Bob’s Winings
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

This page contains Winings from the 2nd Quarter of the year 2002.

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June 28, 2002

I’m a punter, I never realized it.  Even back in the days of high school, I was a punter.  Now once a month I punter, mostly in my friends basement.  I’m not a great punter; it may be due to the fact that I don’t have large reserves to punt.  I plan on punting again in three weeks.  Next time I do punt, I will know what wine to drink. 

Until today, I thought punting was the process of kicking a football on fourth down.  At lunch, I grabbed a bottle of Punters Corner Cabernet.  I tried this because their Spartacus Shiraz is outstanding.  The label on the Cab has a horse racing across the name.  So I spent most of the time drinking this wine, trying to figure out the connection between the name and the picture.  Realizing this wine is from Australia and remembering my 5th grade history, Aussieland was the debtor and degenerate colony of the Queen; I figure there’s a tie-in somewhere.  Wino Stone took the high road and offered up the possibility that Punters had something to do with Polo, since the picture looked a bit like a polo player.  The other possibility we pondered aloud was the ownership of racehorses by the winery.

Then, this Tony Soprano-looking gentleman leaned over and informed me that a punter is a Gambler.  One who wagers against a book, a term used for betting the ponies, then he blew a huge cloud of cigar smoke in my face.  I smiled politely and offered his bodyguard a glass of wine. I spent an afternoon drinking wine and came away with a new piece of knowledge I did not have yesterday.  Now, if I drink twice a day, just think how smart I’ll be when I get my liver transplant.

1998 Punters Corner Cabernet Sauvignon $ (20.00)   Too early to drink this wine, unless you want a mouth full of oak.  This wine stays tight a great way through the bottle.  American, Russian, and French oak flavor this fruit-filled Cabernet, boasting hints of mint, chocolate, smoke and leather.  Though I do think the smoke was from Tony and the leather from the racehorse.


June 26, 2002

Summer has slammed into the State of New Jersey.  The thermometer in my car says the outside temperature today was 105°.  Can anyone tell me where in the car they place the sensor which takes that reading?  Anyway, early evening has only cooled to 85 and the humidity has me feeling like a used dishrag.  Place your head just above the door of the just-finished dish washing machine, open the door, and breath in NJ.  It was actually too hot and sticky for me to think RED.  As you know I do not rack a large variety of white.  Since I cannot touch my Chardonnay entries in the Wino Wally White Challenge, I reached for one of the only two other white wines in the rack.  Both happen to be New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Wino Bob, have you decided to play for the “other team”?  Have you started wearing frilly panties?  Hey, every now and then, the feel of silk just relaxes me. (Did I say that out loud?) 

I was looking for a cool, clean, crisp, wine to refresh me as it killed millions of brain cells, caused irreversible liver damage and made it unsafe for me to fire up the wood chipper.  I must admit this wine did the trick on all accounts.  Better yet, no headache in the morning.  If you try this wine, think of the colors yellow and green.  Although I do not have as much experience with the white wine descriptions, there were some real obvious flavors that jumped out of my glass.  This wine screams “drink me in the dog days of summer in NJ” and “Hey, you drunken Bastard, shut-up and put your pants on”.  Sorry, that last quote was from my next-door neighbor, the Baptist Minister, who holds the AA meetings for his Church at his home. 

2001 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Fall Harvest $ (10.99)   Dried Summer Grasses waving in a hot breeze, herbaceous, grapefruit, lime and crisp are words that even a child could describe in this wine.  A great example of why New Zealand has a rep for Sauvignon Blanc.  This would go great with a lemon sole.


June 24, 2002

Wino John’s informative essay on the new World Cup Wine Liqueur sent me to the store to research what other sports have been honored by the fine producers of wine.  There were not many in the particular store I visited; however, I did find the following.  New York wineries had the greatest enthusiasm for sporting themes.  Maybe that’s because New Yorkers live for their sports teams.  Now, drawing on personal preferences, I enjoy golf and sailing; so do the wine makers at Taylors (Australia) with their Grand Shiraz Golf Label and Dry Creek and Bully Hill depicting the fun of sailing.  Di Grazia Vineyards boasts another refined sport, where Claret would be quaffed after a busy day at the Hunt.  For those interested in the manlier sports, the good folks of Delicato Winery have their Grid Iron Cuvee, Legend Series, which depicts all your favorite old time football stars.  My favorite is the Lawrence Taylor Red Rover.  But the winning winery in my heart has to be Glenora Wine Cellars.  I thought the Grand Prix Series was unusual; until I picked up a bottle of LUGE ROUGE.  By the way, who uses the X in Prix?

I’m sure there are hosts of other sports oriented labels and I am interested in hearing about all your favorites, so drop me a line and let me know what else is out there, maybe there is a Curling Ice Wine I need to try.


June 16, 2002

The heard had been enjoying a drink, somewhat on edge, always aware that the Big Cats could spring on them at any moment.  The Thompson Gazelles quenched there thirst for the day and lingered for some food near the riverbank.  Then the pride moved stealthfully across the front yard, not making any quick moves to draw attention to themselves.  They blended into the surroundings, enjoying a drink from a distance, but were growing restless.  In a flash, the chase was on and they managed to separate one of the young from the herd  Showing no mercy, the pride devoured the young.  Smelling the fresh kill, another neighboring pride came to the site and the herd no longer felt safe.  The call went out and the herd retreated, but before the herd could all make it out safely, an adult was brought down and the pride had made a major kill.

Too much discovery channel, Wino Bob?  No, just the first summer porch party in the neighborhood.  Yesterday, the crazy Aunts and timid red wine drinkers spent several hours at the house, attempting to blend the red and white wine together to make their own version of White Zinfandel.  There was plenty to go around and everyone enjoyed the Carrascal. 

Then my tried and true wino neighbors came over and we let the heard thin so we could celebrate with a meaningful bottle from the racks.  We enjoyed two bottles from the stash that proved delightful.  One, a California Cab, with some age that Wino John would have been up for, since Wino John wasn’t around, we drank a toast to him.  The second was a Spanish Wine from my new favorite region in Spain, Priorat.  These wines left me lazily content to nap on the open plains, belly full, the stains of fresh kill around my mouth, feeling like the Red Wine pride in this territory of NJ really is the King of the Jungle.

1994 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (45.00)   Let sleeping dogs lay and a calm, content animal will awake.  The pleasant combination of soft tannins and ripe dark cherries with a gentle woody tone.  This is a gem of a wine that could be enjoyed for years to come with proper storage conditions.  A great example of Alexander Valley’s richness.

1998 Gran Clos de J.M. Fuentes $$ (40.00)   Big, thick and inky, with plenty of dark fruit and a hint of chocolate, tobacco and spice.  Not for the weak-kneed or faint hearted.  This is a serious red wine and should only be left in the hands of the professional red wine drinkers.


June 14, 2002

Well, the wine clock is ticking.  Three years, two months, four days and three hours remain.  Remain on what you ask?  My liver?  God willing it lasts that long.  No, Winos and Winettes, my tongue.  Who the, what the, huh? 

Yes, the end is in sight, as E.T. will be replacing the need for well-toned human wine tasters.  E.T.?  That Eraser Head Baby looking thing with the knotted index finger that flies through the air on a bike, E.T.?  Wino E.T.?  No, try the invention from the Geekdom world of computers that have managed to produce the Electronic Tongue.  The Electronic Tongue, E.T., is as large as a dime with sensors that can replicate tastes buds of a human.  By pipetting a sample of flavors and recording the associated product, E.T. will be able to identify major components of wine.  Now there will be a standard for the sensing of honey suckles, melon, pineapple and vanilla.  You know they will teach E.T., currant, anise, dark cherry, cedar and tobacco.  I do want to witness, barnyard, and leather, but the scientific community feels they will soon have a reliable, working, commercially- available Electronic Tongue. 

Discovery Channel is the greatest source of Geekdom out there.  Winettes, I did not get to see, just how far they are taking the Electronic Tongue, but it is slated to have several other uses besides wine tasting.  And yes, they will have a battery operated, portable Electronic Tongue.  Enough said...


June 11, 2002

It has been awhile since I have enjoyed wine and I blame it on the Mother.  Mother nature has presented New Jersey with a very high pollen count and a weekend of yard work has killed my sinuses.  As all the books say, we only taste 4 different things, and salt is not one of them in wine.  My wine enjoyment is derived from my ability to identify through olfactory excitement, over 4000 different scents.  OK, so maybe I can identify coffee, tobacco, blackberry, raspberry, currant, barnyard, old horse blanket, cedar, cinnamon, strawberry, eye of newt and several enriched soil elements from the Rhone Valley.  Unfortunately, these past several weeks, I have been only able to taste Red or White.  Since my racks only have about six bottles of White, I am confident, even in the dark, that most times I was drinking RED.

These were two times I was able to sense enough to enjoy some wine, one I recommended for the prestigious WOTM award.  I enjoyed my bottle of Fairview and upon reading about the attitude of the ownership; I really enjoyed their story.  They went out on a limb and cultivated the vartietals of the Rhone.  Pinotage has a crossing with Cinsault, but these guys grabbed all the best Southern Rhone grapes and blended up a nice wine at a great price. 

I apologize for the lack of drinking my usual 12 bottles a week of wine, but my olfactory system has taken away my powers like kryptonite to Superman.  Without my nose, I am a mortal again, relegated to swigging beer for a buzz with little need to discern hops from malt and cherry wheat…  The nose knows what’s best and I cannot wait until the pound and a half of mucous stops dripping down the back of my throat.

2000 Fairview Goats Do Roam $ (8.99)   A spicy, cedar and dark cherry wine that brings a medium-bodied, flavorful drink to your palate.  The name says a great deal about the attitude and style of this wine, fun, easy-going, with a challenge that the Frogs are not the only ones to make a pleasant blend in the Southern Rhone style.  What’s next, Hermit’s Age?

2000 Les Amoureux Tortoise Creek $ (9.99)    This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Vin de Pays has an unpolished finish that detracts from the fruitiness for the wine.  OK for wine when you don’t want to open the good stuff.  


May 31, 2002

Dionysus gave me wood.  You know Dionysus, that tall, slender Greek God of wine and song who was the son of Zeus and his mortal mother Semele.  You know they kill mortals, so poor Zeus took the unborn child and sewed him to his leg.  Kind of like that co-joined twin grafted on the head of the nurse on South Park.  But it wasn’t the artwork depicting Dionysus’ birth that gave me wood.  No, it was the nose coming off the glass of wine I drank with Wino John last night.  Yes, Dionysus is a Meritage hailing from the Pacific Northwestern region of the US.  As we talked about the Winostuff business, well we had to drink wine.  What better than to try something from the god himself.

Interestingly enough, we were not at Bacchus, you know the Roman God of wine, they do not serve Dionysus wine at Bacchus.  Do the Roman Gods think they are better than the Greek Gods?  Bacchus was born to Jupiter and Semele.  Interesting, same mother.  And yes, she was a mortal who died when her mortal frame could not endure the immortal radiance of her man.  Wouldn’t that be so cool, a chick thinks you’re so good looking, she spontaneously combusts.  Other than Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial, I don’t know anyone else that spontaneously combusted. 

Now Bacchus’ father sends him to live with the Nysaean nymphs, I don’t know about you, but I’m liking the sound of that.  My dad never let me live with a nymph.  Hell, he never even gave me “the talk”.  All he said one night when I was sixteen and having some woman issues, “Son, take your time.”  What the hell does that mean?  I wanted to find a nymph and he tells me to take my time.  This isn’t Ozzie and Harriet, and it for damn sure wasn’t Ozzie and Sharon.  Sorry, just working out some issues. 

When Bacchus grew up, he discovered the culture of the Vine and a method of extracting the juice.  A whole bunch of stuff happened with him marching into Asia and being a strong solder and stuff like that.  But the best part is, he knew how to party.  Yes, there is nothing greater on Earth than a Bacchanalian Orgy.  Food and wine and woman.  Eat and drink and throw up, and do it all again.  Wow, I wonder if they kissed after they threw up.  They didn’t have Crest back then.  Did you ever kiss someone after they threw up, not knowing they threw up?  Blahk.

And why, when I research Greek gods, do I have to be subjected to seeing my Patron god’s genitals?

That’s not right; go put on a frock, a loincloth, hell a grape leaf.  I could never have lived back then, not being able to wear a fashionable Black loincloth.  And what about the “Boys”, Jerry?

All in all, I’d rather be Bacchus than Dionysus.


1997 Arbor Crest Dionysus $$ (39.00)  This Meritage from Washington starts out in search of aerobic exercise.  It’s tight and needs oxidation to mellow the wood and bring forth the red cherry, and cinnamon flavors.  Once stretched and loose, the wood tails to a pleasant cedar flavoring for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend.

May 29, 2002

Well I am now breathing 1.5 liters of air per lung since it is summer wine season.  Yes, Wino John’s information of the medical benefits to my pulmonary system by consuming white wine has me running up and down the Garden State Parkway like Forest Gump.  Life is like a mixed case of wine at a discount liquor store… 

The official weekend that kicks off the summer season in the mind of every school child has arrived, and you know I have the grammar and writing complexity of a school child.  This past weekend I officially started toning down the heavy reds and opening up to those white wines.  I am in training for the White Wine Olympics that Wino Wally has set forth in his contest.  In doing so, I have found myself less winded as I schlep down from my dark, dank shelter on the third floor, to the cellar and back up with a bottle to drink while I ponder the heavy questions of the world as we know it.  I used to stop on the first floor landing just to let the dizziness pass and to lessen the pounding of my heart, but not any more. I have become a stick figure with 2 well-developed organs (I set you up, you fill in the joke) a strong heart and well inflated lungs.  I do have another organ that is larger than normal, but the doctor said my liver should not be so visible through my skin.

As a matter of fact, on this past Memorial Day, I went across the street to neighbors for a cook out and my doctor was there.  He is the brother of my neighbor and after enjoying a third glass of wine he asked me if I wanted my physical right there.  I would have taken him up on the offer, saving the office visit cost, but did not feel like having my prostate checked draped across the potato salad on the picnic table. 

To all you Winos, let’s have a safe summer, enjoying those lighter white wines.  If any of this medical information is true, then I hope I live long and die peacefully in my sleep, like my Grandfather, instead of screaming like the passengers in his car…  Drink responsibly

2000 Wyndham Estates Chardonnay $ (8.99)   A pleasant Chardonnay with nice melon and grapefruit flavors and a pleasurable amount of oak to add body to this easy quaffing wine.


May 21, 2002

Game on.  I went to my local wine stores yesterday to make my Chardonnay selections for the Wino Wally challenge.  After ruling out one Argentinean Chard that may be hard to find in some areas, I have decided on the five I think will stand up well.  If we actually do a blind tasting, I think we will wind up with a mix between Wino Wally's and my choices.  The good news is that my bill, with the six wines I selected, only totaled $69.00. 

Which means we can probably come up with 5 great Chard for around $75-80 dollars.

Game on, now we just need to secure our judge, Wino John.  As soon as we set the time, I will post my selections…. Stay tuned.

May 13, 2002

A belated happy Winette’s Day to all the wino Mothers out there.  I made the mistake of heading out to dinner for the Bacchus special brunch.  The overwhelming number of people not wanting to cook created a half hour backup of reservations.  Once we finally made it to the table, the fare was worth the wait.  I just stayed low key and enjoyed a few glasses of Echelon Syrah.  Though the $8.50 a glass price is staggering, you can find this wine for $8.99 a bottle and it’s worth every penny.

On Saturday evening, with the weather in New Jersey bringing hints of lazy summer nights on the porch, I unwrapped the Weber and fired up some tuna steaks.  I lightly dusted them with rosemary, wine, and stir-fry oil.  This called out for a light, crisp wine.  Being secure in my wine masculinity, I dragged out a bottle of Rosé.  Yes, I said Rosé.  Hey, I’m no Wino Homo, (Editor's note: Not that there's anything wrong with that...)  I just wanted something clean and crisp and not overpowering.  This Rosé was made from Syrah, from my favorite region of the Rhone Valley.

2000 Domaine De Saint-Antoine Costieres De Nines $ (11.99)    Light, fresh, fruit with a dry finish.  There is no sweetness in this, so keep away from those expecting this to be like a white zin.  Good complement to grilled fish, serve well chilled and in a red colored glass so your friends don’t think you’ve gone soft.


May 10, 2002

Dessert wines are not a strong suit of mine, with having only tasted a few ice wines, sweet Rieslings and a Gewürztraminer.  So when my Wino-Buddy and cook extraordinaire, Wino Lou, invited us to celebrate his wife’s #$ Birthday (the polite thing is never tell a woman’s age), he inquired about dessert wine suggestions.  Being one who wants to continue to be invited to Wino Lou’s dinner parties, I suggested several styles of wine.  I didn’t want to tell him to get a bottle of 1963 Chateau d’Yquem.  All the time, in the back of my mind, I kept hearing Kevin Zraly’s patent line, “For dessert, there is nothing better than sex and Sauterne.”  Not wanting to be too suggestive, I casually mentioned that Sauterne is a dessert wine.  So when I showed up at the Great Little Dessert Shop in town, Wino Lou pulled out a bottle of Sauterne to accompany the homemade Apple Crumb Cheese Cake.  You could imagine, I’m now thinking, “Holy Crap, maybe Wino Lou read Kevin’s book and this party is going to get Jiggy after the wine is finished."  I could now cross off one of the last items on my "Things I Gotta Do Before I Die" list.

So as Wino Lou offered up the last drops of wine, I sat back in my chair waiting for the door to close and the homemade whipped cream vat to come out.  Then reality slapped me in the face like a glass of ice water being dumped in my lap,  when the chatter from the kids at the table drew me back to Earth.  So line item number 16 remains on the list, unchecked.  I only hope that the fat content in the cheese cake doesn’t wipe me out before I can get to number 16.  My hopes are that Wino Lou can now smile and say, "Done it…"

1996 Barton & Guestier Sauterne  ?    Honey gold and viscous, this nectar made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc gives a sweet nose of honey, apricot and burnt hair. (Semillon gives me this olfactory link with slightly burnt hair-I know it’s not on the scent wheel).  There was a pleasant balance of sweetness and acidity, but this wine fell short on the finish.  There was little lingering of the creamy, silky nectar.


May 5, 2002

I should be drinking cold beer today celebrating Cinco de Mayo, but this is a wine page so I opened a Chilean wine.  That’s about as cultural as I can get today.  I would have tried a Mexican wine, but I haven’t been able to find any in the stores I frequent.  With Chile being a wine region I love for the barging-hunter in my life, I was pleased to see the Garden State Wine Club drop off a bottle in this month’s delivery.  Nothing better than a Cab for $6.05.

Before I rate this wine, I had a question.  Is there a correlation between the style of wine one drinks and the type of coffee one drinks?  I see Starbucks popping up all over the place, which I love.  With me it’s a strong black cup of Joe and a big bold red wine.  But standing in line at the Upper Montclair Starbucks, I started to see if I could size up what type of wine a person would drink based on the type of coffee they ordered.  Like, a decafe latte with skim milk screams out Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps Chablis.  While a regular latte might equate to a Chardonnay drinker.  A café Mochacino brought thoughts of Syrah or Zinfandel.  I figure anyone having a tea drink must be a none-wino.  I’ll have to see after our next dinner if Wino John orders a double espresso, black.  Would someone order a coffee light and sweet be more of a Pinot Noir Head?  Basically, is it just me who goes full throttle on things or do people pick and choose their beverages based on other issues.  Full-bodied, robust, flavorful beverages, whether it is coffee or wine, is the only way for me to enjoy it.  As I am not too girly to order a white chocolate mochacino after a meal, I might also order a Gewurtz.

2002 Vina Tarapaca Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva $ (6.05)   Though this wine shows a very promising bouquet, the taste just doesn’t hold up.  A good example of cassis, dark cherry and oak greet you, the wine tales off too soon for those flavors to linger in the mouth.  Chilean quality is on the rise, but this one has a bit to go.


May 3, 2002

Jay McInerney, Bacchus and Me, Bacchus and Wino Bob, -three degrees to wine enjoyment.  I was on my second glass of Red last night when I asked Chris if they served Lillet at Bacchus.  He laughed and told me that I was the fourth person in the last week that asked for Lillet.  They were the only four glasses they have sold since Bacchus opened a year ago November.  Jay McInerney's verbal fresco intrigued me enough to give it a try.  Interestingly enough, I want to re-submit my summer wines to the Wino Wally contest from last year.   This wine and herbal elixir is a clean, crisp, refreshing bowl of oranges, tangerines and lemons.  The abrupt finish and lack of after taste reminded me of the quench from a quinine beverage.  I could almost treat this drink as a palate cleansing sorbet between meals.  This aperitif will find it’s way to the front porch on a hot summer evening.  Serve well chilled and, for those winos that love ice in their wine, knock yourself out.  On the personal side, I wanted to say hello to my new Wino friends, Alex and Louann, who graciously put up with my drunken babbling on the amount of flavor imparted into a Chardonnay from the degree of barrel toasting the cooper designated.  I believe by the end of the evening, Alex was ready to place me in a barrel.

1999 Angove Bear Crossing $ (11.99)     This is a 60/40 blend of Cabernet and Merlot from down under showing soft fruit and an herb nose.  Mildly tannic and simple, this wine is easy drinking for those who want a toned-down cabernet.


April 26, 2002

WOW, the last several entries have gotten away from the cause.  I even sent the conservative, stoic Wino John into a tailspin, though I agree there are just NOT enough wine movies being made in Hollywood.  Could the land where the grape grows best be blacklisting those writers and producers from making Epic Wine movies?  Most likely it was that piece of crap Keanue Reeves movie that came out several years ago that tanked so bad it must have soured the film industry totally.  This movie was so poorly acted and unbelievable in premise that I blanked the name of it out of my head.  Can you believe that a wild fire rips through thousands of acres of the vineyard, but Keanue was able to rescue one sole surviving rootstock with which he would rebuild his fortune?  Add to that the unrealistic love story between the beautiful daughter of the vineyard owner and this low life grape picking Keanue.  Hold on, your lack of emotion and inability to handle multi-syllabic words just slays me.

For those of my generation, Falcon Crest was the weekly series on CBS that captured the intrigue, romance and pleasures of being a wealthy vineyard owner.  I kind of see myself as a stick figure Lorenzo Lamas leading man type.  OK, maybe not.  Maybe I could star as a Vine, yes a syrah vine, that speaks to the owner of the winery late at night, offering Wino Bob advice on life and lover matters.  Maybe I could intertwine my branches with a cute, sassy Semillon (female of course).  Hell if FOX could have a hit show with Greg The Bunny, why can’t I star as a Vine?  Plants have a more plausible ability to speak than say, a car.  Just count how many crappy talking car shows they have made, My Mother the Car, Knight Rider…  David Hasselhoff has had a stellar career and he has the personality of a plant.  I rest my case.

I pondered this while reading Wino John’s made for TV movie treatment that we are pitching to Hollywood as we speak.  I understand Francis Ford Coppola’s people have been in touch with Wino John (They asked him to never send them anything else in the mail).  I was at Bacchus, reading, enjoying a plate of Italian Sweet Sausage over Feta Polenta and drinking some wine.

1998 Barwang Regional Selection Shiraz Coonawarra $ (24.99)    Who wouldn’t love a wine called BARWANG, that “swift moving bird” from Australia.  Oak lovers, this is for you from the vanilla and spicy cherry.  The taste is cloves and dark cherry and toasted oak.  This one will not tempt those lovers of soft and fleshy wines.

1999 Kempton Clark Petite Sirah $ (12.99)  The promise of lush fruit teases your nasal passages and create a Pavlovian salivation for big red lovers.  Unfortunately, the oak and tannins step on your throat and diminish the pleasure this wine could deliver.


Editors note:  Warning: The following review is rated PC (Partially Comprehensible) and may not be suitable for all audiences.  Parental discretion is advised.

April 20, 2002

I hope everyone made out all right now that the Day of Infamy is over.  Yes, April 15th, the day we reckon with Big Brother.  As a small independent businessman, and I mean small, the government knows how to squeeze every last drop from my meager livelihood.  I guess there is an upside to being part owner of a web site that has no revenue.  I gladly give the government its share of NOTHING.  Take 30%, hell take 50%.  Maybe we should consider filing as a 503C, not-for-profit organization.  Then we can buy the wine, not-for-profit, just for consumption.  Or better yet, we declare ourselves a 504 D, Political Action Committee, dropping off cases of wine to the Senators from California, Washington, Oregon and NY in exchange for the ability for Wino John to receive shipments in New Jersey directly from Opus One.  I say we rally the winostuff army and march on Washington to express our disgust with the inability of Wino John to get his Big Ass California Cab fix directly from the Man.  I’m sure if I call Al Sharpton, and tell him of the injustices we are suffering through, he’ll assist us with his rally for hire mass and the buses to get to Washington and a Big Gold Medallion I can wear around my neck.  Then when I am getting carted off to Jail, to become the girlfriend of some six-foot four, two hundred and twenty pound ex-college football star who is in for life, I can attach my Big Ass medallion to the fence of the White House as I shout, “From California direct to New Jersey, Wino John is mighty Thirsty.” Or, “God Created grapes, Wino John just wants to Partake.”

Can you tell I am five years younger than the cool generation, which protested the War, and Nuclear Power?  I am from the generation that really had nothing to bitch about.  Can you also tell, I have reached the Punt.  For those not sure, the punt is the indent in the bottom of the wine bottle.  To reach it, one must consume ALL the wine….

1999 Pratesti Locorosso $ (13.99)   This 100% Sangiovese (which means Blood of Jove) is an intense ruby red with black cherry, tobacco and a lot more leather then I care.  At times, the wine simply smells like a wet saddle (you do the math).  This wine also carries a quick finish and a bit more tannin then desirable.


April 12, 2002

Ask a question, get the answer.  Last evening I had dinner at Luce, a great little restaurant in town that surprised me with their wine selection.  Last time I lunched there, I was taken with the fact that such a great restaurant only served wines from Kings Road Winery of New Jersey.  So, while I was waiting for my guests, I asked about there selection of Kings Road.  I learned that in the State of New Jersey, you could get a State Wine License and the State assigns you a winery you can sell.  Because of this, I also found out that you could bring your own wine for dinner. 

The food was delicious and the portions were generous for the prices.  I had the Atlantic Salmon over wasabe risotto in a hoison, ginger sauce.  Not know what I was going to order, I just brought a wine from this Year’s WOTY selection.  Yes, I brought a Zinfandel to accompany my dinner.  To my surprise, my guest brought Bordeaux that was powerfully elegant.  Though this place would be packed if it had a strong wine list, it is a great place to go without too much of a wait.

1999 Ridge Geyserville $$ (38.00)   This is a blend of 68% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane and 16% Petite Sirah and is a bold bouquet of dark fruits and oak.  Unfortunately, the oak and tannins overpowered the fruit and left a harsh after taste through much of the bottle.  Let this one sleep in the cellar for a while to bring more of its beauty out.

1996 Chateau La Commanderie St. Emilion ?   Though the nose on this wine reminded me of smelly diapers, this was a big, velvety, fruit packed wine with soft gentle tannins and a long finish.  I am not much of a Merlot fan, but this wine is one to try. 


April 8, 2002

Did you have a good weekend?  Do I care?  You know those people at work that ask this question in fear that you might engage in telling them what you did.  They don’t want to know, they really don’t care.  I guess today, I am asking, not to get a response from you, but to open the door for me to discuss my fun.

Sunday, my friend and world renowned photographer, Jean Tenuto, helped a charity event at the Gallery in Piermont, NY to benefit an animal shelter in Queens.  When I was invited, I responded that I would be glad to attend under the condition that I wouldn’t be subjected to that boxed, crappy wine they served last time.  So she gave me the distinct honor of being Wino Bob for the day.  Yes, hip NY attire and a hand full of business cards had me ensuring the masses they would drink some good wine.  I met many great people who made tremendous donations to the Animal Shelter, bid on Jean’s artwork, and chatted about wine.  It was a day well spent and an event I have already re-upped for.  Next time, the wine will be bigger and better.

 I only encountered one wine snob who brashly corrected my pronunciation of Al-Bar-En-Yo.  I guess a NJ accent has a great deal of difficulty speaking Spanish.  Sorry, my Spanish came from the corner store where much of the time was spent drinking a 40.

2000 Bodegas Martin Codax Burgans Albarino $ 11.99   A light, crisp, clean wine which should be served well chilled to ease the acid and bring forward the apricot, peach and floral aromas of this wine.  Great for summer and seafood.

2000 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer $ 12.99   This wine was a bit sweeter than expected, but did show a nice array of grapefruit and pear.  I would consider serving this with a spicy Asian dish.

2000 Louis Bernard Cotes-du-Rhone Village $ 11.99   This wine shows a great deal of promise with ripe red fruits, spice, minerals and coffee aromas.  A nice wine to drink with friends or bring for dinner - especially grilled red meats.

1998 Bodegas Y Cavas De Weinert Carrascal $ 10.99    Dark cherry, blackberry, tobacco and currant grace this blended Argentinean wine, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot.  A structured wine with plenty of fruit and a brash finish.

April 3, 2002

I needed several small items for the tasting area and have been hunting locally for these items.  I was in Paterson and stopped into Corrado’s Market.  This place is a mini village of shops and stores, but there are only 2 locations I stop into, the wine shop, of course, and the Home Beer and Wine Making Center.  The hunting in the Wine Making Center came up big with the stemware rack I have been searching for.  I need something to fit beneath the counter to hang my glasses and they had a unit the right size and shape for my counter.

Then it was off for some shopping in the wine store.  Wandering aimlessly, eyes darting from label to label, hands shaking in my pants pockets (that has nothing to do with wine shopping, just a habit I have, you guys know what I mean), nose sniffing out a bargain, I unexpectedly found myself standing in front of a bottle of Wine from Greece.  I had read about this wine, I even remember a Discovery Channel Show that talked about the wine amphorae found at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea containing this wine.  So I grabbed the 1.5-liter screw topped bottle and put down my $7.99 at the cash register.  Yes, 1.5 liters, screw cap, $7.99. 

The wine is called Retsina and it has a distinctive light amber color from the rosin (pine tar) the Greeks used to seal the clay containers from the air.  What made me so curious about this wine is that in my Techno-Geek life, we use Rosin to flux printed circuit boards and parts prior to soldering.  Even in the plumbing industry, when you sweat pipes, your first flux the copper pipe to deoxidize the metals.  Think about it, should I be drinking the fluxes I have been selling to my Electronics Manufacturers?  Should I be selling Retsina to my Defense Contractors?  Are the memory modules in your Sony Vaio's notebook joined with Greek Wine?  Should I start selling my flux in 750 ml bottles instead of 5-gallon containers?  There is a great deal of experimentation I need to conduct, I wonder if the Jet Propulsion Lab would let me grant a project to classify Retsina’s copper mirror, solder balling, copper chromate, halide content, wetting angles and wetting forces. 

I could see a whole new marketing program for Dell, “Dude, there’s wine inside.” And think of the positive impact we could have on reducing the landfill issue.  Instead of dumping our old electronics into Staten Island, we could send them to the Bowery where winos could take them apart and scrape the flux residues off the PC boards and distill it into a unique form of Ouzo.  Hell, I drank crappy Grappa that tasted worse than some of the fluxes I sell.  Quick, call Ace Hardware; I think we have a new product…

Kourtaki Retsina of Attic $ (7.99 1.5 liters)     This wine gives off the aroma of a flat champagne the morning after a party, then you are greeted with the sent of rosin.  This is an easily detected scent.  The taste of this is overridden by the rosin flavor and after taste.  This could be a fun thing to taste for kicks, but it is hard for me to imagine drinking this with a meal.


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