Bob’s Winings
                                                                           former
                  
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker


This page contains Winings from the 3rd Quarter of the year 2002.

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September 29, 2002

I am posting my official "Where’s Wino Wally" call for 2002.  My summer chardonnays have been screaming for me to post them.  Besides, they are taking up valuable rack space that could be filled with my favorite Red Love Juice…  I submit for a default victory if I have to open all 5 bottles and taste them myself.  (Editor's note: I would be glad to assist in the determination of the Chardonnay contest winner.  However, I will not go near your "Love Juice".)

Last night I headed down the shore (that’s Jersey speak) to gather with the Wino Bob Clan and celebrate the batch of birthdays that all fall within 3 weeks time of each other.  Since my father’s was among these and he being the elder statesman of the crowd, we made it convenient to him.  Besides, that Springsteen feeling is still rolling around my head, so a fix of dinner overlooking Barnegat Bay would pump some healthy salt air into my lungs as the song “Sandy” played in my mind.  His choice, we took a window table for 9 at the Lobster Shanty in Toms River.  This place is neither a shanty, nor does it exude lobster as the name would imply, but seafood abounds on the menu.  They graced me with the 2- page, plastic-covered “Wine List” since I was the only one drinking wine at the table.  Though the list was limited, the thing I was most impressed with was the reasonable pricing.  There were no top names on the two pages but they did not gouge the low-end wines they listed.  I have dined at  many restaurants that would price a nine dollar wine at thirty-six.  Not here.  No, I was glad to see seven and eight dollar wines selling for fourteen to sixteen dollars.  Though the place is a number one tourist trap and the view of the water is the item worth raving about, they did not offend when it came to those wanting to make the small portioned, adequately seasoned fare taste a bit better by matching it with a reasonably priced wine.  In the dead of summer, one would wait 2 hours on a Saturday night to eat this OK food, but being off-season they were able to seat the 9 of us without a wait.  If you could hold out to dine past 6PM on Saturday night, the Early Bird Specials are over  and seating becomes immediate. 

2000 Black Marlin Chardonnay $ (14.99 rest.)   This bargain chard from Aussieland is a good solid example of the creamy, buttery side of this white grape.  Good fruit with a balance of acid to make it a pleasant complement to Arctic Charr.

 

September 26, 2002

Oh WOW, Glen Ellen Cabernet Sauvignon in a plastic wine glass!  Do you have anything else?  

"We have Glen Ellen White Zinfandel." 

No, I mean do you have any other Cabernets?  

“No, sir.”  

Well, do you have something other than this plastic cup, fake wine glass thing?  

“We have plastic beer cups with lids or I can put it in a foam coffee cup if you would like.”  

No, no thanks.  Just give me two Glen Ellen Cabs and a nachos and cheese.  

“That will be $17.75”  

What the, who the…?  OK, here, keep the change.  

“Thank you, sir.  Enjoy the concert.”  

Well maybe I wasn’t that polite, but yes, I spent last night drinking Glen Ellen from a plastic cup.  And no, I wasn’t at my crazy Aunt’s 85th birthday party.  I happened to be heading to my seat in the United Center to see none-other than, “The Boss.”  Au Bon Pan (I had the throw some French in since Wino John does it all the time), I wasn’t going to Watch Wino John at the science fair in Chicago.  I mean, I went to see none-other-than Mr. Bruce Springsteen.

Twenty-one years ago, I saw him open the Continental Arena back when the outgoing Democratic governor of this fine state jammed through an executive order to name the Arena after himself.  Feeling nostalgic with all the local promo for his tour, I attempted to get tickets for the Arena again, only to see seats selling for the Gross Domestic Product rate of a third world South American Country.  Through wheeling and dealing, I did happen upon some tickets for the Chicago show, while I was in, ah, Chicago. 

So I hiked my way up to the top of the United Center, the house that Jordan built, and settled in to the 50 minute wait for the Boss to grace us with his presence amongst the collective chants of “BRUCE”.  As the first Glen Ellen plastic cup full of wine began to circulate into my gray matter, the show, the music, and the unbridled energy of the aging Rock and Rollers on stage pumped an energy into the mixed crowd of those who fell in love with Bruce in their teens, one generation apart.  Yes, the young and the old found common ground through the chest thumping bass drum of Mighty Max, the haunting background vocals of Patty and Little Stevie, the gut ripping balls-out guitar riffs of Bruce and the gravel-laden lyrics of life in NJ.   Since this is not MTV live, I will not go down the play list, but only make the following observations:

New songs have too many non-word sounds of vocal aahhhs and ooohhhs.  Boss, it’s your words that drew us in, use them.

Why do we need Nils and Little Stevie on the same tour?  The Boss and Little Stevie (Syl) are still magic but he never shows that chemistry with Nils.

The Big Man can still wail on the sax like no other.

A rock show with a violin and an accordion? (really reaching for the older crowd.)

Eddie Vetter coming out to sing My Home Town during the first encore.

For those who have not seen his show, one comes away with a drained emotion and fatigue from the ups and downs of the songs Bruce lays out.  Most memorable musically, since I like the old Boss, was a solo piano version of  “For You”.  The most memorable situation was the fat, balding forty-eight year old guy next to me who outwardly cried during "Empty Sky".  Hey, guy, buck up.  Guys don’t weep openly at any concert, especially The Boss.  And, by the way, I spent way more than I should have for this seat.  I don’t want to hear YOU sing the Boss’ songs.  No, I prefer hearing HIM sing his songs.  So shut the F up.  I am not impressed that you know every word to Born to Run.  I do, too, but would not impose my inability to sing on you and ruin your experience, fat boy.

As the house lights finally rose after the second encore, the energy, the raw rock, and the cheap wine made me nostalgic for 1977, and in my mind’s eye, I was a teenager again, at the Jersey Shore with Mark and Marie and Barbara hanging on Pt. Pleasant Beach late at night.  With the melodic crashing of the surf and the fiery colored sky from the neon glow of the lights on the boardwalk, we sat near the dunes playing Truth or Dare.  Yes for that moment, I was….”Forever Young.”

But then I had to walk down the 3 stories of the United Center since the escalators were jammed and by the time I reached the car, I was dizzy and out of breath and my knee hurt…

 

September 22, 2002

Chi-town, Chicago-Chicago, the Windy City, Second City...  As any good tourist would, I headed to see the sites of the city.  Well, I really just felt like not sitting in the room on a Saturday night, so I headed downtown with some friends.  Why do they call it the Navy Pier?  A saw a bunch of people in Navy uniforms walking on the pier.  But I did not see a ship in port.  Is Chicago on the strategic arms map?  Could there be secret submarines moored just beyond the breakwater?  Is this where we saddle everyone up and send them through the lakes, through the St. Lawrence Seaway and down the Hudson River to launch a sneak attack?  Are they out there searching for survivors from the Edmond Fitzgerald?  These are very important questions I need answers to.  Damn it, get me Donald Rumsfeld on the phone.

Having too much to think about and knowing how high our military alertness is, I decided to get off the Navy Pier.  It might be on the maps of the Bad Guys.  Can’t you see, it says it right on the Neon Sign, "Navy Pier".  It has to be a military installation of high importance.  Needing to clear my head, I walked out to Michigan Ave. and lost myself in the hoard of Saturday night shoppers and diners and couples and friends.  The night was without a blemish, low seventies and a brilliant shade of summer’s evening.  With hunger and thirst abound, we made our way to Rush Street and found a tourist-looking restaurant on the street that had a ½ hour wait for an outside table.  It must be OK, since we have to wait.  The place is called Carmine’s, a Rosebud Restaurant.  We did pass another Rosebud's and the plates looked the same so we figured we’d give it a try.  The food was good with lusty sized portions of pasta and salads large enough to be shared by two.  I wasn’t with a bunch of winos so I ordered off the modest wine by the glass menu and had a decent California cab at city prices.

1999 Geyser Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon    The scent of wood and vanilla hit me first and a soft wine with good dark cherry and a hint of cinnamon washed through my mouth.  This is a very drinkable wine right now with subtle tannin to keep you interested.

 

September 21, 2002

Technology is a wonderful thing.  I am sitting at the airport awaiting a flight to Chicago for some Electronics geekdom and I can plug in and review Wino Wally’s restaurant guide to great wine in the Windy City.  I have been in wine hell for awhile, only recently drinking at a party and my therapist’s office.  The party was hosted by an ethnic and political group, of which I belong to neither.  The wine served was last month's vat of Carlo Rossi Burgundy (I think that means Red).  Wino John had reservations of posting Mad Dog 20-20 info, I shuddered when I saw the 2 boxes of gallon jugs of Carlo Rossi Vintage August 2002.  I never realized wine came with "born on dating".  You don’t want no skunky wine. "Fresh is best" is the slogan I think I saw on the label.  I didn’t feel it was worth boring you with a review on this wine, so I moved on.

I’ve been to my therapist’s offices, but the wine-by-the-glass menu at Bacchus hasn’t changed in awhile so I drank through that over the past several months.  At UnBacchus, they are still pouring from the Bartholomew bottle of Luna di Luna Red and Woodbridge Cabernet.  My therapist asked if I’d help drink the Luna since one of the other customers wants the bottle as a penny jar, because it looks so pretty.  Is this what my wine experience has fallen to?  Drink up my friends, this wine bottle makes great furniture...  

Last night, I stopped in UnBacchus to have a farewell glass of something red before heading home and packing my bags.  Not only is UnBacchus a bar and restaurant, but they do have a comedy club attached to the place and this weekend, one of the Wayans brothers was headlining.  I’m not sure which one it was, Marvin, Donny, Jimmy, Tito, or Damion, but the place was packed.  I knew they had a great crowd when I saw the expensive cars parked in a special coned-off section in front of the joint.  Big shot VIPs were at the show.  I saddled up and had a red wine just as the show was letting out.  They exit you through the bar to tempt you with a nightcap before departing, quite similar to the way Disney exhibitions dump you into the gift shop after the tour.  As I was just about to take a drink from my water glass filled with red wine, a large hand grazed my shoulder as he extended it to say good-bye to the bartenders.  Hey, who did that?  You almost spilled my cheap red wine!  I'm gonna… Hey, I know that guy!  Hey, I went to college with that guy.  Hey, that’s a famous sports figure.  Hey, I'm going to do the fanatic thing and shake that guy’s hand.  UnBacchus happens to be in an area close to the homes of some sports figures who play at either Giant Stadium or the Continental Arena.

The person I almost snapped at was the ex-Laker and current head coach of the newly-revived NJ Nets, Byron Scott.  And yes, Byron and I were at the same college at the same time.  So I headed over to the velvet rope and just before he was ushered into his tinted-windowed, expensive imported car, I called out, "Byron.  Hey Byron, we went to college together."  Well, OK, I was one of 35,769 students at Arizona State University in 1978-1979 and I did see him walking near the athletic center once.  ASU was ripe with big time athletes.  I can say that I did have a class with Jim Jeffcoat (LB for Dallas Cowboys) and I spoke several times with Al Harris (DE Chicago Bears). 

With graciousness and a smile, Byron turned and said hello and was ready to offer me an autograph like he had done for the eight others near him.  I didn't have paper, and I just wanted to say hello, so I said, "I was at ASU when you played ball there."  With that, he extended his hand and said, "Hey, a fellow Sun Devil."  Now here’s where it got really goofy.  I went to give him a traditional handshake, and he went to give me this thumb-wrap thing, which caused our thumbs to collide like a thumb war game.  So I responded with a thumb wrap thing, but he was moving to this interlocking kung fu grip thing.  He then cupped his left hand over my right hand and I extended my left hand, but wound up grabbing his elbow.  It was a pure culture clash with me looking like Woody Allen, awkward, geeky, unsportsmanish.  I just don’t have that handshaking thing down.  But I have decided to make up a special Red Wine drinker’s handshake that will make me look like I’m all that when I greet another red wine drinker.  I think I have to stay away from that elbow grab thing though; it’s really not a manly look.

So, anyway, I am looking forward to a great couple dinners in Chicago and tasting some new and exciting wines. 

 

September 12, 2002

It has been awhile since I posted, but I haven’t just been sitting in my room with Wino Wilson.  No, I have been down in the Wino Bob Laboratory working on a top-secret project.  Located juxtaposed to the wine cellar is a 1950’s type lab modeled after Grandpa Munsters’s favorite hangout.  The bubbling colored water, the lab goggles, the electrodes to attach to the bolts on the neck, all the Erlenmeyer flasks one can imagine adorn this secret lab.  Due to the sensitivity of the projects I am working on, no pictures are permitted to be taken.  This month, I have been awaiting the arrival of eye of newt and hair of the dog.  Tom Daschal volunteered to provide the eye of newt. 

Basically, I have spent countless hours trying to find and/or develop the remedy for the hangover.  Like Gracie was to Burns, like Stan was to Oliver, like peanut butter is to a date with your dog…..never mind.  Yes, a hangover is to drinking.  One morning after a night of trying to forget all the miserable things that got dumped on your head that date back to every horrible memory of being turned down by the cute chick in class or being gored by a date that you gave your weeks salary to entertain and she hops out of the car without so much as a peck on the cheek, you just forget when to say when.  So the sun comes up and the brightness drills through your aching head like a woodpecker making a new home in an oak tree.  Your stomach rejects the sight of food and wants to clean house, if it hadn’t done it all night.  You shake like a new born baby outside an incubator and the comb hurts your hair as you try to bring yourself into some shape to get into your car and head into the office to listen to your boss yell at you for half an hour since you spilled coffee all over the proposal that was past due.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just pop a pill and instantly feel great?  But after spending $348.63 this month with 12 different web sites, each claiming they have the perfect solution, I am still aching and shaking my way through the day. 

What causes a hangover and is there really anything to alleviate it?  The hangover, as best as I can determine from the testing I have done on the family of rats living in my basement, is caused by a series of things, which include, but not limited to:

  • Lack of restful sleep

  • Dehydration

  • Ethanol

  • By-products of the alcohol metabolism 

  • Congeners

  • Low Blood Sugar

I could spend the entire time just explaining the above six items, but this is not Medical Digest (give me a frickin' break).

The one thing I did want to just elaborate on for the moment is Congeners.  These are by-products of the alcohol fermentation and distillation process.  It seems that these are minimal amounts of toxic substances that reek havoc on our body.  Which brings me to two points, higher quality wines have less congeners and white wine has less then red wine.  (As one chart showed me, Vodka, Gin and White Wine, in that order, are least in congeners.  Scotch, Red Wine, Brandy, Rum and Bourbon are the worst). 

Therefore, I will drink Corton Charlemagne or Latour Montrachet by the magnum instead of Carlo Rossi by the glass and wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed.  However; since white wines are few and far between in my king habit, the following things all assist in lessening the effect.  Be Clear- There is NO MAGIC ELIXER.

  • Restful sleep

  • Drink plenty of water through the drinking period and keep water next to the bed

  • Keep a full stomach- this allows the alcohol to begin being broken down in the stomach instead of in the liver, reducing milk thistle consumption and saving that liver lining.

  • Have a hunk of chocolate cake before bed- your liver needs the sugar

  • Moderation- sorry not in my gene structure

  • Virgin Bloody Mary in the AM- more alcohol won’t help but the vitamin and mineral rich drink will help replenish those lost at your Bacchanalian Orgy.

We cannot avoid a hangover if we consume alcohol and who the hell wants to abstain?  Remember, abstainers wake up feeling the best they will all day.  I, on the other hand, can look forward to the pounding headache to stop and my soup spoon to contain liquid by the time it gets to my mouth.

1998 Stags Leap Petite Syrah $$ (29.00)  This delightful red wine has a big berry flavor with a pleasantly distributed amount of white pepper.  A beautiful compliment to a French dip lunch special.

September 11, 2002

 

As I drove on Route 280 East into Jersey City, just North of Newark Airport, my thoughts and prayers on this day are with the friends and families of those who lost their lives in this disaster. Unlike the clear day of last year, there is a haze over New York and the forever-altered skyline is dotted with half-mast flags.  Seeing the construction sites in Jersey City with touching signs and tributes, one can only hope that our collective backbones will not go soft and let those responsible go unpunished.   One year has tattered and frayed the fabric of our country, but it has not torn or divided it.  We are a great nation and no truer are the words that Abe Lincoln delivered at Gettysburg in a defining moment in our Country’s history than today.  As the national media is dedicating their time memorializing this event, I felt compelled to publicly thank the iron workers, firemen, policemen, emergency workers and the thousands of volunteers that went sleepless this year in their unselfish efforts to restore normalcy to our lives.  I will always cherish the events I attended at the World Trade Center, the World Trade Center Club and The Windows of the World Wine School.  Let us never forget those innocent 3,280 Americans who are our aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.  We are one nation, indivisible….

September 2, 2002

Ever since the break up, Wino Wilson and I have been spending a great deal of time together.  You know how nasty break ups get at the end.  No matter how great the times were, all you wind up doing is focusing on the negative.  You didn’t call me when you didn’t show up.  Are you seeing someone else in the neighborhood?  I saw your car up the street, but you never came by.  Finally, after a year of being together, you don’t even remember my favorite color.  That’s it, get out, and never come back…"

I had to do it Winos.  I had a recent nasty divorce from Garden State Wine Club.  Ever since I relocated my office, it’s like they forgot who I was.  First off, I went without wine for a month, the only reminder I had was the charge on my credit card.  Then we decided to give it one more shot and twice they delivered me a bottle of white wine.  Hey, I’m a red guy.  I ordered the red plan, what’s this white stuff?  The thing that disappointed me most is that my delivery is right en route to Wino Lou’s Chateau.  You would think that we could get our wine on the same day, but no.  Wino Lou kept quizzing me on the month’s selection and I was void of wine.  The irreconcilable difference was in my being billed for the red series and getting a lesser expensive white wine in the shipment.  So I filed divorce proceedings and I am a single wino again.  If any of you winos have a delivery service that knows the difference between a red and a white wine, give me a call.  
(Editor's note: 
I am still with the Garden State Wine Club and I am very happy.  I, however, am on the Massive Red plan, not the Girlie Red/White plan.)

To keep my mind from thinking about you know who, Wino Wilson and I have been spending time on the web page, admiring the upgrades Wino John has been doing to keep WinoStuff on the cutting edge of societal evolution (I know, Rush is not a Wino), well, to keep us on the edge of technological evolution.  Let’s see, we have a new guest book, cool lay out.  What’s this, Robert Parker thinks I am an idiot?  Wow.  I would email Mr. Parker back, but he failed to leave his address.  I wonder if it had to do with me not liking the wood in the Vina Tarapaca? 

September 1, 2002

Traditionally, the Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer fun for us.  As a youngster, it held the significance of an upcoming exercise of the mind, acne, and a comparison of which girl filled out her sweater over the summer break.  As a quasi-adult, Labor Day weekend means that the Monday morning hangover will actually fall on Tuesday.  This weekend, the staggering NJ temperatures of a week ago have plummeted faster than Martha Stewart’s stock.  We are in the cool, upper sixties with the mist and cloud cover of a London morning. As the best in fashion always say, never wear white after Labor Day.  With weather like this, it is time to Bring Out Your Reds, Bring Out Your Reds.  Speaking of Martha Stewart, I wonder how she will be fixing this year’s Thanksgiving Day meal using the ingredients of, say, BREAD and Water…  Now you soak the bread in the water to make it doughy and you shape the dough with your blunt metal object you made from a nail file, into what looks like a turkey.  You place it under your bed roll and cook it in a Dutch Oven for three and a half hours.  It will cook faster if your cellmate helps keep the Dutch Oven going.  And I bet a nice big glass of, say, WATER, will go well with your dough ball turkey."  Though there are many women out there that think she is God.  I don’t believe Martha will be converting any water to wine at Rikers.  Is it just me who thinks that when you are worth a billion dollars, needing insider info to save two hundred thousand is not quite right?  Maybe, I don’t think like a billionaire, because, I’m only a hundredaire.  Maybe you get a billion by crawling up the backs of all your friends with connections and bleeding them for every personal self interest to create a buck. 

Well, enough about Martha, the Pride of NJ, she should be standing right next to Senator Robert Torricelli at the sentencing.  Ethics, I thought you said Metrex and right now I don’t need a diet.  They should be placed in stocks in the public square and flogged.  They should be flogged with a firm oak switch.  Which leads me to the point I really was going to write about today. 

OAK.  What is the right amount of oak to enhance the flavor of wine, but not overpower it?  Last night I opened a bottle of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon as I sat in front of the twelfth rerunning of the 2002 VMA awards on MTV.  It seems like this show should be called the Rap Awards.  Virginia, there is no ELVIS anymore.  If you are not scratching a vinyl record in the background or doing some Heavy Metal Satanic Sacrifice live, you don’t qualify for an award. I remember when vinyl records were not instruments, but our only source of music.  The irony in my mind, OK, in the mind of the Chilean Cabernet, was that Marshal Mathers won for Best Rap Artist.  You know, Marshal Mathers, the brother of Jerry Mathers- The Beaver.  OK, so he’s not his brother, but when you look at the pictures of him in court, with his white shirt and tie, he looks more like a banker than a rapper.  And if his initials are M&M, why does he speak it that way?  I guess he didn’t want us to confuse him with the candy bar. 

Getting back to the wine, this could have been a really nice bottle.  Unfortunately, the producer ruined it with an over abundance of oak.  Hey, support the wine, don’t stomp on it.  Through the first half of the bottle, I could have been licking my desk the way my mouth felt.  I had to bore through the wood to find what little, delicious dark cherry fruit was boarded up in this wine.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love a big oaky wine, but not a woodpile.  Note to producer, back off a bit on the wood and you will have a really nice drinking wine.

1999 Vina Tarapaca Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Maipo Valley $ (9.99)  Too much wood, there is a great dark cherry and spiciness to this wine if you can hang in there long enough.  Could be a really nice wine if the fruit could come forward.

August 25, 2002

When I was in high school, I would stay late at practice to run extra wind sprints for conditioning.  The more you run, the more you had left in the tank.  As humans, our body reacts to stress in a manner that alleviates the problem.  We build ourselves to where we need to keep increasing the stress, like adding additional weight to the bar, to keep us from a stagnating.  So why is it that I keep increasing the amount of wine I drink at a sitting and decreasing the amount of sleep I get after an all-nighter and my body hasn’t been able to alleviate the Monday morning hangover.  I see drinking as a sport, a social sport, but a sport just the same.  As any good athlete knows, you have to practice, practice, practice to get good at it.  I think I am pretty good at consuming wine, yet my body tells me that I need to keep working at it.  A bottle of wine and four hours sleep should by now have me whirling like a top in the morning.  Instead, I feel like I just went three rounds with Butter Bean.  Maybe like a marathon runner, I need to train all week on hard liquor so on the weekends I can drink a bottle of wine with no hangover on Monday morning.  Wino John, I think that Single Malt Scotch page we kept talking about will have first entry very soon.

2001 Penfold Rawson’s Retreat Shiraz Cabernet $ (12.99)    A shinning example of depth and character from two big red grapes.  Though young, there is plenty of fruit on the nose and in the mouth.  Berries galore and a robust plumb, currant and pepper finish.  This wine is a great one to enjoy anytime with a price that’s worth keeping a case in the cellar.

August 22, 2002

I just got back this morning from a session with my shrink.   Yes, I have taken up a twice-a-week schedule in hopes that the larger breakthroughs are nearing the surface.  Now that the Martini Menu at Bacchus is out in the open, I feel that the deeper issues are sure to follow.  OK, you caught me in a lie.  Bartender, shrink; not much difference in my book.  Actually, I am seeing two professionals, one at Bacchus and one at Unbacchus.  The funny thing is that they concur on their recommendations for me.  They feel I lack an ability to carry on the normal social intercourse of our society.  Wino Chris has only known the drunken barstool side of me, but pretty much hit the nail on the head when he told me I am an antisocial person who spends more time destroying the bonds of friendship, with a Hughesian tendency for the loner lifestyle.  He did inform me that with my personality, I would do well as a Postal Worker. What they have me working on is starting slowly with a non-judgmental social structure.  Wino Chris and Winette Jacquie both want me to open myself up to the emotions of friendship, social settings, and initiation of conversation.  They told me to move beyond the inner voices in my head and start listening to the voices of the people around me.

So this evening, after both of my shrink’s offices closed (in NJ that’s 2AM), I sat in my dark third floor room with Joe Jackson playing in the night air.  Social intercourse, non-judgmental personality, someone to share a drink with, talk about the light topics of the day, exchange quips on favorite sports teams, simple, uncomplicated exchange; these words raced through my alcohol soaked gray matter.  Then, like the coming of Christ, it appeared in front of me.  Out of the blue glow from the street lamp, and from the words that rolled off Harry Chapin’s lips, my new best friend said hello.  How could I have been so closed minded, how could I have spent all this time sharing the same living space with this person and not realize that a friendship, a social intercourse was there for me when ever I wanted it.  Jesus, Wino Bob, how stupid.  The person you need most in your life has always been there, giving you the encouragement you needed through all those bad times.  Through the ups and downs, never passing judgment, sitting quietly, listening, always with a grin.  Yes, Winos, life is looking up and I have one person to thank. 

Yes, my dear friend and confidant, Wino Wilson is just the person to get me back on track.  As Wino Chris and Winette Jacquie both told me there was someone in my life that cared.  I am deeply sorry I have spent all this time shutting out Wino Wilson.  But from now on, all my inner troubles will be shared with my pal…

 

August 20,2002

Well, I finally took Wino John’s advice.  We had dinner together the other evening and he was worried that I could no longer recognize the fine line between "Wino Bob World" and reality.  We met at Bacchus. (He only trusts a public place, says his house is always “under construction”.  But as soon as its finished he promised to invite me over.)   During dinner, while we enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine from Priorat, he inquired as to my recent retreat to the third floor and the 2AM downloading of music.  I told him that things were in flux right now and that several of the foundations in my life seemed to be eroding. Since enquiring minds want to know, he pressed me further.  I managed to have a breakthrough, though minor.  I told him I am a creature of habit and when the surroundings change, there is a deep unsettling feeling that I can’t shake.  Being too emotional to describe the issue, I asked our Bacchus waiter, Matt, to help.  Matt and I have become good friends since Joe the Wine Guy left Bacchus.  Matt brought us the wines-by-the-glass list  from the bar and there was the problem.  Yes, winos, the wine by the glass menu is shrinking.  The once mighty list of more than 60 wines by the glass is now down to only 40.  If that wasn’t enough, on the flip side of the wines-by-the-glass menu there is something I thought I would never see at Bacchus.  There is now a twenty-something, chic, sacrosanct Martini Menu.  There I said it.  Bacchus is now offering 20 different Martinis. 

Can it really be a Martini when ingredients like sour apple puree, chocolate, pineapple, Melon Liquor, and Crème de Menthe are in the description?  I thought there was Gin and a mist of Dry Vermouth with three olives in the power drink that defined the 1980’s business lunch.  Winos, as God is my witness, they are adding all kinds of crap into a shaker with ice, and pouring it into a Martini Glass and calling it a Martini.  Hey, call it what it is.  Call it a mixed drink in a Martini glass that you could charge an additional $2.00 for.  In my humble opinion, a dirty Martini is acceptable, but a Cosmopolitan?  Never.  Call me stoic, call me a Republican, but don’t call me late for dinner (sorry Groucho), call me a Puritan, but just because you put Grey Goose or Kettle One Vodka in a Martini Glass with a splash of this, a dash of that and a spritz of triple sec, then shake it, it’s NOT a Martini.  Hell, if Ted Kennedy were sober enough, he’d pass legislation prohibiting this bastardization of the good name of the drink of Bond, Hawkeye, and The Congressional Dinning Room.  What power is there in a Pink Lady served shaken not stirred?  I got your twenty-something fad, sex-in-the-city drink right here.  Now buck up and order a Big Ass California Cabernet before I smack you in the back of the head!

Just so this makes the entry, I have been drinking the remainder of my dinner wine while writing this.  Yes, since the New Jersey record continues with our 17th day above the norm for days over 90 degrees, a crisp white citrus wine went well with my Grilled Salmon and citrus fruit Chutney.  Hey, red wines would make me sweat more than I  already am. 

2000 Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc $ (9.99)    Kenwood is not jus making great stereos these days, they are making snappy, fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blancs.  Ok, so they aren’t making stereos.  But this is a great summer wine with acidy foods like citrus-based sauces and vinaigrette dressings.  Herbaceous and Citrus nose with grapefruit, lemon and grassy flavors.  A great summer cooler.

August 18,2002

Since I had the camera in the cellar, here are a few pictures from the recent additions I have made.

This gate was a gift from Wino Rocker.  He owns a large plot of land in Western PA that he hunts and one evening, while he was heading in from a field, he found this gate.  I haven’t been out there yet, but my suspicions are that there is an Amish Cemetery sans gate.  One of my friends guestimated this being circa 1790’s.

 

 

My neighbor had a garage sale several weeks ago and I purchased this press for a great deal.  Hey, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.

 

 


And a recent addition, I call him Melvin, a friend, a gentleman and a fine conversationalist.

 

 

 

August 17, 2002

Now that I have shown off my collection of foil cutters and cork extraction devices, I took some pictures of the process I use to uncork a bottle of wine.

After I have carefully selected the bottle that I will be getting blitzed on for the evening, I carefully check to see that the capsule is not loose and the level of wine is slightly below the bottom of the foil.  A loose capsule or lower than expected level could indicate that wine has evaporated, or the cork has been saturated to the point of contamination.  Well, I really just know to expect bad wine when I see these to things.

The first thing I do is trim the capsule with my four-wheeled foil cutter and check the top of the cork to make sure it is dry. 

 

 

 

Next, I take my corkscrew and, in a clockwise motion, screw the worm into the cork.

 

 

 

 

Once I am three quarters into the cork, I set the fulcrum and firmly grip the bottle against my body so I can draw the cork out of the neck.

 

 

 

The cork should have about one-half to one-quarter inch remaining in the bottle.  At this point I level the body of the corkscrew, firmly hold the neck and gentle coerce the cork the remainder of the way out of the bottle.

 

 

At this point I unscrew the cork from the worm and examine it for firmness and color.  PLEASE, do NOT smell the cork.  Other than smelling ..., well..., cork, it shows ignorance.  As you can see from this cork, I’m glad I opened this wine tonight.  The wine has almost made it up to the top of the cork allowing air/wine contact.

 

 

Now I am ready to swirl, sniff and spit.  Who am I kidding? I never spit.

 

   

This neck ring is a great gift for your friends.  It shows class and, best of all, keeps your host’s white linen tablecloth stain free.

 

 

Once I have poured my one glass for the evening, I select another great gift item friends have given me, a re-corking cork.  Here are samples of several I have received, but Wino John will attest to the fact that once the bottle is open, I seldom leave anything to re-cork.  Besides, I don’t drink wine more than a day open.

 

 

 Now the only thing left for me to do is enjoy the fruit of the vine.

 

August 16, 2002

It is time to move beyond the Cork and all it’s current baggage, to the mechanical marvel of the mechanism to extract the cork.  I headed down to the cellar or, as I like to refer to it, The Bomb Shelter, to post the history my corkscrew progress.  Remember, in the beginning, I didn’t know how to corkscrew.  It was a young lady I met while she was waitressing at JR Tobacco, who taught me the proper technique of corkscrewing.  The process of removing that cork can be very exhilarating. The undress of the capsule, revealing the cork in all its naked glory.  The gentle poke of the tip of the corkscrew to set a straight path of travel to the deeper recesses of the cork.  Then, the extraction, working the cork out of the neck of the bottle, gently rocking it back and forth that final half inch; taking the world of care not to jerk the cork and prematurely release the wine.

(Fifteen minutes later)

Sorry, I just had to run up and take a cold shower.

A picture is worth a thousand words so I will limit my comments from this point forward.  As in any good Wino Bob research, one must trace the history of my wine cork removal apparati (the Greek plural for apparatusesis)

 

Picture one is the first corkscrew I ever owned .  You see, I was not a wine drinker until several years ago.  Actually the wooden sign and the Ballentine Bottle opener are the only inheritance I received from my Grandmother, the bar owner, upon her passing.  "...and to Wino Bob I bequeath one wooden beer sign that hung proudly next to the shuffleboard in the tavern and one of the promotional Ballentine bottle openers that we forgot to throw out while we were cleaning out the cellar of the tavern."

Actually, it took me a while to cross over from Beer to Wine, so initially I went with one of the openers which came on a beer bottle opener. They threw in a coiled piece of metal that served very little purpose since the plastic does not handle a great deal of torque.

 

 

 

This is the high-end, hybrid bottle opener/corkscrew.  The large handle on top makes it easy to screw into the cork and the levers make the extraction process a breeze for novices.  Consider this a corkscrew with training wheels.

 

 

 

Here are my first acquisitions of high-end, sommelier-style corkscrews.  The small knife still presents me with problems now and again as I attempt to make one circular pass of the knife to remove the capsule.  This tool separates the casual from the committed.  It’s all about technique.

 

 

I call this The Terminator, it never met a wine cork it couldn’t extract.  This gadget is for mechanical engineers and you need to review the half hour instructional video to make sure all your body parts are clear prior to deployment.

 

 

This four-wheeled foil cutter is perched atop the Terminator and, in one-quarter turn, cleanly and smoothly separates the capsule.  A must for the showman in the crowd, and for any Moil.

 

The Mother of All Corkscrews in my collection, I call her Big Bertha.  This thing comes with a rad pair of safety goggles.  Please, professionals only.  This will chew you up and spit you out.

Editor's note: New camera, Bob?

 

August 10, 2002

Homework?  I don’t want no stinkin' homework.  I once thought the halls of academia were but a perverse chapter in my shallow and reclusive life.  But this weekend, my techno geek job required that I spend time preparing a presentation for a large customer.  This is an abbreviated version of a talk I gave two weeks ago to this company.  However, they thought the 1% more knowledge I possessed over them and the fact that I worked more than 10 miles from their plant made me a resource worth presenting to the corporate technology review committee.  Since I will only be using 10 of the 31 slides I originally presented, that was not the homework part of the weekend.  At the very end of the phone conversation with my host, he asked that I email him a small Bio, eeehhhhh, eerrrrre, what?

Holy shit Batman, I never had to write something about myself that would make myself, not sound like, ah… myself.   I placed a call into a NY public relations company to see if they could invent a person over the weekend, or better yet, to see if they had a bio no one was using that I could white out the name and pencil in Techno Geek Bob.  No luck, the entire firm was out in the Hamptons, wearing black and going to real mover and shaker’s homes to eat French cuisine and drink over priced Frog Wine.  So the task falls soundly and squarely upon my shoulders.  Well in that case, there is only one thing to do; draw the shades, turn on the AC, pop 6 CD’s into the lazy Susan and uncork a bottle of wine…to think. 

I settled into the non-typing chair on the third floor, my well-worn leather thinking chair that I found on clean-out week while driving past this really nice house in Essex Fells (a nearby community that has more wasps than the attic of an abandon cabin).  When the police shift is changing at 11PM, I usually ride through the town with my 8-year-old oil-burning truck and make sure I hit Route 280 before the fresh donuts make it into the bag.  So, I sat and listened to music and drank some wine, just to get the creative juices flowing.  You know, how wine breaks down your inhibitions and helps promote that positive, euphoric feeling.  I drank another glass just to make sure I would have the buzz stay with me while I sat at the keyboard and pounded out my accomplishments.

Did you know that a fly free falls upside down for a second when dropping off a ceiling? Did you know that turning your stereo up to 10 and dropping the bass all the way down can make your lamp shade shake in time with the baseline of the music?  Did you know I could sharpen a number 2 pencil from new to the eraser in 35 seconds if I break the point as I re-introduce the pencil into the electric sharpener? Did you know I could spit a cork clear across the room into a waste paper basket?

Focus, drink, think, and start with memberships in Geekdom.  Let’s see, I belong to the following Organizations:

Columbia Record Club

Past President of The G.I. Joe Rangers

Man from U.N.C.L.E. Special Agent

Society of Left-Handed Cork Screws

Oprah Book of the Month Club

Millard Fillmore Society

Ok, so that’s not working.  How about industry accomplishments?  Yeah, that will at least establish credibility within Geek Society.  Well, I own a house that had knob-and-tube electricity.  How does this sound, “Studied under Edison”, no, too brash.  How about, “Played a major roll in bringing new power distribution grid to small section of Northern NJ”?  I fixed my mom’s microwave once.  Well, I tightened the hinges, but that’s electronics repair.   I pioneered a movement.  Sorry, that would come under "biology experiment".  Focus, drink, listen, and relax.

Did you know my life is a Susan Vega song……

1997 Nance Alexander Valley Sangiovese $ (17.99)  How’s this for a grabber on the label - "scents of strawberry, spicy cranberry and the scent of blood for which the varietal was named for..."  This wine shows more brash astringency than fruit at the moment, more fruit less brash.  The owner, Joni Nance, appears to be a WinoStuff demo with her Nance collection, Venus Vineyards Goddess Series and Wild Women.

August 8, 2002

After editing my last several entries, Wino John must have become worried about my mental condition.  He invited me out for a glass of wine.  Not having seen the light of day since the MTV Cribs episode, I decided an airing might be just what I need to shake the dust from my corkscrew.  I headed out, cranked up my eight year old truck and pointed her west.  The sun was aglow in late summer reds and the purple hue of the clouds had me thinking Syrah.  For convenience, we agreed upon the tattered leather wingback chairs and cigar smoke filled lounge of JR Tobacco.  Arriving first, I did my inventory stroll to see what might be new, or interesting, or untasted that we might enjoy while we traded quips about the failings of the other dot com wine related web sites.  Nothing brings me out of a funk, I said funk, better than a good glass of wine and some immature backstabbing of the industry. 

I paced up and down, hands in pockets, mumbling to myself, for such a long time, the wine store manager kept coming over to me asking if I needed help.  I smugly asked where I could find the 1982 Lafite (she didn’t see the humor in that) but she did head  behind the counter after informing me she did not think they had any but would look it up on the computer.

As necessary, I purchased the bottle, handed it to the waitress, so she could act like she is doing something by serving me my own wine, then I would feel obligated to tip her for her excellent service.  Yes, I would gladly add 20% to the $8.00 corkage fee.  Here you go sweetheart, now you can get your mom that kidney transplant operation.  Hey, don’t spend it all in one place…

To limit the exposure of the BIG RED L on my forehead which would be obvious if I sat alone at a crowed bar waiting for Wino John, I decided to wait out front, breathe in the smoke-free air for a few minutes and watch the night sky bleed from red to violet to gray.  I was standing there thinking to myself, this was a great idea, I owe Wino John big up.  I should have come out from the cave days ago.  The smell of fresh cut grass blew through the parking lot from the field behind JR; I’m starting to feel much better.

Watching the cars pull in and out, I was confident Wino John’s Earth-Climbing monster truck should be screaming into the parking lot momentarily.  Green Pontiac, white Lexus, burgundy Jaguar XK convertible, blue Jeep Liberty, no monster truck yet.  Silver Camry, White Town Car, Black Z3 with roof down, rusty Matador (what, it’s a Matador) red Navigator, what the..who the…, next thing I see is the stylishly-sunglassed head of my friend and business associate, Wino John, come zipping around the corner in the latest of model 2-seater convertibles looking very Bondesque.  Editor's note: Yeah, baby...

Oh no, Wino John has made it to Cribs and is flaunting the success of his latest business windfall by purchasing the hottest convertible on the cover of Road and Track.  Great, just what I need, Cribs in living color.  As the chicks in the lot all craned their necks groupie style, to watch Mr. Bond exit his imported roadster, I slunk back into JR, made the waitress earn her $1.60 and asked here to pour my wine in a  pint glass.

1998 La Crema Syrah $ (21.99)  This Burgundian winery in California that has medal-winning Chardonnays and Pinots has entered into the world of Rhone varietals.  Though this wine lacked the intensity in fruit and spice married to this grape, it showed better near the end.  A good bottle to drown your pain, but not much to put up against a rack of lamb.

 

August 5, 2002

Mother McRae Commissioner.  New Jersey’s weather is hotter than Springsteen Tickets in Asbury Park.  Sunday kept me holed up in the house with the fan, air conditioner, and ice pack, attempting to outpace the mercury rising.  With no intention of heading outdoors, I made up some Pesto Penne Pasta and settled in front of the TV with a glass of Chilean Red.  To my delight, a movie I spent many a drunken night convincing my fiends that this was the Best Movie Ever Made, was showing on Bravo.  You know we all have that one movie we could watch every time it’s on.  You know the movie you go out and buy the videotape of, but never open so you don’t ruin it.  You know, the movie you then go out and purchase the DVD so you have the entire director’s notes and a quality picture that will not fade. 

As a wide-eyed optimist during my misspent youth, my teen years were very much influenced by the hopes and dreams of one Benjamin Braddock.  Yes, the confused, love-torn young man who lived out the first on screen affair with a MILF.  Though it took the Movie American Pie (also a Wino Bob Movie Top Five) to add MILF to our lexicon as a description of Stiffler’s Mom.  The similarities run deep, most interesting is that Jason Biggs is playing the Dustin Hoffman role with Kathleen "Put Your God Damn Clothes On" Turner.  Young Jason, save curly hair, does resemble the Dustin of young, though their acting abilities have little in common.

The Graduate was a racy movie for its time with a sound track flush with Simon and Garfunkel tunes.  Drinking my wine, I would watch that movie, imagining I’m the young Mr. Hoffman, having a wild summer fling with the definition of MILFdom, Ann Bancroft, then capture the willowy heart of the MILF’s daughter Elaine.  How great would that have been?  Then I would think back and realize that none of the moms in my neighborhood ever looked like Ann Bancroft.  Hell, they didn’t even look like Andrew Bancroft. 

So I slopped up my pasta and moved the TV table aside, consumed the majority of the bottle of Chilean Red, and recited every line of the movie.  Yes, even Norm Fell’s firmly delivered line, “I want you out of here”, and the Richard Dryfuss, “Do you want me to call the cops.”  Then, as I stood there jogging in place, pretending to run to the chapel to break up the wedding of Elaine and Adam (my, he certainly is a good walker); I realized that the movie no longer twisted my gut the way it did thousands of times before.  Even when I would hear "Sounds of Silence" on the radio, I used to visualize the scenes.   But last night was different.  For the first time, the movie had no effect on me.  I drank more wine to assist the chemical reaction within my brain to put me back into Berkeley, CA.  But it never came.

As I drank the last drops from my glass, the sudden realization washed over me that at 42, I am now Benjamin’s father, or worse, Mr. Robinson.  The hopes and dreams and footloose attitude of young Benjamin is nothing but dust in the rearview mirror of my Fiat Spider.  A MILF for me now would be a denture wearing, mastectomy-scarred mother of my high school buddy. 

And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson, heaven holds a place for those who pray, hey, hey, hey….

1998 Montes Alpha Curico Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $ (14.99)   This is a prime example of why I think Chile has so much to offer the wine world.  Value, best buy, stock up and watch your investment grow.  Full-bodied, flavorful and fruit packed with enough tannins to spice it up.  This will cellar for several years, but why wait?  Drink it now and buy more for later.

 

August 1, 2002

Just when I was starting to overcome the need for the 4 day-a-week counseling sessions and get back out in the sunlight, I am jarred back into the desolate existence of an insomniac.  It’s 2AM, the windows of my third floor hideout breathe in hot, humid air this last night of July.  Temperature and humidity converge at 86.  The streetlight hum is the only sound, occasionally broken by the squealing tires of a teenager rounding the corner in front of the house, then he punches it up the hill and sends out the engine rumble of a fighter jet.  I am sitting in my underwear, sweating, downloading music, drinking a glass of chilled Cote-du-Rhone Blanc. 

What sent me over the edge you ask? OK, so you didn’t ask.  OK so you don’t care.  That’s the problem, no body cares… Sorry, this room hangs heavy with depression.    Well the sinister producers at MTV have me back on the therapy couch.  I just finished watching 3 episodes of MTV Cribs.  You know, the show that puts it in the face of all middle class white men who don’t have a huge house because they can’t make a Rap Record.  I saw this one house that was owned by these female rap stars whom look all of fifteen.  They had this house overlooking the Pacific with a pool and hot tub of stone and a kitchen that had to be the size of a NY apartment.  It seems like every rap artist that had one hit song lives in a million dollar mansion somewhere in California, Florida, or NY.

Hey, I make some Mad Cheddar, why can’t I afford a house in the hills, yo? What is up with that, Homie?  I think if I imbibe enough of this chilled Cote Du Rhone Blanc, I could start laying down some fat licks.  If I were not a slave to the man, I could be chilly right now and bust a crime.  I can give you the 411 with some off-the-hook disrespecting of the authorities.  I want the Wino Mansion, and I’ll have an entrance hall of marble with the WinoStuff Logo and a Dollar sign (I think the dollar sign is over used by the rap-decorators on the show).  Then I can have MTV in so you can see my dark, dank writing room on the top of my Phat House.  Or I can have you tour my state of the art wine cellar with the large screen TV and a Sub Zero refrigerator filled with Bar-B-Q chicken and tuna casserole. 

But for now, I can only pay my shrink to help me overcome the inadequacies of not being able to rise up out of the lower middle class and live the American Dream.  How about this MTV, a show highlighting Non-Descript Homes in Middle America, That Don’t Have Pools….

1999 Perrin Reserve Cote du Rhone Blanc $ (9.99)   This wine is a golden hued liquid that provides floral and fruit aromas but falls short on the tongue of delivering what you expect.

 

July 28,2002

I spent the night vegging in front of the tube, doing the typical “there’s got to be something better than this show” flip on the remote.  As Bruce Springsteen once sang, 57 channels and nothing on.  But curiosity got the better of me when I stumbled across a program entitled, “The Mind of a Married Man.”  So I opened up a bottle of Aussie Red and settled into the couch with a plate of cheese and crackers to learn about the intricate workings of the married man’s mind.  I do admit seeing several episodes of Sex in the City and now look at NY woman as being the horniest lot on the planet.  So turn about is fair play. 

The wine poured out dark and full and gave off wonderful aromas of a fruit-packed wine.  As you have seen from the last several bottles I have tried, I have been under whelmed with them.  I drank the first glass at an accelerated pace so I could open my mind to absorb this insightful message from HBO.  And insightful it was.  Insightful into the mind of what must be the writer of this crap.  Insightful into the poor, overweight, rejected, middle-aged, now-turned-lesbian, divorced broad who couldn’t make a living writing drug store romance novels.  Wow, I don’t know if the power of the wine hyper-drove me into a bellicose behavior, or it was genuine outrage.)  I apologize for not watching this long enough to get the writer’s credits, but for anyone who does know, please email me.  The information I picked out of the 22 minutes I watched is this in a nutshell.  All married men on the show have wives that occasionally give them sex.  Thus, all the men have affairs with their coworkers and for the times when sex with your wife and coworker are not enough, they go to a local message parlor for an Asian rub and tug.  The one character was really in a bind this episode because his girlfriend showed up at the office exactly at the time his in-service call girl came for his weekly appointment.  Complicating the issue was that this girlfriend got mad that he was cheating on her with a hooker and she showed up to confront his wife. 

I plead inadequacy.  Thinking back to my misspent youth, I don’t think I had three different women in the same month, never mind the same day.  How does one go about getting a marriage with so much variety?  I have a small company.  How do I get to sleep with an employee?  Well, forget that, right now it’s just me and my Dad in the office and he’s too old to do the Ancient Panda climbing a tree move.  OK, so forget office lust, where are the message parlors in town?  I have yet to uncover a place in the two towns I have lived and worked that featured an Oriental Wrap and Happy Ending Combo.  I read the local paper, there has never been a police report indicating they busted a ring in the back of the 1 one hour martinizing shop.  (By the way, what is Martinizing and do I need an entire hour of it or will 45 minutes do?)  What really sent me over the edge is the wife of the main character.  She is a very attractive woman and seems to be willing to put up with this guys total disregard for their marriage.  Now I admit, I don’t live in a big city or work in a huge company.  I’m sure there are indiscretions from time to time because of the shear number of personal contacts in large working populations.  If any of you work for a company like this, let me know if they are hiring. 

So I finished off the bottle of wine and wondered if I am missing out on all this.  I flipped the channel to MTV to restore my faith in the American Family Unit.  The love, devotion, and faithfulness between Sharon and Ozzie regrounded me in the bonds of a faithful, harmonious marriage.  As The Osborne’s headed into commercial, I zapped back over to HBO, and if I’m not mistaken, I did see what I thought was the creator’s name for the “Mind of a Married Man” series.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it said, Hillary Clinton…

1999 St. Hallett Gamekeeper’s Reserve Barossa $ (12.99)    The attitude and styling of this wine make it a soon-to-be Wino Bob Favorite.  This winery is turning into an Aussie Cult and the Gamekeeper’s Reserve is all about why I enjoy wine.  They made this blend from the traditional Rhone varietals of Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvedre, but enhanced it with a touch of Portuguese Touriga (noted as a Port grape).  The winemakers feel that a blend brings depth and richness to a wine, overcoming the weaknesses of a single grape.  You will find, spice, eucalyptus, earthiness, dark cherry, pepper and a hint of floral dancing inside the bowl of your glass.  This is a fun casual wine that drinks better than the price might suggest

July 27, 2002

Hey, two items I left out from my last two entries:  Number one, regarding wine in the golf carts, the PGA contacted me and said they would NOT be open to making White Zinfandel available but would consider white or red wine.  It seems that the board voted to establish a rule that any male caught ordering a white zinfandel would have to play the remaining holes from the RED Tees.  This would offer a yardage advantage that would create the need for the White Zinfandel Handicap.  You can see how this now becomes a nightmare for those serious golfers who bet large sums of monies based on handicaps of the foursome.  An alternative to the new handicap was suggested that the remaining members in the foursome would be allowed to punch the White Zinfandel drinker in the back of the head.  I suggested they make the WZ drinker wear a skirt.  The complexities abound so White Zinfandel will not be showing up on bar carts at your next tournament.

Secondly, regarding the fanatics that follow bands and sing and sway to the music, at the end of the song, why do you insist on clapping your hands above your head?  Does this make you superior to us regular clappers?  Does it mean that YOU like the band more and they will appreciate your fandom over mine?  My feeling is this; men should never have their hands above their shoulders for any reason during the playing of music.  Most of all, those caught dancing with your hands over your head will be designated to drink White Zinfandel for the remainder of the concert.  Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Turning to wine.  Did Lucifer really tear a portion of heaven when God damned him to hell?  And if so, did he really cause Christ to cry near the Gulf of Naples?  And furthermore, am I to believe those tears grew grape vines?  Based on the recent bottle of Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, the label would have me believe that.  Tasting the wine left me with another impression.  The particular wine I sampled, tasted more like God and Christ had a struggle pushing Lucifer out of Heaven and Christ’s sweat landed on the soil of Campania.  His sweat contained the toxins from his last meal of fried onions, locust and bean burritos.  Maybe I just bought a bad example, but I think I would have enjoyed salty body fluids better than this wine.

1999 Struzziero Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio $ (7.99)    Blame it on tears, blame it on the ashes from the last eruption of Vesuvio, but this wine had little to offer regarding fruit, flavor or body.  They should look into fermenting Gatorade.

 

July 24, 2002

Why don’t golf beverage carts offer wine?  Wino Wally, being our resident Golf enthusiast, please call the PGA and register an official complaint with the board.  The other day, I played golf at a charity event and as I headed towards the 4th tee box, a smiling, well-tanned young woman drove up with a beverage cart.  She hopped out and offered us a cool drink to refresh us during the 97 degree, 95% RH midday heat.  There were 3 domestic and 2 imported beers, soda, Gatorade, mixed drinks (i.e. bloody Mary’s, gin and tonic and vodka and cranberry).   Do you expect me to quench my thirst with a vodka and cranberry?  Isn’t that the drink made famous by the over-sexed, always on the prowl, gaggle of upwardly mobile females in that fictional characterization of life called Sex In The City?  Hey, I don’t have a urinary tract infection.  I have a parched throat to satisfy.  This would be a great place to serve up a nice chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Yes, I am advocating a White Wine.  A refreshing, tart, crisp, chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

I know Tiger Woods will be calling me once he reads this.  How can it be that in the year 2002 a golf club is free to discriminate so blatantly?  I will ask Wino Wally to speak with Phil and Tiger and Davis the next time he gets together for their poker night.  Wine and golf are almost as American as hot dogs and baseball.  OK, so neither golf nor wine is American, but in the true spirit that makes America great, we made golf and wine better.  Just look at the history set this year by the US Open having been played at a public golf course on Long Island.  I say that’s great.  And look at the award winning wines that collectors seek from those cults in California.  You know, great wines use to be made by monks, now cult members make them.  Wino John always tells me that Screaming Eagle is a cult wine. 

So, by the power vested in me through the miles of divots I have gouged on courses across this great land, and by the strength given to me by hitting so many second shots out of tall grass and between tree limbs, I declare that beverage carts on the golf courses of this country MUST carry a red, a white and a lady’s pink wine to refresh and replenish those of us drained from the 125 strokes it took to get back to the clubhouse.  Not for nothing, you would think that Greg Norman would have taken up this cause long ago since drinking on the golf course would be the only thing he could win these last few years.  And when he does fold on Sunday during a tournament, he could blame it on the hang over he had from the cheap wine he drank the day before. 

1999 Gaja Promis $$$ (54.00 rest.)  This Tuscan, comprised of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, did little to excite the senses.  A nose of wood, cassis, smoke and berries filled the glass but the weight was thin and the finish was missing.  I just cannot see this standing up to a nice red sauce.  I was left feeling like I got sucked in by the name of the producer and it hurt twice as much at the restaurant mark up.

 

July 21, 2002

Wow, the sweeping second-hand on the clock of life has ticked off nanoseconds since my last drunken’ series of non-sequeters.  These past days and nights are but a blur of alcohol, none of which came from the chemical reaction of the yeast/sugar compounds of grapes. 

WARNING - the following entry contains immature subject matter, sophomoric humor, and has absolutely nothing to do with wine.  Though the stories are true and the characters depicted actually are the people I speak of, their names may be changed, only because I was drunk and cannot correctly recall who they hell they are, nor do I choose to research the correct spelling of said character’s true identity.

Needing a break from the cheap wine-by-the-gallon offerings of UnBacchus and the quasi-trendy Malt Beverages currently produced by the leading distilleries (i.e.: Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s Hard Lemonade….) that I liquefied my gray matter with this week, I did something different last evening.  Wino Rocker invited me out for the evening with his wife.  Yes, for those who follow the minutia of these entries, Wino Rocker is back rocking the waterbed with Mrs. Wino Rocker.  Mid-life crises do have happy endings sometimes, if you call being shackled back with the one you chose to flee from, damned to the eternal hell of terminal monogamy, happy.  I prefer the happy ending of a good Oriental full body massage myself.  But we were set to celebrate their good fortune of rediscovering their love for each other.  Besides, he is very wealthy and I figured I could get a free meal out of this thing.

Much to my delight, I found myself the passenger of a leather interior sports car,  heading south on the Garden State Parkway.  As a passenger, that means one thing, I could drink very heavily without consequence.  Last night, I was about to experience the thrill of checking off another line on the “Done It List.”  I was given a ticket to the Mecca of Music, the Rubicon of Rock and Roll, the epicenter of drug induced guitar riffs.  Yes, for those of us growing up in NJ, everyone has a fairytale about seeing a big name group play at the World Famous Stone Pony in Asbury Pak, NJ.  “The Pony”, as insiders refer to it, is the temple upcoming bands come to play in hopes of being discovered.  “The Pony” is where NJ’s Favorite Son, Bruce Springsteen, would try to sneak in just to watch the bands and feel the thumping of the drums and wailing of the sax as music was reshaping the cult of the sixties.  I mostly accepted the invitation in hopes that Bruce would surprise the audience and sit in on a set, as he is local, and fine tuning his upcoming tour.  So, as I waited on line for the doors to open, I finally inquired as to the name of the band we were there to see.

Wino Rocker, being a wannabe Bass player, and his wife have this almost Grateful Dead cult attraction to none other than Vanilla Fudge.  What the, who the…ohhhh noooo.  Vanilla Fudge, aren’t they the cover band from the sixties whose lead singer is the long lost twin of Joe Pesce?   Vince Martell still has seventies hair and a portly, well-fed physique.  The only Vanilla Fudge lyric I know off the top of my head is, “PHASE TWO”.   OK, you two FUDGE fans can stop laughing now. 

The Stone Pony, an unobtrusive bar in war-torn Asbury Park, NJ, is where true music lovers overlook their drinks being served in plastic cups and the hot item on the menu is a hot pretzel.  No, you brave the ride East from the GSP, down Asbury Avenue, to the beachfront so you can relive those lost years of your misspent youth.  You go there to get drunk and feel the heart and soul of each musician (which you can do after they set the volume level to "11" on the Marshall Amps stacked on either side of the drums).  An intimate setting where women crowd the stage to be splashed with the sweat rolling off the lead singer’s forehead as he leans over and sings passionately into the microphone. They dream that the singer will throw away his Vogue Model girlfriend to have a hot torrid affair with some over forty, divorced housefrau poured into bike shorts as her belly fat balloons over the waistband like freshly baked bread.

I was there and was going to experience “The Pony” for all it had to offer.  That is when I decided to have an illicit affair with an old flame.  Yes, since I was there to see a band from my youth, the atmosphere of sex, drugs and rock and roll, roared through my veins.  So as the 24 year old, belly-ringed, tattooed barmaid flipped her blond hair over her shoulder and asked me what my pleasure was, I threw out a line from days gone by that lead me down the path to an evening of lust and passion.  “Bud Light", I said.  Yes, it was copious bottles of this golden liquid that took my virginity.

 As the sun sank behind the shells of burned out buildings, the other 89 people filed in to await the sounds of the Fudge.  I don’t know if it was the hops, the yeast, the malt or just the cynic in me, but as I looked around the crowd, a sudden feeling that all was not lost shot down my spine.  For the crowd was comprised of the most colorful cast of characters assembled under one roof.  I do not know how much of the crowd was simulcast across the internet, but the sight of 50 plus year old men, highlighted by long gray doo-laps, comb-overs, beer-bellies and earrings, made me laugh out loud.  Most popular was the Gallagher-esque cap and ponytail (the cap hiding the shine from a long forgotten hair line).  The woman were not much better.  How does one not look in the mirror before exiting their home?  Tight clothing that causes the ripple effect on doughy stomachs and thighs should be ruled unconstitutional by the government.

Please frame the Pony in the context that it is a home of emerging bands with hopes of being discovered.  So, as the warm up band excited the crowd and showcased their original music, I was consumed with the bald patch in the back of the lead singer’s head.  This is the Pony, for Christ sake, buy some Ron Popel spray-on-hair and cover that thing.  No record producer is going to sign you to a deal when your 45-year-old hair is falling out as you are jumping around the stage like a turrets patient.  Trust me, Sony is not looking for the next Mick Jagger in his current state.  They are leaning towards the Mick of 1963. 

With a pack of my lovely Bud’s rinsed through me, 10PM brought the house lights down and the headlining Vanilla Fudge to the stage.  To my enjoyment, many of the audience members got out of their seats and hit the floor.  No, they weren’t going to dance.  I believe they were so old, their hips snapped.  There was one woman, who decided to stand in my line of sight and do what I figured out later was a 47 year old, divorced white woman’s interpretation of dancing.  My God, Elaine from Seinfeld has more rhythm.  Don’t get me wrong for one moment, the band was great.  Even if the black see-thru frilly shirt and sequined red satin vest donned by Bill the keyboardist reveals a 50-year-old beer gut; they still can play well.

As a music lover, I do have a difficult time going to see a band play their interpretation of another band’s songs.  If I wanted to hear that song, I would have gone to that band’s show.  “Phase Three”, not being a huge VF fame, I walked away with the understanding their talent lays in taking a song and fingerprinting it with sixties drum solos and Hendrixesque guitar riffs.  But does the world really need a psychedelic rendition of the Back Street Boy’s “Bye, Bye, Bye”?  Hey what was wrong with the Beatles making Eleanor Rigby a light, acoustical melody?  The tune I think did play well was “Witchie Woman”, the Fudge nailed it.  One side note, there is a replacement bass player, who grew up in Asbury Park now with the 3 original band members and is fantastic; but as he tried to pump the crowd, bringing us back to 1967, I realized he wasn’t yet a batch in his father’s sac at that time.

 As we prepared to depart at 2AM, Springsteenless, a third band, which still had all their hair, was humping in their own equipment.  They were what the Pony is famous for, having to lug their own amps, getting on stage at 2:30 AM to play in front of 50 drunk people who would rather use their last cognitive functions determining if they could work a deal to get laid before the sun came up, instead of paying attention to the lyrics of the young musicians.  Could this be the next group to get to the next level and become Corporate sellouts with large concert sponsors and investment brokers?  Or will they play for years, in smoke filled bars, to crowds under one hundred and having to keep their day jobs to feed their wife and kids?  Either way, they do it cause they love it. 

I settled up the bill with the cute, belly-ringed, tattooed barmaid and thanked her for the introduction to my first love.  She told me they do serve a white wine or a white zinfandel in a plastic cup for those not wanting beer or Sex on the Beach.  And as Vince and Bill and Carmine and TM stood behind the merchandise counter at the Stone Pony, offering their latest album and T-Shirt for sale; autographing posters and shaking hands with the people, their fans, I heard the barmaid comment to one of the bouncers, “At least on Oldies Night we can get out of here at a decent hour.”  

 

July 15, 2002

Being the night prowler that I am; often, the blue glow of the television emanates from the windows of the small, dark room on the third floor, well beyond the mid-night hour.  Not being able to sleep, I wind up engrossed in the world of infomercials, having a separate Master Card just to order up the next gizmo, gadget, or exercise equipment offered by “On TV”.  I can now develop my abs while painting a room with a roller that never runs out of paint, edges professionally and can cover the bald spot in the back of my head.  My basement is a graveyard of Info Items from the pocket fisherman, to the George Foreman Grill Mitts/boxing gloves.  Hey, why just cook, when you can get a 20 minute workout as you flip these greasily hamburgers with your weighted George Foreman, asbestos boxing gloves.  You don’t even need utensils to flip your meat (I’ll beat Wino John to the line…."Insert joke here….")

So, one night, I’m doing the tuner tango and I see this blonde bombshell testifying how she lost 50 pounds with this diet from this company.  If you call now, you can get these great Steaks and Tuna, to give your body a low carb, high protein diet and lose inches and pounds and look terrific while eating as much as you want, yadda, yadda, yadda.  So I grab my credit card and for only $150.00, I will look like her in only one month.  Hey, I’ve worn that same blue swim suit and heels and …..Never mind.

Now I have a freezer box filled with steaks and tuna that are individually sealed in shrink-wrap, for the exact portion so I can look like the blond spokeswoman.  Well, what better than a Sunday afternoon to fire up that blasted Webber and burn up these weight-reducing babies.  Steak and tuna and, oh no, fish and meat to match a wine with!  Warning, wino overload!  Do I go light for the fish or heavy for the steak.  Which food item suffers? 

Thinking back to my Lord and Master, Kevin Zraly’s advice, a Pinot Noir is a safe bet when ordering for a table having a variety of foods.  Thanks, Kevin, though a Pinot Noir is soft and fleshy and not in my cellar, I run out to the local deli/wine store in town that will sell you a bottle of Katherine Kennedy Cabernet for $125.00 along with a lotto ticket and a slurpy.  I quickly glanced about the store, to make sure Wino Lou or another neighbor was not looking at me as I dashed into the Pinot Noir section.  I even thought up an excuse if I ran into Wino Lou, that my sick Aunt was in the hospital and on her death bed she phoned me to see if I could bring her a bottle of Pinot Noir to comfort her waning moments of life itself.  Lucky for me, there were only 5 Pinot’s to select from and Wino Lou was nowhere insight.  So, doing that head down at the counter thing, like when you had to buy Kotex for your mom, or when you where 15 and bought your first pack of condoms, I handed the bottle and money over to the clerk.  I requested he place it in a brown paper bag and I ran out of the store before he could hand me my change.

In the privacy of my home, with shades drawn, I opened the Pinot and took a taste.  Not bad, but the acidity is a bit high.  I took my frozen wine sleeve out of the freezer, notch the temperature of the wine down a bit, and low and behold, I enjoyed the wine.  It didn’t stifle the tuna, and had enough to support the steak.  It did fall short with the sautéed spinach and garlic sauce.  Though I wonder, when I wake tomorrow and see the empty bottle of Pinot sleeping next to me, how much of my arm will I chew off to sneak out of the house without waking the Pinot Noir…

1999 Duck Pond Fries’ Family Cellars Pinot Noir $ (12.99)   A pleasant balance of fruit and acid allow this wine to stand tall.  A bowl of cherries and a finish of plum, this will do well with a wide rage of foods.  As I drank this, I was thinking this wine will enhance a sassy veal dish or grilled pork chops.  A wine to be enjoyed by even a Rhone Ranger.

(Editor's note: WinoBob is now officially out of the closet...)

 

July 14, 2002

I’m glad Wino John posted that health update on the front page.  Now, instead of feeling guilty about my wine consumption over the past four nights, I can chalk it up to “spending time doing good things for my prostate."  One can never be too kind to your prostate, this being spoken from one who’s genetic pool runs deep with prostate cancer.  My motto this weekend was, "A bottle of wine a day keeps the prostate cancer away."

I did stray from the red last night, for a while, with dinner.  Needing a break from the summer doldrums, I headed over to Bacchus for a nice meal.  The potato encrusted red snapper, drizzled with horseradish cream over asparagus and tomato bruschette just didn’t call out for a red.  Being in the open-minded state of finding summer white wines, I selected a South African Sauvignon Blanc. I wanted to see how this compared to the New Zealand Sauvignon’s I have tried lately.  After the meal, I did sit at the bar and have an after dinner Cote du Rhone, and I tried a Spanish Red as dessert.

2001 Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc $ (8.99)    Bland, dull, muted, unzesty, this was the anti-Sauvignon Blanc.  There was little of the citrus fruit I was looking for.

1999 Samores Cote du Rhone $ 9.99   As a Rhone lover, this wine disappointed; there was little fruit, depth or spice.  Some Cotes are not created equal. 

1999 Capcane Mas Donis $ (7.99)   This Spanish gem comes from the Tarragona Region and is composed of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  The bartender almost talked me out of this beauty, saying they have sold very little since bringing it into the restaurant.  If you go to Bacchus, tell Chris that Wino Bob wants to buy you a Capcane.  This wine is soft and fruity with a medium body that is all dark cherry, tobacco, chocolate and spice.  A sleeper, enjoy it now, for it will not stay under 10 dollars for long.

 

July 11, 2002

It was the Best of Wines; it was the Worst of Wines.  I always wanted to say that.  I think Dickens was a Wino and he wouldn’t mind me using his brilliance for my perverse reasons.  I spent my college days, drinking beer; yes I said beer, reading many of the classic novels, dreaming of the day I would publish my own “American Classic”.  As you can see by Wino John’s constant editing of my drunken sophomoric gibberish, my writing style was rejected with glee by many of NY’s finest literary agents.  The fun of this page is that I can take some of the world’s best literary opening lines and twist them for my demented purposes. 

The great line has little to do with a glass of wine I had but more about the differences between the two places at which I enjoy spending down time.  The one place, as you well know by now, is Bacchus.  The other is a local bar/restaurant two miles east of my house.  I stop in there to see some friends and get that “Cheers” feeling since most regulars are second generation patrons.  I will call this place, Unbacchus, since there is such a different approach to wine.  Bacchus is serious about wine and how it is stored and presented.  Unbacchus basically keeps the white and pink wine in the beer cooler next to the Coors Light and the Red is served from large bottles.  Yes, you must try the 2000 Luna di Luna Merlot from the Large RED Bartholomew.  Bacchus has three levels of stemware, the top being Riedel, so one can appreciate the bouquet of a mature Bordeaux.  Unbacchus has three styles of wine glasses, you get your red wine served in which ever is clean and you appreciate not getting it in a hi-ball glass.  Bacchus teaches their staff to accurately pour the correct volume of wine in the appropriate glass to allow proper aeration of the liquid surface for olfactory titillation.  Unbacchus’s staff is taught how to carrying really full wine glasses so they don’t spill the wine they filled to the rim.  At Bacchus, one sips and swirls and enjoys a social environment to appreciate wine.  At Unbacchus, one gets to know the staff so you can get a buy-pack on the third round. 

The fun thing at Bacchus and Unbacchus is that by the end of the night, the mood is festive, people are doing the “I love you Man” good-byes and the worries of the day have been dissolved in a bath of fermented, or distilled liquid.

I would love to review the Cabernet Sauvignon I drank last night, but the box label wasn’t clear from where I was sitting.  Hey, you want a refill? 

 

July 8, 2002

I still do not have the technique for cooking on this Webber Grill.  I can do the basics, but this weekend, having time on my hands, I bought a roast beef and read the recommendations for cooking one of these things.  The thing I dislike the most about this grill is they tell you to cook by time.  I prefer continually flipping, poking and prodding my meat.  (Editor's note: Insert your own joke here.)  With this grill, you put it on, set your timer and leave it alone.  So while the kitchen timer minded the meat, I wanted to grab a bottle of Red (now that the NJ temperatures are below 95).  Figuring a nice medium rare roast would be complimented well by Bordeaux, I grabbed a wine from Haut-Medoc that had a 1995 date.  That was the most mature Bordeaux I had in the rack. 

So I set myself up for a juicy rare roast and a somewhat mature, inexpensive wine.  Instead I got a roast that was mature and a wine I opened too young.  For some reason, the internal temperature the Webber people recommend for medium rare actually turns the meat into something resembling the sole of a Bruno Maglia loafer.  As for the wine, this could have used several more years in the cellar to soften the tannins that held the fruit in check for quite some time.  This will be a very good bottle of wine for less than $15.00. 

So if there are any Webber experts, I’m looking for a reliable cooking time chart by the pound to get that medium rare, juicy roast they show on the picture in the Webber book.

1995 Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon Haut-Medoc $ (14.99)   This wine delivers a great nose of Cabernet Sauvignon, filled with earthen and barnyard aromas, but brace yourself for the slap in the face tannins that greet you at first taste.  The tongue dries instantly and the brash tannins strangle the fruit for quite a while.  But have faith, a fill of black cherry and currant reveal itself for the final glass.  I recommend you save a glass of this to compliment fresh baked walnut brownies.

July 5, 2002

I hope you all had a safe and fun July 4th celebration.  (Editor's note: Fk Bin Laden)    I spent mine with an ice pack, aspirin, and a pot of coffee.  For the first time in my life, I attended a wedding on a Wednesday evening.  I guess, since Thursday was the 4th and most people have the day off, the couple felt this was a great night to join the ranks of those no longer having time to themselves and having to compromise on everything for the rest of their days on this planet.  Since Wednesday was a workday, the cocktail hour didn’t start until 6:30PM.  Don’t get me wrong, the place was first rate and the cocktail hour boasted more unique food stations than I experienced at any wedding.  Prior to the bar opening, we were informed that a “Champagne Station” would be found up the stairs and to the right.  Champagne, now you’re talking.  So I’m walking up the stairs, figuring a place like this must be at least pouring Vueve Cliquot.  (No, not La Grand Dame, with 300 guests.  I couldn’t imagine that tab.)  As you know, I don’t have a great deal of experience with Champagne, but there are a few I have enjoyed. 

As I grabbed my flute and stepped towards the “Station” I froze in my tracks.  What the, who the…?  Hey, did that server just twist off the cork from that bottle?  Yes Jerry, that familiar sound of a popping cork emanated from the bottle they just twisted.  No, they didn’t twist off the cage that keeps the cork from prematurely spunking out the fine bubbles from the Champagne region of France; they UNSCREWED the plastic dome-like structure that sat atop the bottle.  Hey, that’s not Champagne.  You tricked me.  That’s an Italian Sparkling Wine like we drank when we were 15 and wanted to get buzzed, but needed something sweet to drink.  That’s Spumante, that light, low alcohol, sparkling wine that was made famous in the Asti region of Italy near Turin. 

So I offered up my glass and watched as the Sparkling wine dribbled around the threads at the end of the bottle.  And yes folks, it tasted like that sweet, low alcohol stuff we made my older brother buy for us to celebrate Markie getting his driver’s license after his third and final attempt.  Feeling the Wine Snob inside racing towards my mouth to inform the hostess this should in no way be referred to as a "Champagne" station, I took several cleansing breaths and smiled politely, thanking the girl who just plopped a raspberry in my flute.  I was also amazed at what a chick-pleaser this beverage turned out to be.  I heard tons of comments from the women at and around my table, “what a great Champagne.”  At which point, I launched into a half hour discussion on why this was not Champagne, nor should it be spoken about in the same sentence, though I held that conversation in my head, not to upset the table.

Always wanting to make sure I have the facts, and looking to cure my ailing head, I spent time yesterday reading up on the Spumante that was adored by so many.

VERDI Spumante is a blend of wine and fermented Cereal.  CEREAL?  Maybe I can have this for breakfast.  Please give me a Verdi Wheaties, or for those on a diet, the VERDI Special K.  Bosca Winery, famous for their Vermouth, another bastardized wine beverage, spent years in development for this product.  The team set out to develop a beverage that was Versatile, Enchanting, Revolutionary, Daring and Innovative.  What they came up with is a light, 5% alcohol, sweet sparkling wine that is a mainstay for toasts at banquet halls around the globe.  And by the way, they have a patent pending on the twist-off cork apparatus thing.  So next time a friend invites you over for a glass of Champagne and your recognize this label, punch them in the stomach and tell them it’s NOT Champagne, then politely drink their sweet sparkling wine with plenty of fresh fruit and 2 aspirin to outsmart the headache.


 

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