This page contains Winings
from the 3rd Quarter of the year 2002.
To contact WinoBob, click
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
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
Black Marlin Chardonnay $
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
Glen Ellen Cabernet Sauvignon in a plastic wine glass! Do you have
have Glen Ellen White Zinfandel."
No, I mean
do you have any other Cabernets?
you have something other than this plastic cup, fake wine glass thing?
plastic beer cups with lids or I can put it in a foam coffee cup if you
thanks. Just give me two Glen Ellen Cabs and a nachos and cheese.
will be $17.75”
who the…? OK, here, keep the change.
you, sir. Enjoy the concert.”
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.
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:
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.
Man can still wail on the sax like no other.
show with a violin and an accordion? (really reaching for the older
Vetter coming out to sing My Home Town during the first encore.
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
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
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).
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
I am looking forward to a great couple dinners in Chicago and tasting some
new and exciting wines.
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.
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.
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:
spend the entire time just explaining the above six items, but this is not
Medical Digest (give me a frickin' break)
thing I did want to just elaborate on for the moment is Congeners.
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).
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.
plenty of water through the drinking period and keep water next to the
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.
a hunk of chocolate cake before bed- your liver needs the sugar
sorry not in my gene structure
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
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.
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.
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….
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
(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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Penfold Rawson’s Retreat Shiraz Cabernet $
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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
Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc $
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.
I had the camera in the cellar, here are a few pictures from the recent
additions I have made.
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.
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.
a recent addition, I call him Melvin, a friend, a gentleman and a fine
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
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.
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.
I take my corkscrew and, in a clockwise motion, screw the worm into the
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.
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.
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.
I am ready to swirl, sniff and spit. Who
am I kidding? I never spit.
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.
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.
the only thing left for me to do is enjoy the fruit of the vine.
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.
I just had to run up and take a cold shower.
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
note: New camera, Bob?
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?
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
think, and start with memberships in Geekdom.
Let’s see, I belong to the following Organizations:
of The G.I. Joe Rangers
U.N.C.L.E. Special Agent
Left-Handed Cork Screws
Oprah Book of
the Month Club
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……
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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….
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.
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
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….
Reserve Cote du Rhone Blanc $
This wine is a golden hued liquid that provides floral and fruit aromas
but falls short on the tongue of delivering what you expect.
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.
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
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…
Hallett Gamekeeper’s Reserve Barossa $
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
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.
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.
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.
Struzziero Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio $
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.”
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
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
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…
Pond Fries’ Family Cellars Pinot Noir $
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.
note: WinoBob is now officially out of the closet...)
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.
Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc $
Bland, dull, muted, unzesty, this was the anti-Sauvignon Blanc.
There was little of the citrus fruit I was looking for.
Cote du Rhone $
As a Rhone lover, this wine disappointed; there was little fruit, depth
or spice. Some Cotes are not
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.