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This page contains Winings from the 2nd Quarter of the year 2009.

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June 28, 2009

A while back I was in search of a wine I could really get into and I decided to experiment with wines from Cahors (ca-whores).  Cahors is the birthplace of dark, inky wines that stain the bottom of the cork disturbingly black. All wines from Cahors must contain at least 70% of the grape Auxerrois, also known as Cot, also known as Malbec.  Malbec is my go to cigar wine. The classic style of Cahors wine is deeply colored, rich in flavor, and well structured with ample tannins and high alcohol.  My experimentation to date has yielded little wine that I have found enjoyable.  That is until last night.  We headed out to Porciniís for a bite.  I went to the basement and grabbed a bottle from my speculation section.  Several days ago, I saw this wine and figured for the price I could give Cahors one last try.  It turns out that this one caught my attention.  The wine is 2007 Clos La Coutale and sells for around $13.99.  The 2007 is 80% Malbec and 20% merlot giving this a softer, rounded finish and making it drinkable now though a few years in the bottle is not going to hurt this wine.  At 13% alcohol, itís firm but not hot and has me interested once again in this region.  I wonít be hunting the world but will be asking that this one be offered through High Point Wines as a nice value wine and a pleasing example of Cahorsí distinct region.

June 27, 2009

Vindication?  I guess.  Credibility?  Possibly.  A WinoStuff lurker?  Most likely... 

I was emailed an article recently titled, Blind Tasting.  It sat in my inbox until last nightís library time.  Usually after a heavy meal, my library time expands to a sitting that thoroughly lasts 15 mins, enough to catch up on some reading.  I can thank the charbroiled steak burrito from Baja in Hoboken for allowing me to educate myself.  (Editor's note:  Too much information...)  This article was authored by Jeffery Postman, a source big enough to be a wine guest speaker and have articles in industry sources.  Unfortunately, I donít know where the article I read was published but it looks official with references and a bibliography at the end.  I was hoping to see WinoStuff.com as one of the sources, but no. 

The reason I contend that this article stems from a lurker/fan or, ok, an independently brilliant person that the article proves my third immutable law of wino.  My axiomatic hypothesis from the very beginning of these drunken rants clearly carries the statement that we enjoy a bottle of wine better when we are having a good time with friends and family.  I originally posed the question, does the wine make the time or does the time make the wine.  The extensive research I did, but did not put into a high school writerís official bibliography comes from field interviews with wine shop owners. 

In the many obnoxiously pretentious 'stump the wine manager' conversations my asshole personality has had over the years lead to a consensus that wine shoppers often come into a wine shop looking for a bottle they had on a date or at a dinner with friends.  Many times the shopper asks specifically for a crappy wine that they felt was the greatest thing since (fill in the clichť).  Why?  Because they were googlie-eyed over a hot chick they were with the night before.  Or maybe they laughed their asses off eating pizza and drinking wine telling old high school locker room stories.  Possibly they were alone in their third floor dank room and, for a moment, forgot about the misery they called their own lifeís journey and dreamed of one day having a wine-based sitcom while holding onto a Farrah Fawcett poster from 1975Ö..sorry, forget that last example.  (Editor's note:  Again, too much information...)

The beauty of the article is that itís supported with facts and stuff and it sound like an intellectual wrote it.  Yet the conclusion is the same.  Many times a wine that is rated highly by professional tasters who are focused laser sharp on their senses do not pick the true people's (common wino's) favorite.  The tasting experience is totally different then a night out enjoying a bottle with friends.  Boo-yah! Look, this guy even used sources like: Chemical Object Representation in the Field of Consciousness, Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better, Blind-Tasting Napa Cabernet, er Syrah, and Marketing Actions can Modulate Neural Representations of Experienced Pleasantness.  Note to readers, all those sources are written after the launch of this near decade old web site and our near decade old ramblings.  Game, set and match for the cutting-edge information of WinoStuff.com

June 25, 2009

Jesus, what a day.  I am sitting here crying over the Farrah Fawcett poster that once hung on the back of my closet door (up until last year).  Jackoís Beat It is looped in the background.  Oh the humanity.  Forever the dark cloud of these two tragic events will taint Wino Odd Jobís birthday.  Michael J and Farrah, Wino Odd Job, Ed McMahon and Big Bob, a twist of birthdays and death.  Ed and Farrahís death separated by the same time as Odd Job and Big Bobís birthdays, coincidence?  I think not.  So tonight, more than ever, I live by the motto "Drink good wine because you never know what tomorrow holds." 

Actually, the sadness was from the 2007 Pronto Bella Pinot Noir.  Its not like I knew Michael Jackson, nor Ed McMahon.  I did share some intimate time with Farrah.  Well, maybe her brown bathing suite picture and I spent the time together.  Let me say the pinot was less than exciting.  OK, it was less than pinot.  The world changed this week, I guess, at least by the TV coverage.  There are some really crazy things going on in Washington DC but the news coverage tonight was all Jacko all the time.  Go figure.

June 22, 2009

I saw this wine recommended by the author of the Bordeaux book I am reading.  For the fair price of $23.99, this wine is approachable now and has a nice mix of red currant, raspberry and plum.  The nose has a bit of spice and a bit of anise.  Nice balance with subtle tannins and a medium finish.  I am not saying all the wines he recommends are winners but this one is more my style.  I donít have to wait twenty years to see if this one will develop.  Best of all no naked Frenchmen punching down the cap at this winery.  The hint of barnyard was just that; not the unwashed Pierre-Louise. I will be back on the hunt for more of this.

2005 Chateau Charmail Haut-Medoc $ (23.99)   Nice.  Me likee.  For a somewhat reasonable price, this wine shows more new world, fruit forward characteristics then the traditional Bordeaux wines.  Saint Estephe should be proud.  Worth trying.

June 20, 2009

Happy summer, Mr. Gore.  I think my heat just stopped coming up each morning. 

I had lunch with an old friend recently.  We used to be real closeÖ   No, I have lunch with Wino John and The Other Bob when schedules permit.  This old friend was a Chateauneuf du Pape.  Dare I say the wine of my youth?  CdP was a wine I spent a great deal of time enjoying.  I told you, I like blends, kind of like mutual funds, you can spread the risk in bad times.  CdPs do get pricy and in these hard times I am not open-ended on the checkbook.  I guess that "I might die tomorrow" attitude got the best of me so I grabbed a bottle of this southern Rhone blend and drifted back to the spicy, medium bodied, fruity friend.  Actually I hung out with a few people like that in college.  I think I got the Chateauneuf bug again after that lunch and need to keep looking for value in the region.  I know itís hard and I can only afford Cotes du Rhone Village wines but hey, I might die tomorrowÖ thatís what I keep telling the collection agency from my credit cards.  The good news is there is no merlot in the blend, no naked French dudes punching down the cap and, compared to Bordeaux and Burgundy, they are much more reasonably priced.

A bit about the vineyard:

A dynasty of Vintners

Now a historic Appellation domain, the Ch‚teau de la Gardine (approximately 135 acres) is the child of the encounter between a man, Gaston Brunel, and the land of Ch‚teauneuf-du-Pape.

Wine, the CŰtes du RhŰne, and Ch‚teauneuf-du-Pape in particular, became his raison d'Ítre.

A wine merchant himself, Philippe Brunel contributed to the creation of the professional syndicate and devoted himself exclusively to the Ch‚teau de la Gardine in later years, until 1964. To him we owe the addition of 120 acres of prestigious hillside, the Rasteau-Roaix vineyards.

To his sons he left the joy of managing and promoting this splendid heritage in France and throughout the world, where it rapidly became known as one of the jewels of the wine region.

Today, several generations work here: Maxime, Patrick and Philippe Brunel operate this beautiful 250 acre domain right in the heart of the CŰtes du RhŰne appellation.

2004 Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape $ (35.00)   I really enjoyed this deep ruby, well-crafted blend.  There is nice balance, a firm body and red and dark fruit flavors.  If you want a treat and are looking to spend a bit more than normal to sham-wow some friends, buy this one.  Actually, buy a few and drop one into your cellar.  Well done.

June 14, 2009

I had dinner last night in a NY restaurant after seeing the revival of the 1967 play Hair.  I must admit, it took me awhile to get into the mindset back then.  Seeing the play today, the shock value didnít have the impact on the audience it had on my parents.  At least I hope they were shocked when they saw it.  I donít want to think my parents were part of the "love generation".  OH!  I just did think about my parents being part of the love generation, whereís the number for my therapist?  It was a great venue to see that show which was light on scenery and heavy on sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Forty years has changed the landscape.  That generation didnít have Nintendo or Wii and when a collective consciousness took root, a generation acted.  What do kids do today besides texting the thought of protesting an issue or designing a facebook page to help a cause?  Halfway through the first act, I let myself relax and adjust my frame of reference.  I didnít go as far as putting a daisy in my hair and when one of the actors came over and hugged me, he invaded my personal space.  The two take-aways were that, yes, in America a black man can become President and everyone in 1967 was bisexual.  As I never saw the original play, I donít know if that was an update to the theme of free love.

To add to the confusion of my day, at dinner we had a grossly overpriced Bordeaux referred to by the English term "claret", made by a California movie director.  Name that wine.  I can name that wine in five words. I can name that wine in four words, Coppola Diamond Series Claret.  Look, I wasnít going to be totally ripped off.  It was just under $50.00 but in NYís theater district, what else can you expect?  Unlike real Bordeaux, this one is fruit-friendly and drinkable right out of the 2006 vintage.  No waiting twenty years for this to develop.  I would pay retail pricing for this wine, about $16.99 but it is not worth the $47.00 listed at the restaurant.  The four of us has some version of meat and the wine was good enough to not create a problem.  It is more of a Thursday night TV wine than a night out on the town wine.  Overall it was a great time.  Jeez, I hope my mom didnít get on stage with those hippies and dance half naked back in 1968 when they saw the play.  Quick, open that wine.  I need to clear my memory bankÖ.

June 13, 2009

In a bastardized version of the old golf joke, ďWhy couldnít I be reading a book about pussy willows?Ē  I know itís a stretch but the punch line works.  So this Bordeaux book has me veering off the shiraz and cab isles and wandering through the, the, ah, the isles of French wine.  Quick, check my temperature, could this be a symptom of swine flu?  Maybe I am patient zero of Frog Flu, a new potential pandemic.  I now have more Bordeaux wines in my basement then ever in my life.  Donít get too nervous, I only have three currently, but statisticians can make that sound like a robust economic increase for French wines sales to the USA.  I did the retard label shop thing yesterday and purchased two wines I highlighted in the book I am reading.  The wine I am drinking today is just a ďtryĒ wine, something to warm up the pipes.  I grabbed a 2005 knowing it was a powerful year and knowing itís too early to drink.  I also know that I have a lot to learn about this region.  No in-your-face fruit bombs.  Instead, most wines are made to be consumed well after the purchaser passes away.  Yes, buy this brilliant wine today for a fortune and in thirty years, at your funeral, your guests will have a truly elegant wine to toast your life.  Iím guessing the term 'immediate gratification' doesnít have a French translation. If there are any old bastards, nearly dead French wine collectors reading this, get in touch with me via email.  I figure you bought Bordeaux wines that might be close to drinkable at prices that would make a French whore moan.  Face it, you probably canít drink all you have and you donít need the money for your last months or days on Godís green earth.  I will make you Wino Babe of the month.  Howís that prune ass look in a thong?

2005 Chateau LíEpine St. Emilion Grand Cru $ (23.99I should have purchased two of these because opening it now was a total debacle.

June 7, 2009

Itís getting clearer to me.  The Bordeaux book just gave me the biggest reason I will never be a Burgundy aficionado.  While reading about the winemaking methods of Bordeaux, the author explained the techniques used for breaking up the cap that forms during fermentation.

The cap of skins and pulp floating on top of the juice in red-wine fermentation inhibits flavor and color extraction, may rise to an undesirably high temperature, and may acetify if allowed to become dry. Such problems are avoided by submerging the floating cap at least twice daily during fermentation.

The process of braking up the cap is called pigeage and the book states that winemakers can pump juice over the cap or mechanically break up the cap with a punch down tool.  Bordeaux seldom uses the method more common to Burgundy (wait, wait for it) where naked men jump into the vat to break up the cap.  This is so wrong on so many levels I am having a hard time deciding which way to go.  It gives a completely new meaning to pinot noir to me.  The mental image of an unhygienic Frenchman with a hairy, sweaty ass and swinging anteater, has me wondering what other nuanced flavors the critics leave out of their wine descriptions.  I guess Burgundy is an acquired taste.  Where does 'stinky ball sack' show up on the aroma wheel?  I now understand that a pinot noir with 'hints of barnyard' is a euphemism for man ass.  Is 'hint of truffles' another way of saying taint?  The more I learn, the more I realize something just ain't right.

Two small side notes.  It seems like the economy has taken its toll on the restaurant in North Caldwell, Gianniís.  The food industry is a tough business and making it in a good economy is difficult at best.  Good luck to the chef.

Second, we just wanted to wish our friends over at The Rising Tide good luck.  Their program airs on NJN 2 the week of June 22nd-29th.  If you get NJN 2, check it out, itís worth the 26 minutes.

2006 Chono Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Chile $ (13.99)   I have had better, more complex wines from this region and was hoping this would be a nice find.  Sadly, it is just OK.

June 5, 2009

Wow, is my head spinning.  I am just trying to figure out if itís the reading about or the drinking of Bordeaux.  The book moves through a very structured way of understanding the grapes, the soil, the weather, the vintages and the properties.  This will be a book I go back to many times in the future as I try to wrap my head around this stuff.  I am still fighting my bias regarding cabernet sauvignon verses merlot.  I was ignorant of the weather issues in Bordeaux and the reasons behind the beret-wearing, mime-performing, and wine makers' love of merlot.  Simply stated, merlot has a better chance of maturing completely at harvest while cabernet sauvignon might fluctuate due to the weather changes at the later harvest time.  My head was spinning from the deleafing, pruning, green harvesting and root training.  Let it be said, I am still leaning heavily to cabernet, but will not close the door on this thing just yet.

2003 Chateau le Sartre Grand Vin de Graves Pessac-Leognan $ (19.99)    This wine for being a blend has little depth.  It seems uni-dimensional and shows black currant and spice but quickly decelerates.  Length, there is no stinking length in this one. 

June 4, 2009

Damn French, and I say that in an affectionate manner this time.  Well itís been back to book learning for me.  This opportunity with the Essex County Wine Society makes me realize how much I still need to learn.  The good news is that the society is Bordeaux and Burgundy dominant so there are only two regions my education needs help with at this point.  Wait, did I say only Bordeaux and Burgundy?  Yes, yes I did.  Crap, this is the real stuff, the pedantic side of the wine world.  Burgundy, I may never understand.  Pinot this and pinot that.  Fortunately, Barnes and Noble had a discount rack with a book by Stephen Brooks entitled, Bordeaux- Medoc and Graves.  Itís a start.  And, I will admit, I am learning.  Learning that the French, for inventing laissez-faire and Mťnage ŗ trois, sure have the royal stick up their ass when it comes to wine.  Government and sex have "whatever" attitudes, but wine has rules and hierarchy and stuffiness. 

I guess its time for the power of the written word and the world-renowned influence of the WinoStuff site to get things changed.  It seems that all the aloofness of the Bordeaux region has to do with the disconnect between the end user (that would be me) and the Winery (that would be a beret-wearing, pantomimesque, cigarettes-smoking, nose-down-looking, ah Frenchman).  It seems that ďthe Place de BordeauxĒ was set up as a bureaucratic French system disconnecting the winery from consumers.  The winery need not care once they sold to the broker.  With cash in hand, the movement off the shelves was not their concern. 

I have a long way to go to understand the wines of Bordeaux, but I am starting to better understand the region.  Unfortunately, the pricing of the wine makes it very difficult to experiment freely to truly understand the left bank-right bank nuances.  One side note I found interesting; with all the pomp in the region, if a first or second growth chateau purchases land from a neighbor who ranks lower, the vines are now technically moved to the head of the class.  I am sure the honest winemaker will not place that fruit in their grand vin, but let me just think about that for awhile.

Tonight I will drink a Bordeaux, not knowing anything about what I bought.  Call this a warm up for things to come.

June 1, 2009

In a way, I am glad this year is half over.  Optimistically speaking, we are a quarter or two away from recovery.  Maybe by this time next year I will be able to purchase wines that break the twenty-dollar barrier.  That seems so distant right now, but I hope I have more than change in my pocket in 2010.  On the flip side, the year of the petite sirah is screaming to a close.  We have been a bit light in PS entries.  So yesterday, I found time to do my part.  I grabbed a bottle of petite from the California vet turned winemaker, Kent Rosenblum.  He might not have gotten the script for my dogís Prozac, but he does make a very soothing wine.  I am thinking I might need to start blending some red into the dogís water bowl to help calm him down.  If the dog and I drink, then the stigma of me drinking alone disappears and the community shunning is lifted.  Would it make more sense to make a cabernet sauvignon flavored prozac or a prozac flavored cabernet?  I tried the original prescription of taking two bottles of wine and call in the morning.  That works for a while but waking up early is a bitch.  As my duty, I will commit to petite sirah.  We only have six months left to honor the GOTY.

2005 Rosenblum Cellars Heritage Clone Petite Sirah $ (14.99)   Deep and complex but let the wood blow off to get to the blackberry, plum, and spice.  The color on this one is inky dark and the finish hints of mocha.  A strong wine to handle big food.

May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

The USS Vulcan, the ship my dad served on.  I have a set of bookends with anvils on them my father made on the ship. 

It seems stupid to be writing about a bottle of wine today. 

2006 Bogle Petite Sirah $ (11.99)   Not really a favorite but something red to drink.  I am not buying this one again.

May 23, 2009

As we head into the unofficial beginning of the summer season, we want to take a moment to remember those who offered their life without question, in the call of duty.  Courage, commitment to excellence and honor course through the arteries of those brave men and women.  Our gratitude and prayers go to your families. 

In NJ, tradition dictates that the shore area unlock from its winter slumber and greet the pasty white commuters with the lights of arcade attractions and chance wheels on the boardwalks up and down the coast.  The entire outlook for the financial tourist season of the Jersey shore hinges on the success of this weekend.  Will gas prices and the economy keep people closer to home to enjoy the sun and sand?  Or will the economy just keep people in their backyards and add to the downward spiral?  For me, it means mulching the beds, spit shining the Weber, uncovering the porch wicker and moving from the deep dark reds to something more summery.  I will be honest, even in the heat of the dog days of summer, I will enjoy a bottle of red with a grilled steak.   Call it seasoning, but I have started to move lighter in the hot weather.  Years past, I would resist the whites and shun the roses, but I have now realized I donít have to stand on principle.  My cellar is expanding with some great buys.  Taken from the reactions at the wine event last week; I stocked up on Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc and Rose.  Yes, rose, I said.  No, itís not the sweet blush white zinfandel.  Look many wine drinkers start with training wheels and Sutter Home provided the balance of the wobbly-kneeíd for many years.  The flip side is that it created fear in many as well.  I stand here today to say, donít fear the reaper.  Actually that song popped into my head as I was thinking of a way to say what I wanted.  Then I thought I should write, "donít fear the greaper", trying to combine grape and reaper but that made no sense.  What I wanted to say, in a catchy way is donít fear the rose, but it doesnít sound trademark worthy.  I did buy a t-shirt that says, friends donít let friends drink white zinfandel.  But I havenít yet seen any that say donít fear rose.  (Wino John, get the lawyers on the phone).

Maybe my nuts are shrinking with age, maybe my palate is mellowing, maybe my mind is expanding, or maybe I just want to drink something in the hot weather that carries the hints of my reds without the weight.  I will be cool since this Los Vascos is from Chile.  OK, maybe not cool in the Arthur Fonzarelli way, but in the quenched and refreshed way.  You dig me, Mr. C? 

May 22, 2009

So I was stuck in Milwaukee for a few days and during the tradeshow, the events featured free beer.  Miller owns the town so it was Genuine Draft or Lite.  Woodbridge cabernet was five dollars.  With a tough economy, I drank free beer.  Last night, I was home and needed a purging from all the suds.  I grabbed a bottle of red and proceeded to cleanse my system and return it to its rightful percent of red.  I donít know if I was burned from the beer or it just was a good bottle.  I enjoyed this one.  A starving man will eat a bug and appreciate it so I will be buying this again and drinking it under more normal conditions.  But from out of the gate, this seems to be worth its value. 

2004 Gundlach Bundschu Block 13 $ 11.99  Nice upfront dark fruit with a firm structure and enjoyable finish.  So nice I will be trying it twice.

May 18, 2009

I am saddened to report this but Bacchus is dead.  The one time second home of Wino Bob (I know its pretentious to refer to myself in the third person but its my entry) bears a new sign.  Prior to passing judgment, I will make the commitment to visit there for a drink and look the new place over.  I saw the quality decline and the prices rise.  I saw the wine list shrink and prices go up.  The newly named Three 18 Restaurant will be on my target list, look for more to come. 

May 17, 2009

I apologize.  Enough said.  No, wait, thereís more.  I wonít do it again. 

So how was your weekend?  Great weather, huh?  What?  The apology?  NothingÖwell, OK, so I might have said some things not 100% accurate. Hey, by the end of the night, whoís going to remember?  It was the heat of the moment.  Call it a Bidenism.  At least I have nicer hair than he does. 

You know, you get introduced as an authority and you start pouring some wine and the questions come flying and you do your best John Cleese.  There was a charity event at The Tree Tavern and I convinced owner/host and all around nice guy, Wino Odd Job, that I was up to helping him out.  He stuck me at the whites table.  I donít think I can say that any other way, sorry politically correct police.  I spent the night pouring white wine and engaging in conversation with a room full of great people.  Odd Job told me it was a CLIA event.  I thought he said CLIO event and I was hoping to rub elbows with television and radio stars all night.  I was going to work it out so that TV producers would have to listen to my pitch for the Wino Bob Show before I would sample them wine.  I even had a script in tow.  I made sure I had clean underwear for that special Wino Bob love scene. 

It turns out that instead of movie moguls, it was a room full of kindhearted charitable folks that are raising money it improve Cupsaw Lake in Ringwood, NJ.  The history of the lake can be found at http://www.cupsawlake.com.

The evening featured a wine tasting of 25 selections from the High Point Wine Cellar.  I was pouring a Prosecco and Pinot Grigio from Zonin, Tedeschi Suove, Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc, Wente Chardonnay, Graff Riesling, Legado del Conde AlbariŮo and the Chateau Cosse Sauternes. 

Odd Job was manning the Rose table- hey not white zinfandel, Rose.

And batting clean up was the lovable teddy bear, Big Bob, pouring and educating the 15 red wines.  Though I was busy at the beginning, the action heated up at the red table and for several hours the crowd laughed and tasted and staged around the plethora of Godís nectar.  Big Bob was trying to convince me it was his charming personality and dashing good looks that kept them there.  Iím thinking it was the special pour of Tedeschi Amarone and thatís not sour grapes.  Come on, I have better jokes.  The winners at my table were the Prosecco followed closely by the Riesling.  Third was the Sauvignon Blanc. 

Iím sure the eclectic selection brought interest to the group, allowing them to enjoy wines they were not familiar with.  I did manage to get over to the adult table and enjoyed hearing several people say, ďcharbono, what the hell is a charbonoĒ.  By the end of the night they knew. 

I hope the event was a success in the eyes of the group in raising the funds they need for their clean up project.  And to my new friends of Cupsaw Lake, I am glad to come up this summer in the Wino Bob Speedo to enjoy that newly clean lake.

May 16, 2009

Sorry Beelzebub, I will send down a fur jacket.  In what can only be described as an act causing Hell to freeze over, I now sit as a trustee to the Essex County Wine Society.  I believe what sealed the deal was my absence during the vote and low voter turnout.  Wino John, get Chris Christie on the phone, I have a new strategy for his gubernatorial race.  Keep a low profile, hope few people show up at the polls and donít show your face.  Brilliant!  New Jersey could have two long shots in very powerful positions.  My official reign doesnít start until August 1st so Iím going to keep this on the soft side as I could still be thrown out.  But as of August 1st, yours truly will be grabbing the tiller and steering the ECWS ship to new destinations.  A three year term, which I will motion to extend to four years or six or maybe even eight, will have me voicing my opinion on new membership, tasting schedules, cellar acquisitions and most of all, policy.  I havenít quite wrapped my head around what ďpolicyĒ really means but it involves having to go to a restaurant several times a year and drink great wine and enjoy delicious food and nod my head every time they look down at my end of the table.  I look most forward to the ceremony when I turn in my simple 24 karat gold plated taste vin and receive my gemstone encrusted platinum bedazzeler.  Wowzer, that thing will make the Queen Mum herself jealous of my family jewels.  I will commit to uphold this position as trustee in accordance with the long tradition of a New Jersey politician, minus any coming out of the closet thing if a royally screw up.  Need I spell it out to anyone seeking membership into the ranks of the ECWS, I have recently installed a drop box in Brookdale Park, near the upper parking lot by the left entrance to the stadium. It is insulated so reds will stay cool for up to four days if you know what I mean.  Hey, how ya doin'?  

May 12, 2009

I hope all the muthas out there had an enjoyable day on Sunday.  New Jersey had a clear sky and warm temperatures except for that cool breeze. We enjoyed a family get together Saturday evening in the sleepy little area of Allentown, NJ.  No steel, just old farm houses and a quaint downtown.  With the long drive, dinner was dry.  I managed to settle in Sunday night in front of the finale of Celebrity Apprentice with a bottle of red.  I know TV is about drama, but I must say the producers had to have managed to pit Joan against Annie once they started fighting weeks ago.  The only reason I sat through the grueling three hours was that I brought the bottle into the TV room so I never left the chair.  Yes, a cheap Cote du Rhone was more compelling than primetime television.  Thatís not saying much as this one cost less than twelve dollars and was not the best I have ever had.  Good enough was better than bad so Sunday nightís winner was the 2007 Domaine díAndezon Cote du RhoneComing in at $11.99, it was good, not great, but good enough.  I found this blend of syrah and grenache to have a spicy nose with cedar and blackberry.  The wine gives way to herbs, licorice and sweet cherry.  This is an everyday drinking wine, a simple table wine best served with a slight chill.

May 5, 2009

I know I have no musical abilities, no talent to sing or play in a rock and roll band.  Too short to play basketball, actually, no ability to jump, yes stickmen canít jump.  Too thin to play football, so how does one get the babes?  Wine.  But unlike me, where much has to be consumed for a head to turn, or slump, it seems that when you make wine you become a chick magnet.

 

The handsome lad in the middle is Riccardo Tedeschi who convinced these women that Amarone and Amore are intertwined.  Riccardo was the featured guest at the Sonís of Italy charity event hosted at High Point Wine Cellars.  Guests were treated to stories of the five generations of Tedeschi family members who dedicated their lives to producing some of the finest wines of Veneto. 

Upon arrival, a glass of Prosecco greeted attendees to shake the dampness of the day.  This falls outside the Tedeschi portfolio and will remain a nameless faceless sparkling wine for the time being.  After mingling over hors deuvers, the sit-down drinking began.  First up was the 2006 Suave Classico which was refreshingly clean and simple with nice stone fruit flavors.  The pasta course found a friend with Riccardoís motherís favorite red, the 2006 Capitel delle Lucchine Valpolicella Classico.  This wine offered bright red fruit and nice acidic balance for the red sauce on the pasta.  Bringing on the main course, we poured the 2004 Capitel San Rocco Rosso Ripasso.  Now we are talking ďbaby amaroneĒ, with body and flair.  A rounded raspberry, currant and cherry wine, well structured and balanced.  This could be a nice wine to bring to your next BYOB dinner at the corner Italian restaurant. The night finished with 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico.  This blend brings out darker fruits and fig flavors with a long silky finish.  I could drink this instead of dessert.  Actually, I did drink this instead of dessert.

So Iím thinking I need a winery, maybe a small villa in or near Venice.  I need to learn to speak with an accent.  I want to sign wine bottles.  But most of all, I would want people to love the fruit of my berries.

 

May 2, 2009

How was your May Pole celebration?  If it was anything like mine, it was wine-soaked and full of crepe paper twisted firmly around the poleÖ. 

Hey swine flu, that is why I drink alone.  No fear of someone coughing into my wine glass or sneezing into my decanter.  I have actually been in the basement working on an antidote.  Wino John, call the lawyers and see if we can trademark the name Tamibernet, Chardiflu or cialis.  Forget the last one, just check on the first two.  I think I am close to a remedy for a flu strain that is half human and half sheep.  It took me many cold winterís nights actually formulating the sheep/human hybrid.  Loneliness and wine can lead to many unique discoveries.  The good news is I am on I the edge of developing an elixir that not only cures this strain but also produces a sweater that not only keeps you warm but, if worn for several hours, makes you feel good. 

I donít have a great deal of wine news interacting with my geek life.  It turns out that I finally have something to write about.  Several weeks ago, I was at a tradeshow and ran into a long time industry friend.  I believe we worked together back in 1984.  Yes, I am old.  My associate has been living on the west coast for the past several years.  As our industry is changing, wine turns out to be a side passion of my friend.  At the end of the tradeshow, I happened to end up with a bottle of petite sirah.  How could I not bring back a bottle of The Grape of the Year? 

Out to dinner to celebrate May Pole day, I cracked open the petite. It is well crafted and with nice dark fruits and a fine finish.  I am torn between naming it or not as their production is boutique.  The wine is mostly available in California so we will not be able to find it on the east coast.  Ah, what the hell, the winery is Frogís Tooth and they offer the traditional California varietals along with a host of Rhone cepages.  I am looking forward to a trip back to California to pick up a few more bottles. 

May 1, 2009

I have found myself needing time for updates.  Realizing people look for wine-related stuff and not my views on the world, I have passed up several entries about the world we live in.  Let me just say I await the locust.  Listening to the news, I can only think that the end is close and Nostradamus was correct, or at least those interpreting the writing.  Let me just say:

When the face of the moon hangs low in the sky upon the waterís rise and the one-eyed snake rises.  A man walks entwined in the fertile earth.  His berries rich with juice and twig fixed steadfast, he is the One.  The coming of the new One who will Lord over the fruits and foliage until the streets run magenta with liquid.

Sorry, I just watched one of those shows where it all is right there if you are smart enough to fit reality into obnoxiously general words.  Kind of like a tarot card reader. 

Here is my prediction.

2007 Cycles Gladiator Syrah $ (6.99)   I like the artwork on the label and the fact that its red wine.  Naked chicks with flowing hair and bicycles are worth the one.

2006 Covey Run Quail Series Riesling $ (9.99)    This one started a touch sweet.  I was worried, but after the 3% residual sugar settled I found nice crisp green apple and honeysuckle making this worth trying with Thai food. 

April 24, 2009

OK, I had to.  I know it is now considered torture, but I allowed myself to be "wineboarded".  After an hour of the MSNBC crew, Matthews and Olbermeirer, I couldnít take the sanctimony, the righteousness, the ongoing Bush-bashing.  Hey guys, you won!  You have been in office for 100 days.  Just before I tilted my head back on the "board" and allowed red wine to be "poured" into my mouth until I passed out, I shouted, "Give me Fox or give me death!"


WinoBob requests some more "wineboarding"...

We all know the CIA has ways of making people talk.  We donít want to know.  I am sure that every President that was in office during WWII, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War all have items that were used to gain information.   Hey, bad guys, if you ever capture me, I probably will tell you a lot of crap for a bottle of wine.  No need to torture me.  I will tell you shit that will make you hair stand on end.  In fact, I bet I can tell you stories from my college days that you will give me a steak dinner and bottle of wine afterwards.  Face it, I got no secrets.  Every stupid thought I have is already on these pages. 

So, after I regained consciousness, I have to say, wineboarding is better than listening to Jimmy Legs or the Spittle King.  I think most of Chris Matthewsí guests get waterboarded if they are in studio.  Did you ever notice that really important guests do remotes? 

When it comes to wineboarding, I had a good one.  It was the luck of the pick but I found a fun wine that was worth nearly drowning with.  I believe I have enough training that wineboarding would be ineffective on me.  Just look at my liver.  Maybe the French would finally live up to the name French Resistance if wineboarding was used in WWII.  To hell with the MAJINEAU LINE, let us be captured and wineboarded. I certainly know that Wino John was Absintheboarded at Odd Jobs and he failed miserably. 

OK, I donít mean to make light of the fact that the CIA had to save the lives of every American and did what was necessary to allow me to write these stupid entries.  That is a serious job and if they need to put pliers in the nostrils of a combatant to find out if there is anything that is planned to kill Americans, I say call me.  We have discounted pliers this month for sale.

There are certain things we as citizens donít need to know, and those techniques meant to keep us safe are some of them. 

2008 Edgebaston The Pepper Pot $ (19.99)   A nice blended red from Stellenbosch region of South Africa.  The wine is made from 58%syrah, 32%mourvedre and 10% the little know backbone grape, tannat.  Wow, nice blend, more in the bottle than the price suggested.  Nice plum and raspberry fruit with a touch of pepper and spice on the finish that makes me love this one.  Buy it and youíll like it.

April 18, 2009

Well, I survived.  No, not the night of cabernet-infused cabernet, but tax day.  I hope you did your fair share.  For those out there feeling they arenít paying enough in taxes, the government places no restriction on sending in extra money.  Might I suggest to Michael Moore he donate the entire gross profits from his next project to paying down the national debt.  Hell, I would spend money to see it in the theater if that was the case.  Actually, I would buy the ticket and hand it to someone in line knowing I did my part to pay down the debt and someone got to see something they wanted to see.  How about all the talking heads at MSNBC who are so vested in promoting the President, offer two months salary to the treasury. 

I am glad the colonies threw tea in Boston harbor and not mead or beer or wine.  Tea made for better humor for CNN and MSNBC.  There is nothing funny about a wine-bagging day.  I got nothing, I thought about it all night and just could not come up with the equivalent wine innuendo that "tea bagging" offers.  Anderson Cooper had a comment for innuendo also but didnít get to use it.  I guess prohibition was the closest to a wine bagging, but that was lead by the Susan Boyle of the times, Molly Hackett.  I wonder if Molly could have been a contestant on Americaís Got Talent if it were around then.

I have filed papers to make my wine cellar a sanctuary if ever the national mood swings toward breaking bottles in the streets.  I will ensure the safe harboring of any wine bottle needing to get out of the way of swinging hatchets and G-man raids.  I even thought I could disguise the bottles like this.

 

Come on, a lampshade would be perfect.  Letís hope it never comes to that.

2005 Dancing Bull Chardonnay $ (8.99)   Not my style, not much for me in this one.  I am disappointed that this chardonnay didnít bring more to the table.

April 13, 2009

Back to the grind...   I hope your time spent with family and friends made this past week enjoyable.  I did manage a glass of Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner yesterday.  It was the house wine at the GRCC.  I had it with the carving boardís leg of lamb and a piece of prime rib. 

Being the chauffeur for the night, I saved my real drinking for home.  The car was parked, the keys were on the desk thus allowing me to celebrate that Christ has risen.  Come on dude, you have to throw back a few when you are talking about a feat of that magnitude.  It was late, so I didnít want to crack open something too crazy.  I went with a simple cabernet sauvignon from South Africa.  It was a wine called Vinum Africa vintage 2006.  I bought this one since it was from Stellenbosch and less than $14.00.  It started out with hopes for black fruit on the nose.  But it seemed too uni-dimensional.  I was looking for more from this wine.  Except for the buzz and the hangover, not much else to report.

April 10, 2009

With the Holy Holidays for the Jewish and Christian faiths upon us, I have been thinking about religion.  As I have never attended a Passover Seder, I have read up to know enough that the ritual requires the consumption of 4 glasses of wine.  Yes, written in the book and commanded by God, one must partake in wine at four specific times of the meal. Maybe Madonna was thinking about this before she converted.  I have been reading that Kosher wine quality and varietals have been increasing.   Years back, there were not offerings like Baron Herzog Late Harvest Zinfandel and Yarden Mount Hermon Red.  Hagafen Lodi Roussanne and Galil Mountain Avivum could nicely accompany the various foods at the Seder.  As goat or lamb shank is the main meat, I would be drinking the Le Mourre de L'Isle Cotes du Rhone.  I was hoping to participate in the White House Seder, but my invitation must have been hung up in the mail system.

This year, my Easter celebration has us out to a restaurant so I am not in control of the wine consumption.  If I was staying home, I was going to fire up a few bottles of the Chateau Siaurac Bordeaux.  I probably will come home from the restaurant and crack open a bottle anyway.  A timely story in the news has me pondering my faith in this cloak of the recognized events of the birth of Christianity.  Cardinal Egan of NY was recently hospitalized and resolved a health issue with the implantation of a pacemaker.  It set me to wondering why a person so highly ranked in the Catholic Church would artificially alter Godís plan?  One would think ('one' being me and 'thinking' being wine-induced) a deeply religious person would not interfere with what is written.  Doesnít the procedure of a pacemaker alter when the end was originally supposed to happen?  Would one (yes, me again) think that the apex of the Cardinalís journey is ascending the human existence to the final journey of a rich after life?  Isnít this interfering with Godís plan?  Ok, I would think that the Cardinalís desire would be to answer Jesusí calling and not prolong his life here on earth. 

Whatever the right answer, I do not know, so I simply wish you a time of reflection and sole searching to uncover those mysteries of life and death during this period.  I wonder what Bill Maher has to say on this topic?

Happy Passover, Happy Easter.  Celebrate life as we cannot foretell its ending.

April 7, 2009

What better way to spend a Monday evening, since I didnít have a stake in the final four and the rest of TV were repeats, than a dinner with a Baroness.  And Nicole of Dreyfus Ashby and, oh yeah, Big Bob and High Point Mike.  The Baroness hails from Caves du Chateau D'Auvernier. Grapes grow well there due to the influence of a large body of water known as Lake Neuchatel.  Baroness Sophie Grosjean proudly poured her familyís labors of love as we dined at Bertaís Chateau and enjoyed robust conversation. 

We drank 2007s starting with the Neuchatel Blanc comprised of 100% chasselas.  The wine offered a light citrus flavor and a touch of effervescence. 

We then turned to the lively Oeil de Perdrex, a rose made from pinot noir and sure to be a wine of choice for summer evenings on the porch.  Dry and bright red fruit-filled, I will be spending more time with this baby.

Coupling with my dinner of bay scallops over linguini in a white wine and garlic, I drank the pinot gris.  Golden in hue, firm in body and sophisticatedly elegant on the finish, I could enjoy this with fish or sushi as well as fowl or curry. 

I thought I knew a lot about Switzerland:

Their timepiece movements make them a punctual nation

Their chocolate has given acne to the worldís youth

They make a lot of money by putting air holes in their cheese

They have a mountain named after a ride in Disney

Their banks keep your account info on cocktail napkins

You can kill someone and then open a bottle of wine with their pocketknives

Though neutral, their army guards the pope mobile garage

All Swiss kids can ski and shoot a gun simultaneously

Their drug companies invented valium, LSD and a pill I get daily internet ads for that will make me Ö.well you know

Did I mention they make chocolate and cheese?

Every third Thursday is family yodeling day

At any given time you might have to speak German, French, Italian or Romanesh

My favorite Bond girl, hottie Ursula Andres, and the manly Renee Zellweger hail from there

Not the star trek Piccard, but rather the balloon people who donít yet realize you can fly around the world in far less time than a hot air balloon travels, are Swiss

Wilhelm Tell comes from there- look if you convince people you can shoot an apple off their head, there must be a lot of wine consuming going on.

Heidi lives there

I couldnít get from NY to LA without the effect founded by Swiss mathematician Bernoulli ("lift", people- aerofoil, de plane)

 

 

And last but not least and should be first: A regal winemaker from Switzerland dined with me without a choking incident or the need for police.

I invite you to look into these wines from a place you probably donít think of.  But isnít that what we are all about, finding new experiences and taking the road less traveled?

April 5, 2009

A simple entry today...  I wanted to eat somewhat healthy since the Las Vegas trip had big dinners with lots of nacho appetizers.  A quick trip to Kings allowed me to grab a tuna steak, salad, some hoisan sauce for flavoring and a bottle of Riesling.  I came away more liking the wine then my marinade.  The 2003 Jekel Vineyards Monterey Riesling came in at $9.99 and delivered.  The fruit was a nice combo of apricot and green apple while the acid balanced well and the finish was crisp.  Nice work, though I am not a card-carrying Riesling head, I did find this wine to be worth the money and then some. 

April 3, 2009

Wine Angel at work.  No, not me, although I have been referred to as an angel in a sort.  I was at a geek convention this week in Sin City.  Along the walk from my hotel to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, I had to pass Aureole Restaurant.  Aureole is famous for expensive meals, and a four story 9865 wine bottle, plexi-glass wine cellar.  Wine is ordered from the wireless wine menu that sends trapeze-harnessed wine angels and sometimes wine dudes, up to 40 feet into the sky to fetch the guestís request.  Though dinner at the place was out of my limits, I did watch from the bridge as diners set the angels, and one wine dude, skyward.

Boy, NJ is getting violent.  I just read this: 

A Rockaway Township woman who was accused of wielding an empty Cabernet Sauvignon wine bottle as a weapon was accepted into a special probation program Wednesday midway through her criminal trial.

Officer Chris Hamilton testified that he responded to a call at Kim Mahoney's townhouse in Rockaway Township around 3 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2007, on a report of a domestic violence incident involving a weapon. At the home, he said, he observed Mahoney's brother, Bruce Yeager, with a bloody gash down the side of his face, and Mahoney clutching the wine bottle by the neck, upside down.

Hamilton said that Mahoney immediately started hurling obscenities at him and ordered him out of her home. She refused several times to put down the bottle and resisted his efforts to handcuff her, he said.

Mahoney is a licensed court stenographer who had worked as stenographer for the grand jury in Morris County in the 1990s. Under PTI, she gave no admissions of wrongdoing but will be supervised on probation for one year and must perform 75 hours of community service. If she successfully completes PTI, charges of resisting arrest and possession of a weapon -- a 1.5 liter-sized wine bottle -- for an unlawful purpose will be dismissed.

Several more stories like this and wine bottles will be outlawed.  I am sure there is a lawyer ready to go after the winery, the wine bottle manufacture and the producers of Kung Fu Panda (where else did she learn to use the bottle like nunchucks).  Then where will we be?  We will be stuck drinking wine out of wax-coated cardboard boxes or foil lined cartons.  Come on people, if you are going to polish off a 1.5 liter bottle of wine by 3pm on a Monday, think before wielding.

Seen below are the world famous Drouhin Clos de Mouches Nunchucks.

People, please, drink responsibly.


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