This page contains
Winings from the 1st
Quarter of the year 2009.
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March 28, 2008
It is a shame that winemakers waste a good glass bottle and
fill it with plonk. You know I am a Rhonie. Several days back, I was zipping
around some wine stores and picked up bottle of 2003 Vignerons de Chusclan
CŰtes du RhŰne Villages "Les Monticauts". I did not have French in high
school, but I think the translation for Les Monticaut means "lessen your
expectations". It might be "expect less", so something, the dictionary was hard
for me to read, it was in French. This poor winery spent a lot on a nice thick
glass bottle with a 2-inch punt. Hey, in human terms, thatís like Savanna.
Unfortunately, the 2003 juice in the bottle failed in the foilís marketing
slogan ďEsprit de TerroirĒ. I found it more like Expression of Terror. 70%
syrah or not, I will keep the empty bottle but not be purchasing a full one
March 27, 2009
I've been enjoying some wine, actually I ran out to dinner
last night to Bangkok Kitchen as I had a
hankering for curry. I stopped into the local wine store and grabbed a Rhine
Riesling. I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, the food or the wine or the sum of
the parts. The spicy tofu salad could have been my meal. It was plentiful and
flavorful. For the main meal I had chicken and sweet potatoes with some mixture
of vegetables in a red curry. Well done with a nice size serving. As for the
wine, I went with the 2006
Buitenverwachting Rhine Riesling.
Am I pronouncing that correctly? Buitenverwachting? Anyway, itís from the
Constantia region of South Africa. If I remember correctly from my high school
German class, Buitenverwachting means "beyond expectations". Actually, if you
go to their website, it tells you there on the home page. I will say my
verwachting wasnít high at $10.99, but it turned out to be buiten, sehr buiten.
OK, "very beyond" might not be grammatically correct but besides curse words and
a gay poem about flowers, there isnít a lot I can remember from 9th
grade. I take that back, I can conjugate the verb "be" relating to myself in
the singular or plural and the library. Be that as it may, the wine went well
with the fare and an otherwise lonely dull dinner. This is one worth
jotting down. Nice job there, Buiten.
March 21, 2009
Today is the first full official day of spring.
Yesterdayís snow shower gave rise to sun and warmer temperatures. Thoughts of
enjoying the out of doors made me walk to the post office. A cardinal was out
trying to attract a mate. (No, not a Cardinal, that would be sacrilege.)
The nights are still chilly so I am keeping the reds handy for a little while
longer. Thoughts of hot summer days and chilled sauvignon blancs are just down
the path. The trees are showing signs of wakening.
To take the evening chill off, I grabbed a bottle of red
from the Lake County region of California. A bit about the Lake County region:
The first Lake County vineyards
were planted in the 1870s. By 1900 Lake County wines were winning awards in
international competition, and the region was earning a reputation for
producing some of the world's greatest wines. However, in 1920
Prohibition forced an end to Lake County wine production. Most of the
vineyards were eventually removed and planted with other crops.
Lake County's re-emergence in the
wine industry began in the 1960s when a few visionary growers discovered the
area's wine grape potential and began planting new vineyards. From less than
100 acres in 1965, vineyard acreage has grown to over 8,800 acres today and
is expected to continue to expand. With the growing popularity of Lake
County wines, Lake County's grape and wine industry continues to expand.
Existing wineries are growing, and new vintners are moving into the region.
Today the county has five wineries. Several out-of-county wineries,
including Beringer, Kendall-Jackson, Louis Martini and Sutter Home, own Lake
County vineyards. Prominent wineries such as Fetzer, Dynamite, and Beringer
Blass are among nearly 150 different out-of county wineries that purchase
Lake County grapes from independent growers.
Included in California's
prestigious North Coast American Viticulture Area, Lake County is a region
whose quality can stand on its own. Unique geographical factors such as the
microclimates, soil types, and Clear Lake all contribute to the growing of
outstanding grapes. Their fine wines and quality fruit are rapidly
re-establishing Lake County's reputation for producing excellent wines. Lake
County wines are consistent award winners at major wine competitions and
have been enjoyed at the White House.
Quality grapes and quality wines. In Lake County vineyards
and at Lake County wineries, the future is now (www.shannonridge.com)
The blend was not giving much bouquet and I thought I
embarrassingly brought a crappy wine to dinner. Fortunately it delivered a
robust and full bodied taste. It is the first wine I have tried from this
winery and it intrigued me enough to look for others.
2007 Shannon Ridge Wrangler Red
Not much on the nose of this blend consisting of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon,
27% Syrah, 27% Petite Sirah, 6% Zinfandel, 4% Barbera. The blackberry,
boysenberry and blueberry flavors are there in a jammy mouthful but the finish
is weaker then expected.
March 18, 2009
Last night, I had to attend a planning meeting for an
upcoming winemakerís dinner. On May 3rd, my other friend from Verona
will be showcasing his Italian wines at the Tree Tavern. Not comedian Jay Mohr,
who does come from Verona, NJ. No, I am referring to Riccardo Tedeschi of
Tedeschi Vineyards from the other Verona. There is actually an
interesting story that Riccardo is too shy to tell. It seems his
great-great-great-great-great grandfather, I think his name was Renzo, had asked
a local girl to the harvest ball. As most vintners know, when the fruit is
ready, one must abandon the best of plans and tend to the grapes. So Renzo
ended up staying in the vineyards and missing the dance. As history will
attest, it was the best decision in the world. That vintage established the
Tedeschi estate as a force in Veneto for making high quality amarones. Funny
side story, the girl, upset and jilted, hooked up with some Romeo and fell in
love. I heard their families didnít much care for each other and a bunch of
crap went down. We can thank Renzo for prioritizing what was most important,
the wine, and leaving the fickle female to the pen of W. Shakespeare.
For the meeting, the corned beef and cabbage flowed.
Sorry, that was this morning. Last night, the wine flowed as the three of us
put our heads together in the planning process. I know I brought a GotY from
Howell Mountain, there was a MontGras Sauvignon Blanc, a Faithful Hound, a
Rabbit Ranch NZ pinot, and a soon-to-be pumped Bordeaux. I said it was the
three of us, right? Wow. Winorama. I wonder if I took 287 or 23 to
get home? I think I should have stopped at one cigarÖ.Good Day.
2005 Outpost Howell Mountain Petite Sirah
Power and in-your-face tannins greet you on this one, but it settles down
to a blackberry, chocolate and spice palate. Jasmine and white pepper float in
the glass of the 85% Park Muscadine Clone petite sirah, with the addition of 15%
"other" clone young vines planted in the estate's zinfandel block. Buy and
March 13, 2009
Happy Friday the 13th. I understand this is a
big day for the Knights Templar. Happy Knights Templar Slaying Day for those
into the wonderment of the Holy Grail, the DiVinci Code and the Blood Line.
Mike and I had the pleasure of attending two industry tastings this week. I
will dispense with the first quickly. Laboure-Roi showed their 2007 Burgundies
at the Burgundy Hound eatery, Park and Orchard. Buddy is a Burg-Head for those
that have had the pleasure of tasting from his wine cellar. Out of the 20
wines, one had interesting structure, but for the price, it is not worth High
The more interesting tasting was the Dreyfus Ashby event.
I am guessing we tasted about 70 wines and found some very enjoyable new
inventory. OK, I will say it first. I almost donned a skirt because I think two
of the best wines were a Pinot Noir and a right bank Bordeaux. Pinot Noir and
Merlot, and I am willing to admit it. I will hold those two for the end.
C'mon, its how we keep you readingÖ
Wines worth looking for:
Maison Joseph Drouhin
Montrachet M. De
Laguiche- heavy price but classic white Burgundy, rich and buttery, with weight
Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2007
Gevrey Chambertin 2007
Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 2007
Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Girlan GewŁrztraminer Alto Adige Aime 2006
Chateau de Campuget Le Sommeliere 2003
Renato Ratti Barolo Rocche 2004
Tedeschi Capital Monte Tenda Soave Classico 2007
Tedeschi Lucchini Classico Valpolicella 2007
Miguel Torres- Spain
Vina Esmeralda White 2007
Sangre de Toro Tempranillo 2007
Salmos- Priorat 2006
Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Miguel Torres- Chile
Manso de Valasco 2006
Conde de Superunda 2001-
The wines I liked least were:
2006 Nederberg Shiraz- hey ,South Africa, leave
the spelling and wine to the Aussies.
Torres- Spain Orange Liqueur- keep a bottle
in your car in case you run out of gas.
The wines I think surprised and delighted me were:
I am relisting the
Conde de Superunda- worth buying and holding
Maison Joseph Drouhin 2003 Chambolle Musigny Premier
Cru- the manly side of Pinot Noir, if you can afford it, buy it.
Moueix Bordeaux Chateau Siaurac Lalande de Pomerol Red
2003- my sleeper of the tasting, grace and beauty at an affordable
price even though itís mostly merlot.
March 8, 2009
I know that our currency has been going through a
makeover. Hell, even the nickel has a new picture of President Jefferson.
Unlike the EU, we have not gotten rid of small bills, so the US Treasury has
just completed the die for the new dollar. Winos and Winettes, we present your
new one-dollar bill.
Actually, Ms. Bush has been going through some health
issues so we wanted to cheer her up. We know she is a big fan of our site so
hereís to you, Babs.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the passing of
legendary radio voice Paul Harvey. I had a brief exchange with him once and he
told me that when the good Lord called him to the Pearly Gates, it would be OK
with him for me to sign off my entries using his catch phrase, "Good Day". I
know that schnorer Larry King is trying to claim that, but I will locate those
emails when I find that research folder and take that old bastard to court.
Harvey said it was mine. Back off bug eyes.
Italissimo opened in their new location so we met up with
old friends for dinner. They took over the old location of Oggis, which was
Sebastians, which was also Cafť Fresco. I would say, not a great track record
in the location but they do have a nice set up. There is an area in the back
that makes great summer night dining. It was good to see they kept the brick
oven and the pizzas were flying out of the front counter. We had a 7pm
reservation but had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated. I am not sure if
they had a bigger crowd than expected or if they donít yet know how to space
guests with the new smaller dining space. The pluses are that the portion size,
quality and pricing is well suited for the times. Most pasta dishes were $11.00
and the salads were $6.00. The negatives were the room temperature, which might
have been do to the unseasonable warm weather and the acoustics. We had a great
time catching up with old friends over wine and food. I hope the economy
doesnít impact them like it has so many other restaurants in this area. Bacchus
has posted limited hours and 50% off bottle of wine nights. They are only open
weds-sat now. Gianniís is closed most nights by 9pm and the past few Saturdays
were dark at 10pm. The food business is tough in good times, I wouldnít want to
start anew in this climate. Good Day!
2003 M. Chapoutier Gigondas
$$ (34.55 HPW)
Fod friendly, medium-bodied wine with bright red raspberry and strawberry
flavors with a tick of tannins and a spicy finish.
March 7, 2009
I must say, the Essex County Wine Society meeting this
month had an interesting theme. It was another 2005 Bordeaux night (I missed
the first). This time, what the moderator did was compare a first label with a
second label of a higher quality Chateau from the same region and comparable
makeup. A true value proposition for the masses. Is it worth looking at
second labels of a better winery or are their unique first labels at a good
value. Can a garista out shine a second label from a Bordeaux icon? I like the
thought process behind this one and the presenter was a Bordeaux head. A great
amount of information was dispensed. One of the people at my table informed us
that the presenter has a cellar of 12,000 bottles! I'll have to introduce
myself. Come on, heís not going to drink all 12,000 himself.
We had four flights, two wines per flight.
The first two wines were from St. Emilion:
Virginie de Valandraud- I found this the more
The second two wines were from St. Julien:
Clos du Marquis
The third flight was from Margaux:
Lascombes- the clear winner of the night
Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux
The final flight was from Pauillac
Pontet Canet- My runner up for the night
Les Fortes de Latour
I found the process interesting, though young Bordeaux is
so hard to judge for me. Hours of decanting might have had an impact. Also,
the most difficult question to answer is which wine do you like better? There
was a contrast that allowed me to answer which I liked between the two if I were
going to dinner that night. That may not be the same answer for which I thought
would be better as the wines aged. The only thing I could do is pick a
direction and stay consistent in the way I answered for each flight. There
could have been differences in the groupís interpretation of that request.
There are many Bordeaux savvy members with big cellars. I see I have a lot of
learning to do.
Next month is white Burgundy and I just realized I will be
flying back from California that night so I will not be able to enjoy those
bold, brilliant Burgundians. God damn work always gets in the way of fun.
March 6, 2009
Where has the time gone? This time I actually have been
drinking. Just not typing. I have some catching up to do. I can be quick on
this review because of my word. I bought a Rhone wine for watching TV last
week. It was less than ten dollars and drank like it was less than five
dollars. I might say this wine devalued like my retirement plan, itís worth
half of what I paid in.
2005 Pont du Rhone Cote du Rhone-
Not worth the coin but fitting for the times. Less value for my money.
Last Wednesday, I had an off site dinner with a very
interesting person. At this point, the person asked not to be identified. We
are adding to the Wino ranks. Impressive wine helps conversion. I think the
person does not want to ruin decades of climbing a difficult ladder and making
it in a tough industry. I promised to bring a nice bottle of wine of their
choice. Boy, do I want to break my promise and blab all about the cool stuff
this person has done. Restraint, restraint, my word is my bond. I will say
this, the wine was a hit with our Sushi. So what was the bottle?
2005 Chalk Hill Estates Chardonnay
A fine ensemble of apricot and pear fruits with a toasted nut and clove
finish. Enjoyable from the chilled first sip to the last pour. Well done and
I look forward to a second meeting and a position to
enlighten you readers with what might lie just over the horizon for the
WinoStuff gang. I think I feel a stirring in my nether region.
February 28, 2009
First they silenced the professors and we did nothing.
Then they went after the entrepreneurs and we did nothing. NowÖ
In a show vote, the Fairness Doctrine was killed by an
overwhelming majority and the ass-hat media trumpeted this as the end of a
ďstraw manĒ issue for talk radio. But did any of the ass-hatters report on Bill
S.160 authored by Illinoisí Dick Durbin? Anyone? Beuhler?
Let me just enlighten those that are subjects of the gate
keepers known as the mass media. According to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin,
S.160's purpose is "To encourage and promote diversity in communication media
ownership, and to ensure that the public airwaves are used in the public
Durbinís Amendment allows for President Obama's FCC to be
empowered to prematurely pull the broadcast licenses of radio stations they deem
as failing to meet these new guidelines.
Let me break it down into Wino-speak. Slight of hand has
bitten the media with public display of killing a term and offering a rose by
another name. OK, there will NOT be something called the fairness doctrine to
quell conservative talk radio. There WILL be S.160, which will do exactly that
without the catchy name. I thought the framers specifically allowed for
dissenting speech so this country didnít become England? Why pick on just one
facet of the media if this is not a politically calculated move? ABC, CBS, and
NBC go over public airwaves. Shouldnít thaey be included? Cable, I
understand, is a paid service.
If diversity of information is what they want, wouldnít
speech of an opposite opinion offer diversity? Lest we end up with lockstep in
mindset, I think we need media checks and balances. If this goes through,
whatís next? Rumblings of Blog censoring abound already. Where we go one, we
go all. Otherwise, why not just offer a State-run media only? Let me
think, taxation that punishes entrepreneurship, punishes individual achievement
and a state-sponsored message, now where did I read about countries like that in
my high school history books? I understand there will be a new cabinet member
in the Administration, The Minister of Information and Technology. Catchy term
for someone hell bent on opposing viewpoints.
2005 Greystone Shiraz McLaren Vale
Alcohol 14.5% for the Aussie but it wasnít very exciting or complex.
Basically; one dimension of black fruit. Look, I drank it, but it wasnít worth
writing home about. Wait, I am home...
February 24, 2009
Getting ready for the big Presidential speech tonight, I
simply went back to my comfort zone. A Cote du Rhone comprised of GSM. Like a
well-worn pair of Levis, it fit well. I needed it. I wanted it. I have
struggled over the past few days with the Stimulus Bill. The first part that
kicks in on April first is a reduction in payroll tax. We are told this is
vital to save our country. OK, so if it is critical and viewed as a stimulus to
cut payroll taxes to jump-start this quasi-depression, then why would raising
taxes be the answer down the road? Hey, administration, look at what you are
telling the country that is vital to get the economy going. You want money in
the peopleís pockets, so why the hell are you not admitting that this should be
the long-term plan? Itís vital to cut payroll taxes to get money to Americans
to pump into the economy. Afterwards, itís important for you to raise taxes?
Wow, that rebuffs your basic bill.
Why are they saying his speech tonight will be
Reagan-like? Isnít Reagan the Demís Devil? Wasnít Reagan a free market
deregulator? Isnít Reagan all the Dems run against? So why are his people
invoking the name of that which they demonize?
Hey, Keith Olbermann, learn something about small
business. Your Worst Person rant on February 23, 2009 was so misinformed and so
stupid that my high-schooler knew you were over your head. When you said the
simple thing for small business to do is incorporate so they donít pay personal
income taxes and wonít get hurt by Obamaís plan, you showed your utter
ignorance, you simpleton. Keith, itís simple, do you know how income is
reported for small businesses incorporated as a Subchapter S corp. or an LLC?
Keith, do you know the difference between sub-chapter S corps and sub-chapter
C? Have you heard of pass thru? Christ, I hope your audience doesnít take
everything you say verbatim. I heard you have a company, one that hasnít paid
the correct taxes in California and has a tax lien. Maybe that is why you
BOMBED in trying to mock your worst person last night when it comes to small
business taxes. You might know baseball card collecting, but you know shit
about small business.
See, I get all fired u drinking French wine. Cote du Rhone
brings my passions to the forefront. Maybe the grenache-syrah-mourvedre blend
surges the part of me that says BS to the bullshit they try to shovel to us. No
lassie faire attitude with this frog grape juice.
2006 Ogier Caves des Papes CŰtes du RhŰne Heritages
Blends, people, blends and this grenache, syrah, mourvedre blend is a
good example of my position. The nose bounces from lighter red fruits to
blackberry and plum with cedar, tobacco and spice. Wonderful for an inexpensive
February 22, 2009
I accept the criticism. I have been posting too
infrequently for my fans. There is a craziness around that either keeps me from
drinking (something new) or ties me up until late in the evening. No, nothing
that exciting, more like removing wallpaper from old plaster walls. Yesterday,
after hours of unfun soaking and scraping, I sat down to a dinner of shellfish
in a light red sauce and an AlbariŮo wine. Making things crazier, I either
deleted or moved my WinoStuff writing folder on my Mac. I have this collection
of stuff that if I were a real writer, might be called research. I keep it in a
folder that is in a folderÖÖ.six layers deep. I must have been doing something
one night while my judgment might have been impaired. Now my box of treasures
is not anywhere to be found. I think the brain cell that hosted that bit of
information was killed off. Of course, I do not name my folders in a rational
way so I have to remember what I called it in order to search my hard drive. I
tried 'genius in the making', but that is still there. I tried, 'FN brilliant',
that folder is still empty. I tried 'Robert Parkerís a Pinot'. That just
has photos of all the wine industry people I have been choked by. Until I
recall the name, my brilliance will be anew. Wait; could it be 'The Wine Bob'?
Many times I refer to myself in the third personÖ
OK, I will continue to search my hard drive and continue
drinking this AlbariŮo hoping to find the info to post more frequently.
2007 Legado del Conde AlbariŮo
$ (12.55 at highpointwines.com)
A citrus and peach mouthful with floral notes on the finish.
February 18, 2009
The economy made me drink chardonnay. It had nothing to do
with cost. It was a simple decision. I could not afford anything but peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches last night. With all the salmonella in the peanut
world, I had to protect myself. Chardonnay kills E. coli and salmonella as we
learned from one of WJís articles. Not my first pairing choice but I had to
drink chardonnay just to be on the safe side. It wouldnít have been a bad match
if I had stuck just with peanut butter. The jelly killed the deal. I am going
out on a limb right now and saying peanut butter banana sandwich and chardonnay
would work. Elvisí favorite sandwich, peanut butter and bacon would be robust
enough for Montrachet. If Elvis was more sophisticated, instead of his
chocolate milk with the peanut butter and bacon, he might have set the trend
with white burgundy. Does white burgundy go well with oxycontin?
So far no cramping or explosive ablutions so I am thinking
the chardonnay protected me or the peanut butter wasnít tainted (ring bell -
another chance to use the word 'taint'). Thank you, Thank you very muchÖ
2007 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Chardonnay
Nice work on this chardonnay with pear and pineapple flavors, toffee and
vanilla undertones with a buttery finish.
February 15, 2009
I was driving to pick up paint at Home Depot today and I
had the Rock of NY on the radio. The stuck-in-the-seventies DJ was recanting a
story of his dinner with Mick Fleetwood and the band's upcoming tour. The
wannabe-rocker that had to settle for the ultimate groupie job said that Mick is
quite the wine collector. His grape fascination and all the money I spent on
their albums stemming from my teenage fascination with Stevie Nicks afforded him
his own label. For the record, Iím old so Stevie was young when I was ruining
my bed sheets.
The vixen look and sultry voice of this
Stevie Nicks fueled a young Wino Bobís nocturnal ablutions.
Not this Stevie Nicks.
Actually, if the current, older, weightier Stevie Nicks
rang my doorbell holding a bottle of Mick Fleetwood Private Cellarís Cuvee and
started singing Landslide, I would throw her the Wino Bob love berries. Even
though the Cuvee is 25% cabernet franc and 75% mer-mer-merlot, Iíll go one
farther. I would even de-moniker the current Wino Rocker and bestow that
title on her. Sorry current Wino Rocker, I have heard you sing Landslide at 2am
on the porch and it just doesnít give me the Chris Matthews leg thrill.
I havenít located a bottle of the Micksterís juice yet, but
I am on the lookout.
February 8, 2009
After two days of grueling wallpaper removal, I kicked back
with a cigar and glass of wine. Yes, I fired up a stogie as a show of unity
with my new President. Thatís right, I am smoking and I might continue to smoke
for the next four years. Let me explain to you non-smokers. Listen up, those of
you who after twenty years of puffing your brains out went cold turkey and
kicked the habit. YOU are UNPATRIOTIC. Why do you hate your country? This week
we saw the signing of the SCHP bill ensuring healthcare for our next
generation. Since we are in dire economic straits, we are funding healthcare
off the tar-tainted, emphysema-lunged smokers by increasing the tax on
tobacco. So you non-smokers or quitters out there obviously hate our President
and you hate little kids' healthcare. Get on board and light up. Start
smoking. And you poor bastards in NYC, it will cost $9.00 per pack. Oh, what
happens with those who financially cannot afford to smoke as much because of the
I know I am not an ivy leaguer and I know I would never be
able to handle policies for this country, but I was wondering how we fund a
program with money from something we are condemning? We made bars non-smoking
because of the second-hand smoke issues. We made workplaces smoke free. Why are
we looking to sustain a very expensive program by looking for revenue from this
killer habit? Excuse me, I need to take a puff on my cigar.
The wine I am soaking my aching muscles with is the South
African red blend, 2004 Kadette from Kanonkop. I like blends and this is
50% pinotage with a bolstering of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The fruit is
deeper and richer than their pinotage and brings bramble fruit, dark cherry and
spice with mild tannins and a mid-sized finish.
Hey, what do they mean in the Cialis commercial when they
say donít drink alcohol to excess when taking the pill? No, just wondering if
they could qualify the word 'excessive'. Not right now, just something over the
next few years if they might define that word into a number of bottles of wine
per day. Iím just askingÖ.
February 6, 2009
First, may I give a shout out to my peeps on the left
coast, Lisa and Darcy of 2DegreesRadio.com, we will be looking for the pics.
Last night was a true learning experience at the Essex
County Wine Society tasting. I experienced the enjoyment of Barolo in almost a
carnal way. If bottle number 8 actually was closer to me, I would have made
Wino Bob love to it. Teacherís choice and last night all wines where flanked in
red velvet bags. (That reminds me... I need to buy more Tinactin.) I have
struggled in the past to find that King of Wine, Wine of Kings touted by the
Italians. The offering last night opened my eyes. So round, so firm, so fully
packed, so free and easy on the draw. That was the old Lucky Strikes Cigarette
slogan passed down to me by my dad. Fitting in some respects, except for the
'draw' part. I had the added pleasure of sitting next to the King of Italian
wines, the Woodman himself.
Though I terribly enjoyed these wines, the price is out of
the budget. My favorite wasnít the most expensive but still, at $84.00, is
outside the purchasing power of this serf.
Flight One, 1, A
1) Renato Corino Vecchie Vigne
2) Giovanni Corino Vecchie Vigne (family issues caused
these two to split but use the same name for the wine, kind of reminds me of
the Mondavis and the Gallos)
3) Giacomo Borgogno Riserva
4) Cavallotto Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San
5) Azelia Riserva Voghera-Brea
Our table found the Giacomo Borgogno to be the dog of the
fight, off nose and metallic flavor. The nose on the two Vecchie Vignas were
spicy, bright, red fruit and cedar while the Cavallotto and the Azelia had
bigger tannins and more anise, darker fruit and bolder finish. Out of the five,
I would drink 1,2 and 4 with a variety of Italian fare and leave 5 for time to
rest in my rack. Number 3 would be used for deicing my windshield and temporary
Flight Two, 2, B
6) Paolo Scavino Rocche dellíAnnunzaiata
7) Domenico Clerico Per Cristina
8) Luigi Pira Vigna Rionda
9) Mossolino Vigna Rionda.
If the Mossolino had come before the Pira, I might not have
commented as negatively. The number 8 outshined number 9. For me I found
lightning in a bottle, a true ah ha moment. My new friend 8 was supple and
elegant with complexity and a silky finish making it a wine I could bathe in.
Really, except for number 3, I would be happy to go to your house and drink any
of the wines you have in your cellar. I wonít even complain if they are a
different vintage. Hell, I will even bring the corkscrew. I will make it
simple; you donít need to feed me. Maybe a little Pecorino cheese and some
crusty bread, but donít go out of your way. Iím a simple guy.
February 4, 2009
No, I just didnít sober up from the Super Bowl Party. That
occurred yesterday morning, after a grueling day of meetings off site. Crap in
a can, next year no Super Bowling if I have a three-day budget meeting. I think
what hurt the most was the peer pressure to smoke cigars. Yes, the first time
in years I went back-to-back with a stogie. Wino Odd Job hosts a mean party and
watching the game on a 100-inch HD isnít half bad. Great group and the wine
kept flowing. I know I started with the Bricco Magna while munching on shrimp
cocktail, hot dogs and chili and a bunch of cheese and hard salami. I brought
with me a bottle of wine from Arizona. Come on, I spent a lifetime at ASU
during the two years I tried to educate myself there. I had to be a Cardinals
fan. The wine was a 2003 Echo Canyon Vineyards Old Zin. I enjoyed this
wine, nice dark fruit and mocha with a smooth finish. The wine comes from a
favorite region of mine in Arizona, Sedona. Beautiful red rock country with hot
days and cool nights. I think I paid $20.00 for the bottle when I was out
there. Here is a little bit about the winery.
Once upon a time .....about
100 years ago, Echo Canyon was the site of a farm that produced fruits and
vegetables for the mining camps in Jerome. The stagecoach trail that was
used is still visible today.
Once again, Echo Canyon is a
testament to hard work and a celebration of the earth's bounty. Fabulous
wine grapes are grown and transformed into the magical wines of Echo Canyon
Vineyard and Winery.
Please join us by enjoying our
hand crafted, limited production wines.
After an eighty-year hiatus,
Sedona Red Rock Country is back in the wine business. Nestled along the
banks of pristine Oak Creek, our rock walled vineyards produce wines that
rival the finest made anywhere.
We have planted only the best
grape clones, utilize organic and biodynamic farming methods, and produce
our wines in small, traditional open top fermenters.
One of Odd Jobís friends brought two bottles of a 2006
Courtney Benham Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Martin Ray Winery, pricing
around $25.00. We popped the Wine Soiree into the bottle and poured just with
the aerator. So I am back to needing more experiment time for the Soiree. I
will commit to the enhanced nose, but again, we did not have a side-by-side
test. Odd Job poured straight upside down (bottle at high noon) for maximum
I think I drank and Elyse
Petite Sirah and I know at one point Big Bob poured me a glass of Joseph
Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet while I was finishing up my rib roast and
roasted potatoes. I think I called it quits right after the Miguel Torres
Salmos. Dude, itís a Priorat made from
Garnacha Tinta, Syrah, CariŮena, and
Cabernet Sauvignon. I found this to be a nice way to end my night with a robust
red having weighty flavors of slate, lavender, cedar, black cherry, and
blueberry. For about $30.00, this has a lot to offer and I will be purchasing
this for my rack. If things work out, I might even Soiree this one to see how
it changes. At that point, the Steelers scored the go ahead touchdown and I
headed out with my Tillman Commemorative jersey stinking of cigar smoke and a
dejected fan walk.
January 30, 2009
Ode to Ms. McBrair, my eleventh grade chemistry teacher.
If I may be so forward, she was a dish. Then again, I had 16-year-old male
hormones coursing through my body like the Eurostar (thatís a high speed train
for those non-locoheads). "Better living through chemistry" was her motto. When
I went to college, that had such a different meaning.
I had a product meeting with High Point Mike today and we
had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Lazorchak- inventor of the Wine Soiree
and lover of the grape. Mr. Lazorchak was kind enough to leave a sample of his
wine aerator for me to spend the weekend doing market research with. What
impressed me about the pitch was that at trade shows they use Smoking Loon, an
inexpensive cabernet sauvignon, to show the benefits of their product. I do not
have Smoking Loon in the house right now, so I grabbed what I figured would be a
challenging wine. The wine I selected is a syrah called Chelsea from Alba
Vineyards of New Jersey. Side note, though the wine was made at the winery in
Milford, the grapes actually come from California. If this thing can enhance a
NJ wine, I think I will have to place the Official Wino Bob seal of approval on
it. That reminds me, I need to club another baby seal for this experiment.
Just before embarking on my DOE, fond thoughts of the vixen
in a lab coat sprung into my head. After polishing the ole Erlenmeyer for a few
minutes, it was back to the experiment. Sweet melodic tones of, ďUnderstanding
Variables in your Designed ExperimentĒ, danced about my head sending me into a
panic. Was I introducing too many variables to truly evaluate the Soiree? The
wine was a wild card. Could a NJ wine taint the results? First time in 2009 I
worked 'taint' into a sentence, (drink up). Could NJ wine be made drinkable by
this device? Was I asking too much of the Soiree to enhance the structure of a
wine made in the Garden State? Moment of truth, I considered getting out my
yearbook and firing up the Bunsen burner again. Experimentation like this is
best left to a true techno dweeb, quick get me a techno-dweeb.
Look, itís Friday night. The worst that could happen
is either I work all night and get no conclusive results, or I invent a wine
infused flubber. Either way no high school chemistry teachers got hurt in the
process. So I manned up and got identical glasses, uncorked the bottle of 2005
Chelsea Cellars Syrah, donned my LabWear chemical resistant apron, Saf-T acid
resistant gloves and my Ray Bans. (Sorry, I donít have lab goggles at my
house. That would be nerdy.)
Control- Place two
ounces of Chelsea Cellars Syrah in a wine glass.
Wine Soiree into neck of wine bottle. Invert bottom of bottle to the 11:00
position to flood wine into globe of Soiree for maximum agitation and
exposure and dispense two ounces of wine in a wine glass.
Look at both glasses of wine
Smell both glasses of wine
Taste both glasses of wine
Oh Ms. McBrair, you donít have to call me Wino Bob, you can
call me Stickly-wickly. (Little Rascalís reference for those keeping score). I
truly apologize for staring at your noble metals section of your periodic chart
instead of paying attention in class. I am telling you; it was chemistry, the
chemistry of pimply-faced Wino Bob love. I f&%#íd up. I didnít think this
thing through. Sorry folks, upon starting the experiment, I realized there are
variables I did not account for. First variable, you need two bottles of the
same wine. Stupid me, I poured my first taste, inserted the Wine Soiree,
aggressively poured the second glass and watched aerated wine that stayed in the
globe fall back into the bottle. I never poured a glass and allowed it to sit
and naturally aerate. Then I realized there are several comfortable pouring
angles between the bottom of the bottle being at 3:00 and 12:00. Then I should
have poured a glass and swirled like I normally do, then I thought my head
wanted to explode, then I thought about the yearbook picture of Ms. Proton and I
wanted to give up some more of my electrons. Crap, I need to do this all over
I am willing to say that the immediate nose on the two
glasses showed differences worth investigating. The straight pour was simple
and uni-dimensional. The Soiree released more on the initial nose. I did swirl
like I normally would and the straight pour glass enhanced closer to the Soiree
Through no fault of the Soiree, the taste on this wine was
difficult at best. So I do not want to confirm or deny a result. Itís one data
point in what needs to be a multitude of data points. I committed to Andrew
that I would test out the unit at the Super Bowl festivities at Wino Odd Jobís
this weekend. I am guaranteed a variety of wine drinkers and we will have
multiple bottles of the same wine we can run through some different
experiments. Initially I give it good marks for opening up the nose of the wine
I had tonight, but I will have more to follow regarding the tasting of a larger
sample size after Sunday.
If you are interested in conducting your own
experimentation, the Wine Soiree is on the wine accessories page at
January 28, 2009
It seems like the snowfall is at 11 this year. It comes,
it stays and it snows again. In between the powdery flakes and the freezing
rain, we managed a quick steering committee meeting for WinoStuff.com. It was
more like a 'lash the rudder; steady as she goes, letís drink' meeting. There
is not much steering as we enter our ninth year of web presence. Wow, we need
to celebrate, nine years and going strong.
I am not sure if any of you have read the book,
Outlier by Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Blink and
Tipping Point. He examines what separates those that made it to the
top of their field and those that donít. For musicians, athletes and winos, its
10,000 hours of practicing that one must achieve to be a true professional. I
believe in September Wino John and I will break the 10,000 hours of wine
drinking barrier, thrusting us into the upper echelon of drinkers. Ceremonial
procedures to follow.
To log drinking hours, we met at JRs and shared a GOTY. It
was a 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. I like the McMannis better than the
Bruce and the McMannis is a few dollars cheaper. It wasnít bad, just not rich
or deep. Given my druthers, and who doesnít like getting druthers every so
often from a special someone, Iíll sum it up Godfather style; ďDrop the Bruce,
take the McMannisĒ. My search continues with the petite sirah, but Mr. Bruce
will not be revisited.
January 23, 2009
Sticking with the current euphoria of getting along, we
decided to pool together two groups for a wine night. Prompted by the Facebook
group Big Bob established, I Grew Up on Tree Tavern Pizza. Mr. Tree, or would
it be Mr. Tavern, either way, the proprietor opened his doors to the group and
we added in the wine meetup for a commingling of food and friends and wine.
See, I am correcting myself already, I canít for get Bill and Pam who
represented the Wanaque Reserve Wine Group which made this a coalition of the
willing large enough to invade a country. There were even some non-coms who
decided the smell of Tree Tavern Pizza drew them off Ringwood Ave and landed
them smack in the middle of a pizza buffet.
Toppings abound and the pizza flowed non stop for an hour.
Mix in some custom garlic bread, bruschetta and olive mix, wow what could have
Oh yeah, it was the great, reasonably priced wines that
were on the table for experimenting on which went best with the Tree Tavern
Pizzas. The list went like this.
Guests were greeted with a glass of Casalnova Prosecco to
churn their appetite and lubricate social intercourse. (please, look it up, itís
not as dirty as it sounds). The threads of the different groups soon
intertwined to form a bolsterous fun crowd that saddled up to linen clothed
tables to feast on pizzas specially doctored by Mr. Tree himself. The artichoke
and the jalapeno were well sought after.
The crowd dipped into the bottles above, choosing from:
2007 Zonin Pinot Grigio
2005 Zaccagnini Montepulciano díAbruzzo
2005 Villadoria Bricco Magno
2005 Castello del Poggio Barbera díAsti
2007 Badia Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti
I didnít hear from everyone, but I did hear from a few who
liked the Barbera and the Nebbiolo.
Non-stop tours of the wine cellar had some guests leaving
with purchases of wines we enjoyed, or wines they wanted to try. The topper was
a special deal for those wanted to take home some original Tree Tavern Pizza, it
was made available for the evening at a special price. To learn more about the
Tree Tavern, visit,
http://www.treetavernpizza.com . To learn more about the wine selection,
January 17, 2009
You know we have spoken out, actually written about the
wine shipment issue. We covered the Free the Grape efforts and the Ken Star
litigation. Keeping with this theme, I received an email the other day from an
ambitious young man in the Garden State who is taking up the cause for the free
flow of wine into and out of NJ.
Wino Bob (great
My name is Chris
Obudho. I'm working with a group that is
trying to change the
law for direct shipments of fine wines
from out of state. I
was wondering if you would be interested
to find out more? If you have any
feel free to let me know.
Maybe it was the flattery in the opening address, maybe it
just makes sense, maybe my dream of bull horned protesting has been stirred; OK
maybe it was the flattery. I figure a web site named uncorknj is worth looking
into. Hop over, take a look and letís see if a grass roots collective voice can
garner the attention of the lawmakers in our state. After all, we are in the
mood for change we can believe in, change we can drink, change we can move
forward with into the 21st century. I had a dream that one day the
fruit of the harvest will have the rights of free movement in these United
States. I have been to the mountaintop, or at least to Silver Oak Cellars.
Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Cabernet. Can I get a
January 15, 2009
I was preparing for my upcoming radio interview...
Whatís that? Wino Bob on another radio interview? This is becoming a
habit! My second interview in 9 months. The way this came about was through
the social network site, LinkedIn. I think I have Wino Bob profiles on 5 social
sites and this is the first that lead to the exciting world of wine
entertainment. I clicked on a bunch of people with the obligatory, "hey,
I want to add you to my professional networking list, blah, blah, blah." One of
the 79 I sent actually accepted my request. It turns out it was Lisa Vinton,
the affable host (or is it hostess?) of the Internet radio show,
Only2degrees. Lisa shares the show with her friend/host (or is it
hostess?) Darcy. She invited me to do their wine segment in December, then
January 8th, and finally January 15th. Well, its about an
hour before my big break in show business and I opened a bottle of GOTY to drink
during the interview. I know, I thought it was unprofessional to drink on the
air but they required it. Who am I to go against the rules? Call me Mr.
I went with the 2007 McManis
Family Vineyards Petite Sirah. Not bad for an $11.00 wine. It
definitely is jammy and has plenty of boysenberry, and blueberry fruit. The
downside is they went a bit too much with the toasted oak. The first sip is all
vanilla and toffee, but the wine settles by the third glass. Crap, Iím on the
third glass of the wine we are supposed to be drinking during the interview. I
might have to run downstairs and get something to open on air. Hereís a bit of
the info on McMannis:
McManis Family Vineyards is a grower and
vintner of premium varietal wine grapes located near the cool confluence of
the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Rivers, just south of Lodi, now known as the
River Junction appellation. The company was founded in 1990 by Ron and Jamie
McManis - fourth generation family farmers. The McManis family has been
growing grapes in this region since 1938.
McManis Family Vineyards
currently operates over 2000 acres of wine grapes and after the 1997
harvest, a state-of-the-art winery was designed and built to maximize the
resulting wine's quality through small lot handling, whole cluster pressing
and barrel storage and fermentation.
OK, I better straighten up for the next half hour. To
The pre call came and they told me it would be about ten
minutes unless they were having fun and they might hold me over. Since Iím back
typing, you guessed right. Their show seems great, Lisa and Darcy are fun
future Wino Babes. When I get the air date, I will post a link.
January 10, 2009
Why do I always pull up just as they are turning out the
lights? I meant it in the figurative sense, not the literal. Most times I
think they turn the lights off when they see my old truck. Its like this, I am
talking to Mike of
www.highpointwines.com the other day and I told him I had a new wine he
should inventory. After our Cabfest and a recent dinner, I got the itch for
The Prisoner. I
started looking around for the NJ distributor to see where Mike could purchase
it. We even went so far as to contact the winery and inquire as to whom we
needed to speak with in NJ. He received this reply:
Thank you very much for
your email and your interest in our wine. Unfortunately we do not have
a distributor in NJ at this time. And due to extenuating circumstances we
don't expect to be back in the market in the near future.
We are sorry to miss the
What the...? Who daÖ? Hey, you just got
the Johnny Come Lately (WJ, remind me we need to assign a "Wino Johnny")
self-proclaimed premier wino critic on the world wide web pumping up NJ sales
and ďextenuating circumstancesĒ arise? I smell something fishy. Sorry, itís my
garbage can. Remind me to take out the trash when I am done typing.
(Editor's note: Correction. You smell something "Sea
Not to be deterred (could I spell it de-turd?), I went to a
reliable source deep within the wine world. (Rest assured, it is a
California wine I am talking about so Deep Throat is NOT Big Bob on this one).
Oh boy, my hands are shaking as I try not to riff on that line. Big Bob and
Deep Throat as subjunctive predicates! Thank God I made that New Years
resolution. OK, as you saw from my January 8th posting, English is a
second language for me so I really donít know what a subjunctive predicate is,
and second, anyone that tells me something I donít know I assume is an expert.
I do get into trouble that way. For now, I am sticking with the info whispered
over the transom. Do doors have transoms anymore? Crap, I need to find some
references post 1968.
What I was told is NJ will not be getting
The Prisoner in the
near future due to issues with distribution. I heard through the grape vine
that grew through the transom that they want to make some changes with
distribution and legally have to pull out of the market for a period of time.
New Jersey and You, Screwed Again. Call Governor Corzineís
office, I think that should be the slogan on our license plates. That being
said, for those of you lucky enough to be holding stock call me immediately.
January 8, 2009
It seems like an eternity since I have attended an ECWS
meeting. Hi, Iím Wino Bob and Iím an ECWS member. My schedule has not aligned
with the meetings for several months so I was glad to be able to attend this
first tasting of 2009. This was a bit of a one-off I would call it, from what I
have seen so far. We indulged in Cabernet Franc, the sperm donor of Cabernet
Sauvignon. What, you donít believe me? Think about it. They have DNA testing
(I bet it was done by the hot blond from CSI Miami) that shows Cabernet Franc
and Sauvignon Blanc to be the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. One is a
muscle-bound red grape, the other is the proverbial bottom. Iím saying our
Cabernet Franc was the one that stuck it to the sauv blanc.
I donít have a lot of experience with Cabernet Franc
standing on its own, but neither did the rest of the group. From the comments
during the discussion period, I must say, we had a bit of wine snobbery rolling
from the silky tongues of the crowd. The nodding and grinning to the statement,
ďWe now know why Cab Franc is a blending grapeĒ, delineated the old guard from
the new guard of the society, though the old guard still rules the roost. I
must admit, I love learning from these people, but to be as pompous as not
enjoying the experience for what is was negates the night. It seems that the
society is steeped in tradition and old world France or Italy rule the day and
California is for the newbies and anything else is colored water. OK, itís not
that bad, but from the comments I heard around the room tonight, the cause for
expanding one's knowledge base is a bit overblown. Hey, maybe since I was born
just before Kennedy was killed, I have a different look at the scene in front of
me. We are in the moment; lets find what the good and the bad are. I found it
hard to be bringing up masterpieces from a different artist while at the
galleries of Piermont. Did I really reach that far for that one? Ouch, I
think I twisted my C12. (Editor's note: I love it when
Bob goes out and gets all juiced up and comes home to write up a review.
This is classic Bob. Even I don't understand it!)
Interesting night with two flights. Flight one had some
major expanse within the borders. Flight two had the big and bold and somewhat
sameness. Donít get me wrong, I enjoyed chewing the last five wines, but the
nuance appeared in the first flight with a spectrum of characteristics bouncing
from glass to glass.
Simplicity boils it down to this:
2006 Barboursville Vineyards
Reserve, VA USA (yes, itís Virginia and there was no Santa Claus here.)
1998 Barboursville Vineyards
Reserve- more fruit but still not much
2000 Chateau Paumanok, North Fork
of Long Island- think of the heat in 2000 and this one had a very
interesting violet and herb nose. Almost like the candy violets for C.
Howard Candies. Wow, it was the delicate, floral side of Cabernet Franc.
1990 Domaine Olga Raffault Loire-
first off, does anything from France with a name like Olga even sound sexy.
People, this was the muck of the stall. Olga better suited for a Romanian
2006 Rubicon Estate- OK, first
Frank and me at in the movie business so I give him the nod, no napalm in
this one. For the flight, the clear winner.
(Editor's note: What??? This is so Bob.
I think it's positive but I'm guessing Rubicon won't be quoting this
Flight two- they all
had body and weight over the first five
2003 Couly Dutheil Chinon France-
I would take the Rubicon over this one.
2005 Couly Dutheil- enough with
the coolie, it was a bit harsh out of the gate.
2003 Soter Vineyards Napa Valley-
OK, new world, and showing some style
2005 Pride Mountain Vineyards
Sonoma St. Helena- WINNER, WINNER, we have a WINNER.
1997 Pride Mountain Vineyards
Sonoma St. Helena,-I liked the finish and power of the 05.
Hey, I learned what I liked and what I didnít like and for
today I have more information than I had several hours ago. I know none of them
stand with a Bordeaux or a Burgundy or even a Cult Cabernet from the funky town
Like the Lion being chased from the pride, there is still
some fight in Cabernet Franc. Unfortunately, it might be said that Mr. Parker
turned the pride against the old man and the off spring (cabernet sauvignon)
copulates with the lionesses for the time being.
(Editor's note: There it is,
people! He finished strong. An amazing post-tasting write-up.
I think we have a winner here. Let's recap the review:
Cabernet Franc is boinking Sauvignon
Italy, California, old guard,
masterpieces of Piermont and spinal references all in one paragraph.
Here's my favorite... Flight 1
gets a number (1) but Flight two is spelled out (two). Classic in it's
Romanian gymnasts? Napalm?
In a wine review? You can't make this stuff up!
And we culminate with Robert Parker
and copulating lions. Bravo! BRAVO!!!
Place your vote now if you think this is
one of the most incoherent Bobs Winings ever. I think it has my
January 5, 2009
I had the pleasure of picking through someone elseís wine
rack before dinner yesterday. I passed the Chateauneuf du Pape for a California
blend of 48% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 10% Petite Sirah, and
2% Charbono. People, look at that mix, syrah and zin with some 2009 GOTY and
Charbono. Wow, how could I pass that up. The wine is the brainchild of Dave
Phinney from the Orin Swift Cellars and their flagship wine is called
The Prisoner. If you have this in your
cellar, wait another year and give it time to mellow. The wine starts out
tannic but does settle to reveal blackberry, licorice and plum with a finish of
toffee. Mr. Dave Phinney created a cult wine
at an affordable price (mid $30.00). I enjoy the varietals he uses in this
blend and will be looking for his Bordeaux-style wine,
Papillon. Grab this one if you can, its worth
January 3, 2009
I have no other choice but to open a bottle of GOTY and sit
back on the couch. Itís NFL playoffs, Winos and Winettes, thatís what life is
all about. My team and my other brother team both have byes his week, so I
watch to see who plays whom next week. The Cardinals played well as I opened my
bottle of 2006 Ironstone Vineyards Petite Sirah
$9.99. It started with very high hopes,
I really like the bouquet coming off this wine. The fruit was bright, up front
and showing plum, and dark cherry. There was a hint of mocha and spice. I
chilled it to ensure I wasnít going to miss the fruit and it was there in the
glass. The flaw was with the finish, or should I say the lack thereof. My nose
and palate were expecting a lot from this one but I was disappointed in the way
this one just left. Ironstone Elvis left the building before the encore. I
still think this one is nice for a causal night of a sudden visit by a partially
drunk friend. Not the great dinner wine, but what can one expect from a below
ten dollar wine.
As for the rest of the games talk, congratulations go to
Arizona, my second home and what the hell happened to the MVP of the league
getting bounced in overtime of the second game? Good thing Payton has a ring,
because he is back to his post-season yips. How do you take a sack on the
one-yard line with two minutes left up by three? I love being a commentator.
Itís always so easy making suggestions from the recliner. Football left me in
high school so I do not know what its like to have a 295 pound defensive lineman
with lightning speed and a desire to destroy after me. However, I do know what
itís like to sit in a recliner and drink wine. That is why this page is not
called Bobís Sports Analysis. I can say I am a professional in the realm of
drinking wine. And it is the mass consumption of wine that makes me think Iím a
Bottom line, for the price of the GOTY, I would recommend
it as one to keep on the bench when the game is out of hand and its worth
putting the rookie in for experience.
January 1, 2009
Time marches on and it is my duty, honor and pleasure to
set the tone for 2009 with the Grape of the Year. I have spent the last two
drinking thinking about where we are in this point of
history and how to reflect this with the Nostradamus-like prophecy of the vine.
I see confusion continuing in the economic sector. I see confusion on the world
stage with power struggles emerging. Wait, maybe Iím just confused? Turbulence
abounds with posturing cloaked in ulterior positions between nations resting on
the horizon. Mischaracterization will arise leading to uneasiness. Letís face
facts, we are in a tough spot and we are in for a rough ride in í09.
While researching a bit for the GOTY, it seems there are
several versions of itís ďbirth certificateĒ. True believers have a strong
opinion of its birth, but it has taken many years and advanced DNA research to
truly get a handle on this grape. It is interesting that some are questioning
the true papers on where this grape comes from as this grape is set to lead us
Knowing varietals as well as I do, it left one natural
representative for 2009; one that may be NEW to many of our readers. One might
even say it comes from outside the standard varietal circles. Definitely not
business as usual. It might be a change from wine as you know it. It might
take time for some of you to step out of old ways and give this grape a chance.
Some of you might totally resist and choose not to participate in the GOTY.
Winos and Winettes, it is what it is and we drink what is in front of us.
With no other clumsy parallels left in my head, I introduce
to you the 2009 Grape of the Year.
Yes, Petite Sirah, the enigma of the wine world. When I
started reading about Petite Sirah, two things jumped out at me. The BATF takes
up the case whether Petite Sirah is a synonym for Durif. Petite Sirah is
different then Petite Syrah. The latter is simple; there is a variety of syrah
that yields small berries and is referred to as Petite (from the French word
petite) syrah (from the syrah grapes of the Rhone Valley). The DNA thing is far
more complex. I have a throbbing headache from trying to figure out the genetic
origins of this grape, or I drank to much last night and need another cup of
coffee. Either way, this becomes very complex. I was hoping the hot blond from
CSI Miami would help me unravel this mystery but at this point she has not
returned my repeated texting. I will say this, Dr. Durifís little trist with a
syrah and a peloursin did produce the Durif varietal that some of the wineries
called petite sirah in California. Some petite sirah in America was actually
syrah, and UC Davis by 1996 identified 4 of the 7 petite sirahs in their
collection. Ironically, one turned out to genetically be pinot noir. Some are
Durif. Some are syrah. The last turned out to be 100% peloursin.
As you can see, there is a bit of mystery behind this new
leader and the BATF and UC Davis are working on the ďpapersĒ to see what they
can call it. Controversy, turbulence, misnaming and confusion abound. What
better could we chose for such a period in history.
Petite Sirah is predominantly planted in
California, where it does well. Petites are anything but petite - they tend to
be big, strong, and muscular. Typical flavors include plum, raspberry,
blackberries, and black pepper.
Some Petite Sirahs you might want to try are:
DAVID BRUCE WINERY
FIELD STONE WINERY
METTLER FAMILY VINEYARDS
PACIFIC STAR WINERY
VICTOR HUGO WINERY
I already hear Hannityís America will devote an
entire episode to this grape on the 20th of January. For me, I
embrace change. Trust but verify as a wise old actor once said. Look at
what Petite Sirah surrounds itself with in certain blends, then judge based on
your true feelings after uncorking a few. I give the GOTY a honeymoon period to
get to know it. But I promise to hold its feet to the proverbial fire and with
each skeptic drink, I will be checking to see if the DNA is legally Petite Sirah.
The wino-world really needs your support on this issue. Iím hoping that this is
change I can enjoy.