Drink

  • 1993 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1992 Outstanding - Drink

  • 1991 Outstanding - Drink or Hold

  • 1990 Classic  - Drink

  • 1989 Good  - Drink

  • 1988 Good  - Drink

  • 1987 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1986 Classic  - Drink

  • 1985 Classic  - Drink

  • 1984 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1983 Good  - Drink

  • 1982 Average  - Drink

  • 1981 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1980 Good  - Drink

  • 1979 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1978 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1977 Good  - Drink

  • 1976 Average  - Drink

  • 1975 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1974 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1973 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1972 Below Average  - Drink

  • 1971 Below Average  - Drink

  • 1970 Classic  - Drink

  • 1969 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1968 Classic  - Drink

  • 1967 Good  - Drink

  • 1966 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1965 Good  - Drink

  • 1964 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1963 Below Average  - Drink

  • 1962 Below Average  - Drink

  • 1961 Average  - Drink

  • 1960 Good  - Drink

  • 1959 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1958 Classic  - Drink

  • 1957 Average  - Drink

  • 1956 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1955 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1954 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1953 Below Average  - Drink

  • 1952 Very Good  - Drink

  • 1951 Outstanding  - Drink

  • 1950 Outstanding  - Drink

The reasons are obvious.  First and foremost, it is a grape that produces big and bold wines, and 2006 will have big and bold news for the web site and staff.  More importantly, it is the grape that Wino John first taught me to enjoy and as this is our sixth year anniversary for Winostuff, it is only fitting that this grape and this site be celebrated.  I plan on drinking as much Cabernet Sauvignon as I can get my wallet around.  So, to Wino John, Winostuff, our readers and 2006, crack open a bottle of your favorite big-ass Cab and let us know about it.   


 

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