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This page contains Winings from the 2nd Quarter of the year 2011.

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June 21, 2011

I have to apologize to the town of Westminster, Maryland.  When I made my reservations for tonight, the choice was a Days Inn or a Best Western.  I selected the Best Western as it has a free breakfast.  As I checked in, I inquired about dinner and they told me they had a list of local places.  The usual suspects showed up, Applebeeís, Olive Garden, Subway, Wine Me Up, Cheesecake FactoryÖWait, what?  Wine Me Up?  Now we are talking!  It turns out that Wine Me Up is less than two miles away so given the choice, I am there.  The place is on Main Street in Westminster, which could be Mayberry, but its not. 

Wine Me Up is a small storefront but once inside, it invites you to a long bar and several tables.  Tuesday was half off any bottle.  The selection was ok but at half off, I am sure I could find something.  I cruised the menu to get a feel for the food.  I zeroed in on the pesto lump crab pizza.  Out of the selection, I decided on the 2005 Bodegas Ondalan Crianza.  Marked half off the $34.00 shelf price, I took a shot.  The best part is that you could take the bottle home if you donít finish it.  A pesto pizza and a doggie bag wine!  I am twitching like Anthony Weiner in the Congressional gym.  I wanted to show my junk.

As it turned out, I finished six slices of the twelve-inch bar pie and enjoyed the garlic old bay seasoning.  The wine was a bright cherry leathery one that had a spice to it and a touch of acidity making it food-friendly and a fun selection.  This was a great little find in an unexpected place.  Sorry, Westminster, I never expected this from you but I'm glad to make your acquaintance.

June 17, 2011

So what did you do last Wednesday?  I managed to enjoy some wine and a meal at Gourmet Cafť.  I think I only have two more items and I will officially have had everything on the menu.  Is there a ceremony or something for that?  The reason I wanted to grab dinner with my favorite two chuckleheads was to try a bottle of wine I was given.  Itís not often I get a bottle from someoneís mailing list.  Said prized wine was the 2010 Araujo Estate Sauvignon Blanc Eisele Vineyard Napa Valley This beauty clocked in at $67.00 due entirely to pedigree.  For me, I am a grapefruit-puckering New Zealand SB lover.  This wine was more refined, clean and crisp with pineapple and just a hint of grapefruit.  It showed more lime then grapefruit.  I went with a scallop appetizer instead of the salad.  I didnít want the salad dressing stepping all over that one.

As our main course came out, we moved to the 2007 Le Mistral.  All I have to say is "Weiner timeÖ".  I would take pictures of that wine and send it all over the Internet.  I would pose that wine on a table, seductively tipped over rimming a glass.  I am a fan of the Rhone wind it gets its name from but I am a bigger fan of the wine.  There was a lot going on in the wine with mocha, currant, dark fruits and a touch of pepper.  And the finish was as smooth and silky as Ginger Leeís ass. 

We concluded the evening watching Wino John down a piece of three mousse chocolate cake and sipping on some 2006 Steve Hoff Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa Australia.  Unfairly, it was being compared to the Le Mistral.  The Hoff (no relation to Dennis Hof of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch) showed cedar and spice with blackberry and blueberry fruit.  However, I found it thin compared to the previous wine, not that thin is a bad thing, Iím just saying.  

I think we have reached the point of bringing our own food to Chef Matt.  Next up, Iíll be cooking my own dinner.

June 12, 2011

What do you do on a Friday evening in NJ when the humidity is higher than the temperature?  Think people, I used to do it all the time but as time made me older, it lessened. NO, not that!  With medicine and the Internet, that will never go away.  A drinking night on the porch with neighbors is the answer for all you filthy-minded Weiner-types.  I seriously have to read back in the archives to find the last time we sat and enjoyed wine and neighborly conversation on the porch.  I know it predates the Cabfest we had here as it took several months of hazmat work to disinfect the porch.  Maybe the neighbors thought we were still radioactive.  Donít worry, I burned the cushions from the wicker furnishing that two of the cabbies passed out upon. 

Boy there was a great deal of years to catch up on yet it seemed like we left off yesterday.  The laughs flowed naturally and the weather front broke making the evening turn into a memorable night.  We drank the 2005 Clos LaChance Syrah I bought earlier that day from Highpointwines.com.  The Hummingbird series are the entry-level wines from Bill and Brenda Murphy.  The Murphys started their winery in a fashion I admire.  They planted some vines in the backyard of their home in Sarasota and a few years later were selling it to the public.  Is that the definition of a garagista or is it a backyardista? Which ever applies, I applaud them. This series is perfect for a casual Friday evening.  I wouldnít bring it to a dinner party, as itís not that complex.  I will look for the estate series from Clos LaChance and see the complexity of those wines.  The wine went down easily and added a complement to the night that has me back in the mode of getting back to the fun times weíve had with the porch, the neighbors and wine.

June 5, 2011

I am telling you right now, itís not for me.  I just did the conversion and 10 cc only equals 0.34 fluid ounces.  You do realize that I have a cavity that large.  Therefore, I will not be a customer of WineSide.  This company thinks a test tube-sized offering of top wines will be a boon for restaurants and retailers.  At the risk of being sued yet again, I am posting a picture of this product that comes directly from www.wineside.fr.  Yes the .fr stands for France.

There are different pre-packaged wines available.  The better news is they are open to packaging for you.  I donít drink single espressos because of that stupid little cup.  There is no way I am drinking 100 of these with dinner.  I wonder what kind of wine bag I would need to carry enough of these for a night out? 

June 4, 2011

I donít know about you but it feels to me like 2011 is flying by.  Chateau Beaucastel still thinks itís January.  I apologize for the delinquency in making updates.  Truth be told, I am not consuming wine every night like I used to.  Now THAT has to change.  I need to do my part of drinking that will keep content fresh.  So yesterday, I weaseled my way into having lunch in a posh part of town.  Not my town, mind you, with it only being one square mile itís hard to have variances.  The town I refer to has upscale eateries with 'Bistro' in their name.  The one we ate at was called Robís Bistro, a charming little place on Main Street.  As I was escorted to my table to await my guests, I glanced over at a table of three women.  They were ďlunchingĒ.  As Robís is a BYOB, I checked out the bottle of wine at their table.  These women lunch with Silver Oak.  Now letís not jump to conclusions, it was Alexander Valley.  Maybe they were shooting an episode of Real Housewives of Orange County, but I didnít see any cameras. 

The waiter opened my bottle of 2005 Quinta da Vicosa $$ (29.99).  As I sniffed and swirled, I happened to hear a small bit of the ladies' conversation.  Hey, my guests hadnít arrived and it was just my table and their table.  It wasnít like I was eavesdropping.  There were no other sounds in the place.  I chuckled as the one woman said she wished she had her own money.  She wished she could do something.  News flash; instead of ďlunchingĒ with Silver Oak, how about hitting the employment trail.  Jobs do not come looking in restaurants. It looks like she will have to drive a two-year-old Mercedes CLK500 until the economy picks up.  Oh, the humanity.  Hey, lady, try going to The Chuck Wagon in Tempe for lunch, ordering a beer just so you can eat jalapeno peppers off the salad bar.  Jalapenos were the only thing you could eat that they wouldnít charge you for. 

For lunch, I had my usual, turkey and cheese.  However, in an upscale place, the turkey is smoked, the cheese is Brie and they serve it in a crepe instead of a hoagie roll.  My wine had a sweet blackberry nose and that came from the Portuguese national grape, Touriga Nacional.  The wine was silky and subtle on the finish but was disappointingly abrupt.  Merlot was the partner grape who created the smoothness but the lack of length in the wine made me come up short with my guestís impression of the wine.  Oh well, back to this side of the tracks.  At least for a few hours on a Friday afternoon, I got to see how the 'haves' live.  Iím guessing they have Silver Oak Napa with dinner.

May 29, 2011

Just an observation, can we stop saying Happy Memorial Day?  I actually had a clerk tell me to have an enjoyable Memorial Day.  Hereís a thought.  Why don't we change Memorial Day to another time of the year and use this last weekend of May as a happy start of summer day, or the beach is officially open day.  I think the pool party down the street didnít do much memorial reflecting yesterday.  I, on the other hand, spent a good part of the weekend with a glass of wine and a good book.  Good is actually a relative term, interesting is more like it.  The wine unfortunately wasnít good.  I had met Mike for dinner at a Thai place near him.  We opened what we were told was a unique albarino.  This wine was intentionally maderized to deliver a unique flavor.  I missed the point and the wine was undrinkable.  The apple cider hue and pungentness were too much.  Check this albarino out.


That is some heavy color.  I will pass on even naming the producer.  Just take my advice, if someone asks if you want a free case of maderized albarino, pass.

On a non-wine note, I was absorbed by the book, Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen.  The book is an historical look at declassified information of what went on at Area 51.  I am three quarters done and found no alien bodies hidden or Martian spaceships yet. 

May 21, 2011

I cannot believe that when it came down to the world ending, nobody agreed to share their wines with me.  I must have sent out fifty to sixty emails asking my closest friends the same question.  The response was a resounding, ah, NO!  OK, you nonbelievers, when Judgment Day does arrive, you guys will be hoist into damnation forever.  And as I understand, forever is a very long time.  OK, I knew there was like a 50-50 chance that the world was really going to end.  Actually, the last time I was in Vegas, I put my cash on the Mayan calendar date for the world ending.  The odds were better.  Which reminds me, I will start my end-of-the-world drinking tour January 1, 2012.  I figure thatís as long as it will take me to enjoy those collectibles in your wine cellars.  This time, it will be for real and what if you never opened that one special wine. BAM! Worldís over and the bottle is there to be enjoyed byÖnobody.  Do you realize what a wine sin that is?  If I am not mistaken that is right below, Thou shall not honor a false Bacchus and two up from Thou shall not sniff the cork.  Come on people, you canít take it with you.

Not for nothing, on the day, that last of last days, all the planets in our solar system will be perfectly aligned.  In addition, we will all be aligned with the black hole in the center of the galaxy.  Just think about the gravitational attraction.  All this little earth needs is a yank, a slight tug, possibly a rub and a tug, to send us closer and closer to the sun.  Once the process starts, it will be weeks or maybe months before we are drawn closer to the sun and we start boiling like lobsters, or sizzling like bacon.  I donít do well in hot environments.  If I am going to fry, I might as well be drunk on Godís nectar.  

This has less to do with believing and more to do with Patty Stangerís third law of attraction.  The first two deal with large physical deposits, the first is in the wallet, the second, well you know.  The third is my favorite Fig of all, the Newton one.  Think about it, we will be the apple and the sun is Isaacís shaft, or head, or something.  I donít know how to say this but no matter how pompous we are about controlling this world, there are bigger forces out there that we cannot control.  I think that proves my point.  Therefore, I will be starting with the Aís in my rolodex (does anyone still use a rolodex?).  Expect an email from me shortly because this time itís for real.  We need to drink the good stuff.  I donít want to bare the thought of any of it remaining untouched.  Iím ready to start touching it.

May 12, 2011

I grabbed a quick dinner last night with the usual suspects at the usual place.  That was something I never thought I would be saying.  I never saw myself as a "usual place" guy.  I never thought Iíd eat at one place long enough to be considered a regular.  As it turns out, we are considered to be like furniture at Gourmet Cafť.  Wino John is the table that needs a matchbook under one leg to level it out.  TOB is kind of like the wall scones.  And me, Iím..., well never mind.  I changed things up last night and ordered exactly as the menu item stated.  I over did the substitutions last time and figured it was back to basics which was really a change.  Not to worry, next time a custom dish in the making. 

I am getting better, I wrote down two of the three wines we enjoyed.  The third was a 2003 Brunello that we ended the meal with and turned nicely into our dessert.  Thatís not to imply the wine was sweet or anything.  It was subtle and soft on the finish that provided the mellowness necessary for the end of the evening.  Thanks to WJ for allowing us to enjoy that gem.  (Editor's note: It was a 2003 Scopone Brunello di Montalcino.)

2008 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon $ (19.99)   This cabernet has the minor support of petite verdot, merlot, cabernet franc and syrah.  Yes, the syrah substitute for the normal malbec mucked this blend.  Young red fruit, easy to drink, mild tannins and a short finish.  OK but not exciting.

2007 Four Vines The Maverick Amador County Zinfandel $$ (24.99)    Well configured zin with raspberry and dark cherry flavors with a spice and black pepper mid palate.  This wine went well with my pasta dish and was enjoyed by Chef Matt as we chatted at the end of the evening.

May 11, 2011

Seriously, itís about the education.  Mike had an extra ticket to the Verity Wine Partners Spring Portfolio Tasting in NYC and invited me along.  I am embarrassed to say that I only recognized a minority of labels.  The event was held at the Altman Building on 18th and housed 81 vendor tables filled with wine samples.  I nearly passed out as the blood rushed away from my brain.  I now have the task of figuring out if any of the wines I enjoyed are available in NJ.  One side note, with all the wine samples, you could increase the bread and snack samples so the drive back through the Lincoln tunnel wasnít so vertigoish.  The cheese was from Artisanal.  They supply cheese to many of the ECWS tastings.  The down side was the Vice President of cheese had to hand cut the cheese prior to the tasting.  One in the ECWS does not admit to spending an afternoon cutting the cheese.  There was a Romano Cow label on a cheese that was outstanding.  I could have eaten the block they were cutting up.  There was another table I saw some slices of salami but other than that, not much.

With the volume of wines I need to research, I wanted to list several I enjoyed.  Most of all I would like to thank the gentleman at the Paul Hobbs table for patiently tasting me through his malbecs and big ups to Aziz of the Tannic Tongue.  Aziz had two wines that were whole cluster fermentation, one being a chenin blanc.

Whole cluster fermentation refers to the fermentation of intact clusters of grapes as they are picked from the vine with no intervention of machines leaving all berries and stems (the part of the stem which holds the grapes is called the rachis) intact.  I think itís wine makingís equivalent to 'dogs in the tub'.

So these were wines I liked:

  • 2008 Stuhlmuller Reserve Chardonnay

  • 2008 Celler Dosterras Vespres Garnacha-Mazuelo Ė this wine had a great nose.

  • 2010 Verdad Albarino Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard

  • 2007 Domaine Philippe & Vincent Jaboulet Hermitage Rouge - deep black jammy berries

  • 2007 Domaine des Senechaux CNP - worthy of high praise

  • 2006 Storybook Mountain Seps Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2007 Tullulah Farina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - whole cluster fermented- Ďnuff said

  • 2007 Tullulah Shaker Ridge Ranch Syrah - a spicy elegance

  • 2008 Tofanelli Charbono - yes I said charbono

  • 2008 Lemelson Theas Pinot Noir

  • 2006 Riglos Gran Malbec Ė not just a backbone but also a skeleton of black berry

  • 2008 Mas de Boislauzon CdP

  • 2006 Qupe Syrah 25th Anniversary


Here are several I do not recommend, sorry I dumped and spit these.

  • 2008 Cuvee du Vatican CdP Ė no miracles here

  • 2010 Domaine dí Andezon Cotes du Rhone - immature fruit

  • 2009 Domaine dí Anderzon La Garnacha - slightly better but still a pass

  • 2010 Yannick Rousseau Colombard

The most interesting wine of the day for me:

1982 Bodegas Toro Albala Don Pedro Ximenes Gran Reserve Sherry Ė looks like spent motor oil in the glass but tastes like a liquid fig Newton cookie.  A pleasantly powerful after dinner wine.

Now that was probably less than a tenth of the wines there and I passed many I would have tried if not for the long commute back.  It was a nice event and I hope to get back to their fall tasting.

May 2, 2011

Let me start off with kudos and gratitude for the Navy Seals and those involved in killing Osama Bin Laden.  The precision and swiftness is a testament to why we are the Super Power in the world.  We have the best-trained, best equiped men and women protecting us.  Itís nice to see when there are no restrictions, how well a task is carried out.  Proof positive we have the best and brightest. 

That being said, it seems silly for me to humorously address a wine dinner when young men put their lives on the line in such a heroic way.  So I will be concise and simply say the following.

The dinner was at Aozora, billed as a Fine Modern Sushi Cuisine restaurant.  I will admit I was skeptical of how we would match Burgundy and CdP with sushi.  Fortunately, the chef/owner did a magnificent job with the food pairing.  We started with a NV champagne that I did not get the name of but was crisp and fresh and young and dry.  It was a nice start as we nibbled tuna and avocado, goat cheese and roasted pepper and a salmon crisp. We mingled and chatted and sipped and snacked for an hour. 

Then we were told to find our seats and the first course was a massive shrimp and scallop served with Uni Chardonnay sauce.  The wine was a 2005 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1st Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc.  The food edged out the wine on this course.

Next up was the seared duck served with wild berry sauce over mashed sweet potatoes and a duck confit spring roll.  We drank the 2004 Nicholas Potel Clos St Denis Grand Cru.  For a Grand Cru, the wine was underwhelming.  I think the sweet potato was a bad choice here.  The duck and wine would have better been supported by a parsnip puree.

The main course was charbroiled Angus beef with wild mushrooms and pear Yakiniku sauce.  Yes, the sushi chef served Angus beef.  The portion was twice what I expected and the beef was delicious.  Here the 2003 Patrick Lesec Chateauneuf du Pape Pierres Dorees was spot on.  This was the course of the dinner for me.  There was so much beef that doggy bags dotted the tables before the dessert was served.

Dessert was a creamy cheesecake with a flamed sugar coat (crŤme brulee style) and we washed it down with the 2005 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance.  A hit for me and positive comments from my tablemates. 

Thanks to the dinner committee for the hard work it takes to put something like this together. 

With that, before I ruin all the nice things I said, I will sign off. 

April 30, 2011

I will admit London is a great city.  I am happy to say that Iíve been there three times.  Having said that, I am not a wall-to-wall royal wedding fan.  Thank God for Animal Planet and old movies.  At one point, I actually turned off the TV and did something I havenít done in a long time.  No, not that.  I did THAT last night.  What I havenít done in a while is read a magazine article.  Let me clarify, I read stuff on line but this time I actually held a printed hard copy magazine in hand.  The strange coincidence is that two magazines had articles on the same guy, and it wasnít the Prince of Cornhole.  The articles were markedly different, one pretty much a puff piece while the other was tectonic.  The subject of the articles, Aubert de Villaine.  Who is Aubert, or Aubie as I call him?  He just happens to be the Grand High Priest of Burgundy.  Yes, I am referring to the owner of the granddaddy of all girlie wines, Romanee-Conti. 

The one article was more of an invitation to me.  It talked about how at 70, Aubie is looking to pass the winery along to the next generation.  As he has no children, it will go to his nieces and nephews and a stylish stick figure with a wine blog.  It contained mostly background about the pedigree of the landing strip they call a vineyard that makes 500 cases of wine that sells for an Upper Montclair mortgage payment.  Blah, blah blah he wants to keep the wineís reputation, is worried about who takes it over and he has confidence it will continue with his family.

Unfortunately, the second article I read (May 2011 Vanity Fair) was quite different.  It seems that in January of 2010 a plot was hatched to hold the vines of the vaulted Romanee-Conti for ransom.  In a Mike Meyers moment, some dude injected two of the vines with poison and sent a note to drop one MILLION dollars in small, unmarked bills in a cemetery in Chambolle-Musigny at the stroke of 11 PM.  The note stated that two vines are dead and 80 more will die if the money isnít there, and donít call the police.  Thank God, Franceís criminal justice system birthed brains like Inspector Clouseau and the like.  Actually, if you read the article, the perp was pretty simple in his plan.  After de Villianeís able-bodied man assistant deposited the bag of fake bills in a satchel with tracking devices and a posse of Frenchís finest hiding behind every head stone; the guilty part walked into the cemetery fifteen minutes past 11, picked up the bag and started to walk away.  What a brilliant mastermind!  No 'wait it out to see if all is clear', no speedy Vespa electric scooter, no guns a blaziní.  No, this dude figured it was dark and nobody would see him.  The alleged criminal (got to say that here in America), Jacques Soltys, evidently had a beef with the wine industry.  He had decided to build a Ted Kazinski-type shack in the woods and stroll down to the vineyards in Romanee Conti to rule the world or something.  Unfortunately, Mr. Soltys hanged himself in his cell while awaiting the legal proceedings against him.  His son is being held as an accessory to the crime and the police are reviewing surveillance tapes of a post office in Paris for a person who dropped off the ransom notes.  The good news is that the famous vineyard is safe and sound and will continue to produce wines that are priced in excess of a brand new Vespa. 

As for Aubie, we are glad his vines are fine and if you truly need someone to look after your property so you can retire and enjoy some crazy Paris nights (you know what Iím talking about), shoot me an email and we can talk over lunch.  If you donít mind, bring a bottle of  í61, I heard itís still drinking well.

April 22, 2011

As Holy Week is upon us, I fulfilled my Lenten obligation of not having dinner with my family every Wednesday.  During this past Wednesday dinner, the beginning of the reason for the season was a Holy Trinity of sorts.  Call it divine intervention or just some really good luck, our last supper at Gourmet Cafť sported a wine blessing.  The Other Bob, Wino John and I, in a bluster of manhood-matching, all brought California cabernet sauvignons to dinner.  I believe I heard the sighs of angels as the bouquets from our glasses wafted skyward.  Either that or it was the old guy next to us wishing he was at our table instead of drinking the ten-dollar plonk he brought.  WJ offered up a 1997 Stagís Leap Wine Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet, TOB matched wits with a 1997 Turnbull Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and I brought along a 2001 Silver Oak Alexander Valley.  At that point did we really even need to eat?  Why cloud the issue with a plate of doughy pasta?  The fettuccini just expands in the stomach and lessen the volume it can hold.  (Editor's note:  Amen!)

It was a good run but I think Matt will be glad we wonít be there every week for a while.  OK, so maybe we will skip a week and stop in the following week. 

I donít know if this happens to you.  One day you show up at your PO Box and there is an unexpected piece of mail.  That happened to me today.  I found a packet mailed to me all the way from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa.  Yes, I said it, South Africa.  The good folks from the Pinotage Association responded to an email of mine in a manner I never expected.  I received a packet containing a DVD entitled Pinotage The Gem of the Vine, fliers and a handful of pinotage aroma wheels.  You might say I am hip deep in pinotage propaganda.  I am saving the DVD until just before the big Easter dinner when we all can sit around the TV and learn about this pinot noir/cinsault offspring.  Iíve seen The Greatest Story Ever Told many times.  The Gem of the Vine is brand new to me and may be just as captivating a story.  I can hardly wait for Easter Sunday.

April 17, 2011

The recent event at the Tree Tavern concentrated on the wines made from cabernet sauvignon.  Unlike many of the previous dinners, we started with a bit of education.  We selected components from the essence kit and placed the vials under empty wine glasses.  This allowed the participants to singularly concentrate on a scent like blueberry or violet or black licorice.  This allowed them to compare the wine in their glass to the scents in the vials and find the aromas in their wine.  I think the group found value in this and helped them better understand cabernet. 

The line up of wines:

Oriel Midnight Rambler 2006,
Oriel VQM Maipo Valley 2002
Stratton Lummis 2006        
Cade  Howell Mountian2005                                         
Jordan 2005                                       
Ferrari Carrano 2006                           
Rutherford Ranch  2007                         
EST 75 2005                                        
Terlato Cardinalís Peak  2006              
Summerís Reserve 2005

I will simply say that each wine showed well.  I enjoyed listening to the comments from those for whom I poured.  Some could clearly find one or two components in the wines.  Personally, I found the Cade and the Terlato Cardinalís Peak simply beautiful.  The Cade offered soft, smooth, silky notes of blackberry and anise and a hint of spice.  A very classy wine. 

The next event at the Tree Tavern actually belongs to the women.  Itís a spa night featuring the wines of Oriel.  The words 'Femme Fatale' will have more than one meaning that evening I am sure.  I just hope they post pictures of this women-only event.

April 9, 2011

Here is another reason to hoist your glass.  Interestingly, this study comes from Spanish researchers.  I look to Spain more for wine than beer but it seems the beer-swilling, dentally-challenged pub crawlers across the pond are taking this research to heart.

A beer after playing a game of football, a long run, or a strenuous round of golf can be good for the body, scientists say.  In a rare piece of good news for those who like a pint, Spanish researchers say beer can help someone who is dehydrated retain liquid better than water.  Prof. Manuel Garzon, of Granada University, also claimed the bubbles in beer help to quench the thirst and that its carbohydrate content can help to replace lost calories.  Prof Garzon asked a group of students to do strenuous exercise in temperatures of around 40ļC (104ļF). Half were given a pint of beer, while the others received the same volume of water.

Prof Garzon, who announced the results at a press conference in Granada beneath a banner declaring "Beer, Sport, Health", said the hydration effect in those who drank beer was "slightly betterĒ.  Juan Antonio Corbalan, a cardiologist who worked formerly with Real Madrid football players and Spain's national basketball team, said beer had the perfect profile for re-hydration after sport.  He added that he had long recommended barley drinks to professional sportsmen after exercise.  Previous studies have shown most alcoholic drinks have a diuretic effect Ė meaning they increase the amount of liquid lost by the body through urination.  Dr James Betts, an expert on nutrition and metabolism at Bath University, said a moderate amount of beer might be just as good as water at helping the body retain liquid, but that he doubted it could be any better.  Dr Betts said: "If you are dehydrated to start with following exercise, a beer, as opposed to a spirit, probably does not have a high enough concentration of alcohol to induce a diuretic effect."

I am having a hard time thinking that gas bubbles quench thirst.  I stupidly think of a liquid not a gas when it comes to the 'thirsty' thing.  But who am I but a wino, not a researcher from Granada University.  I might say that the alcohol enters the blood stream faster after exercise getting the students drunk.  At that point they could say anything.  Believe me, when Iím drunk I say anything, too.  Wow, did that cold beer really quench my thirst.  Iím available to be the subject in your Ďbeer makes you last longer during sexí study and your Ďbeer makes homely girls non-virgin study.í  Professor Garzen, I offer my body for scientific study at your esteemed university.  Keep up the good work and let me know if I can self-test and send my results to you via skype.   

April 8, 2011

I'm getting ready to head to the city of sin for a geek convention.  I just wanted to send off a short note about last nightís ECWS tasting.  I thought this was going to be an easy write up.  We were doing a 10-year vertical of Chateau Rauzan-Segla.  Notes of interest: 1) started in 1661, 2) Thomas Jefferson bought several cases on a visit to Bordeaux, 3) changed hands a few times, and 4) well, itís French.  The wines were divided into three flights.  The presenter presented them blind and intermixed the vintages.  I thought this would be an entry that would follow a basic time line.  My prejudice going in was that the early 1980ís wines would be distinct in their color change, have ripened soft fruit that fades and the most minimal of tannins.  I thought the 1990ís wines might be the ones that were closed in the glass.  That would leave the youngest wines to be tannic and searching for fruit.  I was wrong, incorrect,  surprised by the results.  Unfortunately, we were voting like Chicago Democrats.  At one point, I think I voted the same wine to be the youngest and the oldest of the flight.  We voted for best, oldest and youngest of each of the three flights and then of all the wines and for wine of the night and for new board members and for an amendment to the by laws and for the 2012 federal budget.

Flight 1

My favorite was the second wine in the three wine flight.  I enjoyed the fruit/tannin balances giving me the feeling that it will be good for time to come.  Our third wine had the most unusual nose with a medicine and clove offensiveness.  It turns out the wines were from the following vintages: 1) 1985, 2) 1988, and 3) 1986.

Flight 2

This flight had four wines and the table was all over the board when we first tasted these.  The number four wine had a brilliant coffee and mocha nose but not as interesting on the palate.  As we tasted and retasted, we narrowed things down to the number six wine, though not unanimously.  The number six and seven wines first gripped you with tannins but settled down to expose appreciable wines.  Vintages: 4) 2007, 5) 2006, 6) 1996 and 7) 1995. 

Flight 3

The three remaining wines had everyone but me immediately select the number nine wine as the table choice.  For me the number ten was uniquely different, presenting a sweet blackberry and plum and a heavily mouth feel making the wine port-like.  The number nine wine was my second favorite for this flight.  Vintages: 8) 2005, 9) 2000 and 10) 1990.

I stand here, hat in hand (actually I am neither standing or wearing anything), humbled by the experience of the vertical tasting versus what my expectations were.  If I remember correctly, the 1996 was the crowd favorite.  And with that, itís a wrap.  The 2010-2011 wine tasting season came to a close at the end of the tasting.  Remember, just because we are entering the off-season, donít get out of shape, and keep drinking.  We all remember what itís like the first time back on the field if you didnít work out during the off season.  We donít want anyone pulling a tongue muscle or having a taste bud cramp or, worst of all, having a groin pull.  See you in September.

April 7, 2011

Devoutly adhering to my Lenten commitment of not eating at home on Wednesdays, it was another evening of food and fun at Gourmet Cafť.  As we draw closer to the blessed holy week, these events have gotten more spiritual.  Last nightís dinner was enhanced by the group seated behind us.  There, at the head of the table, was the old Pastor from my local church.  Add to the fact that I brought a wine from the Popeís new house.  Are you getting the vibe yet?  One fish dinner and a basket of bread fed our table with enough for us to share with the others.  OK, that part wasnít true. I had chicken.  Par usual, dinner was great and the conversation (and by conversation I mean 'wine') flowed freely.  It was a jocular moment.  Then I glanced over and saw my old Pastorís table being handed their check.  I couldnít believe the Pastor had a Vatican Master Card.  I understand that with each purchase made using the Vatican Master Card, the cardholder accumulates Vatican points.  Just think, if I could get one of those cards, between now and my death, I could amass one million Vatican points.  For a million points, I am sure I would be able to possibly upgrade from the fiery clutches of Hell to the limbotic wandering in Purgatory.  If a million points were not enough, at least I could buy the fire retardant frock for my eternal damnation on Hell Island.   I think five hundred thousand points buys you a replica of the Pope-mobile, itís not as cool as the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile but it does look great on the golf course.  Ten thousand points are redeemable for a case of Vatican wine, or the lessening of a mortal sin to a venial sin.  I guess membership has its privileges. 

My wine offering for the dinner was the obscure 2009 Jean Luc Quinson Chateauneuf du Pape.  Clocking in at the unthinkable price of $9.99, one wonders can this be too good to be true?  I can only go by what the label and cork tell me.  The cork is printed with ďMis en bouteille dans nos chaisĒ stamped on it, which in Frog wine-speak translates to ďthis wine is bottled in my cellar.Ē  It is the only 2009 I have seen.  The juice is medium-bodied with red cherry, plum and spice with a soft finish.  I am not saying itís a collectable.  I am saying that at ten dollars, this wine is enjoyable and worth a taste. 

Now I have to cut this short and continue praying the Rosary.  It was part of my penance for pulling the chair out from under the Pastor.  

April 6, 2011

Color me Bill Blazejowski (IMDB it, kids).  I guess I havenít been keeping up on my wine news.  Today, while rifling through some junk mail, I stopped at a wine that even I wouldnít try.  I state with confidence that I have never, nor will I ever, be purchasing a bottle of (how now) Brown Cow chocolate and wine.  They do have a catchy label with a picture of a cow stomping grapes.  But the phrase "premium grape wine with natural chocolate flavors and cream" is a bit disturbing.  Yoo Hoo, over here, that just sounds bad. Now I know Wino John insists there is nothing better at mealís end then a double chocolate brownie and a big-ass California cabernet.  As you know, WJ matches everything with a big-ass California cabernet.  When I saw the Brown Cow, I was thinking Michael Jackson died too soon.  Could you imagine what could have happened in Never, Never Land if he lured (allegedly) those hairless, (allegedly), pre-pubescent (allegedly) boys (allegedly) to his bed with cookies and choco-wine.  Mommy, why does my ass hurt every time I drink a bottle of Brown Cow?  It turns out that Brown Cow is just one of several chocolate dairy- and cream-infused wine products.  TheChocoVine boasts ďChoco Vine is blended in Holland by Team Products, A division of Dekuyper, one of the oldest and most respected cream manufacturers in the world. The right chocolate paired with the perfect wine can create a near - orgasmic taste experience. After years of research, however, the perfect union of wine and chocolate is not only a reality but the outcome is a true match made in heaven.Ē  Really?  Years of research?  How about a weekend bender or maybe a night out with Wino John.  And whatís with the religious reference?  Do you really think God is there creating the earth and light and the animals and man, takes a break to work on a chocolate/wine thing for awhile but canít figure it out, woman, etcÖ

Iím thinking God is all tied up in the Muslim vs. Christian debate, or trying to take back that earthquake thing that crippled the nuclear reactor causing high radiation counts in fish and people and food.  Iím thinking the Japan situation is kind of like God accidentally breaking a mirror.  Maybe after that incident he turned to inventing a tasty beverage.  (Editor's note:  Lord, I just publish the crap he writes.  Please don't condemn me to hell with him...)


 Opici found that a French-sounding name might  boost sales.

Bobís scale combining cost and taste: 


$- under 20 dollars
$$- 20-50 dollars
-50-75 dollars
-75 to 100 dollars
-100+ ( not in the budget)


I will use an icon, , to rate my wines.  The more icons, the better I liked it and would love to share this bottle with some good food and my rat friends.  WinoBob

Editor's Note: A while back, Bob went off on a tangent and changed his icon to .  He does this just to make me crazy!!!.  

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