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Quarter of the year 2007.
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March 27, 2007
Tasteful clothes uncorked from wine slime
fashion; foodie fragrances; caskets for die-hard baseball fans
By Brian Tracey
It can be said that a fine wine never goes out of fashion, so we
shouldn't be surprised that now someone has invented a way to make truly
vintage clothing. An Australian scientist has designed a dress made
from cellulose woven by bacteria in a vat of fermenting wine, saying
it could be the future of fashion. One small problem: The so-called
"cave woman" dress must be kept wet because the cellulose fibres are not
long enough to be flexible and, as it dries, they become brittle and break.
In order to shape the dress, slimy cellulose is scooped off the surface
of the fermenting wine and layered around a blow-up doll. It then shrinks,
taking the form of the body. The doll is deflated when the dress is in the
right shape. "This is art -- it is not meant to be practical," said
inventor Gary Cass, a scientific technician at the University of Western
Australia in Perth. "It is meant to be a provocative object, to spark debate
about future fashion." Cass was inspired to create the dress when he
was working in a vineyard many years ago, but it was not until he gained
funding from an arts group that he was able to produce it. Cass said
fermenting wine produces a slimy, rubbery top layer caused by bacteria
which, if left alone, keep spinning cellulose. "We just took wine
making to the next step," he said.
Beer lovers, we know what you're thinking: What about Bud Duds?
© 2007 MSNBC Interactive© 2007 MSNBC
InteractiveReuters contributed to this report.
© 2007 MSNBC.com
have no problem with slime wine, as several of my wine bottles in the cellar are
crap and I would be happy to donate them to the cause. The blow up doll, again,
no problem there, I have several in the dank third floor room, you know a stick
figure needs lovin too. The only problem I see is keeping the clothing wet, I
mean wet all over. A side note, uric acid will breakdown the cellulose fibers.
Though we are not quite there yet, my hat’s off to this clothing wonder from
March 26, 2007
I buckled down yesterday and finished the book, Blood
and Wine. It is a dry, historical read through much of it, but
compelling for those of us interested in the minutia of the wine industry. I
closed the book and had two immediate thoughts. First, Ernest Gallo was a major
Dickhead. I don’t know if screwing his brother out of his inheritance, screwing
his brother out of using his name on cheese, or re-writing the history of his
company bothered me most. At times they were equally cumbersome. Second, if
Ernest were alive, I think I would start a company that makes toilets and call
it Gallo Crapper Company just to open up an infringement lawsuit. The company
got rich on Thunderbird, Ripple, Night Train and wine coolers but were concerned
about cheese quality. It just seemed like greed ripped apart a family
unnecessarily. If you have the chance to obtain the book and slug through 400
pages of timeline and fact-based reporting, I believe you will agree with me in
thinking Ernest Gallo was a major Dickhead.
March 24, 2007
Much as been over written and over discussed about the
Parker influence on wine makers. This desire to increase your Parker rating so
consumers will seek these wines after reading the reviews, more specifically the
point value on the Parker scale. I did what any good wine writer would do, I
did the Google and did read something of interest. There is more and more
research being done by firms like International Fragrance and Flavor in Dayton,
NJ regarding taste/smell and genetics. Through their research with smell and
food preferences, IFF has determined that some ethnic groups have better senses
of smell with Asians being the highest per cent of super smellers. Damn it,
first they conquer math, then they conquer the nail salons and now quite
possibly the wine critics. Move over Robert Parker, Yao Ming, the seven-foot
NBC star, may just replace you with his super sniffer.
What interests me most is that the beer and wine industries
are becoming more involved in the research so they can develop specific flavors
in their products they would like to market in a specific segment. Without
violating the basic tenants of winemaking, the first step is to define terms on
the label that will appeal to their target market, then if the winemaker can
accentuate these characteristics, all the better.
So is the future of wine marketing moving towards
genetically tailored attributes? Are we going to find a different version of
the same wine in western Pennsylvania than we would in NYC? What does this do
for quality consistency and will the mass market be able to discern these
tweaks? Only time will tell. As I read farther into the book on the Gallo
family, Ernest did something similar when he developed Thunderbird, a flavor
specific to African-Americans that pushed his company into the number one spot
over Swiss Colony.
As an aside, we can look forward to new wine-flavored ice
creams as a growing trend in the dessert industry. Mostly a Euro-trend, except
for the tried and true rum raisin, syrah and merlot are creeping into the
shelves of boutique dessert shops. Even my motherland, Poland, is jumping into
the game with the introduction of a Malaga ice cream. Malaga is a sweet Spanish
dessert wine with rich fig and raisin flavors. Hey, I got dibs on Inniskillin
Cookies and Cream and the Akroyd Vidal Pistachio. I wonder if they will have to
start carding patrons at the dessert shops?
March 20, 2007
Have you seen this person?
If so please ask him for our show title back. We will not
rest till UnCorked is
March 19, 2007
I was sitting watching the March madness and opened an
inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon that was at its drinking peak. This was not a
big bold wine, just mature fruit and mellow tannins that made it very easy
drinking. It won’t be good in another 2 years, by then it will have passed its
prime, but if you have it or see it buy it now or drink it now. I liked this
one for the inexpensive reasons also. I will reiterate, it’s not a lush, long
finish wine, but a pleasant black fruit and mellow oak cabernet sauvignon that
didn’t make you think.
2001 Steel Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
This one rates highly for me since it was inexpensive but presented
itself well, like wearing a well-pressed button down shirt with jeans.
March 17, 2007
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it, you know, the
legal issues in the news. No, not the Libby verdict. No, not the Plame
Blame Game. No, not where in the world is Anna Nicole’s body. No,
not my DNA sample for the paternity suit. No, this is the big one. Not
since the Hindenburg baby trial has this legal action been so spoken about.
What you ask? I will tell you, the legal action between the thin, neat,
spectacle-wearing, wine savvy, Queer-Eye-for-the-Straight-Guy, Ted Allen and the
thin, neat, spectacle-wearing, wine savvy, not Queer-Eye-for-the-Straight-Guy;
Wino Bob. Ted Allen, you have been served and if we have to meet in the
courtroom or on the catwalk, we will settle this like men. I am ready to go to
the mattresses, I am not laying (or lying) down for this one. I will not
let Ted Allen taint our project. I will look for several more juvenile
references later in this entry.
As you know, the lovely and talented Winette Tia Dionne
Hodge has spent an inordinate amount of time working with Wino John and me
promoting our wine project, UnCorked. This critically acclaimed
six part wine series has taken Best New Wine series honors at Memfest, and a
Director’s Citation at the Black Maria Film Festival. Now our hard work is
under siege by the Queer Eye Guy, Ted Allen. Yes, it seems Mr. Allen’s next
project will be a six part series on wine called… Uncorked. What the f#@&?
A thin, neat eyeglass-wearing wine savvy host of a wine show by the same name?
How dare you!
I have asked for habeas corpus, cease and desist, jurist
prudence, and trademark infringement. Look, if Kramer can sue Kramer and Gallo
can sue Gallo, then Wino Bob can sue Ted Allen et all for trying to enhance his
audience for his wine show by trading off our fan base. I will not stand for
that, at least not without a frying pan tied to my ass. Call Variety, call
Entertainment Tonight! I heard that Pat O’Brien is a real party hound, I’m
sure he’d give us good press. I want Mr. Allen to be grilled by Tim Russert.
(Editor's note: Bob, after he produces his lame
rendition of UnCorked, we can sue him for
millions, HUNDREDS of dollars!!!)
Lets look at the facts:
Queer Eye Guy Uncorked
Produced in 2004
Produced - oh that’s right,
they are not yet in production
Tall, thin, neat,
Tall, thin, neat
Humorous and educational
Educational and boring
Won Directors Citation at
Black Maria film festival and Memfest honors
Not produced yet
Drinks and has good time
with winery owners
Pedantically shows us high
Extension of world renown
web site that has been established since 2000
Not produced yet
Catchy homegrown music
Probably some hip sounds
from well know band
Not done by Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy
Ensemble member of Queer Eye
Copyright 2004 UnCorked
Has to do copyright search
Rehearsed and done
Chuckles at words "Cork
Sees no humor in the words
Steals the name of other
As one can clearly see, we will not be intimidated by some
big name, famous, studio-backed bully. We are standing up for ourselves and in
doing so, standing up for every little independent production that has dreams of
making it big one day. Stay tuned for more, this one is just beginning.
March 16, 2007-1
After an enjoyable evening at Berta’s Chateau and the wines
of my new friend and separated at birth brother, Pietro Ratti, the Uber Wealthy
Wino Odd Job invited a small group back to his private restaurant. Not that I
needed any more wine, but he pulled a bottle from his stock that I have not
tasted before. Wow, it could have been a winner at the last CabFest. The most
interesting part of the night was seeing the "before" area of my new crash pad.
Wino Odd Job will be constructing a custom wine cellar that
will contain a large volume of wine, and a cot in the corner for me to curl up
and spend time with all the expensive wines I cannot afford. Wino OJ ("Titanium
Am Ex" to his close friends) will be creating a very Euro-style cellar with
stone floor, and plaster-coated walls. I cannot wait to see the finished
product! Actually, I cannot wait to see the filled racks.
I suggested we put a web cam down there and video cast the
Making Of Wino Bob’s New Hideout. WJ, can you check with the techno-geeks and
see if we got the bandwidth?
The wine was a California Cabernet Sauvignon from a small
winery in the Stag’s Leap District. It was well-structured, big black fruit and
a long smooth finish. Boy does that guy know how to live. I need to hunt down
some more information on the winery.
2002 Adams Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
Big dark fruit with mint undertones and a weighty finish, well done.
March 16, 2007
I would like to
provide the pictures for your own judgment. Look below and tell me if this is
an entry into the “Separated At Birth” hall of fame. I was able to crash the
Big Bob fundraiser at Berta’s Chateau last night where Pietro Ratti was
educating, entertaining and wooing the women.
the wrong picture. As you can see, Pietro is slightly taller than Big Bob.
Try this one.
think its clear. OK picture me without glasses and Pietro in a thong. We
could be long lost brothers! I need to check my dad’s passport to see when
he was in Italy.
March 12, 2007
With one hour less of sleep and the headache of checking
every electronic device in my possession for this new improved daylight savings
crap, I was tired and cranky as I headed out to a 'meet the winemaker' dinner at
Ambrosia in Morris Plains. Through the help of Big Bob, he arranged to have
Pietro Ratti, son of Renato Ratti, proprietor of Renato Ratti Winery (www.renatoratti.com)
appear at a fund raiser dinner. It was an opportunity for us to hear the
history of the winery, understand the culture of the vines and enjoy a pairings
I arrived in the parking lot and several people came up to
me and wanted to know how I changed my outfit so quickly. Clueless, I walked
towards the door and several people came up to me and asked me to sign their
wine bottles. Wow, the power of the internet, my fan base finally recognized me
and were becoming groupies! Yes, soon my plastic Simpsons tasting cup
would fetch $230 on eBay. I entered the bar area of the restaurant and found it
odd that the owners placed a mirror in front of the beer taps. I was starring
directly at myself. No, wait a minute, this stick figure didn’t wear
glasses and he/I had on a blue tie. Holy Mother MacCrea, in the Bizzarro Wine
Universe, there is an Italian wine maker that is pipe cleaner thin, tall, dark
haired and has purple teeth. OK, I only decided to draw this comparison after a
large number of people attending the dinner told me I looked like I could be
Pietro Ratti’s brother. The only difference is that he had on real Italian
designer clothing, spoke eloquently, and had the women swooning with his very
Italian accent. Somehow chicks dig an accent no matter what you say. In
addition to being impressed with his wines and the history of his family’s
venture into the wine business, Pietro carries a great sense of humor. He had
the crowd on the edge of their seats, he had the single women fawning for him to
autograph their wine bottles and I even heard one woman saying he had dreamy
eyes, as she sat down at the table behind me.
We started the dinner with a some what unusual white wine
for Piedmont; a sauvignon blanc, I Cedri di Villa Pattono Monferrato Bianco
DOC, a soft, crisp refreshing aperitif.
We also nibbled on hors d'oeuvres with the Villa Pattono Monferrato Rosso,
a blend of barbera, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, an easy wine for the mix of
appetizers we had.
On the table were the Dolcetto d’Alba Colombe and
the Barbera d’Alba Torriglione both 2005. I tasted each with my cheese
ravioli pasta course and my salad. The Dolcetto carried more acidity and worked
better with the red sauce on the pasta, and frankly nothing goes with a
vinaigrette dressing on a salad. The Dolcetto would be a wine I could have with
my Wednesday night pasta or a pizza with friends.
The main course was married to the Nebbiolo d’Alba
Ochetti, also a 2005. This grape is what Piedmont is famous for. But it
was the Nebbiolo that Ratti cultivated in Barolo that made my night. Pietro
offered a toast as we sampled this 2003 that goes something like, "Barolo,
the king of wine, the wine of kings". Then he hauled off and crowned me
cause I was leaning over with a straw drinking from the glass of the person
across from me. Pietro told us he hand-carried the wine as it wasn’t ready for
the shipping container to make the event. It was interesting as he could only
carry 3 one ounce samples through customs, so he had to ask 79 other passengers
to carry his wine on to the plane.
It was a great evening highlighted by the humorous,
gracious hosting of Pietro. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the
painstaking planning Big Bob went through to ensure the evening was a success.
The very last comment Pietro made was that he invited me to visit the winery…
Actually he generously invited all 85 of us to visit the winery, and he
sincerely would welcome anyone who takes him up on the offer.
March 11, 2007
I am striking out with the king grape of Italy. After
reading many articles about the comparison f Nebbiolo and cabernet sauvignon,
telling me that Nebbiolo is hands down the most imperial grape in Italy likening
it to the cabernet to the Napa Valley. Yet I have not found one that delivers
the same sinful pleasures to me. Admittedly, I have only tried a few and have
not taken any magazine list into a store to hunt down the “expert’s”
recommendation. I have been experimenting on my own and during a recent lunch
with Wino John and TOB (The Other Bob), I ventured into Barolo land, only to
come up disappointed and wishing I had selected from the California cab
section. Granted, JR’s has a stale wine offering, seems like they don’t stray
from the brands that have graced their shelves since WJ and I first went there.
As wine goes, Barolos are on the higher end of my budget so
when I put down $47.00 I am expecting to find a bit of hedonistic pleasure in
the glass. As this one goes, there was little heeding. I put out the plea to
the masses, email me some recommendations so I might find the glory and honor
many of these writers bestow on the king of Italian grapes. Keep in mind, I am
a cheap bastard and am not looking to spend 250.00. I’m looking for a
reasonably priced wine that shows the positive attributes of this grape. Holla
2001 Fontanafredda Serralunga d’Alba Barolo DOGC
I was disappointed that his wine had little beyond the initial burst of
fruit. Nothing big and bold about this one.
March 10, 2007
I’m still struggling, with this Pinot Noir thing. March
was Pinot opportunity month. Big Bob invited me to a showing of the Drouhin
portfolio but I had some obligations I could not rearrange. Two days later
was the Essex County Wine Society 2004 Oregon Pinot Noir tasting. I figured
this would be a great chance for me to gain exposure and retrain myself. I am
struggling with these subtle, nuanced, delicate hints of stuff. I did it again,
I was the singular vote for the wine I liked best. It was the biggest,
boldest, black fruit driven Pinot Noir, I’d say masculine. I love the term, “Parkerized”.
It seems fitting for me in this grape. I enjoyed a wine that might have been
manipulated to get a certain rating, to sell better, to end up on a list that
newbies carry with them to the local wine store.
Two things surprised me regarding this tasting.
First, we started off with a red. That was just fine with me, the redder the
better. Second, we were informed that several of the Oregon Pinots were pushing
14+% alcohol. Wow, I’m thinking these are the zinfandels of the Pinots, if you
follow me. There is little nuance and subtlety in a big ass Pinot. Be that as
it may, my uncalibrated palate was left with the following impression. As I
mentioned, these are all 2004s.
MacCullum Family Vineyards
Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvee
Cristom Sommers Reserve
Ok for starters, nothing to blow me away, the Sommers
Reserve had better fruit and I felt it was something I could enjoy with a casual
St Innocent Seven Springs
St Innocent Anden
This ruined it for me. The Anden was a black fruit,
heavy wine that drew me into a style I favor and got me in the mindset that
Pinot can be bold, which counters everything I am trying to learn. For me this
was my and mine alone, personal favorite. The Seven Springs was my second
favorite for the night which puts St Innocent into my must try again category.
Oh what a heavy tongue will do.
Two distinctly different wines, I found the Estate very
enjoyable with a cinnamon and spice on the nose while the Wadenswil had a
molasses, toffee nose. I think the oak was imparting too much on the Wadenswil
for the grape and the sweetness bothered me.
Le Cadeau Cote Estate
Le Cadeau Diversite
Le Cadeau Rocheux
We were told that this was a test of style as three
different winemakers made these three wines for this vineyard. But as the
conversation drew out, the grapes were from different areas in the vineyard
which imparted the overused word “Terrior” into the final product. Unlike the
St Innocent where the same winemaker created from vines in two distinct areas of
the hill, thus defining terrior, this was supposed to be the winemakers
influence. It would only have been so if the grapes from one area of the
vineyard were subdivided. I will say this; the Diversite was the most
distinctly different wine from all the rest. It carried a heavy herbaceous nose
and a flavor that nearly sent me to the spit cup. Seeing how I am a
professional, I managed to consume my first taste, but segregated the glass from
the rest of the samples.
Lemelson Thea’s Selection
Very easy drinking and an everyday drinker I could have
The most interesting part of the evening occurred while we
were tasting 7-10. The discussion at that time turned to the prices of the
wines we tasting and how that played a part in the selection for the group. My
tablemates were not the high end collector crowd and we do enjoy being exposed
to the high end wines which we probably would not be purchasing. It seems like
there are a great many doctors in the group that have impressive cellars.
I have to look on my medical insurance charges next time to see if there is a
wine purchasing line item I am being charged. Maybe Medicare does it
automatically. We were interested in a tasting that really looked at wine that
is sub thirty five dollars and if we blind tasted the group, what the
discussions would be like. If I were to set this up, I would blind taste
cabernet sauvignons from around the world. I think I might be able to
surprise a few people and deliver some reasonably priced, quite enjoyable wines
that might not be in their cellars.
March 8, 2007
It was that time again, a time for two diverse schedules to
get together and celebrate our mutual birthday. This year our dinner out was
celebrated last night, last year it was in the middle of July. It really
doesn’t matter, but once a year I have dinner with an old high school friend
whose entrance into the world was within days of mine. We try and treat
ourselves to a nice meal and some decent wine and relive the glory days of
Bloomfield High School. The days there ain’t so glorious now with the recent
trouble. At 4:30 we spoke and he told me we should try this new place in
Summit, Roots. Roots, I had not heard of it, but I could enjoy a collard
green or two and some fried chicken. Apparently not, the place was once a
clothing store in the posh town of Summit, NJ where investment brokers and
commodity traders live in gabled mansions and take the train into Wall Street
each morning. Fittingly, I found that Roots Steakhouse has every intention of
taking every bit of the profits from the brokers and investment bankers coming
to enjoy a beautiful dry aged steak, or double cut lamb chops. I stewed at the
bar as I sipped my $14.95 glass of Segway Cabernet Sauvignon. I checked,
retail, it goes for $12.99. Give me a f@*&ing break here. That, my friend was
the more reasonable offering; I will not spend $22.00 a glass unless it will be
served by a well-endowed topless waitress whose one fantasy in life is to spend
a night with a pipe cleaner-shaped, wine soaked, bespectacled character. I
didn’t see her there so I wasn’t buying.
I will say that the dinner prices were not bad. I had
the NY strip steak, medium rare, and the flavor was wonderful. Everything was
ala carte so we got the creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes. The sides
were smaller than most but after an appetizer and salad it was enough to balloon
my belly like a Biafran. The place has a great bar area and the seating amount
is respectable, though I hear they are booked out through May if you want a
Saturday night reservation. I looked over the wine list and a loud thud
disturbed the people seated to our left, as my jaw dropped to the floor. The
mark ups are high, but I guess the clientele that frequents the place has no
problem with it, so who am I to deny an entrepreneur from turning a profit. It
is me who decides if I want to pay the price or shut up and drink a draft beer.
The burning sensation in the pit of my stomach was not from
the food, it was merely the price of the wine by the glass that sent my
gastro-intestinal system into overdrive.
For those out there with a pocket full of cash, expect
dropping $100 plus for dinner, without a bottle of wine, and also, let me know
if your company is hiring.
401 Springfield Ave
I even do this without a comp’d dinner. Imagine if I
could parlay this thing into a free meal.
March 7, 2007
Anyone having Ernest Gallo in the death pool please step
forward. I have been immersed in Gallo recently, ever since the passing of Joe
Jr., King of Cheese. Since Julio is the last man standing of the three Gallo
boys, he is the sole survivor of the E J Gallo mega fortune. The death of Joe
sent me searching for the book on their famous trademark infringement lawsuit.
It took me a bit of hunting since the book is out of print, but this week I
started reading, Blood and Wine by
Ellen Hawkes. I am up to 1930 and do see the deep seated hatred the older
brothers (E&J) had for the younger Joe Jr. First, the eldest son was not named
after his father, that honor went to the far younger third in line. And from
what little I read so far, father Joe was a huge dick, hard-ass ill-tempered
tyrant who worked the two older boys from sun up till sun down only allowing
them to stop for school. So far, from what I understand, Joe and his brother
Mike made handsome fortunes during prohibition, let’s just say they were doing
more than sacramental wine and selling train car loads of grapes to the eastern
Ernest was a driven business savvy prickle son of a bitch
who learned to make money during prohibition by hard work, cunning business
skills and the balls to take on his headstrong father. In 2005, Wine Business
Monthly ranked E & J Gallo Company the top wine company with sales of 75 million
cases per year.
E&J Gallo Winery employs more than 4,600 people and sells
wine in more than 90 countries. Second- and third-generation family members are
active throughout the privately held business, and Gallo continues to partner
with family-owned wineries from around the world to import wine. Recent
initiatives include launching French wine brand Red Bicyclette and
Da Vinci from Italy. The company already imports some 80,000 cases
of Ecco Domani Chianti into the U.S. each year and another 100,000
cases of Bella Sera Sangiovese. It wouldn't be surprising to see
Gallo add a wine from Chile to its portfolio, a wine from Spain or even one from
Gallo distributes the fast-growing Black Swan brand in the U.S. in
partnership with Brian McGuigan Wines of Australia. Black Swan is fast
approaching the "two million case" mark. Gallo also distributes McWilliams
of Australia and White Haven Winery of New Zealand.
Though E&J Gallo typically develops its own brands rather than acquire them, the
company purchased Louis M. Martini Winery and the Mirassou
brand in 2002. Both have since been repositioned and expanded. Last year, Gallo
picked up Bridlewood Estate Winery of Santa Ynez, California in a
bankruptcy sale. Known for Syrah, Bridlewood will be re-launched this year.
Other brands include: Redwood Creek, Frey Brothers, Gallo of Sonoma, Rancho
Zabacco, Dancing Bull, Napa Valley Vineyards, Marcelina, Anapamu, Indigo Hills,
Andre, Balatore, Boones Farm, Turning Leaf, Peter Vella, Carlo Rossi and E&J
Yes the Boones Farm and the Bartles and James wine coolers
are what made me the wino that I am, add in a bottle of Riuniti lambrusco and it
would be my early cellar inventory. Godspeed, Ernest. Julio is now going
to make peace with the surviving members of Joe Gallo Cheese Company and finally
let them use their birth name on their product.
March 4, 2007
I was invited to participate in a task last night so I took
it very seriously, but after two bottles of wine and a gifted Cuban cigar, my
vote was never counted. No justice, no peace. The man is keeping me down
by not validating my hanging chad. I was disenfranchised by none other than
Wino Paul. An invitation arrived in the mail several weeks ago for a cocktail
party at the exciting transition taking place at Chateau Wino Paul. In a
malaria-induced fever and weakness, WP has cashed in his Communion Bonds and
after 26 years is purchasing new furniture and boldly expressing a Tuscan look
to the dinning room and living room. Seeking decorating input, and who else to
speak with than a person living in a third floor dank room with one light bulb
and a computer, still wearing clothes from high school. I am always glad
to impart expensive suggestions to those spending-challenged friends. The
enticement was the bottle tag touting the number one wine of 2006 at eye level
in the newly purchased wine rack/bar unit. That WP is such a kidder, what I
failed to read was the source of the statement, which is listed below:
Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal
"There are great-value red wines coming out of California. For Cabernet
Sauvignon lovers, try Beaulieu Vineyard's consistently good Coastal Cabernet
Sauvignon...." —Staten Island Advance, Joseph Delissi_level2o January 7,
Yes the wine powerhouse the Staten Island Advance, what is
it ahead of?
As the night progressed, it turned out there was a ringer
in the crowd, a professional interior decorator, whose input was rightfully
taken seriously and my suggestion of painting the walls black, ignored. I do
want to be clear, I take my right to vote seriously. If it’s a
Presidential election, a town Mayor, a singer on American Idol, or the color
your wall should be painted. OK, the only thing I know about American Idol is
that a New Jersey chick has hot pictures on the internet and she really cannot
sing well, but our need to keep a fellow NJer in the competition is vital
(anyone with the web site url please email me so I can do my research).
Though disappointed my opinion really did not count, I
soothed my ego with mass quantities of the BV Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon and
lemmingly went along with the professional decorator’s opinion. It is great to
see Wino Paul participating in bolstering the US economy by finally putting
something back into the system. I hope it will continue, it might just bring
the national debt to zero and his grandmother would be proud her Communion gift
went to a good cause.
March 3, 2007
After a long haul to York, Pa and back yesterday, I came
home and needed a boost. The air had finally shed its last drop and the blue
sky seemed to go forever. A balmy 55 degrees (Holy shit! Global warming! Global
warming! At least there were mild temperatures in Caldwell, NJ. I
think Illinois was under four feet of snow). I looked around down the cellar
and realized my wine stock is dwindling, no is anemic at best. Not wanting to
open anything that crazy, I took out a bottle of Democrat, Global warming, Pull
the Troops Out juice, ah Pinot Noir. I know I have a lot of studying to do and
my mere 5 recent bottles leaves a lot for palate development, but my novice
taste buds simply got up and walked out of my mouth from this one. I was less
than, no, I was not at all happy to be tasting this wine. That is a statement
you haven’t heard from me in a very long time. I do enjoy one of the other
wines from the winery that produced this Pinot, but ugh, this one will not be on
my reorder list. I guess sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but that’s
what makes this thing interesting.
2004 Echelon Vineyards Pinot Noir
$ (10.99) Sorry,
not one I will be buying again.
March 1, 2007
I was ridiculed Saturday evening at the wine meet up
dinner, as a result of Wino Stan informing Caroline that I tailgate at Giant
games with wine. I guess she hasn’t realized that this uber-important wine web
site is single-handedly increasing wine consumption at the parking lots of NFL
stadiums across the country. To bolster our position that drinking for hours in
sub-zero temperatures in front of a Coleman grill and three shriveled hot dogs
is not just for Bud Lite, I turn your attention to one of the latest entries
into the wine world. Yes winos and winettes, the thrice heart attack-plagued,
grilled brat-chomping, cigar-puffing, nasty SOB, Coach Iron Mike Ditka, teamed
with the Mendocino Wine Company to be at the front of the wine curve for
tailgating, just behind the trend setting
The Kick Ass Red is a blend (at this point I have not
gotten details nor found any in Caldwell) and sells for just under $50.00. Now
I am sure if Caroline and Wino Stan were at a dinner and Coach Ditka told them,
“Da wine, Da Tailgating, Da Brats, da only way to go,” they would be enjoying
wine at their next game. If I ever get the opportunity to enjoy some wine with
the Coach, I have two burning questions. In the 1985 Super Bowl, why did you
dis Walter Peyton and not allow him the deserved reward of getting into the end
zone? And more importantly, why the girlie Merlot in your portfolio?
If any of you have tasted the Ditka series, let me know.
February 25, 2007
My organizational skills were put to the test last night as
Big Bob entrusted me with our local wine meet up group dinner. Like a father
releasing his kid’s bike for the first time without training wheels, Big Bob
ran alongside me as I wobbled along when the restaurant was not prepared for our
party at the designated time and last minute changes in seating numbers jockeyed
their floor plan. Fortunately, Big Bob had bottles opened and started
entertaining the one table that was ready.
Kevin Shaefer and Dominic Carrea joined us for the dinner
and poured out 5 Italian wines for us to try and gain visibility on what they
are importing. The wines consisted of:
Ca’Andrea - 60% Sangiovese/35% Canaiolo Nero/ 5% Merlot
- 70% Sangiovese/ 20% Montepulciano/ 10% Merlot
2003 IL Doge
- 90% Sangiovese/ 10% Merlot
- 80% Sangiovese/ 15% Merlot/ 5% Pinot Noir
Vino Passito - 50% Trebbiano/ 30% Malvasia/ 20% Grechetto- dessert wine
click here for
descriptions of these wines...
At our table, the IL Doge and the Rancore were the hands
down favorites, as Wino Stan went from group to group pretending to survey
opinions between the two, just so they would keep refilling his glass. The only
saving grace was that he did not try to tamp down his Ca’Andrea with the Muda to
soften it, as he has been know to do in the past when something isn’t to his
The dinner menu was set as follows:
Appetizers were served family style and included prosciutto
and melon, bruchetta with diced tomato, mozzarella and pesto and spiedino with
caper sauce. I am pretty sure Wino Stan is munching on the spiedino he put in
his coat pocket before the busboy cleared the plates for our salad.
The salad was arugola with shaved parmagian. The pasta
course was cavatelli and broccoli rape, though Kevin should have been penalized
during dessert as he only ate the cavatelli and left a mound of the green stuff.
By now each table was sharing the bottles of wine they
brought. Caroline, seated at Big Bob’s table, made the first gesture and
swapped out two of their bottles. Our table was filled with drinkers, not
tasters, so we had little to offer in return. We did manage to send over
one Barolo for their Italian Pinot Noir and a Sangiovese. I thought that
was a fair trade but they wanted a bottle to be named later.
The entrée choices were
- veal medallions topped with a pesto cream
Sorrento - sautéed chicken with prosciutto, mozzarella and brown
- Chilean sea bass encrusted with shredded potato with an arugola pesto
I had the bass and it was flavorful. The food was
filling and I had little room for dessert so I doubled up on the dessert wines.
The crowd at our table intermixed conversations on work, wine and what we should
do for our next event. I think I asked this before, but who invited Wino Stan?
The rest of the night was fueled by the sampling of the wines the group brought.
I have what I think is a partial listing of what was shared, enjoyed and
finished before the request for me to head to the kitchen and start washing
2005 Di Majo
Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc
Margherita Cabernet Sauvignon
Tiefenbrunner Venezie Pinot Grigio
Dolcetta Di Diano D’Alba
Carpineto Chianti Classico
Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to sample many of
the bottles listed above so I waited until our group was cleared out and I drank
from the spill bucket just so I could say I tried them all. It was a bit had to
discern the Pinot Grigio from all those red wines in the spill bucket but I
think the Tiefenbrunner is so distinct it showed early on my palate.
I look forward to expanding these events so we can take
over more of the restaurant space and extend our conversation without competing
with the locals. See you on the 15th of March.
February 24, 2007
I apologize for this being late, but I was in Tinsel Town
for a Geek convention. One word, downtown Los Angeles near the Staple Center
looks like New York City prior to Rudy Giuliani kicking ass and taking names. I
have not seen such aggressive panhandlers since the squeegee guys that would
squirt crap on your windshield then offer to clean it off for a small donation.
Second, the restaurant service sucked in the two places I had dinner out. One,
Roy’s, was slow on the delivery of drink orders to the point that two
different people came and asked if we needed drinks, both said they’d check and
neither delivered. The second, Engine Company whatever, served myself
and two others at my table some mystery fish when we ordered ahi tuna, one of
which was raw to the point of uncooked. It would have been alright if it was
tuna but it wasn’t. I heard a third story from an associate whose dinner was so
poor, the owner comp’d their table of nine on everything including the drinks.
Maybe their heads were into the beautiful crowd that would be there upon our
departure for the big event of giving Al Gore a 13 inch little man. No one in
our crowd was mistaken for the Hollywood jet set.
would like to acknowledge the passing of Joseph Gallo, the Zeppo Marx of the
Earnest & Julio Gallo Empire. Unlike his brothers, Joseph staked his claim in
the sweet smell of fermented cheese. One might even call him the Big
Cheese (OK I might be that only one). In 1967 Joseph broke from the vineyards
and entered the world of cattle ranching. By 1979 he was in the dairy
production business and grew his holding. By 1982 he established the Joseph
Gallo Cheese product line and was quickly brought into a nasty trademark
infringement lawsuit by his older brothers as they feared his cheese would
confuse people buying wine. He didn’t call his cheese products Earnest & Julio
Gallo Cheese, he simply used his name. E&J didn’t want their jug wine sullied
by a high quality dairy product. Until this point, Joseph had been selling
grapes from his own property to his brothers. Wow, think about that. (I am
trying to work in a cut-the-cheese reference because it always cracks me up, but
sadly I can’t mold any of this tragedy into one amusing sentence about cutting
the cheese. Damn it! LA has zapped me of my funny).
To the surviving family members of Joseph Gallo who could
not use his own name on his own product, our sincere sympathy goes out for your
loss. That’s a Gouda way to put it, ah?
February 18, 2007
Frightening morning. A hungover, more than usually
grumpy Wino Rocker was passed out on the couch. The old man can’t rebound from a
three bottle night like he used to. Now I know what Mrs. Franklin saw when Ben
first woke up. No, not him feverously working on the creation of a living
document that would forever assemble the greatest nation in the world. No,
she saw a bed-head ponytail. Like the 1700’s, Wino Rocker is willing to work
for grog, actually wine and some food. I needed to move a piece of furniture
out of the house yesterday and called upon the only person whose schedule is
flexible. He volunteered with the friendly reminder that he enjoyed helping due
to the wine pay-off after the task was complete. Three bottles and a Forte’s
hot sandwich later, I’m thinking it might be cheaper to hire professional
The three bottles don’t count the warm up which was the
finishing of a bottle I opened the night before. He left this morning swearing
off alcohol forever. I give him a week and he’ll be right back at it,
firing up a cigar and thinking to himself, "boy I could use a nice glass of wine
right now, I wonder if Wino Bob has any furniture to move or wood to chop." The
move was complicated by the snice that was on the sidewalks. Snice is snow that
has been packed or partially-melted then frozen by the current unglobal warming
temperatures. Which reminds me, I ‘m working on a documentary called, "The
Inconvenience of the Inconvenient Truth - The Art of Cooling the Planet from
Higher Average Temperatures." It will feature me driving down to Camden, NJ
with a rectal thermometer, as Camden is the asshole of the Garden State. I say
that only because it has the highest murder rate in the country.
We were carrying this bulky piece of furniture and had to
crest a snice mound to get to a pathway. WR cleared the first undulation
like Olympic Hurdler Renaldo
Nehemiah (look that up in famous people from NJ) but unlike Skeets, Wino
Rocker slid on his ass, furniture pressing against his chest and me laughing
hard enough to feel momentary loss of bladder control. OK, I owed him some
1997 Sierra Vista Zinfandel El Dorado
Flush with raspberry, dark cherry fruit
and a peppery finish at 14.5% alcohol making this a very enjoyable beverage.
2002 Kolobarra Hills Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon
You will find blackberry and cedar all over this wine with an under layer
of cassis making this a perfect wine for Passover.
February 16, 2007
Last night, the Essex County Wine Society was treated to a
formal presentation on Port by Robert Bower. Robert's credentials simply are
seven generations of port wine coursing through his veins.
Robert M.S. Bower
The Fladgate Partnership
Robert Maurice Syndercombe Bower was born on the 3rd of June, 1975, in
Oporto, Portugal. Raised in Portugal until he was 8 years old, he was then
sent to England to continue his education. After Eton College he went on to
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, in London. At Imperial
he graduated in Biology and, a year later, obtained a Masters in Molecular
Biology and Virology.
After leaving university he worked for 3 years in Cambridge for the
pharmaceutical company, Novartis, thereafter he decided to return to his
true passion of port wine. Before returning to Portugal, he continued his
education with marketing, language and wine tasting courses, both in the
United Kingdom and France.
Robert Bower joined the port wine industry in the Spring of 2001. He is now
the 7th generation of the Yeatman line through his grandmother to be
involved with port wine. His responsibilities encompass the management of
the Fladgate Partnership portfolio in the United States.
Port, due to its higher alcohol content and sweetness, has
been a challenge for me. I don’t think I have tasted 9 ports to date, but last
night we tasted 9 in two hours. Robert provided a wealth of technical
information in a refreshingly humorous fashion. I will honestly say I know more
about port now than I did several hours ago.
We broke the flights into three distinctions, the first
three wines were ruby ports, the next two were tawny and the final four were
vintage. I have only tasted tawny port after dinner so having the opportunity
to learn about ruby and vintage port gave me an education I would not have
sought on my own. Several items I took away from the night are: prior to 1993,
all port producers had to buy their distilled spirit from the Portuguese
government. I need not give my opinion on government’s ability for quality, but
one fifth of the end product was manufactured with a component made by the
lowest bidder. Currently the Taylor Fladgate lines use a clear grape based
spirit from the Cognac region of France at 141 proof (affectionately called fire
water), greatly improving the consistency and quality of the end product. Also,
the wooden barrels used in producing tawny port only provide breathability
(oxidation) to the aging process, not to impart flavor. There is a barrel from
the mid 1800’s still being used to age their tawny.
Fonseca Bin 27
My table mates and I were very impressed with the LBV as it
showed more complexity and a smooth, silky finish at around $25.00 this is a
Eminence 10 year old Tawny
20 year old Tawny
The 10 year showed a citrus orange rind presentation, but
the 20 year was heaven; more mature, more robust and more body.
The 1983 showed flavors of coffee and chocolate which
reminded me of a great compliment to a 'death by chocolate' dessert. The 1997,
Robert said, was in a dumb phase. Fortunately Big Bob explained this in my
Burgundy tutorial so I was the snarky pedant that explained what this meant to
my fellow table mate tasters. Out of the two 2003s, I leaned to the flavors
provided in the Taylor Fladgate over the more subtle Croft.
At the end of the evening, we received the pricing which
forced me to finish the 1983 Vintage and the TF 2003, at $135 and $106
respectively. It would have been an insult to Mr. Bower and his seven
generations if I left, or God forbid, spilled out the nectar.
February 16, 2007
The PSE&G man just left and I was huddled next to the
clanking radiator and the hurricane lamp trying to defrost, the phone lines
warmed enough to allow an in coming call.
Wine News, (dot-dot-doot-doot-doot-dot-dot) I got a call
from my good friend (mate) the Wine Wonder from Down Under, Justice George. He
told me he had just come in from the vineyard to get out of their 100 degree
heat, stripped down to his down unders, then thought to ring me up. (Jesus, I
just got that visual, I’m going blind, ahhhhhh...!!!) Actually we haven’t
spoken in a long time, my fault. He wanted me to know that this vintage will be
stunning, my kind of big, bold red. The intense summer with little rainfall has
yields down, but the smaller stressed fruit is forceful in flavor. As he
described his impressions, spittle actually dripped from my mouth onto the phone
mouth piece. The good Justice will be touring the USA late April and I look
forward to having dinner with him.
After we hung up, I had the thought that I am confident one
day JG and WinoStuff will have a joint winery in the deep, recesses of the wilds
in New Jersey. What better place for him to continue his legal-based brand
extending the Guilty and the Innocent to NJ brands like:
Offender Pinot Noir
Testify if You Know What’s Good for Your Family Chardonnay
with the Fishes Riesling
Fall Lawyer Syrah
I am looking forward to our label design meetings. Thanks
for the call, George. My best to the family and bring over enough wine for
me to rack up as I think it will be several years for this vintage to develop in
the bottle. And remember, with fruit that intense, don’t be afraid of the
February 15, 2007
I am sitting here as the temperature inside my dank third
floor room plummets below the temps outside. Don’t ask me how that is
possible but these old homes have a unique draft system that chills to the
bone. Yes, my clunker of a heater is on the fritz and PSE&G will be here
sometime between 3pm and midnight, nothing better for the predicted storm. Only
my larger joints work at this point and my breath is fogging the monitor of my
laptop. Trying to calm from the expletive tirade I showered the automatic
answering system with, I clicked on The Google and investigated the world of
wine through a plethora of search phrases.
Eliminating the specifics, one thing struck me as I sifted
through the geoducks of wine blogs.
Chinese delicacy Geoduck pronounced gooey-duck.
There are many web sites touting themselves as the most
read, most awarded, most recognized wine web site. OK, I’m interested.
Then I started to look at the number of comments left under the short blurb that
is used to pique one to click and read on. What got me was the number of highly
positioned sites where many entries had zero, null, nada, nicht responses. So I
started to wonder if a blog falls in the forest and no one comments, is it
really a blog? I don’t blog, I say stupid things that amuse me and sometimes
people email me in agreement or not…mostly not. So what are the rules regarding
“a blog”? If one posts an innocuous statement about a wine they had or a wine
label they saw or a place they ate, and then they leave an area for readers
comments but no one comments or a single comment is not responded to, is that
I wish it would snow, so I could warm up by shoveling.
This internets thing has way too much stuff on it. From the non-blogging Wino
Bob, hey what do you think of the changing climate’s effect on Iceland as a
future red grape producing region?
Comments? Anyone? Buehler???
February 14, 2007
As you know, our own WinoWally is a scratch golfer, avid
golf fan and attendee of the majors. So, it is only fitting that we
bolster his golf/wine love affair with this exciting bit of news. But it might
actually be Sometimes A Winette Sharon, whom I assume is a fan of the LPGA, that
is doing more to bind the ties of wine consumption and golf. The most exciting
news is the impact that WinoStuff.com has had on wine consumption among NFL
fans. Clearly, the Wino John-Wino Bob tailgating with wine over the past year
accounts for this 63% increase.
I am expecting to hear from the NFL commissioner regarding
the single most influential impact our site has had in stadium parking lots all
over the country. I see a luxury box at the Super Bowl heading our way next
one? Cheers. Golf fans drink most wine: study
NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters Life!) - Fans of women's golf are the biggest wine
drinkers among sports fans in the United States, according to figures
released on Thursday.
A study by market researcher Nielsen found wine consumption among U.S.
sports fans increased to $81.40 in 2006, which was up $14.60 from 2005 which
was in line with increasing consumption of wine in the United States.
But results also indicated that this increase in wine spending was slightly
stronger among avid fans and certain fan bases among 12 different groups.
Households with at least one fan of the Ladies Professional Golf Association
spent almost $125 on wine in 2006, which was up 17 percent over the year --
overtaking fans of men's golf.
Tennis fans came in second with wine consumption in households with at least
one tennis fan rising nearly 20 percent in 2006 to $111.9 a household.
Fans of the PGA came in third, down from leading the pack in 2005, spending
nearly 30 percent more on wine last year at $109.40 a household.
But the biggest gain in 2006 was among NFL Football fans who spent over 63
percent more on wine over the year at $94.30 per household.
(Editor's note: $94 per year on wine??? I spill
more wine than that on my couch every year!!!)
Retail spending on wine in the United States grew seven percent last year
from 2005 to $8.4 billion, according to the study.
A study commissioned by the organizers of the VinExpo trade fair in Bordeaux
last June recently projected that the United States is set to overtake
France in the next five years as the world's largest wine market.
Karen Ross of the California Wine Growers Association said company
innovation and Americans' acceptance of wine over time explained the growing
popularity of wine among sports fans.
She said age and image played a role in wine's appeal.
"Part of it is growing up with parents and grandparents who had wine with
dinner," said Ross.
2004 Finca Flichman Paisaje de Tupungato
Smooth blend of 60% Malbec, 20%
Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon gives this wine depth and complexity.
February 13, 2007
Having dinner with the Wino Rockers last night, I was taken
back to a fond childhood memory. A time when youthful indiscretion was worn as
a badge of courage, a time when fear was not an option, a time when Cathy Doris
dared me to eat paste. Yes, I was in first grade, doing a small group project
near Christmas time and our class had to make a construction paper, red and
green chain link to dress the tree in the school foyer. The smell of white
gradeschool paste is burned into my olfactory senses and last night, as I
swirled, sniffed and swallowed the cabernet sauvignon that Wino Rocker bellied
up for our BYOW dinner at Sophia’s Restaurant in North Caldwell, the flavors of
blackberry, licorice and grade school white paste rushed into my head. It was a
good year for glue and this edible, non-toxic stuff had invaded this Stags leap
District Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe they purchased new barrels and the cooper
used Elmer’s wood glue to hold the staves together. I am not sure, but when
Wino Rocker told me to taste the wine because there was an undertone of
something he couldn’t quite explain, I knew the boy had come a long way in his
wine appreciation. Nicely done WR in finding the odd flavor. Next time,
don’t be a cheap bastard and buy a more expensive wine.
The topper of the night was that the erstwhile Wino Rocker
picked up the tab, pissing me off royal as he didn’t let me know before hand and
I slid through dinner on what I thought I could afford. God Damn it, Cartman,
if you told me before, I would have gotten the dark side of the moon dessert
special. It was funny to see Benjamin Franklin as a self portrait on the paper
note the old man pulled from his pocket vault.
2004 Block 713 Cabernet Sauvignon SLD Napa Valley
$$ (19.99) I give it
one school pastes as it did have some nice black fruit up front and licorice
flavors but the grammar school paste finish ruined it for me.
February 11, 2007
If you are like me..., no forget that..., why should you be
that miserable? I don’t even really know you. What I meant to say is that
if your ultimate in wine is to someday have your own vineyard, label, import
business, etc., the opportunity below may be up your alley. There is a company
offering me, or you, the chance to take part in the fast growing region of
Mendoza, Argentina. For $40,000.00 per acre and a commitment of at least 4
acres, you get to be the boss. Get involved in as much or as little as you
would like from the variety of plantings, to when to harvest, to oak or not.
Wino John, how much is in the checking account?
(Editor's note: We could afford about 4 square feet...)
So, I am looking for 159,995 people to share in this
experience with me as my check for my share is burning a hole in my pocket as I
sit here and type. We are just around the corner from WinoStuff Magical Red
Wine Elixir, for each bottle of wine you purchase we will include one bottle of
Winostuff Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir. Now that is marketing at its
OWN A VINEYARD & MAKE YOUR OWN WINE
The Vines of Mendoza Private Vineyard Estates
Mendoza, Argentina is one of the foremost winegrowing regions in the world. With more and
more top-ranked reserve wines emerging every year, the 500-year-old culture
of winemaking in Argentina has created a fantastic community of winemakers
and wineries in this small city in the shadow of the Andes. With 300+ days
of sunshine per year, a climate that assures virtually zero risk from pests
or disease, and a terroir that produces bold, fruity wines, many large
international wineries have placed their multi-million dollar projects among
the nearly 900 local wineries that have been making low-yield boutique wines
for centuries. The result is a mix of old and new, tradition and technology
that established Mendoza the most exciting wine-making region of the next 25
The Vines of Mendoza Private Vineyard Estates gives select individuals
and organizations the opportunity to own their own professionally managed
vineyard in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina a stone's throw from Michel
Rolland's multi-million dollar Clos de los Siete project, a few kilometers
from Catena Zapata's new high-altitude vineyard, and adjacent to the
award-winning Lurton winery.
Each four to twelve acre parcel will be planted with varietals chosen by
the owner, with vines hand-selected by our experienced enologists. Within
three years each vineyard will produce 2,500 to 10,000 bottles of high
quality, low-yield wine. Throughout the process, from planting to harvest to
fermentation to oak to bottle, our enologists will work with the owner every
step of the way to ensure that the wine produced will be exactly to the
specifications and taste of the owner. For owners that wish to bottle less
than their total production capacity, excess wine is sold to subsidize the
quarterly maintenance fee in part or full.
Private Vineyard owners will have the opportunity for complete access to
our state-of-the-art winery, with a private cellars to store their reserve
wine in a secure, temperature controlled environment until it is shipped to
them anywhere in the world. They will also have access to our exclusive
5-star resort adjacent to the property (to open in 2008), and discounted
rates for accommodations at the resort. We will provide regular updates on
the status of the grapes and the wine in production as well as a wide
variety of additional services that range from bottling, labeling,
import/export, and logistics of shipping wine anywhere in the world, to
managing construction of a private chateau amongst the vines.
For more information on this limited opportunity, please contact David
Garrett at 877-638-8502 or email
February 10, 2007
Well I am pleased to see that there was a very good
response to the upcoming Wine Meetup. Our dinner will be at Italianissimo’s in
West Caldwell. There are different members coming that I haven’t met to date.
Oh, did I mention, Air America is being sold for three cents on the dollar and
Al Franken is ending his show this coming week? Please see my New Years
I do like to keep you readers informed so I wanted to break
this news here first, before the Sunday news cycle. I, Wino Bob, am the
true father of Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter. Yes, if you have heard any of her
interviews, Anna was a big Wino and was really looking forward to enjoying some
2005 California Cabernet Sauvignons since they are getting such acclaim in all
reviews. I promised her, I would keep our special cabernet baths a secret. It
was truly meant to be just a fun, wine lover’s friendship, platonic and all
that. I will admit that her weight and strength did outclass me and, as you can
imagine, Anna gets what Anna wants. You might see news coverage as I head down
to the clinic for a DNA test, once and for all putting to rest that Howard K
Stern is the father. Boy, I will miss hearing Anna try and pronounce Beaujolais
and Cabinet Sav-in-yawl as she so playfully called it. She will be missed….hey
does anyone have Lindsey Lohan’s phone number? I understand she is a big
Did you hear, Al Franken is fleeing Air America before all
the money from Gloria Wise is paid back to the boys and girls club so
underprivileged youths will have important opportunities this coming summer? I
hear he has no guilt about screwing the kids but I do look forward to some ass
hat journalist asking him about it during his campaign run.
I know that I only dabble in the occasional microbrew, but
I was wondering if anyone more beer-educated could tell me if they have beer
tasting rooms, or retail shops that offer beer tastings? I know you can tour a
brewery and sample that brewery’s beer, but I have yet to see any stores in my
area offer a beer tasting as they do with wines. Many local shops will have a
distributor in and set out a selection of wines to sample as you browse, but I
have not seen the same for beer. Is there a prejudice here against the beer
lovers? I have tasted and read about some pretty complex microbrews and would
look forward to sampling them in a small cup and listen to someone informatively
describe what I am enjoying. Or not.
Did you know Al Franken signed for a guaranteed 2 million
dollar contract last year even though AAR was in financial difficulty? I wonder
if that had anything to do with the bankruptcy?
While on the beer subject, I was hanging ten on the Google
the other day and came across this web site,
www.thebeerbelly.com. Yes, obesity in America has found it's niche. This
company developed a pouch with straws that men can wear underneath a t-shirt
that holds 80 oz. of liquid. So one can slosh their way up to the pat down at a
stadium and pass through the security check and proceed to get hammered at 30%
the cost of stadium beer. I wonder what the legal liability is on that. The
company offers other suggestions for use, like kayaking, sitting on a plane or
snowboarding. See earlier comment. For $34.95, you can inject 80 oz of your
favorite vice under the watchful eye of the crowd around, and miracle of all,
you will lose visible weight. Pay no attention to the staggering drunk.
Look how in just 3 hours he lost his beer belly and looks like an ectomorph.
Fret not ladies, these guys have thought of you to with their “wine rack”. Yes,
the cleavagely-challenged can now sport a double D walking into a concert, share
your liquid boobage and go home flat chested, alone, and drunk. I am thinking
of suing them for discrimination. If they think I am donning a wine chest
and walking around giants stadium with double D hooters just to sneak in a pinot
noir… What the f%@& am I thinking? You never drink Pinot at a football
game! Wino Law…..
Did you know that on the 14th of February, the
lowly rated Al Franken show will be off the air, and I’ll drink to that, even
out of some woman’s wine rack.
February 4, 2007
Super Bowl Sunday, the big game, football at its finest. I
don’t know a great deal about the finer points in football, but I am looking at
this game from a fan's point of view. At this point in his development, it is
only sensible that the Colts, led by Payton Manning, end this game with a ring.
The experience, the post game showings and the professionalism of the leader for
the Colts give the sentimental and professional nod to the Manning clan. I just
hope that Payton wins and retires to act as a quarterback coach for the younger
and less talented brother. I imagine that Eli was the recipient of many of
pantsing or knuggies from his older sibling or the townspeople. Underlying
this hope is a win for the classy and underrated Archie Manning. Only time will
tell but in this one, since no NY team is participating, we look to get the
monkey off the back of the Colts.
Feb 5- Unfortunately, I never got back to this so it
didn’t get posted in time and might look like I waited for the outcome then back
filled the interest in the Colts. Truth be told, once the local NY teams were
out of the playoffs, football holds little interest. Congrats to Payton and the
crew in Indie. Now Archie can spend all his time in NJ making sure Eli
gets rid of his nervous feet, lack of stepping into his throws and his inability
to check down like his older brother. We want nothing less than back to back
Manning brother Super Bowl victories so the pressure may just send Eli out of
the tri state area if this coming season doesn’t work out.
So you know, I did not try the Pinot on Super Bowl Sunday
that was a compliment to a dinner I had with Big Bob last week. I went with the
testosterone-lined Zinfandel. I know I am one to espouse drink what you like
and forget the pairing rules, but Pinot and football will never be served in my
presence. Anyone know what’s playing at NJPAC next weekend?
2005 Vina San Pedro, Pinot Noir, Castillo di Molina
Reserva, Lontue Valley $ (10.99)
I still am not getting the pinot thing but Chile doesn’t seem to be the
2005 Rosenblum Cellars Vintners Cuvee XXVIII Zinfandel
A jammy dark cherry and raspberry manly wine with 14.6% alcohol and a
spicy finish. Nice compliment to a football game.
February 3, 2007
Politics at its best
Wine and Politics at www.winostuff.com
In what is now termed as "doing a McGreevey", talk show
host Al Franken did him..., ahhh..., one. Under the veiled excuse of thinking
about running for Senate in 2008, Al is stopping his radio show on Air America.
Just a question, why stop this far in advance especially if you are going to be
thinking about running? Can’t you think and do a radio show, obviously not
bolstered by the dismal ratings and losses of syndicates across the country.
Seems running a business like a 503C political action committee is not a strong
enough plan to support a 2 million dollar a year salary. Franken’s rabid
loyalty to the Democratic party stems from his living off wealthy people’s
donations to AAR that funded his guaranteed compensation. We call it welfare
for the wealthy.
Franken’s motto is cleaning up the Senate from corruption,
that is why he boasted at a fund raiser last week that his first order of
business if elected would be to investigate himself over the Gloria Wise money
scandal. “I believe corruption cleaning starts at home. So I have to look no
farther than my office to prove to the good people of Minnesota that I will keep
my campaign pledge.” He later went on to say that during a brief interview with
himself he found out that he actually is the result of a one night love affair
of two famous Hollywood actors. Being born out of wedlock deepens his roots
with the DNC. If he is to be elected, he needs to vet himself and reveal that
his parents are actually Howdy Dowdy and Sheri Lewis' side kick, Lambchop. This
union makes him a perfect Democrat candidate, his sheepish smile and wooly locks
make him appealing to the women and his puppet strings guarantee him a Democrat
committee chairmanship in congress……developing...
To soothe the sting of harpooning himself in his own white
underbelly, Senator Joe “Misspeak” Biden is on a country wide tour to talk
directly to his voting population to explain his time frozen views of Black
politicians. His first stop was the recovering city of New Orleans where Biden
visited restaurants and shops, enjoyed Creole and declared the city of New
Orleans clean and articulate.
In other news, Senator John Kerry called at press
conference at Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston to declare it has been two weeks
since his announcement he is not running for President and he is still not
running. Kerry went on to say that it is just this firm commitment we need from
our leadership in these turbulent times. He stated he is the most qualified
candidate not running and his views most align with the American people.
Contrasting himself to all the other flip flopping candidates who, when asked
several weeks ago if they were running they said they weren’t, only to turn
around and announce they are running. Kerry stands squarely behind his
decision. Next month Senator Kerry has planned another press conference at the
Old North Church.
2003 Ferrari Carano Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
Nice depth with a generous amount of black cherry, plum and currant with
a lingering finish. Great price on this one.
January 28, 2007
Shaking like a new alter boy when summoned to the rectory,
I was suffering from the FWs (football withdrawal) on the dead weekend between
the championship games and the Super Bowl. So I sat down in front of the TV,
red wine in hand and watched a show on black holes. No, I do not have the
Playboy channel, it was a theory posed by Stevie Hawking that black holes
eventually disappear, thus upsetting the scientific community wondering where
the matter sucked into the black hole goes if the black hole disappears. As we
all know if matter disappears then eventually we all will disappear. There are
100s of millions of black holes in our galaxy sucking up matter and soon I will
be sucked into a black hole and disappear too. Look I was just killing time
until the HBO documentary, Rome, started; a series where wine and women and
debauchery were a lifestyle. My companion was a saucy red from Chile, unlike
Stephen who, though bound to a wheelchair, had a wife, then an affair with one
of his nurses. I guess some chicks dig a guy with a computer generated rap, oh
I understand the Wine Meetup’s Burgundy 101-104 was a very
successful outing. It was so successful that Big Bob has asked me to organize
the next. He wants to go out on top. I wonder if the group will show up if I
require them to all bring a bottle of wine, some vegetable oil and a camera.
Look, I teach wine my own way…
I have put some thoughts together and, within the next few
days, I will get things in perspective so stay tuned.
You know that I think everything I write is worthy of
comment and discussion, but it shocked me to see that my recent comments on
squirrel pot pie excited the masses. I honestly did not know that squirrel was
such a staple for the WinoStuff directors. I guess I need to trap some of the
obnoxious rodents nesting in my oaks. As a matter of fact, I am starting to
feel a bit hungry right now.
2003 Mont Gras Quatro
I like this blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, carmenere and malbec bringing
blackberry, coffee and cassis to my palate and a tannic backbone.
January 27, 2007
Something not heard everyday in NJ, but heard this week on
the only radio station for NJ, NJ 101.5. "Warning, people of Sussex County,
refrain from eating large quantities of squirrel, they are testing high for
lead." The lead is believed to be the result of years of dumping by Ford Motor
Company in a labyrinth of mines in Sussex County. I failed to realize that
squirrel was such a sought after culinary treat in Sussex County, NJ. Which
leads me to the obvious question, will Pinot Noir go well with squirrel? If so,
am I looking for a masculine or feminine Pinot? And how does one prepare the
rodent with a fuzzy tail for consuming? I know a wino living in Sussex County.
I should ask him if he has enjoyed a special glass of Drouhin’s finest with his
squirrel stew, or roast, or pot pie. Thinking back to the massive rib roast
that boy ate when we were at Wino Mike’s, I’m thinking there has to be a bunch
of squirrels in the pot to feed that growing boy. This leaves me little room to
make fun of West Virginians.
January 24, 2007
A quiet evening with the TV watching the State of the Union
as history was made when the word Madame replaced Mister in addressing the
Speaker of the House. Agree or not, it was an historic moment and every cable
channel flogged it to death for the 2 hours before the speech. The content of
the speech had little effect positively or negatively. There is no
bipartisanship as both sides are dug in to make their opponents look bad in the
eyes of the public. I watch for reaction shots as the growing list of
Presidential hopefuls try to convey their platform with the raise of an eyebrow
or the curl of the lip.
I do want to bring up one issue, as the news has been
orgasming over Hillary Clinton’s throwing her pant suit into the ring, I have
seen Ms. Clinton on many shows. What strikes me is the drastic contrast between
her face and her neck. I know when her opponent in the recent race brought up
the fact that she has had work done, her press people denied it. Look at
someone you know, compare their face with their neck, they change accordingly.
Ms. Clinton’s neck seems to be out distancing her face by twelve years of
aging. Credibility to keep an eye on….
2003 Miguel Torres Carmenere Reserva Curico Valley
I found this wine more flavor than fruit with dominant black pepper,
licorice and spice flavors out-muscling the blackberry flavor that lurked in the
January 20, 2007
My recent silence was caused by a necessary trip to Las
Vegas for geekdom. Unlike WJ’s recent trip, I did not get to see any of the
latest cool electronics technology ready to storm the market, nor the players in
the multi-billion dollar adult industry. Both events stormed Vegas the week
before my arrival. I was stuck in a pre-arranged hotel buffet meeting of the
same salmon and beef every night. They offered one red, a Geyser Peak low end
cabernet that served it purpose of getting me through senseless dinner table
There was a bit of exciting news for the staff at
www.winostuff.com. After months of intense negotiations and product
evaluation, our Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir will be carried by a
major wine outlet, the good folks at Bottle King. Yes, in what might be
considered a job-jeopardizing move, the executives at the multiple location wine
store has agreed to proximately and aggressively promote our highly effective,
but goofily named stain remover. The boys at the NASA lab will be excited to
know their efforts were finally recognized.
So I humbly ask you good people to frequent our associates
at your local Bottle King and help save the jobs of the people that committed to
put our product on their shelves.
Listed below are the BK store locations:
January 17, 2007
Last night, I sprained my wine muscle. You know, when you
try to run without warming up, you eventually pull something and it hurts for a
few days. Big Bob was in the area last night so we grabbed dinner at a local
BYOB. I brought along a Pinot offering and Mr. Big Pinot flashed one of his
Burgundies. In my premature imbibing, I grabbed a glass, opened my California
Pinot and started sipping and swishing and slurping, looking for big bold
flavors and fruity bomb and dark cherry and then I pulled up lame, right out of
the blocks. I didn’t even get to the turn.
At that point, the elder statesman took over and began what
will be a year’s journey for me to relearn they way I approach wine evaluations
now that Pinot Noir has plighted my year. Yes, a more methodical approach is
necessary, so Big Bob made me, uhhh, he told me we had to compare Pinots, right
there in the restaurant. He wanted to see what color my Pinot was versus his,
what he called the 'bigger Pinot". He made me handle his Pinot and smell it and
compare it to mine. Then, before I could actually taste his, he made me look
vine row by vine row through a map of Burgundy and explain that even within the
Pinot society there are sides and you never want to be caught on the wrong side.
I selected a Pinot from Carneros as that was a region Kevin
Zraly touted during my education phase. Big Bob’s Pinot was a Clos de Mouches
from his JD collection. We both ended up ordering grilled lamb chops and the
California Pinot was just too one dimensional for the savory grilled meat. He
then told me I was experiencing the "dumb phase". I know, I admit that I
know little about Pinot Noir but to blatantly call me dumb was a bit unkind. He
went on to explain he was referring to his wine, not me, though I think he felt
it fit both of us.
This morning I got an email with this explanation:
Though the term dumb is sometimes used as a synonym
for CLOSED, it really has a more complex meaning. The dumb phase of a wine
(generally red) is that period of transition from its youth to maturity. Shortly
after bottling, a wine may be luscious, with rich, ripe aromas and flavors.
However, after a certain period of time (usually several months), such a wine
may begin to close down-the fruit begins to decrease before the complexities of
maturity have fully developed. The combination of declining fruit and
pre-emergent complexity cancel each other out, creating a wine that simply
doesn't taste very good. VINTNERS have no idea what causes this phenomenon but
do agree that the time frame for this dumb phase, which can last for several
years, is completely unpredictable. The dumb phase of a wine is also referred to
as the flat spot or the awkward, transformational, or
© Copyright Barron's
Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE WINE LOVER'S COMPANION, by
I have some learning to do this year and I will not really
do the Burgundy thing too fast, or too soon, so I can appreciate what he thinks
is so great about this flighty grape. I do have to work at this, and seeing the
pricing of most Pinots, it will be a tough year.
2005 Schug Carneros Estates Pinot Noir
A red fruit, cherry and spice wine with not much depth or complexity and a short
2001 Joseph Drouhin Clos de Mouches Beaune 1er Cru
An earthy nose with dark cherry, licorice and smoke on the palate,
offering a depth and length that stood up well to grilled, seasoned lamb chops.
January 14, 2007
The only comfort I had this weekend in the football playoff
realm was watching the Eagles come up short against the New Orleans Saints. It
would be nice to see Seattle beat Chicago and the NFC championship game in the
city of jazz and Creole and hurricanes (real and in the glass). Today I decided
to begin the first step in over coming my Pinotphobia (fear of becoming a
feminine, fleshy Democrat). I made a trip to Costco and picked through the wine
bins for a Pinot Noir. I am not ready for the nuanced Burgundies so I went
totally new school with a bottle from New Zealand. I figured I have to do the
things I did when I began this journey and that is try things from all over to
start building a knowledge base. It would be easy for me to go out and buy some
expensive, well-known Burgundians but what will that really tell me. I
oxymoronically drank Pinot while I watched football. I bet those two
activities have never been done together in the 100 years that football has been
The New Zealand climate is
favorable for the cooler climate this grape wants. But what might be the
biggest advantage that NZ brings is that they were late to the table with Pinot
Noir and had time to learn what could make this cranky cepage. Taking talent
from the foreign investors and winemakers that were successful in Pinot heavens,
NZ is benefiting from experience, clones, personnel and God given conditions.
By dumb luck, I grabbed a bottle from the Martinborough region. This region has
been producing a...
note: I don't know where WinoBob was going with this. His sentence
just stopped after "This region has been producing a ". The Pinot must
have muddled his otherwise crystal clear thought processes. Yeah, right.)
wine region of Martinborough is located at the foot of New Zealand's North
Island at a latitude of 40 degrees south. Here, a happy coincidence of
geology and geography has created the perfect climate and terrain for Pinot
Noir and aromatic wines.
The stone-filled river
terraces are free-draining while the topsoils vary from slope to slope. The
mountains protect us from harsh elements and we enjoy long dry days and cool
nights. The vines grow less vigorously in the cool, breezy conditions, so
yields are lower and the flavours more intense. Our long dry autumns provide
the right balance of warm days (creating ripeness) and cool nights
(providing elegance) for producing top quality Pinot Noir and other
early-ripening varieties. The results speak for themselves – the
Martinborough region is known internationally for consistently producing
world-class fine wines.
went on the winery's web page just to see how they described their wine and I
was quite excited to read about a big, dark cherry and plum wine with jammy
fruit and licorice nose. Unfortunately, I found a disconnect between my palate
and their description. I know I have to retune my expectations but this one had
a discomforting finish. There seemed to be a citrus-like harshness on the back
of my throat that left this anything but elegant. I think it is a good start to
my buildup for December when I will be drinking curvaceous sensual Burgundies.
For now, I will be drinking Pinot with training wheels
Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir
If this one had a smooth sexy
finish, I would have been very impressed but unfortunately, the brash and tannic
quality overran the nuance.
January 10, 2006
As the post nasal dripping is finally shutting off, I had a
glass of wine with my London broil last evening. After dinner I had to research
why they call it London broil, especially since I had been in London and didn’t
see it on the menu. I found this description on About.com:
Broil, despite what you might find at the local meat market is not a cut of
beef but rather a method of cooking. It was one of the first recipes to
become popular in early restaurants and so the name London Broil because
synonymous with a cut of meat. Originally that cut of meat was flank steak,
but over the years the name has been applied to almost any cut of beef that
is very lean and less tender. Hence you might find London Broil being a
steak or a roast that comes from the sirloin or round sections of cattle.
This of course makes the whole thing very confusing.
matters worse the original method of the London Broil was simply a flank
steak; pan fried to medium rare, cut cross grain and served. This method is
perfect for a flank steak because it becomes very tough if cooked too long
and by cutting it into strips you made it easy for even the dullest of teeth
to get through.
Later the method was changed to include marinating the flank steak and
then grilling or broiling it. This makes the name make a little more sense.
Now the origins get even more confusing. The marinade traditionally used for
London Broil has ranged anywhere from a simple mixture of olive oil with
salt and pepper to a wide collection of ingredients. You need to remember
that chefs in earlier days tended to make mix seasonings, sauces and
marinade more from what was on hand than from a specific recipe. To get a
good marinade for London Broil try a mixture of soy sauce, olive oil,
garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar and honey. This gives it the basic flavors
that make beef great.
So I grilled my cheap cut of
marinated flank steak to lessen the toughness and sliced it thinly. As a
companion, I pulled out a cabernet sauvignon left from last year as it would cut
through the grilled meat and handle my still phlegm-flavored palate. I think
one more week and the sensitivity will be dialed down enough to begin my venture
into Pinotville. I have a geek trip coming up in Vegas. No, I was not
lucky enough to attend the Consumer Electronics Show this week, but Wino John
was and I am sure he was there at the Apple booth speaking with Sir Jobs about
logoing his new pocket entertainment device with the WinoStuff insignia. I am
figuring we will be in one or two dinner events that will have a decent wine
offering and I may have to warm up with some Pinot. But for now, I want to
drink the heavier, ballzy stuff that will provide flavors through my nasal
2004 Ex-Libris Cabernet Sauvignon
If you like
fruit up front, here you go, dark cherry and raspberry hit you in the face, but
there is a short finish and little else.
January 6, 2007
I am proud to say, after all these years, my Pinot is
getting larger. Come on, with the new world order, that is a positive thing.
Yes, I now can say I possess three bottles of Pinot Noir, two I purchased to
begin my educational process and one given to me last night by some friends that
stopped over. With this mucus heavy head cold, I am saving this nuanced,
delicate, prissy grape for a time when my sensory receptors can find the
subtleties. I had to rearrange the rack and set aside a slot for the
accumulation of these bottles. Note to WJ, I had an email yesterday from a
reader that said we need to take out the scroll that claims “No Girlie Wines”
from under our front page logo. With the naming of Pinot Noir, we have entered
the age of girliness.
The guest that delivered the Pinot Noir last night is also
a newly elected local politician coming from the party of the Ass. It makes me
wonder if drinking Pinot will turn me into a flaming liberal. Just look at Big
Bob - he's a Burgundian and a Nancy Pelosi sycophant/ John Kerry cheerleader/
Jacque Chirac loyalist. My friend is a Democrat councilman, Pinot Noir-gifter
and Jim McGreevey supporter. Christ on a cracker, I didn’t think this thing
through before naming the GOTY. If I start liking the PN, will I trade in my
Carolina Panther tickets for center stage seats at the NY Ballet? Breath in and
breath out, stay calm, I will need a subset of cab nights to keep from becoming
a progressive. Maybe if I do become a D-D-Democrap, I would like the
lowly-rated Chris Matthews show and support the four day Pelosi coronation and
defend the Conyers and Jeffersons from indictment. Question to MSNBC, why do
you keep Matthews on the air when he cannot draw a rating that appears on any
chart? I will do the show for half his salary and guarantee twice the ratings.
I would love to interview that guy and ask him one simple question, Chris, you
spent all last year reminding us that Americans don’t realize that we are at war
and we should be sacrificing financially and feel the strain; then why haven’t
you called out the new speaker of the house for carrying on a 4 day cocktail
party in celebration of her ascension, while we have troops at war?
Prediction: Matthews rating will be down to his
"Family and Friends" list on his myspace page by September.
2003 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet
Sauvignon $ (17.99)
A pleasant dark cherry, blueberry with anise and vanilla on the
January 5, 2007
As the milking cow plods from pasture to milk post out of
obligatory routine, I headed into the Essex County Wine Society tasting to sit
at my milk post. Unfortunately, my comfort zone, the table of whities ( white
badge full members) I have come to know was full. Crap, in a brief moment, I
figured I’d grab a quick warm up wine and head out. Ah, screw it. I
sat my blue badge ass in an empty table and ate some cheese. Two other Bluies
sat across from me and we did the polite exchange, acknowledging that we were
guests and settled in for the ride. Just as the gavel hit the podium, two
whities filled the table so we now were not adrift in wine society without a
The tasting consisted of 8 Northern Rhones and the
presenter paired wines from three regions, starting at the northern most, Cote
Rotie. We compared a 1999 Guigal Brune et Blonde with a 1990 Guigal Brune et
Blonde. I found the 1990 to have turned the corner, slightly brickish in color
and lacking the fruit components I look for in the techno-dweebish Guigal
offerings. The 1990 was more a cedar, cigar nose while the 1999 has a black
fruit and pepper nose that was much more approachable.
We then compared 4 Hermitage wines, which surprised me. I
would have preferred doing two Hermitage and two Crozes-Hermitage to see if the
lesser-distinguished region of Crozes-Hermitage would have given the group
something worth discussing. Being a bluie, I had little say in the matter. The
first two wines were both from Domaine du Colombier; a 1998 and a 2003. The
2003 showed a spicy, cedary, black cherry offering. This was the first one of
the night I continued drinking while listening to the presenter. The 1998 first
pour at our table was corked, and the second glass had a funk to it that really
impeded my enjoyment. The only thing that came through the funk was a
distinguishable cassis aroma; but that funk just had me turned off.
The second set of Hermitage wines were both from Delas
Freres Les Bessards, one being a 2003 and the other a 1990. My tongue went hard
when I tasted the 1990, it was rich and jammy and piled with black fruits and a
velvety finish that was simply opulent. The 2003, though young showed well and
my 3 and 7 glasses were cleaned as I licked down to get every last drop from the
bowl. If I had $169.00 burning a whole in my left pant leg, I would gladly
purchase a 1990 and abuse myself with it one night with a nice
rosemary-encrusted grilled lamb chop.
We ended our journey in Cornas with a 2003 Alain Voge and a
2001 Auguste Clape. Interesting, these two had more cherry flavor than the
other six which leaned heavier to the black fruit. The Auguste Clape surprised
me as the first taste brought me back to eating a chocolate covered cherry from
Holsteins Confectionary. I would have to say the Les Bessards were my favorite
and the Clape was the runner up. Though my taste buds were looking forward to a
Jaboulet La Chapelle
I will take what they gave me, except for the
Next up on the list in a
fort-night will be a port night.
January 2, 2007
In what I can describe as a Rip Van Winkle moment, I woke
today and realized the world was not the same. Void from recent entries were
comments on the deaths of The Godfather of Soul, James Brown. His service at
the Apollo was flared with sequence, gold casket, MC Hammer, and Michael Jackson
kissing him on the forehead.
Jack Palance, whose imdb credits run two and a half pages,
is best remembered for his role in City Slickers and his one-armed push ups.
The 38th President, Gerald Ford, passed at the
age of 94. History will see that his pardoning of President Nixon was the
right thing to do and will overshadow the Chevy Chase mockery of him as a
clumsy, bumbling President. His reverence for the office and decorum as an
ex-President should be noted by Carter and Clinton. I heard that Bill Clinton
keeps calling the Georgia State Medical examiner to check on the health of
Jimmy. He is looking forward to center stage for that ceremony.
And finally Saddam was hanged, permanently closing the book
on him. Note to the US legal department: His appeal process took two days
and then the sentence was carried out within days. They claim it costs us
100,000’s of dollars to put someone to death. Looked to me from the You Tube
video that it cost them about $75.00. I’d say $10.00 for the black hoods, $5.00
for the rope and $60.00 for the collapsing floor. Richard Marks is complaining
that the same people that used their cell phone to record his tirade were
invited to tape the Saddam hanging. What a technology blast that is! I
cannot get cell coverage at 5pm in north Bergen, but they sent video from a cell
phone from some underground bunker in the middle of a war zone.
Dick Clark might be dead but the execs cannot go without
him ringing in the New Year. When will the man realize he doesn’t need the gig,
he has more money than the entire Central American countries combined. Hey
Dick, time to pass the torch.
But the biggest shock was that WinoStuff.com named Pinot
Noir as the Grape of the Year. Who the hell made that decision? I need to
speak with the board of…..oh, it was me. Shit. Yes, for the next 363
days, I will be uneducatedly commenting on Big Bob’s turf. The power of
WinoStuff.com could affect the future of Burgundy pricing, the Oregon and
California plantings and the livelihood of Dr. Pinot himself. I bet there is a
series of conference calls running through Dreyfus Ashby right now; "Alert:
Big, tannic, California Cabbies now trying to comment on the delicate, fleshy,
feminine Pinot Noir. Warning, warning Will Robinson.”
I was planning to taste a bottle of the fem-stuff New Years
Eve, but a mucus burdened head cold has me adding overtones of phlegm to all my
reviews. As it is, my much anticipated Northern Rhone night at the Essex County
Wine Society will be compromised, but that hearty grape’s characteristics will
power through the dripping greenish yellow snot hanging onto my uvula like a
Christmas ornament. Then, once this palate is back in form, look out PN, here I
come. I figure to start with new world Pinots so there is not a huge
readjustment I need to go through. There is a Burgundy tasting coming to the
ECWS and Big Bob is now sending me Pinot tasting info for me to hone my buds.
It should be a very interesting 2007.
January 1, 2007
Happy New Year and, as it has come to be expected, it is
time for the Declaration of the Grape of the Year. As time passes, this process
gets harder and harder, with all the yelling and arguing and screaming. And
that’s just between the voices in my head, never mind the input from Wino John
and the Board of Directors. For the past three weeks I have had two events
play into my decision-making process to this great grape honor. The first
inspiration came from the GEMS conference I attended and the message professed
throughout the two days by event producer, Steve Zuckerman. As we move forward,
our sources for information and entertainment have been fragmented into what
will be a customized niche. Gone are the collective experiences of a show on
the three major networks, it is boutique customization.
To a degree, the Time magazine Man of the
Year issue bolsters this position that internet and bloggers, cable, iPods, cell
phones, et al can now be sources for moving at the speed of life.
Unfortunately, Time magazine pussed out and made everyone (yes that would
include the staff at WinoStuff) as man of the year. That would be akin to me
taking the stupidly simplistic position that "Cepage" is the GOTY, every grape
varietal that can produce wine is worthy of this title. Mediocrity may be
acceptable at Time Magazine, but it is not tolerated at www.WinoStuff.com.
These two issues had me thinking it might be time to name a
small, unique grape as GOTY, a supporting grape, one that has spent much of its
time in a blended state, only venturing out in a few regions or from a few bold
winemakers. By doing so, it would be the antithesis of what Time did, we would
select one minor contributor to the world of wine enjoyment instead of lumping
all the lesser known grapes into a category named cepage. Any time we are on
opposite sides of a position with Time magazine, we (I) will take it. (Sorry for
speaking for you WJ).
I will say I had three other grapes drafted and partially
written up, and they do still hold a strong potential for future awards.
Thinking back over this past year and the industry opportunities we at WinoStuff
have been treated to, I found it only fitting that this year a grape had added
cache from the company it keeps, and in that I mean the people associated with
it that have given me a better understanding of wine. Therefore, it is with
great pleasure and a bit of consternation regarding Wino John’s reaction, I
offer the 2007 GOTY.
The 2007 Grape of the Year
Yes, just as the rough and tumble, crime fighting J. Edgar
Hoover wore dresses on Saturday night at his home, this Big Ass Cabernet
Sauvignon drinker is getting in touch with his softer, gentler side for 2007. I
figured my fear of Pinot Noir might be based in ignorance. PN has been known
for some 2000 years and has cloned more than 100 varietals with DNA tracers to
this grape. An enigmatic offering, the wine can run a full spectrum from light
and perfumy or flabby to dark cherry, chocolate, mushroom, earthy, gamey,
leathery and spicy. The most distinct description I read called it "barnyard",
as in the stuff you step in when walking behind a herd of cattle. The pains
winemakers go through just to produce a quality wine year in and year out gives
rise to my original position that this grape is too feckless to be in my rack.
Defined by Burgundy, this grape thrives in Oregon and
California, shows well in Chile and New Zealand and offers promise in Australia,
and South Africa. It grows in Germany, Italy, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary
and Bulgaria and is testing the waters in Canada.
This break from our traditional position that the fleshy
feminine wine that is not worthy of the tailgating, lunch-pail winos that we are
has created a great deal of tension between Wino John and me. I may have to
take refuge for this year in Big Bob’s basement consuming the more than 700
bottles of the 2007 GOTY while WJ cools down over this decision. I had hopes of
attending the Burgundy 101 course being taught by Laurent Drouhin on January 18th
as my kick off into understanding this ethereal offering, but a business trip
has thrown a wet blanket on that. I may have to sign up for a remedial course
and try to educate my tastes buds with this grape in drag. (Editor's
note: I am NOT going to any PinotFests!!!)