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This page contains Winings from the 2nd Quarter of the year 2007.

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June 30, 2007

Imagine That

In what might be described as career suicide, the affable host of Imagine That with Robin Richie will put her job on the line with a half hour interview of yours truly.  This Monday, July 2 at 11am, a wide open, no holds barred, interview will occur.  My biggest concern will be saying all there is to say within the first 10 minutes and having to sing, or read poetry just to fill my half hour.  Those interested in listening live can log on at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/imaginethatrr and select: LISTEN ON AIR during the course of the interview.  After the interview is over, it will move into an ARCHIVE SEGMENT status. 

Have no fear if you cannot listen live, Robin has promised to archive the interview on her site.  For those who do not get Robinís TV show, she is seen locally on Cablevision of Newark Channel 19 every Thursday at 11pm and Time Warner Manhattan Neighborhood Network Channel 56 Thursdays at 11:30AM

Maybe the vote on the Fairness Doctrine should be revisitedÖ

June 28, 2007

The non-gay Governor of New Jersey, the Wall Street Wonder, is crowing about his new budget deal being signed with no new taxes.  Unfortunately, the ass-hat media has not asked the basic questions.  The sycophants want access so they fail the citizens of the garden State.  If I had news credentials I would ask the Wall Street Wonder a simple question.  Why is there still a 2.5 billion dollar deficit if we raised the state sales tax last year to close the gap?  Last year we were told that the sales tax was a must if NJ was going to balance their budget.  So blindly everyone hailed the Wall Street Millionaire and said, thank God there is someone who understands money management.  Yet today, we are still $2.5 billion in debt and now have a 7% sales tax that brought 650 million dollars of new money to the state bank account.  So, whereís the beef?  And more importantly, what do we do next year when the 2.5 billion dollar gap is still there and maybe more.   Will someone in a position to ask the simple question step up and find out what we have to look forward to in a year?  It is embarrassing and most likely will get worse before getting better.  Cut me some slack, get off the front page and do the hard thing by cutting the Democratic pork of more than $350 million in bullshit given to your partyís legislators.

Wake UP, New Jersey, this guy is doing nothing to help us get out of the debt we are in.  Best case, he is moving it out three years, but isnít that why we voted for change since the last clown did the same?

God help us.

June 27, 2007

A quick update, I had the chance to redeem myself on Monday night so I have eliminated some guilt.  Several weeks back, when I didnít take the time to thank that soldier at the NJ Turnpike rest stop, I made up for it.  I was staying in Maryland on some Geek World business and after a dinner at the Inner Harbor, I went back with my business associates to the hotel bar for a quick one before calling it a night.  I ordered up some Yuenglings and as the bartender asked if that was all, I saw a soldier in the bar and I told the barkeep to buy him a drink on me.   He came over and thanked us, and we had a small chat.  It kind of made my frustrations of the day seem small.   I spent the day trying to get topside hole fill in a no-lead application.  He spent the day getting his deployment orders. 

I especially thanked him for allowing me to sit here in the comfort of my home and get schnockered, allowing me to say what I want on this stupid page.  He is facing death in they eye so I can ramble incoherently.  Wow, I should have bought him dinner.

2003 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon $ (19.99)   I should have saved this for the next Cabfest but didnít know what to expect.  Rich black fruit with tobacco and spice.  A finish of vanilla.  I might serve it anyway since I enjoyed it so much.

June 24, 2007

Happy birthday John the Baptist.  Yes, in all my years of obligatory religious learning, it was only today I found out that there are only three birthdays celebrated by the Catholic Church.  The first and foremost is The Big JC himself.  The second, his mother who found a way to bear a child without all the messy work.  And the third is John the Baptist, the one they thought would be the son of God.  After I heard about it, it seems very similar to a celebration near the Summer solstice, and 6 months and one day later it is the birthday of our Lord.  Which looks like it is very close to the winter solstice.  Maybe the druids were on to something.  Maybe the Drouhins were on to something, like a grape that some might worship, say like Big Bob.  Iím seeing visions now of Burgundy being the real Garden of Eden.  Since religion is the opiate of the masses, why canít we smoke in church?

Last night we met some friends at a BYOW in Bloomfield and I brought with me a bottle of California cabernet sauvignon.  I must say, it was unfriendly not only to me but to the food and that is not right.  I usually find something I could see as positive, but this time it was mostly wood, kind of only wood and not much else.  Now, donít get me wrong, I like wood as a role player not a soliloquy.

Most of the others brought pinot grigio, so I was limited to my red.  I went on the web site of the winery and read what I should have been enjoying.  It sounds delicious.  Unfortunately, I did not get the bottle with all that good stuff in it. 

2003 Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $ (19.99)  I might have thought John Sterling (play-by-play man for the Yankees) made this with Giambiís bat, all wood no fruit.

June 20, 2007

Well, Winos and Winettes, in what can only be described as a total loss of moral clarity; I have been officially invited to become a full blood member of the highly prestigious Essex County Wine Society.  My official coronation will take place at a secret ceremony later this summer where I will learn the secret handshake and be presented my official 24 karat gold-encrusted and precious stone-bejeweled ECWS Taste Vin which I will proudly wear upon my chest from that day hence.  I will no longer be referred to as "the silly ass drunk with a wine web site."  I will have the honor and privilege of dumping all over the wine web bloggers that pedantically muse about wine and wine things and how much more wine stuff they are learning or what important wine person they are having dinner withÖ 

Itís OFFICIAL gang, its official, stay tuned.

June 18, 2007

I need to apologize.  I have been swamped with a project that has taken me away from my two favorite hobbies, drinking and writing, well one favorite, the choice is yours.  The wine consumption has been minimal since the big night at Marakesh.  But I did have an interesting evening opening up my thought process Friday night.  It happened to be a weather perfect night to sit on the porch with my Mac book and tackle a portion of this rather large project I am in the middle of.  I was stuck, looking for the flow, trying to get in the groove, find my inner voice, well you get the picture.  I normally would have fired up a bottle of red and pondered, consumed and pondered some more.  Instead I went to the cellar and retrieved the absinthe glass and spool and poured myself a tall one.  Power of suggestion be damned, I found myself getting through the point I was stuck and bringing finality to the procrastination.  Now, I need to go back and re-read what I wrote to see if any of it is intelligent enough to use.

As for exciting wine industry buzz, I received an email over the weekend from my old friend, Christian Gonzales, telling me of his exciting new endeavor.  He decided to advance his career in the wine business by taking a position with Pere Ventura, a Spanish Cava house, as Export manager.  This new position brings new challenges of increasing Pere Venturaís presence in the USA.  Who better to do that than the dedicated, hard working staff of WinoStuff.com?  If the bubbles donít make me overly gaseous, I might just double their NJ sales number this year.  First things first; I need to find a store near me that carries the line.  Then it's projects be damned, consuming front and center.  Christian told me he has been brushing up on his Springsteen tunes so I look forward to a night of food, music and wine when he comes to the New York area.  Our best wishes for success go out to him from the staff at WinoStuff.com

June 10, 2007

In my pre-Sopranos Final Episode party of one, I opened the third South African wine I purchased when I was shopping for our meetup dinner.  To my pleasant surprise, yet grave disappointment, this is a bottle I should have brought with me Friday.  This one is ideal for a lonesome night in front of the tube.   It has nice fruit and a spicy touch that would have complemented the food at Marakesh better than the Kanonkop Kadette. 

I wait as millions do for the final fate of Tony Soprano and I am sure when its all said and done I like many will feel cheated or depressed.  The series had its highs and lows but one thing is for certain, Tony moves on with his life tonight, or into the next life whatever David Chase feels is best.  A void will be hard to fill, so I had better stock the wine racks so I can drown my vacant Sundays starting at 10PM tonight.  God speed, Tony Soprano, and thanks for the incredible ride. 

2005 Bockenhoutskloof The Wolftrap $ (9.99)   A delightful blend of 65% syrah, 19% cinsault, 11% mourvedre and 5% viognier delivering a fresh red fruit wine with a spicy raspberry and red cherry nose.  Pleasant for a casual night as you get more than you expect.

June 9, 2007

Out of the ashes, a Phoenix was born.  On Tuesday, I was gathering up the final head count for our latest wine meetup dinner.  I was feeling strong as the event had closed out one hour after I originally posted it on our message board.  With a quick click of the mouse, I found out that our once-full event had suddenly crashed and burned.  Ten of the twenty-two spots opened due to last minute schedule changes.  Frantically, I posted new invites and out of the rubble appeared the sign-in of new faces that stepped up at the last minute. 

The seating at Marekesh is a unique, soft couch with a small brass table in the middle making the atmosphere more like dinner in your apartment with friends.  Unfortunately, there isnít much wiggle room to easily mingle once seated.  Our South African wine theme was well represented, but as always I feel the list I passed around is incomplete so please add to the discussion with something you drank or brought that I donít have listed.

The food comes family style except for the soup and salad course.  We enjoyed the exotic bounty from this northwestern African country, sampling baby lamb tagine and Moroccan chicken and hummus and shrimp kebabs.  The lentil soup was great and the grilled veggies over saffron rice were a hit with our section. 

But last night, for the first time in our wine meetup history, the wines were not the star.  (Sorry, Stan, it wasnít you either.)  No, last night the highlight for me was the entertainment.  A sultry belly dancer appeared as we were sipping jasmine tea, and she entertained us with her talent and then encouraged audience participation.  If it wasnít for my plastic hip and the restriction placed upon me by my appearance in the book, ďThis is Why White Guys Shouldnít DanceĒ, I would have hopped right into the fray.  Fortunately, the other guests at the restaurant were spared the spasmodic movements I call dancing and were treated to the elegant participation of Doreen, Caroline, Lori, Danielle, Tammy and Wino Odd Job.  Sorry if I left anyone out, I am sure Big Bobís pictures will tell the whole story. 

I shared a fun discussion with first time participants John and Jane regarding wine, nothing too heavy.  I did want to let you guys know that I have a small PowerPoint presentation that I use for an intro class I do that I can send you if you would like.  It touches on the grape ratings we discussed. 

As the serving tables are small and the food is plentiful, the wait staff struggled to find room on the brass tables as our wine bottle selections clogged their ability.  The partial list I did capture is below:

2005 Fairview pinotage

2004 Kanonkop Kadette- pinotage/cab sav/merlot/cab franc

2003 Warwick 3 Cape Ladies cab sav/ pinotage/merlot

2003 Golden Kaan merlot

2004 Fairview Goats do Roam blend

2005 Fairview Goats do Roam blend

2004 KWV pinotage

2005 Burley Fox shiraz

2006 Nederberg Lyric Sav Blanc/chenin blanc/chard

2007 Nederberg Lyric sav blanc/chenin blanc/chard

1997 Nederberg Private Reserve Bin shiraz/cab sav

1996 Nederberg Eminence (dessert wine) muscadet

2005 Goats do Roam chenin blanc

2004 Jardin cab sav

2002 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound

I neglected (was too drunk) to get a read from people on what their favorite wines were, but I do know that myself and others enjoyed the Jardin cabernet sauvignon and personally I am a huge fan of the Faithful Hound.  I am interested to hear from the rest of the group what they enjoyed out of the wines we shared.

Lastly, I wanted to say a huge thank you to those who stepped into the open spots with such short notice.  It is very difficult for restaurants to take a large party reservation on a Friday night as Marekesh did.  They have one seating so if we failed to provide the number of people we committed to, the business would have lost money last night.  I enjoyed seeing new faces and speaking with everyone and a special thanks to someone who wasnít there, Mrs. Big Bob.  Susan helped us out by rearranging her vacation plans so Big Bob could join us.  Thanks, Susan.

I look forward to our next event, though this was one for the books and might be hard to top.  Hey, anyone want to head back there next week?  A drunken stick figureÖ..

June 4, 2007

Last night I had the occasion of supporting a local charity event.  It was the 15th Anniversary Gala for the Luna Stage in Montclair, NJ held at the Richfield Regency.  The event featured cast members from the HBO series, The Wire.  The President of Luna Stage is Frankie Faison who plays Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell.  The cast members were warm and approachable, but I must confess, itís not a show I watch and could not identify any of the cast.  Unable to pester any of the HBO staff with mindless projects, I took to the bar and suffered the shock of my 47-year-old life.

I asked for a red wine and the bartender told me they were serving Burgundy.  How could I be so lucky, the GOTY, the king of Pinot Noir, the finest France has to offer was at my taking for the night.  So I told him to pour out two (cuts the time I have to walk back to the bar).  He then placed two wine glasses in front of me, and proceeded to grab the soda gun, and dispense out the nectar of Burgundy.  Yes, let me repeat this, my Burgundy was shot from the number 4 button on the soda gun at the bar.  The Richfield Regency (the name sounds regal) was not pouring cheap wine, they were garden hosing it out of a bulk storage tank located somewhere in the basement.  Not even UnBacchus dared to squirt wine from a nozzle.  They might have poured to the rim and left plastic wrap over carafes but to put it as one of the six buttons between diet Pepsi and ginger ale?  Christ on a cracker, I have learned my lesson.  I need to see a bottle, even if it says Budweiser on the label.

I guess with one episode of the Sopranos left, I should start watching the old Wire episodes to get up to speed so next time I might pass Frankie on the streets of Montclair, I will know the latest plot line.

June 3, 2007

I was too young to see live performances by the Beatles or Doors, and by the time I was old enough I couldnít afford a ticket to see the Stones.  Fortunately yesterday, I did get to see a band that I listened to as a young impressionable Wino Bob.  Like those bands from the sixties, its not the same members and the ones that are still touring have thinned out ponytails and just look old.  I donít know if any of you were in the crowd yesterday afternoon at the Woostockesque event but I was glad I had a chance to finally see a live performance by Wino Rocker.  Yes, the bass-playing Wino Rocker and his new band, 50 Amp Fuse were rocking the house at Roseland (not the ballroom, the town) Rotary Craft Fair and Lovefest as the MC kept calling it.  As it was free and minutes from my house, I waded through the crowd to get a place on the library lawn and finally see the Victor Wooten of today.

The old guy plays well but suffers the white man affliction of stoicness on stage.  While the other band members are bouncing around, playing to the crowd, WR looks lost within his own world, making love to the deep-throated, four-string piece of lumber.

Celebrating what could nearly be described as a page from the Beatles last live appearance, we came back to the homestead and cracked a bottle of 1980 Dom Perignon.  Surprisingly, she still had bubbles and a bit of nuttiness to it (the champagne not Wino Rocker).  So if you ever have a chance to see an advertisement for a band called 50 Amp Fuse, go out and support them.  Youíll help the psyche of one aging rock star, but no autographs please, Wino Rocker is a germaphobe.

May 31, 2007

I was at a rest stop on the Turnpike several days ago and had the pleasure of seeing something I see and hear about too little.  An elderly woman was walking towards the exit door as a young man in a military uniform was entering.  The elderly woman passed him, then turned and said something.  He stopped and turned towards her as I reached them and he excused himself for not hearing what she had said.  In a loud voice she said, "I just wanted to say thank you for serving."  The soldier smiled and thanked her and they stood there in conversation.  Maybe the woman was nostalgic since Memorial Day was Monday; maybe her husband or father had served.  Or maybe she had a son or grandson who spent time in uniform, but as I thought about it, maybe she just wanted to thank a soldier.  It was a passing of two strangers that we infrequently see.  All the time I was thinking the old bat was going to ask him to hold the door for her sister or could he reach a MacDonaldís coupon from the rack.  I eyeballed her as she struggled her way from her parked car and I was thinking Iím going to stand here so I donít have to help her up if she trips on the curb, then I heard her thank that soldier and it made me feel like crap.

So I had to come home an open a bottle of wine to drown my miserable attitude.  I took a bottle of inexpensive Argentinean wine since it was Tuesday night.  My first hint should have been the lack of punt, you know, that indent on the bottom of a wine bottle that snobby waiters place their thumb in when they pour their overpriced restaurant wines.  The punt is there to strengthen the bottle and make it more survivable if dropped.  I guess the winemakers of this one didnít much care about protecting the product inside.  Hey, if it breaks, they can spend another $8.99 for a cheap buzz.  For an ordinary Tuesday night wine, it was fine, but not for one when you are trying to locate a better person within.

2004 Funky Llama Malbec $ 8.99    It is red and has a flavor of blackberry and smoke, but I could not say much more than that.

May 28, 2007

There are many who have fought and died to defend the honor of this great country.  Today is a time to thank their families for a supreme sacrifice.  There are brave men and women whose heroics will never be told.

Take a moment today to remember why this country is the greatest in the world.  And if you have a friend, relative or neighbor who spent time in the service of this country, take a moment to personally say Thank You.

May 25, 2007

For the first time in what seems like years, I woke up this morning and had to reattach my ass.  It is the result of me laughing it off last night.  We had an impromptu dinner at Wino Odd Jobís private restaurant that themed into a quasi-Cabfest.  Forget the fact that Mike prepares a meal that puts to shame 2/3 of the local high-end chefs.  He provides a unique, bountiful feast.  The cilantro shrimp, tarragon-buttered corn on the cob and filet mignon in silly-side-bends mushrooms was a mate for the beefy red wines we consumed.  Well, all were beefy except mine.  In preparation for the upcoming wine meetup dinner, I brought a South African wine- Fairviewís Goat Rotie.  Swing and a miss!  The wine had a decent nose, but was thin and watery on the palate and I dumped the remaining contents down the drain.  At $18.00 for this one, I would not purchase it again.  I am worried now about the Pinotage from Fairview I will be bringing to the next dinner.  If it is as unimpressive as the Goat Rotie, my wine reputation will be..., ah..., never mind.

The reason my ass fell off from laughing was the after dinner Wino Karaoke.  Well, not exactly karaoke.  No, it was more like make up drunken words and sing at your loudest, obnoxious voice-aoke.  The hit song was Wino Odd Jobís version of Nirvanaís Smells Like Teen Spirit.  I truly believe if we had had a camera there, it would have been a million hits on youtube this morning along with a record contract showing up at our PO Box by Monday.  Unfortunately, it will be a moment in time embedded in the sheetrock walls and memories of the fab five seated around the bar last night.

But the true stars were the California cabernet sauvignons that graced the dinner table.  Highlighted by this triumvirate:

1998 Sequoia Grove

1992 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve

1997 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

Mike pulled several other bottles from his rack and we enjoyed reliving college days with musical selections from his CD Jukebox, smoking cigars and improving the lyrics of Kurt Cobain.  And as always, the wine had me thinking how brilliant we were and how our version of Kurtís art would outsell the original. 

Then, sadly, I woke up to a cigar mouth, hoarse voice and ticking headache and realized, getting my ass back on correctly was going to be a challenge.

May 20, 2007

My Italian friends used to call it gianbotti.  My British friends used to call it bubble and squeak.  My Georgian friends called it scrapple but it seems like the winemakers at Justin Vineyards call it Orphan.  I was at JR Tobacco the other day awaiting Wino John for a lunch and in the dead time before his arrival, I did some wine shopping.  The Justin Orphan was near the counter so I grabbed two bottles to give it a try.

Orphan is that pile of stuff left over after all the good stuff is accounted for.  The 2005 is a combination of cabernet sauvignon and syrah.  I enjoy the Justin cab but this is the cabernet that didnít make the cabernet release.  They let this one rest in American oak and it reminded me of the chef I worked for one summer.  When things are a bit in need of seasoning help, he would mince garlic and use it to mask flaws in the aging veggies.  I get the sense that it's the same with the American oak that prevails in the early glass.  My question is, does Justin really need to bottle whatís left at the end of the harvest that doesnít make the grade for their release?  I say a resounding NO.  I say let the quality stand on its own and the rest, so be it.  Maybe itís the cost of doing business in California where the property taxes and expense to own a winery has you squeeze every last potential drop from the vineyard, but I publicly go on record today, that this would not be the way I would run a vineyard when building a brand.  I guess I got what I paid for, so the $14.99 price tag should not have been a problem, but thatís $14.99 I cannot get back.

May 19, 2007

With Nicolas Sarkozy firmly ensconced as the President of Frogland, I had no problem bringing a bottle of frog juice up from the basement last night.  Knowing that the wrath of God did not smite NJ, rather momentarily slapped it on the ass, I cracked open a beauty.  And there is nothing better than being slapped on the ass by a beauty. It was a kickback night, checking out the tube and preparing for my big new assignment.  Yes, fellow wine imbibers, the head of Memfest loved our project, UnCorked, so much, that she asked me to sit on this year's advisory committee.  You know what that means? Yours drunken truly will be determining the fate of the next Kubric, Spielberg, or Coppola.  (Thatís Alvin Kubric, Paul Spielberg and Marty Coppola-three college students that submitted a short film)

Still, when I am given a task, I take it very seriously and I see many a drunken night ahead screening this year's entries.  It has also driven the procrastination bug out of my ass to get our talented young team reassembled and continue our project; we only have until August 1st

So aspiring film makers, I will be posting links to the 2007 Memfest submission page.  I look forward to screening your creative work and blatantly rejecting it to toughen you up for the hard world of film.  Look at me acting like a pedantic film asshole after just one council meeting today.  Now, Iím off to the store to purchase a beret, cigarette holder and a megaphone.  Hold my calls, and actionÖ.  

2004 Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas $ (23.99)   This Rhone clocks in at 16% alcohol and invades your nostrils with sweet red cherry and cedar while painting your tongue with a red fruit Picasso in an espresso cup. Great finish and well assembled from 70% grenache and 30% syrah

May 17, 2007

I woke up this morning expecting to find the Earth had ended or at least New Jersey was heading the way of Sodom and Gomorrah.  With all the corruption in this state, I figured God had reached the limit and had cast a destructive storm upon us.  There are 14000 arcas burning through the center of the Garden State and a tornado destroyed houses in Union County and the rain and wind ripped trees from the ground.  Then I woke up this morning and life beats on as it did yesterday and the day before and the day before that.   Quite possibly, this is hell, as God could not destroy this state despite itself. 

The fire started from a flare being dropped from a National Guard fighter jet during a military training mission and consumed the creosote-filled scrub pines in the Pinelands.  New Jerseyís oldest winery and the second longest continually-operational winery in the USA is located in the area where the fires started.  So, as a good cub reporter, I put on my Jimmy Olsen hat and dialed up Jennifer Rignani from the Garden State Wine Growers Association.  As of this morning, the fire did not, I repeat, did not damage any of the NJ vineyards, ensuring a full crop and plenty of NJ wine this year.  I say that smoke will be a major component in the tasting notes from the southeastern and south central winemakers.  According to a Renault spokesperson, the Fume Blanc was most affected. 

So let the festivals begin and to start off the season, it is the Blues and Wine Festival

Garden State Wine Growers Association's

Blues & Wine Festival

May 26 & 27, from Noon to 5:00 p.m.

at Four Sisters Winery, 783 CR 519

Belvidere, NJ 07823

Come and enjoy the rolling hills of Belvidere NJ and drink in the wine that has not been tainted by the wild fire smoke-out.  That will be available in next year's bottlings.

May 10, 2007

I know my head gets foggy from wine and the clarity or wisdom and intelligence glosses over with dark cherry and currant.  Yet today I heard something on the radio that just didnít make sense, not even to me.  It seems that Reverend Al Sharpton had a comment for Presidential candidate Mitt Romney regarding Mittís religion.  Actually, the Holy Rev made a disparaging remark about all Mormons, saying they are not followers of God.  Today, Al got on his radio show and made a half-assed apology saying that if any Mormons were offended by his remarks, he was sorry and letís not politicizes this.  Hold your nappy-headed comments Rev, I believe Imus apologized directly to the people he offended and took ownership for what he said.  But that was not good enough for you and you werenít happy until he was fired, even though the people he commented about accepted his apology and didnít want him fired.

Here we go again with the double standard, two Americas that Sharpton keeps promoting.  It is OK for him to denigrate a religion and then say not to politicize it after he spent two weeks with his big fat ass and permed hair on the TV politicizing the Imus issue.  When will this guy be held accountable for the bullshit that flows from his mouth?  Why arenít people demanding Al be fired from his radio show?  I put out the call for all Mormons and Jesus-loving people to boycott the sponsors of the Al Sharpton radio show.  I would give you the link, but I cannot find it.  It is time for us to discredit this bozo and relegate him to the barber shop where he could speak for the locals in his world and not set the tone for America.

Hell no, Al must go!
Hell no, Al must go!

Let us band together and call his employers and say we are not going to accept anything less than his firing.  Unfortunately, I think that Mitt is such a class act he will accept Alís half-baked apology and want to move on and not stir anything else.  Since the Imus event, Al thinks he has power.  Let's put him back to reality.

May 9, 2007

The loud thunderous crash you heard last night was the result of the ďHell freezing overĒ glacier melting and collapsing into the Passaic River.  Al Gore, the planet is changing.  Last night, I had just sat down in front of my computer after a long day trip to Gaithersburg, Md, my phone buzzed that a new text message arrived.  I flipped open the cover on my Samsung 740 and the header read- message from Big Bob.  ďAt Bacchus with Riccardo, you around?Ē

Riccardo Tedeshi, my Veneto friend with an Amarone della Valpolicella Classico that is elegantly crafted offering rich fig and dried fruit flavors wrapped in a biscotti, was participating in a wine dinner, of which I was not invited.  It seems there is another wannabe web-hosting wine writer that Big Bob feels brings his company more notoriety, more sales, more panache and he was hosting this event.  I saddled up to the bar, broke the ice with Mike the bartender and ordered up a $19.99 glass of Jordan Cabernet.  After a string of expletives beginning with ďwhere the f#*@ you beenÖ.and ending with, youíre still an ass&$#@Ē, Mike and I caught up on 19 months of life.  Several stunning bits of information: Jimmy, my old friend suffered a double transplant (heart and kidney) and is recovering and doing well.  This was a shock as he had just settled into a new gig in Napa working for a winery.  Mike then introduced me to the new owner (no matter what he wears he will never look as good as Sylvia) and the new chef, Pete.  The new owner didnít spend much time, but I spoke out to Pete why I had not been eating there.  They told me the war stories of the old owners and the decline in business.  Then Mike offered to bring the cot out of the basement and set it up in the wine room if I would consider coming back and making an obnoxious drunk of myself.  We had a great conversation that normally would have ended in a group hug, but I will reserve that for a night when I can afford more than one glass of wine.

After the dinner ended, Riccardo came out to the bar to chat for awhile over a drink.  Big Bob was helping the ďotherĒ wine professional with some paperwork, and he turned and introduced me to Mr. Wine Writer with the simple, but cutting phrase, ďMr. Wine Writer- a real wine journalist meet Wino Bob a fake Wine Journalist.Ē  I guess I know which part of the wine barrel Big Bob thinks I am.

With the ice melted and Hell getting hotter, I told Mike and Pete I would be in soon for dinner.  I understand the quality of the meat has been significantly upgraded and the dry aging process is back on line.  I look forward to dining there in the next few weeks and see if my old home once again becomes my new home.  See you at Bacchus.

May 7, 2007

Last night was the one-year anniversary, thatís right, one full year and what did I find out?  Still a blue badger, though I found out that at the end of the month, the advisory board decides.  We had the spring dinner of the Essex County Wine Society, and one year ago I attended my initial event, the spring dinner.  I was told that if I attend, participate through the year, I could become a member.  Now I have to be reviewed and voted on and wait with baited breath to see if I cut the mustard.  For now, it is out of my control, so all I can say is that last night we ate at Vine in Basking Ridge.

We were greeted with flutes of Duval-Leroy non-vintage brut champagne and an assortment of appetizers.  The bar area was small and was hot and cramped making it difficult for the servers to circulate with the crab cakes, smoked salmon, beef hariza and veggie spring rolls.  In the hour I was there, I never saw a spring roll and there was only one pass of salmon.

The dining room was spacious and welcoming and I sat with those I met as first friends last year.  The first course was a potato-crusted tilapia married to a 2005 Jean-Marc Boillot Montagny Premier Cru White Burgundy.  Like gills to a fish, I think both needed each other to exist and thrive.  I enjoyed the pairing and found the sum greater than the parts.

The second course tailed downward for me, though the morel mushroom and English pea risotto was delicious, it was a tablespoon full at best and the 1996 Armand Rousseau Clos de La Roche Grand Cru Burgundy was musty and thin and paled next to the flavorful parmagiano shavings and white truffle oil.  The consensus at the table was that the Burgundy fell far short of the food offering.

Our main course was braised beef short ribs in a Barolo reduction that became the compliment to the 1989 Pichon-Longueville Baron Bordeaux. Great combination here, the meat was tender and robust with a well-structured wine providing backbone and balls in one shot. 

We finished the night with a plate of cheeses and a warm pecan gateau.  Seems like I spend my life waiting for gateauÖ

I sipped the 1990 Graham Quinta dos Malvedos Port, chatted with Woody about the charity he is forming, exchanged economic strategies with Mal, debated meritage with Karen and got directions to Montclair restaurants by Staceyís unique mapping system.  So Iíll wait and see and find out in a few weeks if I learn the secret handshake, or am destined to drink, alone, in my dank third floor room.

May 5, 2007

At 8:30 am, the sleeper couch was folded away and the pillow and blankets stacked neatly on the chair, one cup of coffee finished and a ponytail headed out the door.  I guess the adage that clear drinks poison the system least is testament to Wino Rockerís bright and bushytailed appearance early this morning.  He came over for what I thought would be a three-bottle night, but instead we dabbled in a bit of my Polish heritage.  Several months back, when I was waxing nostalgic, just after waxing my thong area (you know summer is coming), I read a bit about Vodka.  During my last trip to Bottle King I grabbed a small bottle of Chopin, the luxury of vodkas according to all their promotional materials.  I had it in my freezer for a week just chillin'.  So while the grill was heating up, we headed to the porch for a sampling of this quadruple filtered potato distilled spirit.  I donít know if it was the icy coolness, the summer weather or the fact that I blazed up a stogie, but this vodka was smooth and silky.  I laugh when I read about the taste of vodka, since in the next line they say it is a colorless, tasteless liquid.   Now I am no vodka expert, but this was a beverage I could sip and enjoy without making a contorted face.  Iím thinking of entering my scotch drinking face into the contest page of alcohol shot or big O. 

I forget what magazine I saw it in but each month they run 20 pictures and you try and guess if itís a face during an event they declare or from the Big O scene of a porn flick, hard to tell on some of them.    Though I never looked in the mirror after the straight swig of scotch, I have looked in the mirror for the Big O face.  Good Jesus, sweet Mother of God, that is some funny look. 

So I am contacting the good folks at the Chopin distillery and offering my new marketing slogan to them, ďChopin- so clean and smooth you donít make a goofy Big O face after drinking it.Ē  What do you think?  That should attract the 18-34 demo for them.

The other nice thing is that after a bottle, no headache, no throbbing, dull pounding or queasy stomach.  Potatoes, theyíre not just for breakfast anymore.  I do know that there are people out there that swear by Kettle One or Stoli or Gray Goose, but for me, I am sticking to the vodka that does it differently.  No grains here, just dirty tubers. As they say, there are seven pounds of Podlasic potatoes in each bottle.   

May 2, 2007

I just canít keep wine in the rack.  I had one day of shopping at Bottle King and now I am three bottles down from the case.  I bought this wine as I have two events coming one of which is a Wino Rocker crash night.  Basically that means he doesnít stop drinking until he crashes on the couch.  With three bottles missing, I donít know if I will have enough (9) to keep the old man going.  Good thing I drank the good stuff.  Actually, I must be on a cosmic upswing where my Jupiter is aligned with Mars, as the last two bottles I opened, I appreciated.  I am still thinking about the Aussie Grenache I had Sunday night, kind of like a junkie thinking about the last hit.  I might even say I had a Jones today for a big bold red.  But as I have practiced, I only purchase one of a type until I have tasted every producer around the world once, before I go and buy a second.  So tonight I opened a Pinotage, that South African special that is part pinot noir and part cinsault. So I say, Wino Bob, why do they call a cross of pinot noir and cinsault, pinotage?  Why not pinotault, or cinnoir?  Actually, Wino Bob, the reason is that cinsault was once called hermitage in the SA and the grape was named for the cross of pinot noir and hermitage.  I liken the term hermnoir, or herminoir.  Then again, nobody asked me.  Also, cinsault and cinsaut are like syrah and shiraz, different spellings for the same grape.  You say tomato, I say, this is all too pedantic.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed my bottle of wine and thatís one less WR will be consuming here Friday night.  I just hope he doesnít stay the weekend, because Wino Rocker, like fish, goes bad after three daysÖ.   

2003 FLEUR DU CAP PINOTAGE $ (8.99)  More heritage then pinot noir sports a robust offering of plum and sweet mulberry flavors.  This is delightful for the price; make that very enjoyable for the price.

April 30, 2007

Last night, as I was recovering from the none-too-often yard work, I had a glass of red and HBO keeping me company.  I watch TV differently.  I look for the wine scenes and try to make out what they are drinking.  Last night, Tony was serving a red and like most scenes, the label was not discernable from the camera angle.  Most shows seem to use wine as a prop but a few shows blatantly show the label.  I am a newbie to Entourage, I only picked it up last season, but last night there was a well-displayed bottle of Y3 on the table in one scene.  Make no bones about it, they wanted that label to be in the scene.  I was not familiar with Y3, so I looked them up and found the brand at www.jaxvineyards.com.  It seems that Wino Johnís theory of techno-dweeb and wine is further bolstered by the owners of this winery.  Trent Jackson, son of Dave and Jane Jackson, left his Silicon Valley gig at VA Linux to try his hand at making a new label from some of his parentís grapes.  Soon, his sister Kimberly joined the wine venture and together they created Y3 in tribute to their grandparents who used Y3 as their cattle brand.  I have never had Y3 nor have I been cattle-branded with the Y3 insignia, so I will be on the hunt for this wine.  I figure if Aquaman could drink this with his newfound love/agent, Wino Bob could drink Y3 with, uhhhh, by himself.  I donít yet know why one HBO show would hide a wine label and one almost advertise the brand but I will look further into it and see why they donít have a bottle of Winostuff Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir on the white linen table cloth next to the Y3 spill.  Hollywood is missing out on a major deal.  Looks like the Y3 is produced as a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc and I smell summer coming to NJ quickly.  I am thinking that the good people at techno-dweeb central, the heart and soul of Jax Vineyards, could find a way to get some sauvignon blanc out here for porch season.  I wonder if Kimberly has an Y3 tat on her ass?  (Editor's note: Yeah, NOW they will certainly send us a bottle...)

Though I must say, I had a very pleasurable red wine while watching the Sunday night HBO line up for wine placement.  The wine was a keeper right from the first time I smelled it.  Wow, it had intensity and dark fruit and licorice and a wonderfully heavy aroma.  I sipped and I smiled and I sat and I drank.  I found one that I havenít had in a while, a wine that gave me what I expected and then turned it up one more to eleven.  This wine is an Aussie Grenache, a grape I love from any country that makes it well.  But all I could think of while I was drinking it was if I could blend this with Justice Georgeís Guilty, I would be a wine genius for big red wine lovers.  I said to myself, aloud mind you, between the end of the Sopranos and the beginning of Entourage, that this is rich bold wine would make a great bedfellow with Georgeís crafty Shiraz.  Unfortunately, I didnít listen too closely to myself, and I polished off the bottle.  Now, I am ready to head back to Bottle King for another few and with one, I am tempted to do some home alchemy.  Yes, this just might be the birth of my wine label, The Mad Alchemisttm, where I buy wines I like and blend them myself and slap my Mad Alchemisttm labels on the wine.  What better way to make something great than when you already know there is something great to start with and you donít have to go through all the trouble of growing the grapes and picking them and crushing them andÖ..

I wonder what Petrus and Cyrus would taste like together.  I just might have to secure a few test samples of Petrus from Big Bob, for experimental purposes only.

Hereís one of WBís latest recommendations.

2003 Kilikanoon Prodigal Grenache Clare Valley $ (18.99)    This wine drinks bold and rich with a lot of licorice, a bit of spice and dark rich berries. 

April 27, 2007

The past few days were full of interesting experiences, but unfortunately nothing wine-related that would make for a great entry.  I do want to send out a big thank you to Robin Richie, host of Imagine That.  She invited me to the taping of her 9th Anniversary on air.  It was a great night, even though it was a dry night.  The funny thing was how unrhythmic a stick figure I am.  Robinís program showcases African American musicians and actors.  There were live performances and the audience was rockin', well all the audience except the Al Gorish, stiff, offbeat Wino Bob.  There was one camera trained on the reactions from the people enjoying the show.  I hope they edit out my inability to clap on beat.  So, congratulations and Happy Birthday to Robin, and a shout out to my new homeys, Mo Beasley, Dev, Jeremy James and The Christopher Complex.  Holla back, yíall.  Robin was kind enough to introduce me to her talent for the show and she kept calling me a 'wine expert'.  I need her to read some of the crap I write to dispel that image.  I had brought a bottle of champagne and thought I might get a chance to showcase my sabering, but she nixed that when she saw the youtube thing.

Last night I had dinner with Bob Kranzlin, the DP of UnCorked.  (Yes, our UnCorked, not the Queer Eye Guy Uncorked.)  He and his business partner, Steve Zuckerman of Total Access Live (a Grammy award winning producer) were nice enough to break bread at my table.  Bob (Christ-I need to get friends with names other than Bob) asked about picking wine for foods.  I started out snarky and pedantic, then bled into my true feelings of the pairings question, and then remembered a company that would help him.  I told him to visit www.winethatloves.com.  The good folks at the Amazing Food and Wine Company in San Francisco, California have simplified the task. 

They have developed a line of wines called the Wine That Loves series.  There is a wine that loves spaghetti, pizza, grilled salmon, grilled steak and roasted chicken.  How do you know which is which?  Because it says it right on the label with word and picture.  Bouf, look at the picture of the chicken, or the fish, or the T-bone steak, and you will be delighted with the symbiotic relationship between bottle content and plate content.  They donít describe the wine, but talk about the characteristics of the food and what the wine has to compliment those flavors or sensations.  Hey, I heard next year they are working on a Wine That Loves Rocky Mountain Oysters and Wine That Loves Sweetbreads.  Drink upÖ

April 24, 2007

I felt I had to drink tonight just so I could update my page.  Things have been stale as of late, I just am torn by wanting to become a political social commentator but that negates the title of this web site.  I will say that the Imus fall out has claimed another show for racial comments.  Yes, JV and Elvis on 92.3 Free FM found out that 'free' is relating to cost not verbiage.  This is the season to attack white males as they have little support or defense.  Now the fragmented dictionary adds another section, the Chinese entries.  The word LICE is ok if speaking about the bugs in nappy hair, but it is off limits when used in any connection to the word Flied.  This dictionary fragmentation is getting too confusing.

The stories surrounding that deadliest job, NJ Governor just keeps getting stranger.  The current guy will be getting a ticket since he didnít click it.  That is once he is off the ventilator and when he is out of the body cast and can use his broken hand to sign the ticket.  The old Gayvenator is all over the news for the divorce and the book and the life of said straight/bi/gay Jim McGreevey, turnpike gloryhole treat-getter.

Its just one crazy world and that is why I need to escape to the Bering Sea (thanks Mrs. WR) and a glass of red from the Spanish comfort zone of Rioja.  Embarrassingly, I had to go out today and buy some wine.  I have some people coming on Thursday who have an interest in viewing the cellar.  They are a long shot hope on helping the UnCorked series getting off the ground.  I did find out that DOC City Productions had something to do with the Queer Eye Guy Uncorked, so now I need to get the crack Winostuff legal experts on the case.  Wino John, remind me who the crack legal team is again.  (Editor's note:  Uhhhmmm, I think you are the crack legal team this week...)

So now I cheer for Sig and his crew to land the crab and, as an underdog, I hope the Cornelia Marie gets fixed so Phil could get back into the game.  Looks like Blake had a good run so for now I will sit on the couch and enjoy my wine and take solace in the fact I am not in 30-foot seas.  As my earlier recanting attests to, my stomach turns inside out on the waves, and I would not be able to get out of the bunk if I had to make my living from the vast waters of Alaska.  And, as this show grinds to a close, I will switch to Miami Ink and dream of the day I can muster the courage to have a tat needled into my twig arm.

2004 Faustino VII Rioja $ (8.99)  A blend of 95% tempranillo and 5% mazuelo showing great blackberry and dark cherry with a smooth vanilla finish from the oak.

April 20, 2007

I hope you survived the tax period.  I am seething inside regarding the hypocrisy of MSNBC and the Virginia Tech tragedy just one week after their moral stand against Imus.  I especially find Keith Olbermann a weenie and a person that speaks out only after the issue is over, but that is not what this entry is about.  All wine all the time is my new motto. 

Here is my tip for the day (I am copying the style of blogging from other wine pages that are appearing on TV and in newsprint). 

When wine is on your mind and you only have limited time, then go for something that is full and fruity and high in alcohol, like the recent bottle I shared with WJ at lunch.  I stand behind this bottle for one that will qualify as a nice bottle for a decent occasion and one which will drive you over the 0.08 after your first glass.  This was a smooth and lusciously big wine with a kick-ass amount of alcohol.  As I have mentioned before Rosenblum Cellars seeks grapes that fit their style and this one not only fits their style, but graciously fits mine.  Though a wine priced in the once a week category, it is worth every penny.

2003 Rosenblum Sonoma County Zinfandel, Monte Rosso Vineyard $$ (38.00)   NICE-89% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Unidentified Black Grapes.  I just donít want to know what the unidentified black grape is but I will tell you, it delivers.

April 15, 2007

I just reread my last few entries and now realize why I am never interviewed by the press for wine articles.  I love wine but I have a soft spot for topical commentary.  As I review the competitive pages, it seems they stick to wine and wine related crap and I stray into areas my wine soaked brain takes me.  Social justice, political buffoonery and eulogies, I stress even my staunchest of readers to come back and visit when I rail against the things in my heart that need to be said.  For now, I will speak more to wine and less to the world spinning out of control around us.  

I went back to my roots and while shopping at Kings and grabbed a Rhone.  I thought it was time to remind me of what drew me to do this page with WJ.  The cedar, spicy blends from the Southern Rhone region in France where grenache and syrah line the slopes and the golden sun and cool river breezes produce a captivating wine.

While I poured out my first glass, I realized there is a question I have been researching with little result to this point.  So I ask if anyone reading this could point me in the right direction for the answer.  I have an older bottle of champagne that I acquired from a source that might have had poor storage conditions.  Is there any device or technique to help determine if the champagne is still alive?  I know Wino Wally is Mr. Wine Gadget, but I have not seen anything to this point that could verify if I was ripped off in that the sparkle has left the bottle, Elvis.  So if there is something, please email me.

Unfortunately, the Rhone I picked showed none of the properties that it should.  Cheap wine is cheap wine and I was sucked in on this one.  But it gets me back on the straight and narrow.

2005 Chateau Beauchene Gran Reserve $ (9.99)    I had high hopes for this Grenache-Syrah blend but was I disappointed.

April 14, 2007-1

I wanted to start out with a correction.  Yes, the educated one in the Wino Rocker household, that would be Mrs. Wino Rocker, called me out on the misspelling of the Bering Sea.  My apologies to the king crab population and the king crab fisherman of the Bering Sea.  Next week I will be enrolling in crab sensitivity training classes and will no longer be using the term, hard-shelled crusties. 

April 14, 2007

Never let it be said that Wino Bob doesnít sleep with the enemy from time to time.  Ah, let me clarify that.  What I meant to express, was from time to time I will bring to light when someone I usually heartily disagree with makes a valiant point.  Through the non-stop commentary on the Imus situation, it seems bad people could do and say good things.  Yes, I find myself this morning feeling less at odds with the Ichobod Crane looking, Floyd-the-barber sounding Tom Olyphant, Alan Colmes and Bill Maher.  These three far left agenda driven show hosts all were stand up people regarding JD I-Man.  The usually annoying Olyphant was solid from Monday through Friday in his position with Don.  Alan and Bill were more the ďlet everyone say what they willĒ we donít want a language double standard or a word draft (yes they did get that from me). 

Good thing cause the word ďbitchĒ was too difficult to assign just one group.  Dog trainers and the adult video industry fought hardest to keep their rights to use it in industry trade.

The one phony show host through this was none other than the low ratings prime time host on MSNBC, Keith Olbelmann (yes the guy that brings merlot to women he meets through email).  Funny, he did a story last night on the Karl Rove missing emails and he veiled a reference to his own email troubles.  But the hypocrisy from the guy who tries to boost his lowly rated show by daily naming bigger show hosts as worst person of the day was evident.  KO took the moral high ground against Bill OíRielly not denouncing the book OJ was going to publish through Rupert Murdochís publishing arm.  Keith is so tweaked by the fact the Bill has 4 times his audience that he fixated on everything OíRielly.  So if Bill is a bad guy for not standing up against his employer, why doesnít the same standard hold for him?  Good question, Wino Bob.  Yes, Keith weaseled and mumbled some lame bullshit when called out on why he was not speaking out about MSNBCís inaction earlier in the week if he felt Imus should be fired.  He hid behind some ďI canít comment about what is going on behind the scenes.Ē  As with most liberal media personnel, they are the moral arbiters for all of us but they donít have to live by their own positions.  This makes Keith The Worst Person in the Known Universe.

As we go forward, this is the 7th day that Whoopiís company is still called One Ho Productions since the declaration that Ho hurts womankind.  For those interested, you can send a message to Ms. Goldberg at her show Wake Up With Whoopi, www.whoopi.com.  I sent an email right after her appearance on Opie and Anthony where she hung up on their questioning her position defending Ted Danson.  I have yet to hear from the Whoopster or her staff regarding her companyís name in light of her wanting Imus fired.

April 13, 2007

I donít know if you saw the News Alert last night.  No, not the Imus being fired from WFAN.  That was earlier in the day.  No, the alert I am talking about is the cancellation of The Deadliest Catch.  Yes, this show documenting the number one most dangerous job, king crab fishing in the Barring Sea, amuses me every season.  I could not handle a pitching boat in 40-foot seas and freezing temperatures.  My stomach chum would be permanently frozen to my chin, slicker, hair and any deckhand within 8 feet.  It seems that king crab fishing is no longer the most dangerous job in the world.  No, it has been edged out by being elected Governor of the state of New Jersey.  Not to make light of a very serious situation, last night Governor Corzine was rushing from Atlantic City to the Governorís mansion to mediate a discussion between the fired John Donald Imus and the Rutgerís womenís basketball team when his SUV swerved from a truck that shifted lanes.  The SUV skidded out of control and appeared to have rolled over.  The Governorís injuries indicate he was NOT wearing a seat belt as he suffered a compound fracture of the femur, 12 broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a broken sternum and lacerations about the head. 

The history of New Jersey Governors with broken bones runs as follows:  Christy Todd Whitman suffered a broken leg while skiing on vacation.  Then, under a cloud of mystery, Gayvenator James E. McGreevey broke his femur when he tour en líaired off a sea wall in Cape May.  Though news reports claimed he was having dinner with his ďwifeĒ, persons close to the situation are on record that Mrs. McGreevey had to be helicoptered to the scene. Now Governor John Corzine will be in critical care for quite some time. 

Whoever thought taking political contributions, making backroom deals, marching in a few parades and signing higher taxes could end in bones being shattered.  We wish the Governor a speedy recovery so he can get back to Trenton and yank more money out of the pockets of the working class.  We hope his pen hand was not injured so he will be able to sign into law more oppressive shell game shams for giving back little and taking a lot and calling it property tax relief.  We only hope the acting Governor, Dick Codey, could have reversed the ponzi scheme called taking increased sales tax to close budget gap, then spending as property tax rebates and leaving a gaping hole in the process. 

I have a suggestion, maybe the Governorís detail should obey the speed limits and he should wear a seatbelt.

April 12, 2007-1

Well, there will be one unemployed quacking duck tomorrow morning when my alarm rings at 6am.  The final breath for forgiveness, repentance and changing for the better has been squeezed from the lungs of John Donald Imus.  About 30 minutes ago, CBS announced they have permanently let go their flagship talent.  Now the question will be, what next?  What will the newly-empowered hate monger, Al Sharpton attack?  I would like to have the opportunity to ask Al how many white people does he employ?  I would like to know when Steven Pegones gets his public apology?  I want to know when the good Reverend will be in Essex Fells, and mostly I want to know why Pentecostal ministers do not believe in forgiveness?  Imus immediately hit the apology tour, he sought out a meeting with the Rutgers team, but none of this was enough for the man of the cloth.

This firing has opened a Pandoraís box which could one day impact what words appear on this page.  I am saddened to think that media companies now will be arm-twisted into listening to him.  If they do, then there needs to be a clear message, it aint right for ANYONE to use the language you criticized Imus for using if you truly want to help all women of color.  Look at where entertainment and media will be 5 years down the road.  Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, Rap as a genre, BET as a network, any morning radio show, even the meanness of Simon Cowel will forever be altered from this day forward. 

So it looks like John Edwardís campaign slogan, ďWe live in two AmericasĒ is more prophetic today than when he coined it.  We are seeing the media and entertainment world now and forever shrouded in a fight for the use of words.  It comes to this, there will be a word draft in December 2007, monitored by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  Here are a few issues being scouted.  "Ho" will remain acceptable for rap lyrics and black comedians but "Hoe" remains the property in the Amish for farming descriptions.  "Nappy" is acceptable in the black community along with Brits when referring to diapers for their snotty-nosed kids and for mothers around America when addressing children under 4 years of age.  "Nappy" cannot be used by white males over 21.  "Ludicris" is solely trademarked by a rap star and can be sparingly used when describing this column.  And here is my petition, the N-word is off limits to ALL.  Respect oneself to gain the respect of others.  This story is just beginning and it will spin for quite awhile.  I have an idea, if Mr. Sharpton wants equality in media, I suggest Keith Olberman step down from his MSNBC show and give a brother a chance to make MSNBC less white all night.  I look forward to seeing what show replaces Imus tomorrow morning.

 

 

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Please read the paragraphs below in red, why is this OK with Reverend Al????

Whoopi Goldberg

AKA Caryn Elaine Johnson

Born: 13-Nov-1955Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Female
Religion: AtheistRace or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight 
Occupation: Actor, Comic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: In-your-face dreadlocked comedian

As an actress, Whoopi Goldberg is best known for her first featured role in The Color Purple, and her Oscar-winning performance in Ghost. As a comedian, she is famous for performing mildly offensive material with a blasť but endearing "laugh or go to hell" delivery.

Goldberg has always loved shocking the audience to silence, almost as much as hearing the laughter. Early in her career, her routine included spot-on cross-ethnic impersonations -- sexually active surfer chicks, down-and-out bums, pervert priests -- and then she would casually describe how she'd used a coat hanger to perform an abortion on herself when she was 14. She is often funny, but being aggressively blunt is also part of Goldberg's schtick -- an odd tactic for a comedian.

Goldberg grew up in a housing project in New York City. Her father, a preacher, abandoned the family, leaving Goldberg's mother to raise two children alone. Goldberg has credited Nichelle Nichols, Uhura on the original Star Trek, as a key inspiration. "When I was nine years old," Goldberg says, "Star Trek came on, and I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, 'Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick -- there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!'"

Goldberg started on stage at the city's Hudson Guild Community Center, and eventually moved to California, where she did experimental theater and supported herself with low-paying jobs as a manual laborer. When she confided to her mother that she needed an outrageous stage name to match her material, something more memorable than "Caryn Johnson", her mom mulled it over and dreamed up "Whoopi Goldberg".

In the 1970s, Goldberg sang chorus roles in stage productions of Hair, Pippin, and Jesus Christ Superstar, and performed in a Berkeley experimental group, the Blake Street Hawkeyes. There, she was "discovered" by director Mike Nichols, who helped get Goldberg's one-woman performance piece, The Spook Show, booked on Broadway. Goldberg's bitchy, angry, but funny pathos got strong notices, and got the attention of someone in Steven Spielberg's office. She was asked to audition for the lead role in The Color Purple, which was definitely not a comedy. The movie was a critical and popular success, Goldberg was nominated for an Oscar.

She made a series of underrated comedies like Jumpin' Jack Flash and Burglar, played the wise bartender in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and won an Oscar as the phony psychic in Ghost. She also made several appallingly awful films before impersonating a nun in the amusing Sister Act and Sister Act 2. She starred in the compelling civil rights drama The Long Walk Home, but has mostly made her screen career in supporting roles. Goldberg's other memorable films include Clara's Heart, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Boys on the Side, and Girl, Interrupted.

She also had a short-lived TV sitcom, Whoopi; replaced Nathan Lane in a Broadway revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; and served as emcee at several "Comic Relief" performances, raising funds for homeless-related charities. Jumping past the boundaries of what's allowed on network TV, Goldberg filmed several comedy specials for HBO. She has hosted the Oscars ceremonies several times, always with borderline blue material. Her Oscar telecasts have twice been nominated for Emmys.

In 1993, her then-boyfriend Ted Danson spoke in blackface at a Friars Club roast, in a bit later revealed to have been written by Goldberg. It was universally reported as having been in horrendously bad taste, and the photos of Danson in Al Jolson get-up were everywhere in the media for days. Goldberg thought it was hilarious, and still says so, though only the people who were in the room can honestly say, since nobody else has actually heard the material.

She started her own company, One Ho Productions, in 1992, to produce and syndicate a late-night talk show, The Whoopi Goldberg Show. In 1995, One Ho revived Goldberg's favorite game show from her childhood, The Hollywood Squares, and Goldberg took Paul Lynde's old center square seat.

In 2004, Goldberg performed at a fundraiser for John Kerry's presidential campaign, and made several off-color allusions to sexual synonyms for President George W. Bush's last name. A few days later, she was fired as spokeswoman for Slim-Fast weight-loss products.

April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut RIP

I am partially saddened by the news that novelist and satirist, Kurt Vonnegut died today at age 84.  The younger Wino Bob is a huge fan and proudly displayed the 17 titles of Mr. Vís in hopes that it elevated my sense of intellect.  I was just one whom chuckled at poopie jokes until they saw my heady collection of the Vonnegut writings.  Kurt started as a geek engineer for GE in Schenectady, NY and blazed a trail as an observer of social conscientiousness.  I marveled at Ice 9 and I had a crush on Mrs. Rosewater.  But the last time I saw him was on the Bill Mahre show.  Unfortunately, I boxed my books and hung my head.  He was so over the top about how America sucks and what bad people we are.  So I say farewell to the geek engineer turned novelist and will appreciate his writings that I have read.  I did not purchase two of his recent works in protest of his rhetoric.  Maybe we are just Wampeters, Fomas and Granfalloons.  Good Night, and Welcome to the Monkey House.

As an aside, Whoopiís company is still named One Ho Productions.  MSNBC replaced Imus this morning with a special on Imus being fired at MSNBC and Reverend Al has vowed that this is just the beginning of his cleaning up the airwaves.  Oh, and still no visit to the Essex Fellís home of one Duke lacrosse player for the apology from AL Samuel Sharpton (ASS).

April 11, 2007

Mark todayís date in your calendar.  It will be now known forever forward as the day the entertainment world changed.  At 6pm, while I sat unwinding from the day, sipping a glass of Pinot Noir, the alert came over my cable TV that MSNBC fired Imus.  OK, that is their obligation, yet what followed was the scariest thing I have heard.  Al Sharpton was in a press conference saying that this firing will now let us look at what can and cannot be said on the public airwaves.  Please do not think I am defending Imusí totally out-of-line statement.  As MSNBC spent the night covering the story that MSNBC has fired Imus, the Reverend Al has now been elevated to FCC commissioner.  The irony is that the news should have been the press conference regarding the complete and total innocence of the Duke lacrosse players.  Wino Wally should be trumpeting the words that the bright shine is back on the star at Duke.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should be on every news show answering the tough questions regarding their words and deeds against these three young men that they tried to railroad without facts on a racial bias.  They are unequivocally innocent, yet their case is nowhere to be found.  Instead, Jesse and Al were in front of NBC, winning their case and now heading to protest in front of CBS, chanting, ďImus must go.Ē  OK, so we are set for a national debate, I call on Reverend Al to hand over his iPod so I can see what he is listening to and see if he is walking the talk. 

So we can now thank Imus for handing the power back to Al Sharpton, just on the precipice of the turning tide that Barrack Obama was starting to gain public support as black community leader.  Now we are back to dealing with an unchallenged Al Sharpton.  Does no one in the ass hat media have the balls to call Al on the carpet for his position on the Duke case, or the Brawley case or the Harlem shop owner incident?  This guy ran for President in the Democrat primary yet has such a sordid past that the liberal media glosses over. I have a difficult time having him tell me what can be on my radio.

By the way does Al listen to WBLS and the hate speech coming off that station?  And if 'Ho' is the word that lead to Imusí firing, why is it OK for Whoopi Goldberg to name her production company One Ho Productions?  Does Al not see a problem with that?  Oh Goldberg is not Jewish, sheís black, oh never mind.

2003 Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley $ (19.99) I am a big fan of RS and I found this to pleasantly deliver red fruits and a vanilla aftertaste.  Nice job here.

April 10, 2007

I had too much driving to do on Easter Sunday to consume wine and partake in the Blood of Christ on the most Holiest of Days.  Jesus died for my hedonistic sins so I should have been able to drink a toast to him on this day.  My water remained water in my tumbler.  Today, I got a chance to sit down with a bottle of red and reflect on several pressing issues that have made the news cycle recently.

First, everyone mentioned the snow shower on Easter Sunday.  I drove through a very steady storm for 8 miles on the Parkway.  OK, I am skipping the easy joke about global warming and throwing out several things to think about.  As the beginning of winter seemed warmer, yet the beginning of spring is met with snow, can we just be in a season shift that no longer aligns with the man made calendar?  What if the average winter temperatures are warmer, within the defined days of winter and the summer temperatures are a bit cooler in the start of the season.  Could a slight shift, by a .01% on the Earthís axis create this change?  Or more likely, can the sun be changing?  I watch Discovery and they talk of the change a star goes through as it ages.  Ultimately it swells, and in our case, the sun will swell in diameter, beyond our orbital radius.  So what if the sun grew just by a factional degree, could that account for the additional heat to our planet?  Do we really know truly, the beginning and the end of our sun?  It just seems to be an issue bigger than us.

Just as important, I am filing a legal petition to the Bahamian government regarding the calibration method in their DNA test facility.  I would like to see their stick figure calibration solution.  It seems that by default, Larry Birkhead gets custody of my baby.  I am sure he only matched 99.95% and my sample didnít match at all on their scale.  Nevertheless, I still stand firm on the fact that I am the father of Anna Nicole Smithís baby.

Hold on, let me take several more swigs of my South African red wine.  Did I mention it was a South African red? 

On Easter Sunday, my dad asked what I thought of the Imus mess.  Frankly, early Sunday morning, there wasnít much beyond a few blurbs on some of the Internet.  But as Sunday turned into Monday, and now for the last 48 hours, it is the only story.  The NY radio circuit and cable news channels are wall-to-wall Imus.  What gets me the most about this incident is that it features Al Sharpton as the moral arbiter for the Rutgers Womenís Basketball Team.  Why Reverend Al?  I thought we just learned that Barrack Obama is the new black leader, so why didnít Imus go to him?  By meeting with Al Sharpton, Imus elevated Al beyond where he should be in consideration of his track record.  I donít follow Alís every position, but I do know that Al was not all over TV when a young black man in NYC beat a 92 year old white woman for $32 from her church collection money.  I also havenít seen Rev. Al apologizing to three Duke lacrosse players that he rushed to judgment and convicted in the court of public opinion.  Now we are finding out that they are innocent, but the damage has been done to their lives and their families.  One of the Duke players lives in the next town over and his family has written several letters to the local paper asking for their familyís reputation back.  But Rev. Al has not visited Essex Fells to meet with this family. 

Can someone explain to me how Al started speaking for the Rutgers players?  Rutgers is my Alma mater and if now, Rev Al is an official representative for the University, I will no longer be contributing to the school.  Well, I havenít actually been a contributor, but now I know why I havenít, because all that money would have been misrepresented.

I told you this is a South African red wine right?

In my drunken opinion, the Imus comment was a joke gone bad, but its not the only tasteless joke Imus made that day or that week or that month.  If you listen to Imus, it was within his character.  So why, after all the crap he does, did this one make the tipping point profile and get mass media attention?  I heard from Jesse Jackson and Rev Al that it was racist.  But today, I heard from the coach and players that they were upset by his degrading remark. 

For those not familiar, get out from under a rock and watch TV.  Just so you know, Imus called the Rutgerís WBT "nappy-headed hoes".  They were upset by the use of the word 'hoes'.  So itís a sexist remark, not a racist remark.  The crazy thing is that the woman in the Duke case did have an unkempt hair style and was getting paid for sex, which makes her an 'unkempt haired women of the night', aka 'a nappy headed ho'. 

The most chilling result was the way that many of the local radio shows toned down their programs today.  They were self-censoring and now the snowball is starting to roll down the hill.  Imus will be eventually kicked off radio, then Opie and Anthony, then JV and Elvis, then Stern, then conservatives, then liberals.. and what will we be left with?  You got it, we will all hate the French.  Even Al Sharpton will hate the French.

So everything Imus said up to this point was funny, but now he must be fired?  Imus makes an art out of trying to get politicians and pundits to say something horrible on his airwaves, and if you donít like it, there are 100s of other stations you can listen to.  The market will deal with Imus if people truly donít want to listen any longer, but for Al Sharpton to be on every show as the leader for this lynching is ridiculous. 

2003 KWV Roodeberg $ (11.99)   This blend is dominated by cabernet sauvignon and shows black cherry, chocolate and spice, an everyday drinker that shows promise.

April 5, 2007

Like Paul, I sat down to break bread with my fellow and fellowette members of our northern New Jersey wine group last night.  Before the cock crowed, Big Bob denied knowing me three times.  Actually, the large response for dinner at Table 8 had the seating arrangements a bit split up.  I was relegated to the kiddie table, behind a wall, well away from the two tables of ten near the front window.  The small group turned out to be a load of laughs, and a diverse selection of wine.  Surprisingly, out of the six others at my table, no one wanted the chardonnay.  It was a table of red drinkers and cabernet was the varietal of the day.  Well, I might as well get it out right now; everyone was very much into adhering to the wine theme, everyone EXCEPT Stan.  Yes, as 23 of the 24 members took the time to bring a bottle of chardonnay or cabernet from anyplace other than California, Stan brought his bottle from, ah, Australia, and his cabernet was a Shiraz.  It seems to me that someone is crying out for attention.  Hey look at me, I donít follow the rules!  Iím my own person, a non-conformist, a, a, someone who doesnít take the time to read the invitation.  

Table 8 is an impressive Montclair restaurant hosted by owner/chef Demetri Malki.  No, not the Demetri Malki of the John Stewart show.  This Demetri Malki is a food wizard.  Though we had to do a prix fixe menu because of the size of the group, it is worth a visit back to order from the menu.  We shared appetizers of calamari, bacon wrapped dates, seafood risotto and a hearty salad.  I had the grilled Atlantic salmon for dinner.  Then, to end a great meal, a dessert platter dressed the table with chocolate mousse cake, peanut butter pastry and a raspberry tart.  The compliment of the night came from one member at my table when she said, ďthe peanut butter pastry was the shit.Ē  Which I later found out meant it was really good.  Demetri was a gracious host, stopping by to make sure we were well fed.  As the night ground down, I had a nice conversation with Demetri as he rattled off top-notch wines he has in his personal collection.  One of his favorites happens to be Sassicaia.  Now how do I work my way into Demetriís wine cellar?  God damn it, I forgot to ask where he lives.

Shiraz Stan showed up fashionably late and ended up at the front table, prominently displayed in the window on Bloomfield Ave.  He was the proud peacock among the female guests.  I was too secluded to hear his conversation but one of the members came up to me later asking me if it was true that the Aussie name for cabernet sauvignon grape is really shiraz.  I sent a paper around trying to capture the list of all the wine members brought, but somehow it only looks like I got a portion of it.

2000 Oriel VQM Cabernet Sauvignon Chile- this was one I brought and I was disappointed, it had an off, burnt hair smell on the nose.

2004 Newton Johnson Chardonnay South Africa- this was the other wine I brought and I was quite impressed, nicely oaked but not over the top with citrus and mineral and flint flavors.  I would buy this one again.

2003 Meerlust Chardonnay South Africa

2004 Santa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

2001 Cabo de Hornos Cabernet Sauvignon Chile- the name says it all

2004 Terra Noble Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

2005 Casa LaPostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

2004 Los Vasco Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

2004 Cousino Macal Antiguas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

2004 Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon Australia

2005 Craneford Mollyís Place Cabernet Sauvignon Australia

2004 Navarro Correas Cabernet Sauvignon Chile

2004- Stanís Special Shiraz he picked up at WaWa in Tuckerton, NJ or something like that.

I know the list isnít complete since Susan brought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Amalthea Winery in NJ that was quite good and I saw a bottle of Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon that Big Bob contributed.  Somehow, isolated from the grownupís, I managed to miss a number of the wines.  We didnít keep up with the bottle swap (nsa) like we have in the past.

I enjoy the meetup group message board after one of our events as the purpose of the group is reflected in the entries.  For me, it is all about a fun night out, with good food, and trying different wines.  No matter if I am in the land of misfit toys or at the big peopleís table, Iím just glad to be part of the group. I was happy to break bread and drink this wine with my fellow disciples on the evening marked by the Last Supper.

April 2, 2007

It was funny reading all the April Fool wine web blogs, one even pretending to be purchased by Wine Spectator.  Boy, where did I hear that before?  Yes, that ole gag seemed to be at the top of the list for several prominent sites.  That is why I decided to observe the tenants of Palm Sunday instead of All Foolís Day.  I tried to enlighten myself about the origins of making things up and having people believe the source, but found little, except maybe the journalistic pre-requisite for becoming a New York Times staff writer.  Next year it might be called, Old Grey Lady Day, or Jason Blair Day.

April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day, a holiday of uncertain origin, known for practical joking and celebrated on the first of April. Prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1564, the date was observed as New Year's Day by cultures as varied as the Roman and the Hindu. The holiday is considered to be related to the festival of the vernal equinox, which occurs on Mar. 21. The English gave April Fool's Day its first widespread celebration during the 18th cent.

There were made up stories about Rosie OíDonnell and Donald Trump fighting over wines at a NYC restaurant, and Paris Hilton being the new spokesperson for Bordeaux and Wino Wally buying a vineyard in Napa and Wino John updating his entry to April 1, 2007 date.  It really doesnít matter because at this point does anyone read a headline on April 1st and get sucked into believing it?  Be like me, I donít believe the news headlines any day of the year, why would I believe them on All Foolís Day?

2003 Paul Jaboulet Aine Saint-Joseph Le Grand Pompee $$ (24.99)

April 1, 2007

I was planning a very large April Foolís entry but didnít want to be smited by a bolt of lighting from on high.  Yes, the collision of April Foolís Day and Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, has the devil/angel in me fighting a Donnybrook.  It could have been something along the lines of me starting small and converting a glass of water into wine, or me showing up early at mass and replacing the host with sugar wafer cookies, or maybe me making a six foot life-like size Jesus on a cross out of chocolate and calling it My Sweet Lord.  Oh wait, someone beat me to it.  Yes in the never ending free for all on the Catholic religion, some artist made a large, nude Jesus out of chocolate.  Do what you like, hell there have been candy crosses for years, but if you make Jesus out of chocolate, why make him anatomically exposed?  What is the purpose of leaving off the loincloth?  Somehow that is not in good taste.  By the way, is that a solid milk chocolate or hollow?  A hollow holy Christ, the only holy figure someone could make without there being a riot or someone dying.

Speaking of hollow, I might describe the wine I tasted drank last night.  I thought I was going to describe it as thin, or watery or short on the finish, but instead I shall call it hollow. My desire to drink overrode my desire to collect and I uncorked a 2003 Bordeaux far too soon. I enter this most Holy of Holy Times preparing for my last supper with our northern New Jersey wine meetup group.  It will be nice to break bread with them at Table 8 and I rest comfortable knowing there are 20 not 13 at the table.  I will be bringing a bottle of water in divine hope that by the time we uncork it, my faith, my religion and my cheapness will have turned it into a top quality cabernet sauvignon.  Then again, since I am going to hell for thinking this way, I might be drinking everyone elseís wine.

2003 Chateau Phelan Segur Saint Estephe $$ (28.99)   This blend of 50% merlot, 45% cabernet sauvignon, 4% cabernet franc and 1% petite verdot had black fruit but a hollow finish making it a disappointment. 


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