This page contains Winings
from the 2nd Quarter of the year 2004.
To contact WinoBob, click
June 28, 2004
I havenít had much contact of late with Big Bob.
Actually, he hasnít spoken to me since our dinner at The Manor.
Freshly back from his most recent boondoggle in France and Spain, he
emailed me the other day. He shared some great pictures of his recent drunken
nights with Baron Rothschild and the brood from Bordeaux. I inquired to his availability and he in turn extended an
invite to me for a private wine dinner at Bertaís Chateau (www.bertaschateau.com).
Private, special, unopened to the general public... hey I would get
to go behind the velvet ropes and see what its like to be one of the in
crowd. In a fit of the vapors,
or the haze of jet lag, Big Bob invited me to meet at his home before
heading to the event. Holy crap
Mary, does he know what the hell he is doing? Now I now know where he
lives! (Something to this day I have not been able to find out of my
Wino web partner of all these years.) Yes
Wino Johnís palatial estate is more secluded to me than the Bat cave, but
Big Bob was gracious enough to ask me to his home.
I do believe he caught a ration of shit from Mrs. Big Bob after he
told her I accepted. (Edtor's
note: I have a pool and a pond. The pond would be good for
Arriving at the well-groomed Victorian mansion, I was
immediately impressed with the architecture and antiques inside the Big Bob
abode. The tour made me
comfortable enough to want to kick off my shoes and flop on the couch,
Hey, Iím here to crash. But
Big Bob managed to ferret me out to the back deck where we enjoyed a glass
of Barbera, under the shade of an old oak over looking the back forty.
When Mrs. Big Bob, Winette Susan, found out I was there, she quickly
locked the back door and we headed to the restaurant.
Tagging along with Big Bob instantly elevated my
status. His rockstar-like
reputation at these events allowed me to bask in his reflective glory.
Hey, I learned that phrase in freshman psychology at ASU and finally
found a place to use it appropriately.
Little did I know that Winette Susan manipulated the
seating arrangements and placed me next to an older gentleman who had
already eaten half of the bread offering at our table before we finished our
hellos. I had the pleasure of
being introduced to our jovial and gracious host and preeminent Italian wine
aficionado, Peter Bernstein.
The event featured a wide range of prepared appetizers,
which were matched to cava and rose wines.
Peter is holding Big Bobís newest addition to his portfolio, a
Spanish rose from Torres, coming to a store near you in the next few weeks.
I found this delightful with my oysters on the half shell and various
The main fare was a bar-b-q buffet of sausages, pulled
pork and ribs. We experimented
with a wide variety of Italian reds that Peter is intimately versed.
Being a bit of a worm, I asked to see his wine list, which turned out
to have more Italians on it then the Gambino crime family; if you know what
I mean. With that large a
selection, I think Tony Soprano will be dinning there next season instead of
Oh yeah, getting back to the seating situation,
the older gentleman that Winette Sue forced me to sit next to was a
retired wine salesman who takes his wine knowledge a bit too seriously for
me. Actually, he was a great
example of a pedantic, pretentious, wine snob.
If that were my only issue, I could have lived with it, but what I
found out, half way through appetizers was that Mr. Pedantic had the ability
to make half his food go in his mouth and the other half of his food go
flying in the direction he was facing.
As it turned out, I was the human shield to secure the pristine
nature of Big Bobís crisp stripe shirt.
I totally enjoyed the pulled pork, but not when I had to see it
clinging off the sleeve of my shirt, with little acknowledgement from its
originator that he spewed it from his lips.
Dude, chew and swallow, I donít need a food shower.
Dessert was a variety of fresh fruit of wild
strawberries, watermelon and champagne grapes. The evening topped off with a
few more tastes on the veranda under a late afternoon 70 degrees summer sky.
The conversation at the table was absolutely entertaining, save
flying pulled pork and all, but the frequent visits from our host Peter, who
shared insight into the wines we enjoyed greatly enhanced the day.
I extend my thanks to the Big Bob family as they cordially tolerated
my imbibed ramblings and misappropriated remarks to the others at the table.
Next time you are in the Wanaque are, delight yourself
with a great meal and supple ItalianÖ..wine.
June 27, 2004
New Jersey is getting crazier by the day and now they
wonder why it is depicted in less than stellar terms on TV and in movies.
Two items came up in the past week, which made me laugh, but then I
had to think more deeply about them. The
first was a small item mentioned in a news article with little explanation.
New Jersey recently came in first in a survey where suicides out
number homicide by the largest margin.
I believe suicides out rank homicides nearly three to one.
Which simpley means if you live in NJ you really donít have to
worry about being killed as you will decide to take your own live well
before someone else will. We
are not riddled with murders, we are depressed about living in NJ so we take
the express lane to saying we lived in NJ all our lives.
Maybe the second reason somehow correlates with the
first, but as of Monday morning, the definition in NJ of a millionaire is
cut in less than half. Yes, the
wisdom of the current Governor, James E. McGreevey, has just renamed the
dollars you need to earn to be a ďmillionaireĒ.
Stupid me thought a millionaire was a person who makes more than one
million dollars net income. But
as of Monday, a property tax change will be signed into law that raises the
rate 41% on those families earning $500,000.00 or more.
Now donít get me wrong, five hundred thousand dollars combined
income is great and if you lived in Amarillo Texas, you might be a
millionaire, but not in the Garden State.
To drive the nail deeper between the haves and have nots, our beloved
Governor is marketing this tax as really screwing the wealthy for the
benefit of the poor. What no one has written about in any of the articles I have
read is the point Wino Rocker and I discussed in detail after a wine soaked
night and fine meal at Chateau Rockers.
The point the soggy brained, cigar puffing Wino Rocker made is that
today the law defines the ďmillionaireĒ as a combined income of half a
million. However, there is nothing stopping this to redefine it in two
years to a quarter of a million, then an eighth of a million and so on.
Think about it, even through the matter-altered haze of red wine and
cigars, it is obvious the direction this bill is headed and so the people
who are cheering this tax will themselves be part of it. Further, as Wino Rocker is in the position to do this, having
palatial estates in PA where property taxes are half that of NJ, he is
thinking of closing up shop and heading out of the state. When these taxes go into effect and financial projections are
made, it seems politicians are blinded by the fact that there is nothing
keeping this set of individuals from leaving and lessening that dollar
projection. We donít live in
a vacuum and the wealth got that way from astutely handling their financial
Skip ahead five years when the monies projected and
reassigned to new spending fall short as the wealth flee this state, then
where does the make money come from? Simple,
the redefinition of the millionaire down to make the original projections
fit the spending. Maybe it gets
worse by those millionaires who left, took their business with them are
relocated it to PA, or Florida, where the tax rates are a huge advantage.
Then we not only lost the personal side of the income, but the
corporate side too and the state spirals down in money and up in debt.
Is it fuzzy math or fuzzy logic or an extra pint of McSoreleyís
that has the Governor thinking this is the best solution for this battered
state? Maybe if the Governor
started enjoying a glass of red wine at night, he would have a greater
understanding for the long-term impact of his decisions.
I hate to say that he is thinking like its 2AM and he is at the
bottom of a bottle of Jamesonís but he needs to get some clear thinking
advisors. Oh yeah, his advisors are under Federal investigationÖÖ
As a side note, last night was Wino Rockerís 51st
Birthday, though I did not know that when I arrived. So let this serve as your present.
Happy Birthday Wino Rocker, you old
de Virginie Carignan,
Vin de Pays de L'Herault $
An unexciting version of this grape that has
the ability to show well in the right situation.
Iíd pass on this one.
June 24, 2004
The geek job is interfering with my ability to drink;
it has been a week of traveling with sales managers visiting accounts.
Fortunately, one of these managers, who has traveled in the area for
some time and enjoyed the wines and food of Bacchus, asked to have dinner in
a restaurant of similar food and wine quality.
I was somewhat at a loss as I have become comfortable in the
atmosphere of Bacchus and the friendly treatment.
Then I realized that experimentation is the theme of my wine
purchasing, so experimentation in fine dining must be too.
For years, I have thought about dining at this place, but never had
the occasion to. So Wednesday last, we headed to a beautifully scenic, well
rated restaurant in West Orange. This
one stands in the shadows of the Manor, but for me has a much more powerful
setting. Perched high atop the
first ridge of the original Horse neck territory, the Highlawn Pavilion is
located in Eagle Rock Reservation. There
is a clear, undisturbed view across the 13 miles of the NJ lowlands as they
trail off into the Hudson and wash across onto the island of Manhattan.
The drive to the valet passes a permanently statuesque tribute to the
victims of 9/11. Maybe if
Michael Moore had spent time reading the notes and messages along this walk,
he might not have tried to make a perspective piece under the false
marketing of a documentary. If
Moore was genuine and wanted to seriously investigate the issue instead of
becoming an anti President Bush mouthpiece, he could have better served
those whom lost loved ones by making a movie that saw the situation with
both eyes openedÖ I digress.
The sign at the front door expresses a dress code of no
t shirts, shorts or sneakers, but it wasnít until the maitreíd took my
host to the closet that we realized a jacket is required in the dining room.
The wall of windows look east allowing the two rows of tables to have
a spectacular view of NYC. The staff is attentive and the menu concise.
As we were from different grape color preferences, we ordered wines
by the glass. The offerings
were comfortably complete as I found an enjoyable Clos du Bois Reserve
Shiraz at $10.00 per glass, which happened to be the most expensive of the
reds. I didnít want to seem
pretentious, so I sat enjoying the conversation instead of "studying
their wine listĒ but the selections on display and the reviews I have read
lead me to believe the list is of good size and appropriately expensive.
The food portion size for price ration actually out did that of
Bacchus and has me thinking about visiting there in the near future.
I topped the night off with an after dinner Muscat that was
Last night after a long week, though it was only
Thursday, I found a bottle of Bordeaux somehow setting in my hand while I
sat on the porch puffing a cigar and just starring into the summer evening
sky. It was a night to unwind,
as the week was complex. Two
glasses of red and a Dominican cigar have helped beat back the flood of crap
that work delivered.
2001 Carruades de Lafite Pauillac $$
(29.00) Boldly red and proud of it, the wine stood tall against my
cigar-smoke deadened palate. Strong
dark and black fruit with a fine finish.
June 21, 2004
I find myself in the unusual position of writing an
entry about myself. Most
of the time, I am the observer, making comments on others' behavior and I
was well prepared for the evaluation from Wino Paul to serve as the entry
for the wine tasting we had on Saturday night.
As it is left to me, I have little to say other than, from my
perspective, I dazzled them with my in depth wine knowledge and finely tuned
But then again, I was not sitting in the audience;
trying to politely listen to me rambling. I was rambling. Wino Paul had his chance to write his perspective of
the night. Since I did not receive it, I will lay out the highlights
from my perspective.
Arriving at 6 PM, the setting couldnít have been
better. The weather had delivered a low humidity, clear early
summerís evening with temperatures in the 60ís and the hint of salt in
the air coming off the Kill Van Kull. The
yard was well manicured (I think Wino Paul took the day off, hand cutting
each blade of grass) and well decorated for our evening.
We spent the first hour munching on chips
with homemade guacamole, salmon wraps, cheese and crackers and fresh fruit.
Then around 7PM, Winette Alice came over to me and informed me it was
show time. Like the
Little Rascalís International Submarine Band, I dragged my charts and
graphs and sheets and markers and tools and implements to the table, front
and center, while the eclectic crowd settled in around the patio.
I say eclectic since it was a mix of family, neighbors, friends,
co-workers and winos. Trying
to be interactive, I started by engaging the crowd with a few questions,
hoping to seed discussion (insert cricket sounds here).
OK, Wino Bob, use the flashy charts and graphsÖeducate, ask
questions. You know what? They really just want to taste the
wine. Summing up as quickly as
I could, it was time to uncork the wine and start the tasting.
As Winette Alice wanted, we settled on wines that go well for
a summer bar-b-q and as I wanted to draw distinctions, I selected the
There wines were good examples of contrasting whites
and showed oak versus no oak and light and crisp versus heavy and buttery.
As we got into the comparison between the two, the crowd started to
open up and ask questions, talk about what they tasted or smelled in the wines and which
they liked and didnít. The
imbibing lubricated and loosened their apprehensions as they found out it
wasnít going to be pedantic. Entertainment was provided by Wino Joe, he
has a great sense of humor.
Thatís Joe raising his hand for seconds.
We tasted a Rose:
And the Reds were:
Wino Paul sent over some pictures of the crowd and gave
me permission to post them. As I ran way longer than they expected,
dinner didnít start until 9:30. Hey, I had center stage, I wasnít
going to give it up easily. By
the time we poured the reds, everyone was comparing and discussing and
seemed at ease with volunteering opinions and input which I took as a
success. I thoroughly enjoyed
the new winos I met and look forward to seeing them some time in the future.
As I saw this as fun and a success, until Wino Paul sends me HIS
critique, Iím sticking with my positive impressions.
Random Pictures of the party:
June 18, 2004
I gotta stop drinking, or at least stop while I still
remember I am drinking and what my actions are as a result.
Wino Johnís PSA on the front page may be more prophetic then I
realized. I received a letter
today that shocked me into the realization that actions have consequences
and one moment of pleasure may change your life in ways you may not think.
As a guy, you never want to wake up in the morning facing the cold
harsh facts that you did something spur of the moment, when your logic
system was altered by the amount of red wine you consumed.
What really has me worried is that this legal notice came directly to
my home, in my surname, from a place I did visit months ago, but I do not
have recollection of being there with anyone.
I must have really pushed my limits.
Worse yet is the fact that the cover letter had a host of legaleeze
and it looks like I will be paying for this mistake during the formative
years of my new offspring. Yes,
Winos and Winettes, I have been served papers that identify me as the legal
parent of a robust, newly born bouncing baby cabernet franc vine.
Hey, I might be a lush, but Iím not stupid.
Yes, the owners of Taylor Brooke Winery in Woodstock CT have served
me with my legal adoption papers
This didnít scan clearly but it says that I am the
proud parent of Cabernet Franc Row 3 Vine #6, I saw a picture and it looks
remarkably like me; stick trunk and gangly arms.
The fine print I was not able to understand is that the
conditions of the offer is contingent on the receipt of a fee and
application form and I donít legally own the vine and they reserve the
right to care and harvest the vine and if it dies, Iím out my money. I also have to go to the winery in person and pick up the
bottle I am obligated to purchase for the next three years. I give them a B-plus for inventiveness and a D minus for
scaring the crap out of a guy by serving legal adoption papers.
Whoís your Baby Daddy?
I was delighted with the fact that I was assigned the
cabernet franc and not the Green Apple Riesling.
June 15, 2004
In what may have been one of the hardest meetings to
schedule, I was finally able to find Wino Paul in town long enough to get
together. This past Sunday, our
collective paths merged and we headed to his local wine shop to pick out the
offerings for the educational portion of this coming Saturday night. Though the location of the store, conveniently located on
Route 440 South on premise with an Exxon Station, might have you pass it by
without much thought, they offer good pricing and a high end temperature
controlled wine locker boasting an impressive variety of offerings.
Though I demanded Wino Paul pick out two bottles of the 1995 Chateau
Petrus for the mere $2,400.00 each, I could not convince myself the wine
would have been worth that expenditure.
Looking for Super Tuscans, Penfold Grange, or several high-end
California Meritage, look no further then the Bayview Liquor Store in
Bayonne. I couldnít locate
two of the specific wines I planned out, I know I can get them at Home
Liquors, at this point we are set to go for what promises to be a fun
evening, by the water, in the yard of Winette Alice and Wino Paul.
I just hope I can make up answers quick enough to appear like an
2002 Penfold Bin 2 $
A nice combination of Shiraz and Mourvedre which is a testament to the sum
is better than the individual parts. Nice
fruit with a stiff backbone but approachable and complimentary to a helping
of farfalle and shrimp in a pink champagne sauce.
June 11, 2004
So Wino Bob,
what have you been doing with yourself besides drinking and being
sentimental about death? Actually, I had the best cure for my moment
of weakness of last night. Today, I happened to grab lunch in a place
that had the Reagan funeral on their 50-inch Samsung Plasma TV. The
somber, stately, fitting ceremony was highlighted by an image I just cannot
get out of my head. As President Bush was eulogizing President Reagan,
the camera panned the front row and the image Hillaryís sourpuss burned my
eyeballs. The pain of envy and realization that her husbandís eulogy
will be more like a frat house reunion placed this grimace upon her face
that I will never forget. He on the other hand, slept to lessen the
contract between his experience in the oval office and President Reaganís
experience. I think Gorbachev was less uncomfortable as they spoke of
Reaganís defeat of the Evil Empire (USSR). I can see it now,
Chris Dodd up their with Teddy Kennedy, ribbing each other, "Hey Ted,
tell them about the time you me and Bill were in Vegas and those strippers
came back to the Presidential Suite while Hillary was in the adjacent room
and we broke that lamp and table when the chick did a belly shot off your
stomach, then slide off your whale ass." "Or how about the
time, Bill hid under blankets in the back of your car to sneak out of the
White House and go to the Golden Banana with us on Patriotís Day."
I know the news media will not complain if the Clinton tribute lasts a
month, you know the parade of women passing the casket will be endless and
Sheryl Crow will be singing Joan Baez tunes in the Rotunda.
Anyway, I managed a
quick glass of wine, Lawson Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, but since I only
had one and wasnít much into paying attention to the wine as I was glued
to the TV, I will rate it another time. Meanwhile, back at the ranch,
I have been up to my ass in putting together materials for the Wino Paula
and Winette Alice event. I know they read the page so I will not give
all the details out now, but I do have to show off my cover page for the
event, excuse my poor artwork. It, along with my sense of humor, is
stuck in the third grade.
With only one-week
left, I have a lot of artwork to doÖ.
June 10, 2004
I have been immersed in the talk radio and cable TV
discussions about President Reagan this week.
I did not want to write some dumb, classless entry on the heels of my
comments about a man that helped shape my outlook on the political
landscape. What amazes me is
the hatred the left still carries and the love the right blindly professes
for a man few really knew. Nevertheless,
this is not about the Al Franken and Chris Matthews of the world, nor is it
about the Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaughs. It is about an interview
with a pundit that as an aside spoke about his father during the week of
talking-head-itis. Tim Russert
has written a book about his relationship with his father, which really is a
commentary to his son. I listen
to him speak today and was extremely moved by the relationship he had with
his father and the father he is trying to be.
Maybe it is the bottle of Chilean Cabernet in me right
now, but there were several throw away lines that Russert said which stopped
me in my tracks. I guess wine
makes me introspective and one of the issues I fight is family
relationships. You know, those
times when you look back and wonder if the truck in the other lane loses
control and it all stops right here in a pile of twisted metal and broken
glass, what would they say about me as they passed by my pine box.
I sit here tonight, emotionally naked, frustrated with never having
the talent to become the acclaimed writer I envisioned in college.
One of the ďgreat novelsĒ I started and stopped back when I
thought I could make a living at writing was about a guy who is having
drinks with his buddies and upon leaving the bar is killed by a truck
crossing the street. As my Catholic
upbringing taught me, there are three days in which your soul floats in
judgment before you are received into heaven or damned to hell for eternity.
In my novel, as old tradition had it, those three days are the
viewing days of my body. As in
the world of my mind, I am present, perched atop the casket during those
three days, listening and watching and hearing the wake.
It comes to pass that it is not the grand plan of the Almighty that
renders you north or south, but the response of those who come to mourn you
and recall you as you touched their lives.
This is the time when all is exposed to you and you absorb the true
thoughts, emotions and words of those who pass by your exposed corpse.
Maybe the three days only bring your family and half of them are only
there to get a day off from work. Maybe
the third day, that half doesnít even show, but instead take a day off and
go to the shore. However, maybe
there is one person, you never expected would even know you died who shows
and grieves in earnest. Death
is one of those things that come at its own schedule.
The stupid statement that Tim Russert made that has me
re-evaluating my life, assisted by my empty friend, was that he knew his
life was successful when he went back home and bought his father a new car.
I know how small that statement is, but inside, it is the granite
from which a life is chiseled. I
guess it is the symbolism of giving back for the sacrifices, the night shift
jobs, the going without so they can have, which we all hope to attain.
I once read a book that said, ďWrite what you want to appear on
your tombstone, and then live your life accordinglyĒ.
Ronald Reagan did, Tim Russert did, maybe if I change my destination,
my lifeís journey will fitÖ.
2002 Rojo Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley
This one starts out hot and takes half a bottle to settle in.
The fruit is limited but a hope for things to come from this region.
June 6, 2004
RIP- Ron Reagan: It was November 1984 and a young beer
guzzling Bob was just beginning a sales career in the exciting world of
electronics. The Long Island
territory was bustling with military defense contractors making it easy to
sell the geeky products I had in my briefcase.
I owe those early successes when orders came my way, not from my
intricate knowledge of the products, or my stellar salesmanship, but to the
promises and commitments President Reagan made to our country.
President Reagan gave the word Patriotism back to the
common folks and spoke in ways that lifted your heart and pride and made you
glad you were an American. President
Reagan was the first President to motivate me to follow politics and I have
been a junkie ever since. Though
I never met him nor had the opportunity to see him speak in person, to this
day I will always remember the speech I heard on WNBC while I was driving to
HP in Rockaway, NJ the day the shuttle blew up.
I think the ďtesting, testing we are ready to launch
in five secondsĒ, his pretending not to hear Sam Donaldsonís obnoxious
questions over the whirl of the helicopter blades, his refusal to remove his
suit coat in the Oval Office, and his economic expansion will forever define
him in my mind. We are hungry
for the leadership you provided and the hard and fast position you took
which brought a sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall.
God Bless America and God Bless You Ronald Reagan.
Thanks for letting me share that he is one of those
people I admire. The other is
Wino Rocker, but for a much different set of reasons.
Unfortunately, I cannot share those reasons, even on the Internet.
Last night it was a nice dinner at Casa de Fillipo in town and the
BYOB was a bottle my younger brother brought back for me during one of his
recent trips to California. A fitting bottle for a fitting dinner with the Winos.
The restaurant is great, an old converted apartment on the second
floor of a building on the Avenue. But
the acoustics stink. When there
are more than 6 people at a table in a room, they seem to shout to speak
with the others. The next thing you know, you are either listening to
their conversation, or trying to shout yourself to be heard by your table.
As this is a day of mourning, I will end it here,
before I detract from the first paragraph with something unfit for the
2001 Peju Province Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled
The first whiff of this one delivers cedar, spicy cedar and black
cherry. A nicely structured
wine with a long full finish and hints of wood and vanilla.
Goes great with the Cavatelli Fillipo (cavatelli with sausage,
chicken, diced tomato in a light red sauce)
June 5, 2004
Homework, yes, I am preparing for my first class.
I have been hired to be the ďauthorityĒ at a wine tasting.
I know, I cannot believe it myself.
But the gracious Winette Alice, unbeknownst to Wino Paul, has planned
a small gathering at their Chateau to enjoy the summer fare and have a bit
of wine education. I first
thought that I could show up, drink some wine, make up some facts and head
out the back gate. Then I got
an invitation in the mail. Holy
crap Mary, this is serious. So
I have spent the last two weekends planning out an actual agenda.
Know the techie nature of Wino Paul, I am sure if I wanted to do this
in power point, he would rig something up in his yard so we can show the
slides on the wall of his neighborís house.
I understand the group will be about 20.
What I spent the most time on was the simple question of how to
begin, there is so much that can be discussed.
So Iím spending my Saturday night, in front of the TV
with markers and easel board trying to draw pictures and graphs and
countries and grapes for the show. If
this goes well, I will post up some of the official Wino Bob artwork. If I bomb, this will be but a lone entry.
More to comeÖ
The best part will be the wine shopping, though Wino
Paul keeps pushing me off from spending his money.
Heís even given me the excuse that he will be in Brazil next week
so to avoid the opening of the wallet.
I may have to have him sign a check and leave it for Winette Alice
2002 Caves des Papes Heritage Blanc Cotes-du-Rhone
For some reason, I have less tolerance for uneventful white wines.
This blend of Grenache, Clairette, Bourboulen, Viognier, Rousanne and
Marsanne seems lifeless. One
would think this combination would offer more depth and flavors
1999 Ironstone Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
The small additions of blending grapes to the Cab help define the
blackberry and licorice flavors and the oak aging brings out vanilla and
tannins to structure this wine. A
good once a week drinker for the books.
June 1, 2004
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Ė Two retired
Croatian generals Friday pleaded not guilty at The Hague war crimes
tribunal to ethnic cleansing charges linked to a 1995 offensive against
rebel Serbs in the Krajina region of Croatia
Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak pleaded not
guilty to all seven counts of crimes against humanity and violations of
the laws or customs of war at the U.N. tribunal. The charges included
deportation, murder and wanton destruction.
"Now that you have entered a plea of
not guilty to each of the seven counts that have been brought against you
by the prosecutor I will be instructing the Registrar of this tribunal...
to fix a date for the trial when appropriate," judge Carmel Agius
said in a Webcast of the court hearing.
Cermak and Markac are charged in the
indictment with participating in a "joint criminal enterprise"
with the late President Franjo Tudjman to drive the ethnic Serb population
from Krajina in 1995.
Cermak, 54, a wealthy oil businessman, ran
the former rebel stronghold of Knin after its capture. Markac, 48,
commanded special police units that took part in the offensive and later
combed the area.
Wino Bob, what the hell does that article have to do with wine.
Please, relax, sit back, enjoy your wine and I will explain.
I will admit that it has taken me far longer than most to develop
that life philosophy about being successful by working hard, staying
focused, dream the dream, walk the talk, move your cheese, spin, time
management, and all the horse hockey the consults to business sell you in
their books and seminars. But it seems, not everyone has to focus like a laser beam on
his or her lifeís dream. Some
people can multitask well and be involved in major projects without losing
sight of the end product.
Winoís, the aforementioned Mr. Cermak, a wealthy oil businessman and it
appears a major criminal in the Croatian/Serb conflict still managed to have
time to produce an award winning wine.
I cannot get one project off the ground and Mr. Cermac has made
millions in the oil rich middle east, was an acting General who lead a
rebellion to recapture a rebel-held area during the Croatian war for
Independence from Yugoslavia between 1991-95, tortured and murdered ethnic
Serbs and, oh yeah, made a mouth-watering white Muscat that won the hearts
and palates of wine connoisseurs at a recent tasting.
How does one find the time?
am not making light of the conflict or his murderous behavior; allegedly, I
donít know how many readers we have in that part of the world. I
am rather curious about his ability to post a defense against some major
charges, run an oil empire, and create a wine worthy of recognition.
Martha Stewart couldnít run her company and answer criminal
charges. Though I am not a consumer of Croatian wine, this story
caught my eye. Maybe Iím a
glass half-empty person, but I see his wine becoming a sought after cult
classic as the trial unfolds.
May 31, 2004
We extend our deepest gratitude to the men and women
who have given of themselves so idiots like me can sit in their room and
type out meaningless anecdotes about drinking wine.
As a tweener, I was too young for Vietnam and too old for any of the
recent conflicts and actions. I
would not pretend to know what it is like in the heat of battle, nor would I
dare mock the efforts of others. Fortunately,
the relatives I have who served during wartimes, made it back home. Our
thoughts are with those families less fortunate.
I believe this is nine out of the past ten Memorial
Days in which the weather has been less than cooperative. As I sit near the small window in my third floor room, the
rain is steadily beating down on the rooftop below.
The wind kicks up from time to time shaking large amounts of water
from the leaves of the oak tree in my front yard. The branches sway
close enough that I can grab them. From
here, even through the grayness and rain drops, I can see Wino Louís hole.
Yes, right now, Wino Lou has a very visible large hole and he is
asking the neighbors to come see it. Over
the next few weeks, that hole will become a very large addition to the Wino
Lou homestead and from my knowledge of his enjoyment for cooking, I cannot
wait to see the gourmet kitchen he installs.
I am hoping the hole is deep enough for a rustic wine cellar that I
can go hang out in.
The other nice thing about this view is that the town
parade stages their participants on the street below.
I do not have to attend the parade, just wake up early enough to see
the collection of antique cars, fire engines, army vehicles and marching
bands. Right at the corner of
the street is the official starting point for one of the two most exciting
days in the life of a cop in town. Today
and street fair day, the traffic rerouting is a police officersí dream.
Orange cones, side street barriers, no parking signs, white glove and
whistle directions, I can almost see Andy Griffith from here.
ďNow Earnest T. Bass, you canít be agoin 'round town pickin' up
women an' guessing their weight.Ē
I do hope you were able to get in a bar-b-q as this
signifies the beginning of the summer fun.
I managed a quick burger on the grill between droplets of water, but
more enjoyable is the red wine I found at Kingís this morning.
This Aussie Shiraz is just what the doctor ordered for a day like
today, lazily lying in front of E Channelís 100 Greatest Celebrity Oops.
I have substituted fluff for NJN, as we know public television must
be educational, not entertainingÖ F-N-F-J-F-N.
So summerís here and the time is right for dancing in
the streets, but since the temperature this weekend hasnít broken 70, I am
still blanketing myself in the warmth of a bold red wine. Hey, put
another shrimp on the bar-b, Iíll be right over.
2003 Fire Fly Shiraz Night Harvest
This is an impressive wine for under ten dollars. It has a
deep, bold flavor from black fruits, with a touch of mint and chocolate and
tannins to keep this one for a few more months.
A great companion for a rainy day.
May 28, 2004
I sat down for a relaxing evening after dinner, to read
through the All About Beer magazine.
As I dug into it, I thought to myself, this must be the equivalent to
Beer Aficionado. The magazine
turned out to be a wealth of knowledge and it was all about Wino Wally.
The most interesting item I read was the one on a new ďuber PilsĒ
from a microbrew in Maryland. This very own 7% ABV pilsner bock is part of the beer series
for ďBig BeerĒ enthusiasts from the Heavy Seas product line of Clipper
City Brewing. Hey, Clipper
City, thatís the brew company partially owned by our own Wino Wally. Note to Wino Wally- I am thinking about adding a once a month
entry on specialty microbrews and the High Seas series might be a great
place to start. A bottle of
each offering would be a fitting way to launch this feature.
We look to keep bringing new information to our readers and a beer
review corner might be a great addition.
The other Wino Wally tie in with the magazine was this
monthís article on how Golf courses and microbreweries are co-branding and
trading on the boutique microbrews and fine living of the country club
crowd. An article discussed the
connection and discussed examples such as: Belhaven St. Andrews Ale, the
McMenamins Double Eagle and the Royal Duffer Golf Society Lager.
Iím seeing a new venture for the wealthy wiz kid from Maryland.
Dump the espionage stuff and buy a golf course we can put a
microbrewery in and, voila, we are riding the crest of the way to
retirement. The reason I say
this is that the final article I read was called Beyond Beer, The
American Wine Journey. The
author compared the current state of microbreweries with the US wine
industry 30 years ago. We have
observed the near criminal increase in California wine prices over the past
thirty years, and the microbrew industry is poised to see a similar trend.
Well, their will never be a bottle of beer selling for the obscene
prices of Screaming Eagle, but there might be enough margin to pay the
bills. WW, Iím available to
scout properties in your neighborhood to offer year around golf excitement
and trendy ingredient microbrews. Think
about it, call me, letís do lunch, have your people call my people.
OK, so I will never own a golf course microbrew, how about a bottle
of the ďUber PilsĒ?
2003 Forefeathers Sauvignon Blanc
This offers up a great example of the Marlborough region of NZ.
Fresh, crisp, citrus-packed and a great wine to enjoy chilled on a
hot, muggy evening in the summertime.
2002 Marques de Caceres Rioja $
This wine is made of 100% viura grapes from the Rioja region of
Spain. Unfortunately, their was a whimpiness to its flavor and a
dull finish that left me unexcited.
May 26, 2004
It is amazing how quickly a beer belly develops when
age and lack of exercise is the norm. As
I have been stuck drinking beer at restaurants with my compatriots, I have
grown in girth in just two days. Now
I resemble that Biafran kid with the swollen stomach and the flies around
his head, sans flies. Maybe I
am just carbonated and I will deflate as the plane descends and the pressure
changes, forcing the bubbles in my system to expel.
The one medical test I have conducted over the past four years is
that red wine does not bloat on like a three day old dead pig.
I am waiting to return to my wine drinking ways and not have my
stomach pressing against the cotton fabric of my Dockers, unduly straining
the stitching of the button that separates my look from a Rapperís look.
Yo, yo, yo, waz up, bloated Bob here with his gansta pants as the
beer has forced too much internal pressure on the cross stitching of my
button. Now my somewhat
Manhattanesque style has headed uptown to 125th Street and looks
like I have joined Snoop Dogís Posse.
The air traffic into Newark sucks and when you donít
drink before you fly, there is little to do to burn three hours.
I managed to finish off a book I brought for the flight, so now the
two and a half hours in the air is going to be tough.
Beerboy, John was kind enough to give me his magazine, All About
Beer, since he finished it on his flight down here.
Maybe I will be more educated on this beverage and get him to
collaborate with me on a once a month entry on beer.
Then again, I have been asking him for years to submit a wine review
and he has artfully dodged me on that subject.
About an hour ago, I opted for a yogurt waffle cone instead of a
Nathanís hotdog. If only I could drink, but mentally I have this image of me
in mid flight, seated next to a well dress traveler, being overcome with the
urge to spew out my alcohol like a whale cleaning his blowhole.
Thare she blows, as red wine will spray over tan linen jackets and
Tommy Bahamas Silk trousers. Looking into the lounge across from my gate, the delayed
travelers are laughing and joking and passing the time, while I sit here
pushing the grains of sand through the neck of the hour glass, just to get
one minute closer to boarding. I
think the fact that I was a breech birth screwed up my ability to handle
flight well. Or should I say,
handle flying drunk, well. Maybe
if I spent my last several weeks in the womb upside down, my vertigo
wouldnít kick in during turbulent flying.
If any doctors out there have any ideas if me spending 5 minutes a
day upside down now, would allow me to enjoy a glass of red wine with my
turkey sandwich without me looking like Shamu, please email me your
So I sit and wait and hope the last hour wonít seem
like a day and once again, I will look out the window of the plane with
excited anticipation as the City Glow of Manhattan twinkles below,
signifying our final decent into the Newark area.
Yes, I eagerly await the smell of diesel fuel and garbage that greats
you as you exit the monorail station in hopes of remembering where in the
hell you parked your car. And I
gladly await to over pay the Port Authority for renting the small 5 x 10
space of asphalt my car occupied for the last three nights.
The honking horns will be welcoming music to my ears as I cut off the
driver behind me to swerve into the shortest tool booth isle and contribute
to the 401K fund for the toll taker in Essex County.
And finally, my squeak brakes will break the silence of the
neighborhood, to arrive home and relax for the 5 hours of rest, until the
alarm clock trumpets its call of wake up and start the grind all over again
May 24, 2004
My geek job is interfering with my drinking. For
the third week this month, I am off to another meeting, leaving scant time
to actually try and make a living and scanter time to drink wine. I am not a great drinker and flier so its mostly cranberry
juice or diet cokes while I sit in the lounge at the airport typing out what
should be a review of a glass or bottle of wine for you winos. As laptops have become the norm, most places in any airport
are equipped with plugs and phone jacks for staying in touch with the
outside world. The saving grace
of this meeting is that the President of the company and his nephew sales
manager fancy themselves wine aficionados.
As they are buying, I am sitting quietly at a steakhouse drinking
mostly merlot, but an expensive one if it matters.
Last time I was here with a customer, we ate well and drank down five
bottles between the six of us. This
is a bright spot in the fact of heading out on a Sunday and missing a much
awaited family affair. Today
was a celebration for my cousin, the Brother, as he reached the half-century
mark of pledging his life to a higher power.
Brother James, though you donít read these pages, congratulations
for your devotion to the church and that our family has not been involved in
any church scandals. Celibacy is a challenge and 50 years of it would
have my face permanently pimpled and my grape nuts permanently painful.
There is one thing I donít understand about men's
summer attire. What the hell is
the purpose of a sleeveless t-shirt? Who
invented this and why? The only
reason I wear a t-shirt is to soak up the sweat that pours forth from my
pits and chest. So here it is,
95 degrees today, and the long-term parking has a monorail, which delivers
you from what is the next town over to the terminal.
I wait my three minutes and board the front car of the monorail for
the short ride to terminal A, Continentalís other place for those flights
that donít fit into the real Continental terminal.
Hotlanta bound, I am the first stop from the lot.
As luck would have it, just before the doors close and the train
departs the platform, a family of euro-travelers dashed the three flights of
stairs and jammed their hand into the door, delaying the train.
They pile in, with a months worth of suitcases, and the eldest son
gets squeezed next to me. As
instructed by the pleasant voice announcer dude, the son grabs the handrail
across me and now has his sleeveless t-shirt, sweat soaked arm extended over
my carry on. Holy crap Mary,
this clinging bead of personal fluid and swelling and the surface tension
between this arm and the droplet is diminishing.
Jesus, let me get to my stop before that pit sweat breaks free and
rains on my canvas bag, which will soak through to my well pressed and
folded dress shirt for tomorrowís meeting.
Ten seconds to arrival at the terminal, thank God, so I reach down to
collect my bag and move it free from the man soup, just as the train jerks
to a stop and plop. Yes, my
hand managed to shield my canvas bag from the sleeveless shirt stank and now
I am staring right at some euro-travelerís sweat on the back of my hand.
Outlaw these stupid shirts; wear short sleeves so your man splunk
soaks into your own fabric. The
say we are not the civilized ones, but I think I detected a merci coming
from the mother of the clan. That
is totally disgusting and I headed straight to the menís room to delouse
before slipping my credit card into the e-ticket machine to begin my journey
south. Men, unless you are in a
muscle beach contest, think of the rest of us before you don that tank top
for your trip in public.
Making matters worst yet, was the fact that rainstorms
to the north, delayed my flight to the south.
I donít understand, but other planes that where heading in
different directions had to get in front of us and delay our departure by an
hour. That is one hour in a
plane that had little cool air flowing anywhere.
Yes, a hot sticky, smelly Continental airplane, made unbearable by
the decision of the gentleman next to meís need to remove his shoes for
the flight. Christ in Heaven
help me, this plane smells like feta cheese.
Hey, asshole, this isnít your living room, put your God Damn shoes
on. I have the courtesy of keeping mine on, even if they feel
tight from the pressure change. No
one needs to put up with recirculating the stank from your shoeless comfort.
Dinner was at a place called Kurtís Restaurant and Beirgarten,
so when in Rome, do as the Romans. I
nibbled appetizers and drank Weis Bier. Nothing great, so I went with the flow at dinner and ordered
the schnitzel. They were
pouring wine so I grabbed a glass of red.
Red is about all I will say as it was Wild Hare Merlot.
Jesus, Mother Macree, what is it with these Merlot drinkers down
here. After dinner a small
crowd broke away, purchased cigars and sat at the bar talking with Kurt, the
owner of the place. Kurtís
broken English added an aestheticism to the beer drinking and my buddy, the
beer connoisseur, was having Kurt run to his special place and drag out a
host of bottles for us to try. Not
much in it for me until Kurt suggested a dessert beer, which he claimed,
needed to be opened with a corkscrew. As
I looked at the foil, I clearly saw the cap and challenged him on the
corkscrew thing. Then with a
smile, he popped the top to reveal a cork beneath.
Yes, this dessert beer at 12.00 a bottle was corked for its secondary
fermentation and I was given a taste of my first Lambic.
This Lindemans Framboise Belgian Ale was crisp and clean with a
refreshing raspberry flavor that was the perfect ending to the dinner we
enjoyed. Wow, that was
delightful and opened my senses to a new sensation.
If you are ever in Duluth Ga. and looking for a nice meal and a
unique variety of beer, go see Kurt. You wonít be disappointed.
May 22, 2004
Wow, is it hot and humid today! It would be a
perfect night to sit in front of the TV with the three-hour special on the
Life and Times of Noam Chomsky. Yes,
NJN has this great special on the boorish, radical tree hugger, Professor
Chomsky, but my TV no longer gets NJN.
I think Iím opting for reruns of Most Extreme Elimination.
Can you believe that Japanese TV can get away with something just
short of maiming a contestant in the name of entertainment?
The lawyers in the US would have a field day with this show if it
were taped here. Fear factor is
a pony ride compared with this thing.
professor and prominent social critic Noam Chomsky teaches at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and is the author of more than 70 books, the most recent being "Rogue
State: The Rule of Force in World Affairs."
instead of turning on the boob tube (as my father would say), I decided to
get some exercise and amble downtown. Since
Mr. Kim sold the store, my neighbor Wino Lou has seen me walking around town
more than in the previous four years heís lived here.
Unlike the Wino Lou family who enjoy walking everywhere, I find it
easier to drive to the corner and back, I donít want to get all muscular
and what not. You know, once
you start a work out routine like walking to the corner, you then have to
walk two blocks to get the same exercise, then three blocks, and the next
thing you know, youíll be like walking a mile and youíll lose weight and
build muscle mass. I much
prefer the Stephen Hawkingís mode of transportation.
Hey, did you read where heís suing his nurse/girlfriend for leaving
him out in the sun and not heeding his calls to get him in the house.
Seems he split with his first wife for this nurse babe who cares for
him and she placed him a lawn chair in the gardens of his property one sunny
day to get some good healthy clean air.
Then she decided to leave him there to burn in the sun for six hours
with no hat or sun tan lotion. It
is amazing that the man who redefined the universe cannot control his own.
What I donít get is how they praise him for a prediction that the
universe is expanding, but will turn and collapse in like 12 billion years.
12 Billion years, who the
hell is going to be here to call him on it if it doesnít happen? Thatís why I prefer guys like Kresskin who predict where
his pay check is hidden in a room and you see the results right in front of
your eyes. Amazing. Hey,
try this out, I predict that in 400 million years, my liver will still be
alive, or better yet, all of mankind will look like Klingons.
There, you heard it here first, and I will be awaiting my advanced
degree in science from MIT. Hell,
if Noam Chomsky can teach there, I can get a degree for scientific theories
regarding the future of human morphism.
I was saying, I walked to Costas and looked through the special shelf.
Yes, John is weeding out wines that he feels might be at their peak,
or worse yet, like that Italian white I bought last week, over the hill.
I saw a bottle of 1996 Zinfandel and decided to give it a try.
The rest of the wines were largely older whites that probably are
over the hill and offer little more than color and flab. Whatís great about NOT watching NJN TV any longer is that
there is a whole world of things to discover and walking around town just
might be a great alternative.
By the time you read this, it
would be too late to recommend you find this wine. It has seen the
summit and is beginning its downhill slide.
The color has bricked and the fruit is beginning to fade, though
black cherry and plum still hang in the glass.
May 21, 2004
I am a lover, not a hater. My motto is "live
and let live", "make love not war", "if it feels good,
do it", "if it's nice out, leave it outÖ"
But I have to take a page from the 'stand up for whatís right',
boycott-happy Wino John. I do
believe he was a megaphone-carrying, slogan-chanting peacenik, who lives for
a good protest march. Well,
Winos and Winettes, it is a call to arms from the lovable, soft stick figure
that drinks too much to make sense at times.
Today, May 21, 2004, I have officially taken the channel 13 number
off my TV. For that matter, I
have taken all the PBS-related channels which appear on my selector and
quarantined them. No longer
will I sit through the McNeil Hour, or NJN News.
Off my viewing list is the Peter, Paul and Mary fund raising special.
Gone are my checks to support NJ-oriented programs to promote my
state. I am mad as hell and I
am not going to take it anymore! So
I ask, no, I beg those NJ winos that enjoy reading my
off-center rants to join me in solidarity and discontinue your support for
that trend- setting channel thirteen show on the life cycle of the dung
beetle. Nova - no more.
Alan Alda- peddle your science facts to Mr. Rodgers because there no longer
will be Wino Bob in your audience to promote your programming.
Over the past several months, there has been a very
dedicated and talented crew working with WinoStuff to develop an exciting
program on the wine history of NJ. Hours
of hard work and creative brain matter has gone into an entertaining view on
the growth of the wine industry in NJ.
Some heavy hitters in NJ and the NJ Wine Growers Association have
supported and contributed to the efforts of WJ and myself, only to be
rebuked by the station whose mission statement is:
Authority is dedicated to using its technology to provide universal access
to information and educational programming and services that enhance the
quality of life for all citizens of New Jersey at home, in school, at the
workplace or in their communities.