Bobís Winings
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

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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 again.

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  (

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 $ (15.99)   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 $$ (39.99)    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 hold. 

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 Point inventorying. 

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 and class.

 Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2007

 Gevrey Chambertin 2007

 Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 2007

 Santenay 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- WOW

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 interesting


The second two wines were from St. Julien:

Clos du Marquis

Branaire Ducru

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- $ (9.99)   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 $$ (41.55)   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 much appreciated.

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 interest."

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 $ (11.99)    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 $ (11.99)   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 wine.

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    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 $ (12.99)   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 increased pricing?

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, 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 Giuseppe

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 ice melt.

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 swirlageÖ

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.

Variable- Insert 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 

Record observations


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 again.

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 filled glass. 

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  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 been better?

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, .  To learn more about the wine selection, visit

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 name!),


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

in reviewing to find out more? If you have any

questions, please feel free to let me know.




Chris Obudho

Hamilton, NJ

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 Hallelujah?

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. Conformist. 

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 be continued...

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 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:

Dear Mike,

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 opportunity.

Best regards,


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 Kitteny"...)

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:

Flight 1

  • 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 gymnast.

  • 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 review!)

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 in California. 

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:

  1. Cabernet Franc is boinking Sauvignon Blanc.

  2. Italy, California, old guard, masterpieces of Piermont and spinal references all in one paragraph.  Brilliant!

  3. Here's my favorite...  Flight 1 gets a number (1) but Flight two is spelled out (two).  Classic in it's subtlety...

  4. Romanian gymnasts?  Napalm?  In a wine review?  You can't make this stuff up!

  5. 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 vote...)

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 the money.

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 sports critic.

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 weeks, 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 through 2009.  

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.

Petite Sirah

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:






LAVA CAP                                 METTLER FAMILY VINEYARDS






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.

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