The Best of

Bob’s Winings

Tasting Notes from a Beer Drinker


This page contains Winings from the 3rd Quarter of the year 2001.

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September 28, 2001

Thank you for all the positive emails, I appreciate your responses.  As the President stated, we must go on with our lives and for me, that was drinking wine with business associates and friends.  My real job had me at a re-alignment meeting this past week.  Yes, the economy has companies we work with using terms like rationalization and optimization to soften the fast and hard reality of downsizing, or more bluntly, lay-offs.

One of the companies our firm represents is a billion dollar corporation that has merged and acquired up until January of this year.  Our meeting this week was the blending of workforces and clashing of cultures.  One of the "acquired" was a small, tight-knit, mom and pop shop that is attempting to survive the jaws of the giant acquiring megasaurus. 

The group dinner began similar to cows heading in for their feeding, rank and file.  We sought out seats near the people we knew the best and made little attempt to integrate the social setting.  The saving grace of the dinner was the generosity of the host to allow as much red wine to flow, within budget and reason.  As the wine warmed the soul and softened the defenses, conversation found common ground and laughter filled the dinner table.

By 11 PM I was leading the restaurant in a version of God Bless America that in other times would have been considered a feeble attempt at singing.  That night the Meritage worked it’s magic and allowed 2 organizations, two vastly different business cultures, strangers just 3 hours before, to become a newly bound workforce who laughed and sang and drank wine and found a bit of September 10th alive and well in Binghamton, NY. 

2000 Armador Cabernet Sauvignon $ (8.99)   Chile is making some good Cabs for cheap prices and this is a shinning example.  Just enough tannin to dry the tongue and rich generous cherry and tobacco.  This is a wine to drink any day of the week as a compliment to dinner at home.

1997 Hendry Block 8 Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (36.00)    This wine lacked the fruit and length to make it a winner in my book.  Medium bodied, black fruit and a minty accent gave this an interesting flavor but not enough to hold your attention

1998 Franciscan Oakville Estates Magnificat Meritage $$$ (55.00 rest.)  Deep ruby, full-bodied, heavily oaked and a tongue drying tannin made this fruit packed wine delicious.  Good depth with blackberry, cherry, leather and an earthen aroma

 

 

September 21, 2001

In light of the recent events that have reshaped the emotional, financial, and physical landscape of this Great Nation, I have been thinking about what is important as entertainment value to the collective consciousness in America.  Prior to September 11th, we were caught up in water cooler discussions of the key strategies in being the last one to stay in a house on a TV lot in California, finding our way around the world, facing a barrel of bugs or whether a rookie strong safety could handle the passing scheme of the NFC East rivals.  Last night I watched the President define the steps we need to take to re-establish normalcy in America, then the show that followed had 12 people sniping at each other because they lived together for several weeks.  Reality-based TV will take on a whole new meaning, radio talk shows are reluctant to return to the sexually titillating entertainment they were doing on September 10th and Jay and Dave seem awkward with nervous laughter, not knowing where the new line of entertainment decency has moved.

For the entertainment, posting here brings mild value to me and a person or two reading this.  I find it hard and trivial to talk about a bottle of wine I had with dinner.  President Bush has asked us to pick up and move forward with our lives, but I want to know what your thoughts are about.  I want to hear from my fellow winos, does this page need to be revamped?  Should I continue with uneducated ramblings about unimportant items or should I simply list the wines with tasting comments?  Is anyone even checking in at this point? 

 

September 17, 2001

This information came through the news and I just wanted to let all of our readers know.

“Among the lucky was executive chef Michael Lomonaco, who was on the ground level having a pair of eyeglasses fixed when the building was evacuated. "I missed it by just minutes. I was on the concourse level and had not yet taken the elevator," said Lomonaco.

Kevin Zraly, the noted wine specialist who ran Windows' wine school, was not in Manhattan that day and thus escaped the carnage. David Emil, chief executive officer and a principal in the company that owns Windows, was not due in until 9:30 that morning. General manager Glenn Vogt had just approached the front steps when he saw the flames from above. Chef de cuisine Mike Ammirati is also okay. All told, there were 350 employees of Windows and its sister properties in that glorious space; Wild Blue, a casual chop house, and The Greatest Bar on Earth, a sushi and cocktails bar.”

As posted in the Star Ledger

 

September 15, 2001                                   

I wanted to sit down and post something witty, but tonight is not a night for that.  All I can think about is the endless hours of work that the NY policemen and firemen are doing and the phrase “God Bless America” keeps ringing in my head.  Last night, as I drove home from the store, the streets were lined with people holding lighted candles and waving American Flags.  I beeped my horn to each and every one to let them know I was feeling it.  We are a great country and this will only make us stronger.  Our country was born out of the ashes of musket ball powder and cannon fire and we will rise to the occasion and show the world our superiority in technology and power and intelligence.

We are a strong nation and the love of our freedom and structure will define us in the global community as people of compassion and strength and integrity.  I take comfort knowing the leadership of this administration and their abilities to deal with conflict.  My heart goes out to them for making the tough decisions that will keep America strong and free and a leader in all definitions of the word.

Good luck to the men and women of our Armed Services, you are a special group of individuals.  Thank you for your service to this United States of America.

1998 Morellino Di Scansano Barbi $ (19.99)   This Tuscan Sangiovese lacks the finish and fruitiness to grab your attention.  The sweet sauce on my fried calamari stepped on this wine so it will not hold up well with pasta sauces high in acidity.

1999 Canonbah Bridge $ (9.00) This Aussie blend of Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvedre displayed a spicy nose with cherry and cedar touches.  Not Big enough for what should have been delivered by these grapes, but a pleasant casual wine.

1999 Alice White Chardonnay $ (14.00)   Lacking the body, texture and creaminess I have found in other Australian Chards, this wine has good fruit, with peach, apricot and honeysuckle flavors.  A richer body and oak would enhance this wine greatly.  The label cuts an except from the story of Alice’s adventures, but I have not been able to locate the writing they allude to, “Adventures in a New Land”.  I would be interested in reading this.

September 10, 2001 

As Clark Kent had is daytime job, Wino Bob is out and about in his fake horn rimmed glasses as Salesman…  As I travel around the tri-state area, I have noticed a series of bumper stickers that, until now, have perplexed me.  Have you seen them?  It’s the stick drawing of a fish (you know how fond I am of stick drawings.)  Underneath the drawing or along side of it, there are the letters, WWJD.  WWJD, wwjd?

It wasn’t until lunchtime today, when I parked in JR’s lot to meet Wino John for lunch that I realized what these letters stand for.  With several cars in JR’s parking lot sporting these stickers, it could only mean one thing… What Would Jesus Drink?  You know, the whole water into wine thing, it has to be the catchy marketing ploy of a winery asking the age old question, what is the proper wine for bread that is tasteless and flat as a cracker?  White? Red?  Come on, what would you drink?

1999 Hedges $ (7.95 on special)   This Bordeaux blend from Washington State shares two things in common with Bordeaux, it is red and it uses the grapes common to Bordeaux.  Thin, and watery are the best I could muster to describe this wine.  It gets back to the old adage, you get what you pay for.

 

September 5, 2001

Here’s wishing you peace and quiet as the young minds of clay head back to the institutions of higher learning to define new methods and materials for carving a bong out of a pear, tree bark, or an old shoe.  If your weekend was at all like mine, I do not want to see another pound of chopped meat or a hot dog made of the finest pig lips and hooves, until the year 2005.  The only enjoyable part was having Sunday night to drink wine without having the Monday, back-to-work hangover.  There were 3 wines I had during the weekend and my favorite came from the Rioja region of Spain.  The wine was from Martinez Bujanda, a winery founded in 1889 and now a revamped winery with modern wine making equipment and methods.  The beauty behind this bottle was the 8 years it rested before seeing the light of day. 

Hopeful for the youth of America, I look forward to having a student, somewhere in California, decide to find the correct hybrid of grape that will flourish in the terrior of NJ.  That cepage will have a healthy anti-phyloxera root-stock, and a berry that delivers the full-body, fruity, spicy juice of the Rhone Valley, but able to grow on the asphalt fields of Newark and Jersey City.  This vine would derive nutrients from the petroleum-based ground cover and convert hydrocarbons and sulphuric acid into the finest wine in the world.  It could happen, you know, with all these super computers that can model things like the human genome and the weather.  OK, so it still cannot model the weather, but there are smart kids out there at UC Davis and Haight-Ashbury looking to make their mark on this world and I set forth the challenge for the vine, the ultimate vine, that will make Jersey City redefine the 1855 classification in Bordeaux.

1999 Black Opal Shiraz $ (9.99)    There is fruit buried underneath the harsh tannins in this wine.  Neither time, nor swirling was able to fully release the potential to bring this wine into a truly enjoyable experience.  Not the best example of a Shiraz from the land down under.

2000 Domaine Paguet Macon Fuisse $ (10.99)   Not much to really enjoy, this wine has a nose of sharp cheese which hurts the experience this wine could bring.  Fruity in flavor but the aftertaste and the aroma of this wine are disappointing.

1994 Conde de Valdemar Reserva ?    This Rioja blend of 18% Mazuelo and 82% Tempranillo delivers a rich, full-body, dark ruby beverage that is chockfull of vanilla, dark berries and clove.  Big and bold with a long velvety finish make this a wine to savor.

 

August 29, 2001

“Wino John?”  “Yes, Wino Bob.” “Are you available for a lunch meeting?” “Usual spot?” “See you at 12.”  Click.  That is the extent of my phone dialogue with my friend, associate, all-around nice guy and the editor of my page, Wino John.  We lunched today at JR Tobacco with another Wino friend of ours, who we shall call Wino Rob, since the nom de plume of the author is Wino Bob.  As one would think, we quickly dismissed conversation regarding world events, sports team and social chitchat, to talk about our favorite subject, wine.  Since I usually do not have much to contribute, I spent my time talking about the new cave I am building with old scraps of wood and my 11th grade Bunsen burner.  Since all is not complete, I was holding off a bit longer before bogging down this site with home movies, but what the hell, it’s my page and I can do what I want.  So here are a few shots to begin the progress report of the Cave, into which I will soon be installing a TV, phone and high speed modem for the long hard winter ahead.

 

 

I know this looks the same, but there is a new slate floor with French Drain (what else would you add to a wine room?)   I pulled out the door and have ordered a wrought iron gate to secure my investment…

 

 

 

 

Roomier inside and a slight revamping of the racking to keep Chile away from Italy and to let France never come near Australia.

 

 

 

 

Last Picture for now, looking across the tasting table into the doorway which will be gated and locked tighter than Fort Knox. You may notice just a hint of my handyman carpentry over on the right.  There is more to unfold once the sink is in and the counters have tops.  The tile work has not yet begun.

 

 

 

Like most proud parents, I just have to include one more...

 

 

 

Wall opposite the wine room, I built the corner cabinet with old knotty pine I pulled out of the kitchen and chipped some of the plaster off the chimney to give it that WWII look, (does the plaster resemble the map of Europe?)  I am a master with the stone chisel…. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2001

1998 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley $ (16.00)    Cherry fruit and mild acidity with a medium ruby color.  A soft slight finish makes this a fun wine but not an exceptional wine.  A good compliment to orange butter dusted grilled Tuna Steaks and zesty lemon grilled shrimp.

 

2000 Rosemount Grenache/Shiraz $ (7.99)    For the price, this offers more, a generous amount of red fruit; spice, and mineral make this a palate pleasure.  55% Grenache and 45% Shiraz, this wine can be enjoyed sitting around chatting with friends or slicing into a spit cooked leg of lamb.  Not a wine to bring to a gourmet dinner, but a great casual wine with lots of value for your money.

 

August 22, 2001

Wanting to be closer to my wine, I decided to upgrade the cellar to an official room for sitting, sipping and, on occasion, sleeping next to my friends from the Rhone Valley.  With the limited experience I have in carpentry, electric and plumbing, I have toiled the last few weekends, pouring 2040 lbs. of cement to level the excuse of a basement floor that covers the dirt inside my fieldstone foundation.  I moved pipes and wired some lights to give rise to what will eventually become my fall out shelter when the air sirens blast out their warning that the ICBM is on its way towards NY City.  I was the product of a grammar school that made us practice getting under our crappy little metal-framed school desks in case the Cold War heated up and our messily little snot-nosed lives were in danger.  Yes, the Bloomfield Public School system, whose budget was always getting voted down for over spending, did manage to purchase the only bomb resistant desks in the NJ public school systems.  While other schools had fall out shelters and Richie and Potsie were planning to build a shelter in the Cunningham’s backyard, I was being protected by 3/8-inch sheet metal and laminated plywood.  The only solace in the drills was that I could look up towards Miss Flynn’s desk and see the hint of stocking tops.  What a pathetic loser with a capital “L”.

I digress, as I get closer to a finished product that is worthy of the digital camera, I will be splashing pictures of my new cave.  I did manage to have a business associate over last night and sit at the Oak table in the cave, talk over the next million dollar idea that we have in our best Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton and we drank a bottle of wine from the last delivery from the GSWC which I enjoyed far more than I expected when I first received the bottle.  I have had several pleasant surprises with wines I had low expectations for when I got the bottle of wine delivered at my doorstep.

 

1999 Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon $ 9.99   Maybe it was the volume of fruit at the initial olfactory impression, maybe it was the mouthful of fruit with the first taste, or maybe it was the light tannins that made this a good Cab, drinkable right now.  Impressive especially when you think about the price.

 

1999 Yellow Tail Shiraz $ 11.00    I usually love Aussie Shiraz, but this one did not do it for me.  The fruit was not as big and bold as I expected and the nose was muted.  This is not a stellar wine.  This wine also contained a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste.

 

August 17, 2001

Winos and Winettes, have you ever been in a situation that makes you think to yourself, “Geez, I’m an old fart.”  After a terrific dinner at Bacchus and a beautiful bottle of 1997 BV Tapestry, I said goodbye to my guests and sat down by the bar to listen to the band that was getting ready to entertain the crowd.  The first set captured me with songs from my high school days; the Eagles, Bob Seger, Van Morrison and the Beatles.  I was finishing my glass of wine and enjoying the chorus of Brown Eyed Girl, when the woman next to me leaned over and asked, “Isn’t this oldies band great?’  What the, who the.. Oldies Band, what the???  This was the music I grew up with.  Great music from the seventies.   That makes me an Old Fart.

Awkward as I felt from that point, at least I restrained from embarrassing myself further by doing the most dangerous things of all in an alcoholic fog and that is attempt to dance.  Do you know how bad it looks when a late-forties, divorced, weejan loafer, docker, and golf shirt wearing, Bill Gates look alike who moves like a marionette puppet on strings dances with a smooth, sexy, twenty something young lady?  White middle-aged man can’t dance.  What is it about alcohol and loud music that makes an otherwise geeky looking guy think he’s Tony Minero in Saturday Night Fever?  I sat and watched fifty-someting men who look most comfortable on the 10th hole at Turnberry, dance like Elaine from Seinfeld, herky jerky, with their cell phones blinking on their belt, trying to converse with girls the age of their daughters from their first marriage.  Life is funny when people lose their inhibitions from the consumption of wine, beer, or fancy martinis.

So I did what I felt comfortable doing since high school, I ordered another drink and sat in the corner and watched life from a distance.  Like days gone by, I wanted to walk up to the geek on the dance floor and ask him what the hell he was thinking about when he asked that young girl to dance, but as usual, I was the one sitting on the sidelines not wanting to look awkward, while Derrick or Dave or Wayne was out there making small talk with a cute looking girl.

The band was called Coots, I think it’s short for "old coots" because the band members were gray and balding and pot bellied, but sure could play music.  They play there once a month on Thursdays and I will be seated, at the end of the bar, enjoying the show, the music and the Bill Gates clone twitching spasmodically to the melody of Lyin' Eyes.

August 16, 2001

Never underestimate the power of Winostuff.com.  As you recall, Wino John and Wino Wally voiced their opinions hard and fast about drinking American Wines and damn the French.  The author of these ramblings drinks wines from South Africa, Australia, and Argentina/Chile regions of the world.  Now, the Star-Ledger, the Northern NJ newspaper of record, has printed a blurb on the shifting of wine sales away from France to popular wine producing regions like South Africa, the USA, Argentina and Australia.  Coincidence?  I think not.  As the audience of Winostuff becomes more powerful at the registers of local wine merchants, the word of finding great value wines in places other than then France is becoming more evident.

The French are claiming that they are steeped in tradition and use old world techniques for production and marketing, not wanting to compromise quality, or improve their production with modern techniques, blah, blah, blah.  Hardest hit are the common French table wines bolstering the theory that you winos are buying better wines at better prices since reading the great information on this web site?  The French media has started to report on this trend using headlines designed to wake up their countrymen and push them off the laurels they have been resting upon.

The country turning away from France to California (big Cabs) is Great Britain, so say what you will about Prince Charles’ ears, the man is drinking wine from Wino John’s cellar and he has turned his coattails away from his friends at the other end of the bullet train.  Maybe Prince William and Brittany Speares have been drinking Clos du Val and thought it was from France.  Whatever the reason, I will drink a cup of tea this evening after dinner at Bacchus in honor of the increase of US wine consumption in Britain from 3.6% in 1995 to 7.5% in 2000.  If anyone of you can pass this along, tell the Queen Mum that I have a nice bottle of Silver Oak Napa with her name on it.

August 13, 2001

The summer, where has it gone?  Labor Day is breathing down our necks and this past Saturday evening was the first this year of neighbors and bar-b-q and wine.  Yes, four drinkers and four bottles empty by dessert time.  This has been a crazy summer, which hasn’t held the greatest of weather or the time for us to sit on the porch and swill several bottles of wine to help us catch up on old times.  The best part of the weekend was the fact that the unusually hot weather broke, lending the evening to red wine consumption.  The 101-degree temperatures did not fit with red wine as Wino Wally clearly stated in his column earlier this year.

Since I am a member of the Garden State Wine Club, there are wines that I get which I would not purchase myself.  As you are aware, I have rocketed past my Merlot phase and now I like the bigger, spicier wines.  So while we lingered on the porch, with the melodic sounds of rain on the porch roof, I brought up two of the Merlots that the Garden State Wine Club gave me in the mix.  Fortunately, there have not been too many Merlots.  Wanting to sip and talk and not wanting to open the Rhones until dinner, we consumed two 1999 Merlots.  This was a pleasant change as I grilled a peppercorn encrusted pork loin on the Weber Grill.  If I may go out on a limb here and make a food and wine recommendation from this stick-figure of a wino, with the peppercorn encrusted pork, a Cote-du-Rhone is the only way to go.  This was a great night with my sometimes wino neighbors and we enjoyed the food, the company, the conversation and the wine, all four bottles of it.

1999 Silver Ridge Barrel Select Merlot $ (10.99)     Merlot’s are not my favorite but this wine is packed with fruit and has a pleasant, easy drinking style.  Cherries are all over the aroma and taste of this wine, a pleasing wine for those who do not want overpowering reds.  This is a good starter wine or a safe wine to bring when there are divergent winos at dinner.

1999 Quail Creek Merlot $ (11.00) This is why I am not a Merlot fan, not much to this one.  The fruit is faint, the finish is short and there is a bit of harshness to this wine.

1999 Redbank Long Paddock $ (12.00)    This blend of 58% Shiraz and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon brings a richness and depth to your wine experience.  Firm and fruity this wine will drink now or sit for a couple more years in your cellar.  Blends are a favorite because of the fruit experience up front and then the change at the finish.

1998 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles  $(8.99)   A winner with peppercorn encrusted pork loin, the spiciness of this Cote-du-Rhone does not shy away from the power of the seasoning (the Merlot would have been crushed).  Cedar, pepper, fruit and change back from your 10 dollar bill, a winner in my humble opinion .

August 7, 2001

Mr. Wino Wally, man about town, wine consultant to the elite, to whom do you speak with at Food and Wine magazine?  I do not run in the circles that would have me rubbing elbows with the social elite.  Maybe it’s Wino John, but one of you guys must be feeding information about our web site to Food and Wine Magazine.  Or could hope upon hope, there be a staff member visiting our pages?  I get Food and Wine magazine, I’m not sure how or why, but it must get automatically renewed on a credit card account that I haven’t been able to find yet.

September 2001 publication, page 84, the article titled, “World’s Best Wine Bargains”.  Isn’t that the theme of our site?  Now let’s look at what they talk about.  Italian Wines, the wines to look at come from Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria.  The primary grape from this area, Primitivo. And where did we enjoy a Taurino Salice Salentino ?  In a small Italian restaurant in Paterson, NJ-home of Lou Costello. 

The second region they speak about is Southern France.  Yes Rhonies, Rhonesters, Rhonophiles, Rhone Rangers, Food and Wine is touting Cote-du-Rhone-Village wines.  We do not have to prove we were ahead of this article on these, enuff said!!!

The third region is Chile and we have been drinking Los Voscos for years and they speak about the California Wineries that have purchased vineyards in Chile to develop the Cabernet and Chardonnay varietals.

Fourth region is Southern Australia and we all have enjoyed bottles of Bin555 and Wynn’s Chardonnay.  The Shiraz and Chards rule the roost.

Finally, they include California, but personally, I don’t think there are bargains left in California.  Proof positive is that all the other regions boast wines less then $12 dollars, but California bargains, save Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Merlot for $10; are in the 13-15 dollar range.

Please read the article, I think it brings credence to the value wines we have been tasting.  At this point, the popularity of these lesser regions will drive the prices the way of California.  The dot.comers that survived the downturn will be bargain hunting for quality wines and they will be raiding the likes of Southern France, Australia, Chile and Italy, so read our reviews, buy the wines that aren’t on the list and keep them in your cellar.  Five years from now, you will bring out a bottle of 1997 Los Voscos Reserve and your guests will be impressed with your wealth, and good taste.  The beauty is that you will have purchased cases of these wines for what a single bottle of Cult Californian Cab goes for today.  Invest wisely; your child’s college education may depend on it.

 

August 6, 2001

Has this ever happened to you?  You are invited to an acquaintance’s home for Saturday night dinner.  You are mild friends, friend enough for them to know you are into wine.  Dilemma numero uno: since they are not really good friends, do you bring a mediocre wine, or does your wine ego force you to prove how much you know and you go a step above?  If I were Wino John, I would be selecting a… Big Calif. Cab.  (Editor's note:  Good choice!)  My thoughts are always caught here since I have somewhat of a wine reputation, I must impress all if I am bringing the wine.  Not impress them with a real expensive bottle of wine, just a great quality wine that I usually serve to good friends. 

The adjunct to this issue is, do you get insulted if they don’t open your wine when you do bring a good bottle?  Saturday night, I selected a bottle of wine I really value for quality and we were off to dinner.  Presenting the wine to the host, I stood there waiting for the customary compliment for bringing a nice bottle of wine, but instead, I got a friendly handshake and a welcome to our home greeting.  Several others filed in and one other couple brought wine, a Forest Glen Merlot, less than what Saturday Nights are made for. 

After some pleasant conversations and passing on two rounds of Margaritas, dinner was served and the host graciously offered wine for anyone not wanting to re-salt their glass.  Anxiously I watched from the dining room as the host picked up the wines that were given as gifts, he then placed them upright on the counter, dug under his cabinet and produced a jug wine for all to enjoy.  You metal-cap-unscrewing, jug-wine-serving, hot-red-wine-pouring host, what the hell are you serving to your guests???  Is it just me?  I’m in your 4000 square foot house, eating off your 20,000 dollar dinning room table and all you have to offer is a jug of inexpensive California jug wine that must have been opened on the first of the month and carefully stored under the sink for good keeping.    Is it I?   Have I become such a wine snob that 3 week old hot wine is not enjoyable?  I guess when I go to people’s homes, I should gauge their liquid libation style and go with the flow instead of trying to fit my tastes into their metal-twist-top, box-wine-serving plans.  Sorry for the rant, but that’s my two cents.  Larry King IX

 

July 30, 2001

1997 Rustenberg Stellenbosch $    This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from South Africa is good, but lacks the length and fruit to make this memorable.  Stellenbosch is a region I love but this one does not carry the power of others I’ve enjoyed.

July 29, 2001

Well, the exam is over and my first solo sail is under my belt.  I know they make the exam for beginners, but I will wear my 100% proudly into the world of sailing.  As I drove home from the marina in Jersey City, I thought about the great time I just had in this course and the fantastic scenery of the New York harbor.  Sailing near the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street and Governors Island is a beautiful sightseeing tour in and of itself.  The harbor traffic, with Carnival Cruise Ships heading out, 400-foot freighters heading in and the barge and commercial traffic made this a great learning experience. 

I once owned my own powerboat, but the thrill of the wind and the sails and heeling 35% while sailing closed haul is a technical art.  It has me drawing many similarities to the technical learning experience and the pleasure I get from wine.  If I might upset some people I apologize now, but the only thing I am thinking about right now is: power boating is to beer as sailing is to wine.    I lived both and feel the elements of a true wino parallel the skills of a sailor.  Opening a can and guzzling is like throttling down and driving; while swirling sniffing, swishing and swallowing is like trimming the sails, beating to windward, and completing a jibe without knocking a mate overboard.  Sailing and wine are finesse sports that can be fine tuned with years of practice.  I mean no offense to the power boating winos amongst us; but to truly be good at wine and sailing, one must study the elements of nature.  They both are communal and they both leave one satisfied when done properly. 

I am looking to hear from winos that have sailed to remote locations and enjoyed the wind and the wine.  Email me; tell me where to sail and where to find the gem wines of the world.

 

July 28, 2001

I must apologize for the time between postings, but I have not been drinking much wine in the past 2 weeks.  I have been taking a sailing course in my spare time.  Between the reading, tests and time on the water, I have had to keep my mind sharp.  Sailing is a technical challenge for me since I am a power boater, but learning a new skill is beneficial in answering as many done its when I get to the Pearly Gates.  (Editor's note: What???)

I must confess, I do not have the best stomach for being on the ocean and sailing with a hangover will only make me hurl on the instructor and stain the otherwise white fiberglass keelboat a horrendous shade of red.

I did manage to enjoy a Rhone last evening, yes I said Rhone.  I know, with all the white wine Wino Wally challenged me with, I never thought I would enjoy a Rhone in the summertime again.  But we all must head home to our roots sooner or later.  The last Friday of the month I play cards with some neighbors.  To keep expenses down, the host provides food, and then it’s BYOB.  Not wanting to further deplete my cellar, I stopped in to see Mr. Kim at the local shop.  He has a great French collection.  As I headed for the under 10 dollar Cotes-du-Rhones, I looked through his good stuff and I am left wondering;

Can any of my faithful readers tell me if you have every tasted a bottle of Kathryn Kennedy wine??

I see a lot of KK Cab sitting on the shelves of the stores in the area with $100+ price tags and I haven’t found one person yet that has actually bought and drank a bottle.  Help me here.  Yesterday, my hand almost tightened around a bottle of her syrah, but the $95 price tag just incensed me.  Maybe I’m missing out on something spectacular, so please, email, or post a note on the guest book and tell me what I am missing by not buying that bottle of KK Cabernet or Syrah.

1996 Perrin Reserve Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge $ (9.50)    I like this wine for a bottle that drinks better than it’s price.  A rich spicy nose, medium-full body and fruit and cedar that make you enjoy the essence of the Rhone Valley.  Bring this to friends and see how many people compliment you and the best part is you’ll still have toll money after you hand Mr. Kim a 10 spot

 

July 18,2001

As a kid growing up, did you ever wonder what your teachers did after they left school.  I have a clear image of my second grade teacher in her attic, with a small, dim light bulb and a stool, grading papers.  I never thought they were people, that they had a social life, or did the things that “normal” people do.  I lived in a town that was small but densely populated and the likelihood of bumping into your teacher at the grocery store or gas station was slim.  Now I live in a smaller town where the people that work in the schools or run the variety store, or restaurant, live in the town.  This is great because there is a sense of community, but it does allow you to happen upon them during their down time.

Last night, after Wino John and I had a power meeting with a very important person “in the industry”, say no more… we retired to the bar at Bacchus for a finishing glass of wine.  We joked, and recapped our meeting and started chatting with the two woman seated next to us at the bar.  Actually, I asked them, “Why the hell are you drinking vodka and cranberry juice at a bar that boasts one of the largest wines-by-the-glass selections in the area?"  I interrogated them on what they like in the wines they had in the past and we asked Tom, the always-jovial bartender, to pour them each a wine that suited their tastes.  One wanted Zin and one wanted a light crisp white wine.  By the glass, the MAD Zin was a shoe-in for the red lover and a Pinot Blanc was my choice for the light, crisp white.  Whether it was the pleasant mood, the alcohol that was already ingested or the fact of honesty, I have a great deal of difficulty determining between them, they both loved the wine we suggested.

After a fun conversation, it turns out they are both schoolteachers, one in the town I live.  After all these years, my 2nd grade image was finally shattered like a hammer to a mirror.  Teachers do not spend evening grading papers in a dimly lit attic with a cup of tea and a pencil in their bun.  No, teachers are people, and can be newly converted wine lovers, and can be the person seated next to you listening to the jazz band at the multi-colored glass top bar at Bacchus.  Teachers, enjoy your summer and enjoy your wine and ask your students what they did on their summer vacation. 

1999 Punters Corner Shiraz $$$ (74.50 rest.)    Deep purple, rich aroma and a low tannin, fruit-loaded wine will rattle your bones.  This wine is full of dark cherry, tobacco, chocolate and spice.  This wine is a treat that is not for everyday quaffing.  Coonawarra is a great region to drink wine from, and this is a special beverage.  Save this for a special occasion.

 

July 10, 2001

Dinner at Bacchus with Wino John was a great way to spend an evening out.  But the best was finally getting pictures of the great folks at Bacchus.  Check in with Joe the Wine Guy to see about the upcoming classes.  If you are wondering about Joe the Wine Guy, see the picture below of Joe and Wino John in Joe’s home-away-from-home, his wine cellar in Bacchus.

The smile on Wino John’s face (John is the big handsome guy on the left) is due to the fact that Joe the Wine Guy is ready to open a bottle of Tignanello. 

Sylvia Frodella owns the fine establishment of Bacchus and the General Manager is Ryan, pictured below, hard at work at the reservation desk.

 

 

 

 

If you look closely, you can see the next wine class is on July 18th featuring White Wines.  Please contact Joe the Wine Guy to reserve your space.  You can usually reach Joe at the restaurant.  973-439-3901.

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2001

The temperature suddenly dropped from 90 to 65 and it feels like winter.  As Wino Wally shivers drinking his Summer Whites, I dug deep in the Red section to grab a bold, slap you in the face wine.  This was not a wine that you could eat with the Tilapia I had the other night.  No, this is a wine that covers you like a wool coat in a winter storm.  Bring this one to friends when they are grilling beef or lamb, leave it home if they have fruit salad.  Killer for those of use who prefer to eat our wine with a knife and fork.

1997 Concannon Petite Sirah $$ (28.00)    Deep ruby color, with a peppery nose and a full body that fills your mouth with fruit you need to chew.  Full, long, and luscious with flavors of black pepper and plum.  This has a long, lengthy finish, smooth and silky.  A must for Big Red Wine Lovers

July 1, 2001

Summer slammed into New Jersey these past two days with temperature and humidity both in the mid nineties.  No matter what I did, sweat poured out my body and my underwear weighed 5 pounds by time I took a shower before dinner. With so much heat and humidity, I wanted some light fare.  Heading over to the usual, I heard Wino Wally’s voice in my head, "summertime is made for crisp white wines."  So bellying up at the bar, I ordered a German wine.  Right off the bat, you Winos should know that the only great wines from Germany are white wines.  With white in hand, I selected the pecan-encrusted Tilapia, a beautiful white fish with a zesty lemon drizzle.  Drinking a Riesling makes this the fourth style white wine in my white wine discovery period of summertime drinking.  I definitely will be adding more whites to the cellar.  For the non-German wine drinkers, I drank a Kabinett which is a semi-dry wine made from the normal harvest.  Germany also produces Spatlases- which are grapes that are picked later in the harvest, Auslese- hand-selected grapes; Beerenauslese-high-quality specially selected grapes creating s rich dessert style wine; Trockenbeerenauslese—rich, sweet, raisinated grapes making a honey-like dessert wine and Eiswein-rarest, sweetest, wine made from frozen grapes that are pressed frozen, the gem of German dessert wines.


 

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