Bob’s Winings
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

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This page contains Winings from the 3rd Quarter of the year 2005.

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September 28, 2005

Excuse me for the delay, but the Savanna wine news took precedent over this very important piece of information.  Yesterday, a man I ate breakfast with every morning before school when I was a kid, passed away.  Yes, the lovable and witty Don Adams died and I will miss him.  Actually, I spent my morning before school eating a bowl of cocoa puffs watching Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons and Don was the voice of Mr. Tuxedo, though his side kick, Chumley, would write me.  For those too young to know here is Don in the early years

As I grew, so did Don’s career and I shifted to spending evenings with him as he played the bubbling, yet respected Agent 86 in Get Smart.  Chief, KAOS, Craw, and the steaming hot Barbara Feldon (Agent 99) kept my youth filled with laughter.  Most importantly, it gave me the love of my geek career.  Seen here, Agent 86 was talking on the Motorla model 8 ½ cellular shoe phone with free nights and weekends and nation-free roaming.  Had blue tooth been invented, Maxwell Smart would not have had to take off that smelly, sweaty shoe to Get Connected

 And you all you twenty-somethingers, you will remember Don for his role as Inspector Gadget.  Rest In Peace funnyman.

September 27, 2005

Excitement is rampant in the wine world as a new celebrity wine label will be on the shelves this December.  Move over Richard Branson and your hip image shiraz and swanky personal ads, Ms. Savanna Samson has out-swanked you.  The blond ex-Scores-dancer-turned-porn-star will be unveiling, Savanna, a venture with an unnamed Italian winery.  It seems Ms. Samson has been spending her between scenes time visiting vineyards around the world until she found the one most suited to her taste.  There is way too much running through my head, that I myself am censoring, the obvious questions are:

Based on her movie, Last Girl Standing, I wonder what that special taste exactly is she wanted to reproduce in the bottle?

Based oh her movie, The Devil in Ms. Jones, will she be using the same techniques to place the cork into the neck of the bottle?

Based on her movie, Freshness, will it be a young wine or something age worthy?

Based on her film, Savanna Love Letters, will she be dining at a swank NJ steakhouse with the director of creative content for

Based on her movie, .Rocco Meats an American Angel in Paris, will there be a super tuscan using the cabernet/sangiovese blend?

Based on her movie, Savanna Samson SuperStar, will there be a chick wine?

For your viewing pleasure, here is a peek at the newest vintner in Italy.


September 26, 2005

Only so often does a wine drinker, no, dare I say, a wine appreciator, get to enjoy an evening like the one I did tonight.  It has been way too long since Wino John and I have broken bread with Big Bob and treated ourselves to some nice wine.  Every time we get together, we try to do something special, and tonight was no different.  We each brought a little something to make the night one to remember and tonight had a host of firsts for me.  Never mind that I bought and drink a California Pinot Noir.  Forget the fact the Wino John dug deep into his cellar for a 1989 Domaines Barons de Rothschild.  I’m not even talking about the Le Petite Mouton Big Bob brought.  No the big ass first for me was the wino BB brought with him.  A soon-to-be FOWS (Friend of WinoStuff) is honorary Wino Mike, a friend and neighbor of Big Bob’s.  We had a great time sharing stories and a meal, but what made it a treat to meet Wino Mike were the two distinct features he has.  The first was the simple fact that Wino Mike paid for dinner with an Am Ex black card.  Now for those of you not acquainted with Am Ex, there is green for any slob with a job, then gold for those of us well enough to pay our bills on time, then there is platinum for those who piss on the gold card holders and then there is Am Ex black.

I know the following about Am Ex black, The creator of the Simpson and Ozzie have one because of their mega fame, and you basically have to spend the equivalent to the Gross National Product of all the Central American countries combined, each month, to qualify for the card.  Combine this with the fact that Wino Mike purchased a bar just so he can hang out with his friends and you have one rich mother f’er having dinner with us.  Hell, I have such a shitty truck cause I can’t afford anything else that I pretended to make a cell call when BB and Wino Mike were leaving the restaurant just so they couldn’t hear my blown out exhaust I can’t afford to fix.  So tonight, I dined with royalty in a basic sense and he did eat and drink very much like us poor folk. The great thing would be to get Wino Marty’s wine cellar in Wino Mike’s private bar and I could have me a party, then drive home in my 1996 piece of shit Ford Explorer to live in the dank, dark third floor room and pretend those guys are my friends.

These are the nights that wine was invented for, to enjoy good food, new friends and great conversation.

2001 Clos du Val Pinot Noir $$ (25.00)   For a pinot noir, I did like this one with intense red fruits, dark cherry and strawberry in the glass and a finish of soft, well balanced acid and tannins to set this into your memory.

1998 Le Petit Mouton de mouton Rothchild $$$ (74.99)   A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot this wine has time to rest in the bottle for full development, but did show dark fruits and black currant through the tannins and immaturity.

1989 CARRUADES de LAFITE Pauillac $$$   A Bordeaux blend that was muscular and earthy with dark ripe fruits, licorice and a velvety finish with a structure that allowed you to appreciate the work each vine accepted.

1990 Heitz Cellars Trailside Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (79.00)     A nose of earthiness and barnyard and intense, dark fruit aroma with hints of cedar and cherry build and entice you to discover the complexities of the wine.  A treat for those who enjoy eating a spoonful of Napa soil with each sip.  A BAC (big ass cab)

September 25, 2005

Last night I had a business meeting with Wino Rocker.  In addition to his longing to be the bass player for the Vanilla Fudge and his frequent rides to the Harley plant in York, Pa., he recently patented a firearm’s accessory.  An avid hunter on his 100 plus acres in Nowhere, Pa; he came up with one of those napkin drawing, the whole world needs one of these, late night drunken designs.  Fortunately, he is wealthy enough to hire the right patent attorney and get the napkin into an actual product.  He needed some advice on approaching manufacturers to license the product from him.  Over the course of two polar opposite bottles of red, I tried everyway possible to tell him why a manufacturer will not license the product from him.  In the process, we came up with a firm marketing brochure and the approach he will take with six of the US firearms manufacturer we researched.

I hate to see wealth people get wealthier, but for his sake, I hope he makes a million.  The product is unique enough from what I have seen on the market thus far so why should he become an entrepreneur in the gun market.  As I said, we worked through two bottles and the difference was stark.  The rioja was light and young while the carmenere was big and bold.  I was impressed with this inexpensive Chilean red as a wine I could have hanging around the cellar for any day, or every day without hurting the wallet.  This turned out to be a diamond in the rough, and I promptly headed out this morning to locate several more of these to keep on hand for those rare moments when I want to have a glass of wine after work, you know, to keep my heart healthy.

2000 Bodega Darien Tampranillo Crianza $ (11.99)   Ripe young red fruit and cherry work the glass on this medium bodied easy drinking wine.  Don’t expect a lot, but a good wine work a little mood.

2000 Aresti Montemar Carmenere $ (7.99)   Yes 7.99 and it drinks much bigger, with blackberry and spice and a full finish, this is a get bargin find and one I will be enjoying for awhile.  The only negative I have about this one is that the back label printing is very hard to read as the font size and color are not well thought out.  The wine is solid and the price is right.  Buy this one for your red lovers.

September 22, 2005

Happy fall equinox, yes today we will experience exactly 12 hours of day; conversely, we have an equal amount of night.  I would rather it have been the winter solstice so I could have more sleep time as that is the shortest day.  Yesterday, Wino John and I had a planned dinner get together, then I invited Big Bob, then I invited a friend of mine who works as a salesman for Hunterdon Brewing Company, then Big Bob bailed, then the reason WJ and I were getting together to discuss fell apart, then we drank wine.  Nevertheless, that is OK, as my wine delivery this month was the offering from breaking news and Beerboy Brian wanted us to try some of the wine he also sells.  I think the wine offerings scarred Big Bob away. 

We started the meal with Richard Branson’s attempt at a shiraz.  It did not taste like vinyl (technically they haven’t made vinyl records in a decade so I should more correctly have said aluminum sputtered polycarbonate) and it didn’t taste like airliner and it didn’t taste like a virgin, which are all good things, but it didn’t taste like a robust California syrah either.  The marketing and sizzle will out weigh the wine quality and go the way of Mr. Branson’s short lived Donald Trump clone TV show.

I was much happier with the Chilean Cabernet offered by Beerboy Brian, though a Dog Fish 90 minute would have washed my palate from the fun, hip, sexy, plonk.  It seems that Brian is enjoying his venture into the wine world.  The problem is for every one sample he shows to a retailer, he pours himself two.  And thanks to Jacob at La Stella, as my full-of-myself moment asked him to alter the special on the menu to fit my desire.  I used to make fun of people who thought themselves better by special ordering the special, last night I was one of those people. 

That special sounds delicious, but could you not put that on and instead of making it with chicken can you make it with veal and can you add some…

I must admit, I enjoyed it immensely, but I do not think they want to do it too often.  Seeing how there were only five other folks in the place, the kitchen was not overwhelmed.

2004 Virgin Vines Shiraz $ (9.99)     A simple wine with some syrah characteristics in fruit flavors but lacking in areas one expects, a syrah with training wheels

2003 Ona Cabernet Sauvignon Isla de Maipo $ (9.99)    Dark fruit and currant float in this bottle with oak hints and snappy tannins; an OK cab from Chile.

September 19, 2005

No, I was not the lucky SOB that hit the Megabucks for 250 million.  Had I been that lucky SOB, this first thing I would do is hire a realtor to locate Wino John’s estate and buy it so I could finally get to visit.  I wouldn’t even kick him out, he could live there until he dies, but then I would know where his estate/compound/small farm is and I would start showing up to drink from that stash of his.  Depressed with no money and little wine for the past several weeks, the wine Gods must have been reading my pathetic entries of late and divinely intervened.

An unexpected phone call from a wine friend changed the course of my slump and has my taste buds still dancing.  It happened that Christian, the marketing manages for Torres responsible for North America, was hanging out in NYC and took a chance to see if I might be around.  An hour after we hung up, he was sitting on the porch talking red wine.  As I do not get too many visitors, not because people do not know where I live, it usually is a conscious choice after second bottle of wine.  We scrabbled around to find a fatted calf to kill, but figured Kings was such a better place to go.  Most of our discussions centered on some goofy new law in New Jersey that prohibits the free sampling of wine, or so he told me as he only came with one bottle.  However, when we opened this bad boy up to enjoy with a grilled pepper rubbed pork roast, Holy Mother McCrea, a wine that was so full, we drank it with our utensils.  A gem, a treat, a bottle that made up for all my lack of bottles this back fortnight.  And what happens when Wino Bob drinks heavily?  No, I did keep my pants on, but I did retire to the porch for some late night caterwauling.  Turns out, Christian can play a mean acoustic and sings like a pro.  Not to be out done, I offered Christian a glass of wine from NJ, a Tomasello cranberry dessert wine a pastry and a book of all the songs I can sing.

Singer, songwriter, wine marketer Christian González Toledo, entertaining the crowd with La Bamba

Great wine, great time and one of the best singers from the locals last night.

1997 Torres Grans Muralles $$$$ (gift therefore priceless)  A gem of a wine with ancient Catalan grapes of Monstrell, Garnacha Tinta, Garro, Samso, and Carinena produces a big, bold jammy wine with volumes of black fruit, cassis, toasted oak and a long, silky finish.  Absolutely fantastic.

September 15, 2005

The week hasn’t provided much more for me to get excited about.  A small dinner at the Dead River Pub had me drinking Magic Hat Number 9 beer for half price on Monday night.  I had to get some red wine flowing in my body, so I headed over to Kings and hunted down anything I could find for less than eight dollars.  Luck was with me as a bright shinny Malbec was staring me in the kisser.  Like a crack addict needing the fix, I grabbed the $6.99 bottle of red, raced home (only 5 mph over the legal speed limit in case Officer Mike is reading) and sat in my driveway clawing at the foil.  By the time I entered the kitchen; I grabbed the first cup, coffee mug, and a corkscrew and poured a two-ounce hit of my methadone.  Since I could not get the expensive stuff, this was the best substitute. 

Like most overly anticipated events, once the immediacy faded, I started to pay attention to the next drink and realized I should have held out for the good stuff.  Sometimes the wine-for-wine’s sake just doesn’t cut it and I should practice patience and restraint.  I will not do this again as long as I shall live, or forget what I have pledged to myself.

2004 Santa Isabel Malbec $ (6.99)   Not much more than a rich red color and a slight buzz, somewhat thin and watery.

September 11, 2005



I just finished watching a documentary HBO ran.  It was a compilation of news footage and interviews from the day terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.  Mayor Giuliani’s words and actions were superhuman and from the first news clips at 8:39am, he was steadfast and clear in his description of what happened. “Terrorists attacked us.  We cannot disrespect those lives lost by using euphemisms to describe what happened.”

The thirteen miles that separate my home from lower Manhattan buffered us from the physical damage, but the trauma touched all our communities.  Every time this year, I recall the words my friend, Wino Stan said to me about his night on September 11th, 2001.  His crew of Belleville firefighters went to Liberty State Park at 7pm to operate a triage unit prepared to handle up to 1000 victims, but no one came.  At 1 am, they headed into lower Manhattan to help in anyway they could.  He said the dust was thick and powdery, like what he imagine the surface of the moon was like.  They went several times in the next week to support and assist those members of the NYC services that painfully searched for survivors.

I remember thinking what an overwhelming task it was going to be to clear the three billion tons of rubble, but within one year, the site was anew.  However the lives of the families who lost someone will never be cleared.  Thank you to all the police, fire, construction, city, volunteer workers that gave of themselves for our country.

God Bless

September 10, 2005

It has been a totally dry week, that started with the non-event New Jersey Wine Festival, took a turn at a cancelled Thursday evening dinner and dead-ended when I could not meet Wino John for lunch yesterday.  I almost feel like a force has been keeping me from the vine.  My hopes are to spend the weekend submerged in red grape juice so I have something to review, write about or comment on in the world of wine.

The best I could do is enlighten the audience on a wine related fact I learned this week.  Channel hopping, I found several episodes depicting life in the Roman Empire under the most famous of rulers, from 100 B. C. to 500 A.D.  Though Rome had the best-engineered fresh water supply in the known world, as 11 aquifers delivered over a million gallons of fresh water to the city each day, wine was the fabric of Roman life.  As the empire declined, wild women and wine seemed to increase exponentially.

Out of all the interesting architectural feats, military victories and societal advancements, a simple statement caught my attention.  Back in 45 A. D, a young Roman citizen could enjoy the favors of a woman (yes, prostitution was a career path back then) for less than the cost of a glass of wine.  As prostitution is not legal in New Jersey, I cannot adjust for inflation, divide by gross national product, multiply by the cost of used goods, and differential the sum to infinity but I’m thinking, wow, the quality of one of those products must have improved greatly in two thousand years.  I do have HBO and have garnered some data from several shows they do.  The first is a legal brothel in Nevada that seems to have a no-limit cost for a session with a lady.  They get what the market will bear, but from all accounts, it seems like it is in the thousands of dollars.  Fortunately, for me I have not spent more than that on a glass of wine, even at Bacchus. 

The other series on HBO looks at a trade that exists, without the official sanction of the government.  They have documented trade on the streets of Hunts Point, NY and Atlantic City, NJ.  Negotiations for a small period of time in an alleyway, or a car seems closer to the price of a glass of wine in a trendy Manhattan bar, but still exceeds even the finest of California Cabernet poured individually.  It also appeared frighteningly different between the legal Nevada working women and the illegally working women of the night.  There, price and quality seemed in line, but still nowhere near the cost of a white zinfandel.  Then I thought about the inexpensive, full glass of red I would get at UnBacchus, when it was in business.  Holy Hannah, what in the world would be available for less than $5.00.

I guess I was born two millennia too late to enjoy the debauchery of Roman life, but thinking about it, a glass of wine loves you without nagging, complaining, or expecting anything in return.  Vini, Verdi, Vino….


September 7, 2005

Sorry for the delay, I was hoping to spend Monday, Labor Day, laboring over my keyboard, highlighting the Wine Festival at Waterloo Village.  Sunday was my day to give back to the community, so I grabbed a coffee and buttered roll at Shopper’s Express before I hit Route 80 and headed west to Waterloo.  Traffic was so light, possibly from the $3.99 per gallon gas prices, that I made it to the site in less than 40 minutes.  As I found the Garden State Wine Growers Association sign-in tent, I was met with a look that made me a bit uneasy.  It was not the, “you dumb bastard look” I am used to; it was more like, “what are you doing here” look.  Actually, I am used to that one also, but not from these people yet, or so I thought. 

It seems that there was a mix up and I was supposed to receive a call that they were over booked with volunteers.  From the half hour I was there, the tent was elbow-to-elbow so one more would only have made it near impossible to be efficient.  I was promised a spot at the Grand Harvest in October, but time will tell if that holds true.  Be that as it may, I did not enjoy any NJ wine, as they could not sample until noon and it was only 10:30.  However, the weather could not have been more perfect and they were expecting a good-sized crowd, though Saturday was less than what they had hoped.  If anyone did walk the festival and wants to comment on the event, please feel free to email me or post a note on the guestbook.

September 1, 2005

Mother McCrea, the Flying Wallendas never juggled as many empty bottles as our waiter did last night.  Wino Stan, or should I say my lifeline to the California Cabernet collector Marty, set up a "lets drink some wine" dinner.  After the night of drinking from Marty’s Euro cave, I offered to reciprocate with a night of wines from some of the areas I like and WS was able to set it up.  We went to a local Italian place with a very snotty French waiter.  Maybe he thought his accent made him better than me, but I hate being hurried along when there is no need to turn the table.  At one point, he just left so he wouldn’t be late for his “being an asshole lessons”.  The food was good, but the service was less than acceptable.  Why does one take a waiter’s job if they hate dealing with the public?  What’s the matter Frenchie, no openings at the How to Surrender training school?

Sorry.  In the spirit of détente, I retract that last statement.  An asshole is an asshole no matter what nationality and I did not mean to impugn an entire peoples.  Since I have reviewed most of the wines I offered, I will just list my selections for the two award winning homemade wine makers from Essex County.  The nice thing was John and Marty not coming empty handed.  Wino Stan, on the other hand, came empty handed but added much to the conversation about the rain and gas prices.

2003 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc

2002 Fairview Goats do Roam

2001 Solanes Priorat

1998 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chappelle Rhone

I went from inexpensive to expensive with some of the representative wines I enjoy from regions I have come to appreciate.  Unfortunately, the Solanes was corked and offered a bouquet of damp basement, wet cardboard and sweaty gym socks.  Crap, now I only have 3 bottles for the four of us and the two big-ass cab drinkers half heartedly tasted the white.  “Dude, white wine is for wimps,” is what I think I heard at the table.  That left only two bottles and, to my utter surprise, the Goat beat out the Chappelle.  I think it was them being kind regarding my cheapness in wine purchasing.  The saving grace was John’s homemade wine offerings.  Otherwise, two bottles for four guys would have been an insult.  I don’t have a large comparison of homemade wines in my memory bank, but John’s were solid with strong blackberry and blueberry fruits, generous tannins and a nice finish.  John also came packing a port we were to enjoy after the meal, but at this restaurant, there wasn’t an after the meal time.  I think the lights were shut as I grabbed the corkscrew to dig into the closer. 

Pissed, but not defeated, we gathered our tools of the trade and serpentined our way to the porch.  Katrina offered a fabulously cool and breezy night so we settled into the wicker. Wino Stan blazed up a cigar and I headed in for port glasses.  Not quite ready for the finisher, I dashed, yes you should see me run down the cellar stairs when wine is the objective, down and grabbed something fitting.  Maybe it was the autumn-like temperatures, maybe it was the generosity of Marty and John, maybe it was the humor of Wino Stan, nay, it was most likely the embarrassment of the corked Priorat, I dug out the last bottle of my 1993 Colgin.  Offering a token, "No Wino Bob, don’t open the Colgin.  You should put it on eBay", Marty finished the sentence with, “but if you insist on opening it, I will have to have a taste.”  Let’s face it, I can’t serve Colgin to my crazy aunt, as her ice fetish would have me committing a crime punishable by cell time with a large afro-American man that would make me do the whole soup and salad thing to him.  Though 93 was not a great year, this wine still showed images of the hand-tilled soil of this great vineyard.  I can only imagine, a man and a spade shovel and the damp, rich smell of earth as he tends to each vine in a loving, yet manly fashion as Ann Colgin herself looks out the second story window onto this shirtless sweaty vineyard hand named Wino Bob.  Ann, seeing how hard Wino Bob is tending to the Herb Lamb clusters, puts on her vineyard boots, a white silk scarf and a stylishly worn pair of jeans to bring the hard working field hand a glass of lemonade and a lace handkerchief to wipe the dust that has collected on his brow. 

Sorry, but there is a lot of Napa and love in that bottle.  Anyway, we toasted the night with a glass of 1981 Chateau Reynella McLare Vale Vintage Port.  This Aussie nectar is a liquid Fig Newton.  The fig flavor was so rich, I thought that Ann Colgin and I were walking in a fig orchard, plucking fresh figs off the fig trees and feeding them to each other.  God she is so nice to me.  So, save the bottle of corked wine and the service with a snarl, we almost had a two to one bottle to body ratio.  Woo hoo!

August 31, 2005

As you know, from time to time, I find myself researching some obscure bit of wine information to pass along to you lucky folks.  Last night, I typed different wine related word combinations into Google, just to see what pages it directed me to.  I love the fact that “Wine and Politics” points right to our site, but was ego-fractured to find out “Wino Bob” does not.  It's hard to believe but there are two Wino Bobs that take priority over this Wino Bob, one being a character in a National Lampoon satire turned movie dating back to 1987.  The other pointed me to some work of comedian Bob Goldthwait referring to a pooping wino.  I just read the header and decided to not click in.

I think it was my trademark search for Grapeman names that took me to a site that had a document I found so interesting, I hit the print button.  Little did I know that the scroll down on the screen would turn into 46 printed pages, but the first line hooked me in.  The document came from a ruling site from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, my 3 favorite things in the world.  Nothing better than rolling up some special tobacco, drinking heavily and handling a firearm.  This particular document was from 1996 volume 61, number 5 identified as T.D. ATF-370 Grape Variety Names for American Wines.  Hold on now, Buck-a-roo’s, doesn’t the ATF spend all its time stinging illegal cigarette shipments without federal tax seals that Tony Soprano is having Christopher drive up from Virginia?  OK, that’s only on TV, so then aren’t they involved in keeping minors from taking their parent’s American Express card and buying some Harlan Estates for the wine-bong party this weekend?  I know they were involved in stopping a new religion from forming.  When in doubt, flambeau the self-proclaimed Jesus.

It seems that there is a gentleman employed in the Washington DC office of the BATF- Wine, Beer and Spirits Regulations Branch who spends his time making sure all the grape names are pure and the appropriate synonyms are assigned.  I wonder if he still wears a gun and that cool blue windbreaker with the yellow ATF letters.  This document addressed clarification on existing names, approval of synonyms, and official names for new hybrids.  I was thinking of attaching all 46 pages at this point, but did not want to clog my page for other important wine information I must bring to the world.

Just a few quick highlights from the 46-page document:

In the Melon/Muscadet malaise-, the AFT finds for the former officially recognizing Melon de Bourgogne as the prime name and Melon as the synonym.

Its official, "Fume" can be used with "blanc" but is not approved for "pinot blanc fume" or "fume seyval blanc" and the AFT left the door open if some winery wants to use "fume chardonnay".  Thank God this is settled.

Zinfandel/Primitivo- they are both prime names and not synonyms

Cabernet is not recognized as a synonym for cabernet sauvignon

Durif/Petite Sirah- not synonyms, they have different DNA.

Thomson Seedless/Sultanina- yes, they are interchangeable.  It used to trip me up every time I was in a wine store looking for that 2001 Sultanina.

Pinto Gris/Pinot Grigio- a grape by any other name.

Colombard/French Colombard- the French defer to the Colombard.

Mourvedre/Mataro- one leads with the mourvedre moniker.

I could go on for another 46 pages, but for now, I will save some for another time.  For those on the edge of their bar stools, do not worry, variety names may be spelled with or without diacritical marks, and you don’t know how much my little Microsoft paper clip guy appreciates that.  To date, he has been in a whirlwind as I search for that umlaut and tilden on my symbols list.


August 26, 2005

Looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend?  Think about wine and old people music! (though I think what they are now calling "Oldies" is the music I listened to in high school.)

Come and enjoy a crazy Sunday afternoon.  I will be doing my volunteer work of running cases to the pick up tent or handing out orders as you leave.  Stop by and say hello. 

SEPTEMBER 3 & 4, 2005
NOON to 5:00 pm

    The Garden State Wine Growers Association’s annual Rockin’ Oldies Wine Festival at Waterloo Village, held Labor Day weekend September 3rd  & 4th from Noon to 5:00 p.m., is one of the most popular wine festivals of the year.  It is easy to see why.  The festival features 14 award-winning New Jersey wineries offering samples and sales of their wines, rocking oldies music by two popular bands, great gourmet foods, craft and wine-related vendors, a demonstration of classic and street rod cars (weather permitting), and lots of kids activities to make this a festival for the whole family.

    Wineries participating include:  Alba Vineyard, Amalthea Cellars, Amwell Valley Vineyard, Bellview Winery, Cream Ridge Winery, DiMatteo Winery, Four
Sisters Winery, Heritage Vineyards of Richwood, Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Silver Decoy Winery, Sylvin Farms, Tomasello Winery, Unionville Vineyards, and Valenzano Winery.

    Non-stop music will be provided by Carnaby Street and Jersey Gold, and if  last year is any indication, the crowd will be on their feet and dancing to their oldies music.  Carnaby Street is a four-piece veteran New Jersey based band that celebrates the music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Monkees, the Byrds and many more.  Jersey Gold, an eight-piece band based in Ocean County, includes four front-line singers and prides itself on arranging the music as close to the original as possible to give the audience the genuine “Rock n’ Roll” experience.  The band has performed with many original groups from the 50’s and 60’s including The Dupress, Danny and the Juniors, The Del-Rons and many others.

    There will also be activities for children (bounce house, sand art, wooden figure painting, face painting, hair wraps, bean bag toss, etc.) and a large variety of crafts and wine related items including gourmet foods, wine glasses, jewelry, cigars, and much, much more.

    The festival is sponsored by Morristown BMW and Morristown Mini, members of the Ryan Auto Group, which will have a full display of BMW’s and Mini
Coopers available for attendees to view.

The festival is held at Waterloo Village, in Stanhope, New Jersey.  Waterloo is a National Historic Site located in the Allamuchy Mountain State Park along
the banks of the Musconetcong River in Sussex County.  The site includes a 1625 Lenape Indian village with authentically recreated longhouses; an 1826
Farmsite with one of New Jersey’s only preserved log cabin; and the 1880 Canal Town with restored blacksmith, miller, General Store, Stagecoach Inn, homes and the Morris Canal with lock and towpaths. Feel free to stroll the restored village and/or take the special tours offered on festival days.

    Admission is $18.00 for adults $10.00 for ages 16 to 20, under 16 free. The admission fee includes a Garden State Wine Growers Association wine glass,
free samples of the more than 150 wines offered, great oldies music, and admission into historic Waterloo Village.  Advance discount tickets can also be
purchased up to the day of the event on the Garden State Wine Growers Association’s website (click on Festivals in the left hand menu
and then click on “ClickNPrint Tickets”).  A special entrance gate also allows advance tickets holders to enter the festival faster.

Additional information on all of this year’s festivals can be found at the Garden State Wine Growers Association’s web site:, then
click on Festivals; or by calling The Garden State Wine Growers Association at 609-588-0085. 

    Morristown BMW, located on Bank Street in Morristown, is an exclusive BMW dealer and has been member of the Ryan Auto Group since 1982.   Morristown Mini, also located on Bank Street (Rt. 202) in Morristown, is also a member of the Ryan Auto Group and is an original Mini dealer offering dedicated sales and service.

    The Garden State Wine Growers Association is a non-profit organization created by the owners of New Jersey vineyards.  Today 27 wineries take advantage
of the fertile soil and moderating winds from the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean to produce award-winning wines. With over one million gallons of
wine bottled, and more than 40 different varieties, New Jersey is currently the fifth largest wine producing state in the nation.

Directions to Waterloo Village, Stanhope, NJ:

Take Route 80 to exit 25 Stanhope/Waterloo Village.  Follow the signs for Waterloo Village.

From the South: 

 Route 206 to Route 80.   Take Route 80 West to the second exit, Exit 25 Stanhope/Waterloo Village.  Follow the signs for Waterloo Village.
ORTake Route 287 North to Route 206 North to Route 80.  Take Route 80 West to the second exit, Exit 25, Stanhope/Waterloo Village.  Follow the signs for
Waterloo  Village.

From Staten Island: 

 Take the Outerbridge Crossing Bridge to Route 287 North.  Follow past Bridgewater to the intersection with Route 206 North.  Take
Route 206 North to Route 80.  Take Route 80 West to the second exit, Exit 25 Stanhope/Waterloo Village.  Follow the signs for Waterloo Village.


2001 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (36.00)   A nice offering of black cherry, black berry and oak make this a wine you will enjoy after it breathes a bit.  Starts a little tight.  My suggestion is to buy it now and invite me over for dinner in a year and we can enjoy this one together.

August 22, 2005

At the risk of sounding totally stupid, I am warning most of you to not read this.  It has little to do with wine, and more to do with a few things that irk me about the news these days.  My basic question to the contorting liberal talk show hosts and media, you know, the ones telling us that President Bush should have nominated a moderate- or liberal-leaning judge for the opening on the Supreme Court.  The question is, did you deliver the same bipartisan, 'lets all love one another', 'let’s reach across the aisle' message when Bill Clinton had his two opportunities to put someone on the court?  Did you write or shout that Bill Clinton should pick someone more conservative than Ruth Bader Ginsburg?  Did you tell the country that it would be unfair for Bill Clinton to make the court more liberal?  I think not.  In fact the same crowd was saying that it was Bill’s choice as he was the one in office.  Respectfully, the extremely liberal Ruthie was confirmed 96-4.  Why would they expect Bill to get his way, but President Bush not to get his way?

Obviously, the issue is the Pro Choice platform.  I do have several thoughts on this but it is definitely not suited for this site.

Secondly, Al Franken, the rumor mill (started by himself) is buzzing about his potential run for Senate from Minnesota.  I am wondering if his late night, cocaine-fueled writing sessions at Saturday Night Live will be addressed openly.  During the 2000 campaign, he was always dogging President Bush about the cocaine question.  Al felt it important to get to the bottom of that story, will he be forthcoming with his past drug use?

August 21, 2005

As I had made mention of the death of the Gonzo King, Hunter S. Thompson, his final services were held  on his Owl Farm property yesterday.  Though I am sure I would not have been invited, I wasn’t.  However, I do respect this work and the work of actor Johnny Depp.  It would be with their views on the world that we differ.  Anyone that wakes at 10, heads to a local greasy spoon diner to down two cheeseburgers and a tall boy of scotch has my dying gratitude.  As Depp resides in France, I have been amused by his quirky roles and range.  Among my favorites are Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Dead Man, Benny and Joon, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, the Secret Window and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 

I’m sure when Wino John passes, God forbid, I will finally get invited to the WJ encampment in secluded rural New Jersey, to spread his ashes over the forty plus acres of backwoods and drink his stock of fine red wines his family see no value in.  If things go well, I will have mastered the art of champagne sobering by then and will spend the night opening everyone of his 1990 La Grande Dame’s to mix with his poor burnt ashes as we party late into the night like he would want us to.  (Editor's note: Woo hoo!!  Party at my house!!!)

In advance, I thank you Wino John for finally allowing me onto your well-hidden and high security protected estate in the wealthy parts of the Garden State.

HST Canonized

By Troy Hooper/Aspen Daily News Staff Writer 



Woody Creek - Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's ashes rained down on his Owl Farm property Saturday night as actor Johnny Depp, who paid for the $2.5 million ceremony, raised his champagne glass toward the night sky.

A star-studded crowd included 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and his 1972 counterpart, George McGovern.

"Hunter would have loved it," said veteran television newsman Ed Bradley, a friend of Thompson's who logged many years with the "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" author.

Thompson shot himself in his kitchen on Feb. 20.

The ash blast occurred at 8:46 p.m. while a kimono-clad Japanese drum band wailed away. The red-white-and-blue pyrotechnic show featured more than 30 firework missiles exploding into the dark horizon, punctuated by three hologram double-thumbed gonzo fists.

Those who toasted Thompson included actor Bill Murray, former Nitty Gritty Dirt Band musician Jimmy Ibbotson and a slew of his neighbors and friends.

"It's a fantastic crowd," said Thompson's longtime friend and neighbor Don Dixon. "Half of the people here look like Keith Richards."

Richards was invited to the fiery farewell but could not attend because he is preparing for the Rolling Stones concert in Boston on Sunday.

Thompson's ashes were blasted out of a 153-foot monument - 2 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" author often violently disagreed with how his image and materials were produced.

"He'd probably say it wasn't quite big enough," said Ralph Steadman, who flew in for the ceremony from London after last seeing Thompson in the fall of 2004. "We want him back. (Saturday night) was a kind of pleading for him to come back. All is forgiven."

Black-and-white photographs of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Samuel Cooleridge, Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Henry Miller, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway looked down on the approximately 350 attendees who wrote down their thoughts once they climbed a large black staircase that led into an open-air tent. Chandeliers and mounted wild-game heads decorated the booze-ridden ceremony.

Alcohol was limited before the ash blast, but in true Thompson style, mint juleps were served to attendees at the gate. Trays of champagne circulated just before Thompson's remains flew.

Juan Thompson, the author's only son, said the ceremony not only fulfilled the vision outlined in a 1978 BBC video, but it "was bigger than he ever imagined."

Depp, who played Thompson in the 1998 film adaptation of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and Juan Thompson embraced as the ashes fell to the ground.

Thompson's son said the ceremony was not his father's final chapter. But, he said, it was the continuation of the iconoclastic author's legacy.


2003 Odfjell Vineyards Rojo Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley $ (8.99)   A nice value wine with black fruits and licorice on the nose and a generous treatment to the palate.  I like the Valle de Maipo and this cabernet shows well for an inexpensive wine.

August 20, 2005

That Wino Rocker is one funny Mother F’er.  We headed out to dinner locally with a small crowd.  The majority of wine was consumed mainly by him and me.  He was drinking to drown his misery, as yesterday morning he woke up to find his work van had its windows smashed by local hoodlums.  There were four others in his neighborhood suffering from shattered windshields, not a fun way to start your day.  By the third bottle, he was in a far better mood and we got on the topic of those Budweiser radio commercials.  You know those, “We salute you Mr….”   The ad agency responsible for that campaign is brilliant.  Personally, I laugh at them all.  If I were ever to have a wine label of my own, I would hire that ad agency to promote my wine.  Though I don’t know if the radio would play it, or the audience would get it.

 Mine would be something like, “We salute you Mr. Pretentious wine drinking asshole.  While others in the restaurant simply enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, you painstakingly make the waiter stand there as you go through your exaggerated cork sniffing, wine swirling, and mouth bubbling routine over the sound of everyone else’s conversation.  Then in a hardy gulp, you pedantically dissect the liquid in terms that Daniel Webster has yet to approve in his latest edition, keeping the rest of your guests at bay while extolling the virtues of horse manure, dried saddle leather and mid August road tar.  You don’t just drink a wine with dinner; you immerse yourself so deeply you can’t even hear your guests calling you a pretentious asshole. (you’re a cork sniffer)  Yes, we salute you, oh great purple-toothed one.

OK, so I’ll never get a job with the We Salute You Guys, but they are one funny ass set of commercials.

2003 Jindalee Shiraz $ (6.99)   Don’t be scared off by the price of this one.  It drinks better than some $15.00 wines I have had.  I looked up the web site after I drank this one last night and I like the attitude of the owners.  They are not making wines to be pontificated over, they want to make a nice wine to enjoy with friends and dinner, a great attitude for the fun we had with the Wino Rockers, et al.  Nice plum, blackberry and spice with a touch of vanilla from the American oak.

August 18, 2005

I need to apologize to my follow Jerseyites.  I thought I was on top of this issue, but this fell between the crack.  In my earlier research at several local NJ wineries, intrastate shipping of wine was an open issue.  But I guess Golan wasn’t a wine sipper, (though I thought he was a big white zin fan), and he must have shared enough pillow talk with the ex-Governor that they punished the local wineries from shipping to residents in the state.  I do not know how this did not get more press, and it was not until I was doing anecdotal research that I came across this August 2004 article.  With Mr. McGreevey’s cunning political skills in fighting long and hard to name an official state fruit, the blueberry, I am wondering why he is so prejudiced against the grape?  If anyone was going to be kind to all fruits, accepted by many different vegetative groups, I would have thought Mr. McGreevey would be king.  Maybe the political boss, George Norcross, forced Mr. McGreevey into a tight position on this fruit thing.  That could explain why those 330 hours of tapes have not been released.  I smell grape gate, I smell political bullshit, I smell something funky.  Worst of all, Mr. McGreevey put the squeeze on the free movement of my grape nuts, and I never even felt his hand.  Do you think Governor Codey would look kindly on the free flow of my grapes?

N.J. winery law adds to dizzying legal potpourri

Friday, August 13, 2004

With much less fanfare and public controversy than accompanied the Highlands bill, Gov. James E. McGreevey last month quietly signed into law a measure that prohibits the state's two dozen wineries from shipping wine directly to its residents.

This new restriction would seem to be a slap at the state's rapidly growing wine industry - one of the few bright spots in New Jersey agriculture - and out of step with at least 25 years of bipartisan support of the state's vintners.

The 21st Amendment that repealed Prohibition in 1933 was a compromise. Its second clause read, "The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited," setting the stage for the present crazy-quilt of state and local laws and regulations.

But many states, including New Jersey, carved out an exception. To promote their own wine industries, these have allowed their wineries to ship directly to customers within the state. But wineries outside New Jersey weren't allowed to ship directly to customers in the state, only to licensed liquor stores.


August 15, 2005

Did any one read the Star Ledger today, the NJ paper of record according to the media-savvy talking heads?  Today we were treated to some good news, eight bonus episodes of the Sopranos are slated to air January 07, or shall we say there is life after this final season.  I only hope they do not jump the shark and have lame themes for the end of this final season, just to extend it eight more episodes.  The other great news is that Paula Abdul was cleared of any untoward sexual shenanigans though their will be more stringent judge/contestant fraternization rules. 

However, the big articles were related to NJ politics, though I want to keep from this topic, there is just too much good stuff.  Front page on the Jersey section was an intriguing article on ex-Governor Florio.  You might not remember this one term Gov, but his two most memorable issues: getting tough on environmental problems and, oh yeah… signing a 2 billion dollar tax increase the eve of leaving office.  The first issue was the topic of this article and has intriguing "connect the dots" to the upcoming Governor’s race.  Boiled down by red wine, this is how I see it.  The ex-Governor was so environmentally friendly, he was appointed to head the Pine Barrens commission, ensuring the state did not over develop the sanctuary in south Jersey as developers cram adult living communities on every grain of sand.  He did a commendable job, and was then involved in the highlands preservation project.  He targeted the pristine northwestern section of our state and again limited the development and resource encroachment in this region.  Mr. Florio fought hard for the little guy to increase the area and ensure our flora and fauna remain intact for generations to come.  Now it seems that Mr. Florio and his law partner are setting up their practice to help property owners in the area of the Highlands project to get waivers for development.  Add to that Ms. Katz, the Senator Corzine babe-o-loan, head of the union, has a property in the Highlands region.  Interestingly, she was one of the people granted an exception so she could use Mr. Corzine’s generous gift to add an addition, deck and pool.  Getting the flavor for the Democrat political machine in New Jersey yet?  Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

So Jim Florio sets limits, and then offers his serves to make the laws apply to everyone except people who use his services.  Mr. Corzine’s squeeze is only one of a handful of people granted an exemption.  We have the front faces of the moral Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Chucky Schumer sitting quietly by, excusing Mr. Corzine’s issue as personal behavior; as they rail for the release of the adoption (personal) papers of Judge Roberts.  We have Al Franken flaming Tom DeLay for ethics issue, yet curiously silent about any New Jersey political issue.   Why isn’t Michael Moore shooting film in New Jersey exposing the Flim Flam Florio injustices to the property owners in the Highlands?  This is a Government out of control, personal property rights be damned. 

On a more reasonable note, page three in the jersey section had an article about the current acting Governor approving 75% of the Homeland Security funds to counties in Democrat control.  Yes, it seems that Governor Codey values those counties with Democrat leadership to reward both federal and state funds heavily to them irrespective of any criteria for award.  And we from the Garden State wonder why we are the butt of every political joke.  If we accept it, it feeds itself like a flesh eating disease.  

Is anyone out there?  Hello?  Is this thing on?????

 2002 St. Francis Winery “red” Sonoma County $ (11.00)   This blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Grenache and Sangiovese bathed in oak makes a nice everyday drinking wine.  Nice plum and blackberry cloaked in spicy oak deliver more than the price suggests.  I would keep this one around for friends and family.       

August 14, 2005

I was cruising through the usual suspects last night and was stopped by a sight I have not seen much in the past.  There is a new show on Comedy Central titled, Weekends on the D.L., or something like that.  It is a half hour talk show featuring comedian D.L. Hughley.

Sorry, all the Buckwheat references were taken by the Eddy Murphy Saturday Night Live crowd. 

The feature that gave me pause was the open cigar smoking, wine drinking discussion section with his guests.  I will admit, I did not hang in there long enough to see how funny the show is or even get a flavor for the style.  I simply wanted to send, “mad props to my dawg” with the cigar smoking and red wine drinking as part of the relaxed atmosphere on the show.  I will have to tune in and see if the content is any good.  I guess this is a throwback to the days when Dean Martin would swirl a tumbler of bourbon and smoke a cigarette on his variety show or the coffee mug camouflage whiskey of late night hosts from Carson to Conan.  The art of having a short one to relax the defense mechanisms has been scorned by the PC crowds, but if this show makes it through the first season, the urban youth will be trading in the red bull and vodka, or the Colt 45 for a cigar and Cabernet.  Do you realize what the prices in Compton and Newark will be for a 2003 Silver Oak when the malt liquor crowd goes to brown bagging what D.L is drinking?  The bump Pinot Noir received from Sideways will look like an anthill compared to the mountainous increase the wine industry can garner from Mr. Hughley being a trendsetter.   If I were, say a wine importer for fine French wines, I would be looking to sponsor the next rap concert because first one in will be rewarded with loyalty.

I am sure the Association of African American Vintners, the African American Wine Tasters Society, Divas Uncorked, Roots and Vines and Tasting Education and Networking Folks will all be featuring articles on the influence Mr. Hughley had on the growth of wine as a beverage of choice in the inner cities;  but remember who posted this first, the cutting edge wine and education site and Google’s favorite 

August 13, 2005

It has been quite awhile since the neighbors spent the night hanging on the porch, drinking wine.  Last night, the opportunity arose and at the striping of seven on Big Ben, we were over one of the many wrap around porches on the street.  Though the temperatures were still ten degrees above Hell, and the humidity is a weighty one pound per square inch, the chilled crisp wine took the edge off the night.  I know many of you feel I disclose way too much of my personal life and far too little of my wine knowledge, I must share a small, personal anecdote.  Back in July, on the 4th, as the nation was celebrating the independence of our great nation, I was in my TV room reading a book (everyone take their left hand, form the letter L with thumb and index fingers and place on forehead).  At around 1:30 pm as the neighborhood was alive with backyard bar-b-qs, the town ice cream social, fireworks and pool parties, I was reading a book given to me by Wino Paul about the Polish Air squadron during WWII.  It was at that moment I heard the high pitch whine of a revving engine, then a sudden thud.  It wasn’t a metal-to-metal thud of a car accident, but it was loud and out of the ordinary.  Being the curious type, I looked out the front door and saw something I never saw before, a car planted firmly into the wall of my neighbor’s house.  It was so unusual; it took me a few seconds for the picture my eyes were registering, to actually be processed by the wine weary gray matter.   Having my cell phone handy, I dashed out the door in my best Spiderman imitation and leapt across the street, to see if anyone was hurt in the car or the house.  It turned out the homeowners were not at home so I helped locate them and boarded up the now gapping hole in their foundation so a small animal, child, or alien would not make a home for themselves. 

As appreciation for my superhero like efforts, said neighbors offered the one true gift of thanks, wine.  And I mean all the wine I could consume last night while exchanging social intercourse, and a bottle to take back home and drink at my leisure.  Woo Hoo, wine, yes wine, free, I am so into that.  Call me Grapeman, call me the Masked Syrah, the purple teeth and teal cape are the only superhero uniforms available on, which is fine with me as long as at the end of stopping a speeding train before it heads over a broken bridge, I get free wine.  The flying thing with a bottle of wine under my caped stick cover, might be a bitch, but having some little kid turn to his father and say, “when I grow up, I want to be just like Grapeman”. 

OK, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was some excitement in the neighborhood though most of the neighborhood missed it as they were at bar-b-qs, or pool parties, or down the shore, or somewhere other than sitting in their TV room reading a book about the Kosciusko squadron that nobly defended Great Britain against the Luftwaffe.

2002 Fairview Goats Do Roam Rose $ (10.99)   Serve well chilled and this Rhone blend from South Africa boast summer berry flavors and a clean crisp finish.

August 12, 2005

Well, from a boring, do-nothing summer, several issues have reinvigorated me.  The first is the sometimes exhilarating, mostly frustrating game of golf.  Yes, Wino Lou has been religious in tossing a rock against the window of the dank third floor room and coaxing me out in the evening to enjoy the fresh air and burnt grass fairways of Byrne Golf Course in WO.  I suddenly find myself thinking about the 8th hole drive and the feeling of being long and straight, something not just my golf game is void of. 

Topic two is the churning waters of the Corzine gubernatorial race.  I think there will be more to come as the senator is not the love child of the NJ Dems, some hardliners are still grousing about his open check book to take the seat.  My prediction is that as November nears, someone in a power position in the NJ Democrat machine will drop a dime and make the race a squeaker at the end.  Late at night, from a pay phone near a gas station on the outskirts of Trenton, a call will be made to a media person and issues will boil to the surface.  Unfortunately, it will be too little, too late and Corzine will limp into office, too damaged to continue his race to the White House, but not damaged enough to keep him from screwing up the Garden State.

However, the most fun I think this summer will bring is the lance wound to the side of Air America which this growing financial scandal will deliver.  Yes, the station that came into existence in hopes of defeating President Bush is in the spotlight.  (I say it that way because they really weren’t pro Kerrey, they are merely shrill, negative, hate-America protesters who made it into posh upper eastside apartments and out of their old dirty tie-dyed jeans from San Francisco’s summer of love.)  The anti-corporation crowd is living large off the corporation that decided to defraud $875,000 from a Bronx charity.  This is communal living of the 2000s.   The funny thing is that the poster child for Air America is the temperamental and truth teller of convenience, Al Franken.

Even though the temperatures in NJ are 95 plus with thick humidity, these issues are red meat issues and I will be dosing myself with red wine.  No need for chilled white sauvignon blanc, no, it is cabernet sauvignon and the like.

2001 Verite Archipel $$ (34.00)   The name, the bottle and the blend caught my attention.  Ufortunately, the product inside did not.  I will pass on this Bordeaux style from Napa.

August 11, 2005

Old habits die hard, and last night I fell into an old habit.  With time to kill and little keeping me focused, I headed over to Bacchus for the obscenely expensive wine by the glass.  The bar area had an OK sized crowd for a Wednesday night.  I saddled up to the bar and selected a wine that wasn’t oppressively overpriced.  The dinner menu begged for me to order a steak, and how am I to turn down a beggar.  Jimmy spent a few minutes chatting, but I must say, I think I have finally come to the steely cold fact that Bacchus is not for me anymore.  Yes, after a two plus year relationship, I find little pleasure in over paying in a place that is just another place.  It is officially time for me to move on, so I declare, I turned left out of their parking lot, onto Passaic Ave, and watched in the review mirror as the building shrank from sight.  If I go back, it will not be from desire or want, but because an event was available there.  It was fun while it lasted and the memories will fade to just the good ones eventually.  For now, I twist inside every time I look at the receipt for the $12.00 bottle of wine that turned into $8.75 per glass.  It looks like for the next few months I will be in search of a second home, a new second home where wine by the glass is not ballpark priced and a bottle of wine is reasonably marked up so the place can do good business, but not all from my one glass of red.

2002 Trinchero Family Cabernet Sauvignon $ (8.75 glass, $12.00 bottle) The fruit was ok, but the wine was lazy and had little fight from the beginning to the end.  A cabernet that played more like a merlot.

August 10, 2005

As Wino Wally points out, I had to let my liver dry for a while...


Yes, the poor organ goes through many phases of change in a week and the Lauber tasting put it into code red.  So over the weekend, we had a simple dinner with Wino Jim and Winette Maggie where he and I played dueling California Cabernet Sauvignons.  It was a night of quality not quantity.  And last night, to bring the shape and color back in line with Dr. Gray himself, I spent several hours at Wino Rocker’s abode.  I went empty handed and forced the old man to dig from his stash.  He impressed me with a Chilean that had my taste buds standing at attention stiffer then a young boy during the rope climb.  However, by the time I got there, only one glass remained and I was saddened by the fact of not being able to get a refill.  Damn you, Wino Rocker, you need to buy more of that. 

On a side note, if Paterson is the birthplace of Lou Costello, where was second stooge Larry Fine born?  Give Up?  Yes, Third and South Street in Philly and Monday afternoon, I was in the city and had lunch at the restaurant now standing on the site of the house in which Larry Fine was born.  As it was only lunch and I had a two-hour drive, ice tea was my beverage and a Third Ave cheese steak was the fare.  Nothing great about the place and they don’t have  goofy names for the food, like a Moe Burger, or a Yuk-Yuk fries, or Certainly chicken fingers, or Hey Moe move away from me cause I’m not that kind of guy… sorry, that was the place in the Village that had that on the menu.  I’m wondering if one day in Bloomfield, their will be an official bronze stick figure with the simple banner, Wino Bob started his alcoholic ways here.

2002 Escudo Rojo, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Maipo Valley $ (11.99)     Winner of value wine for the frugal, this Bordeaux blend from the Bordeaux family is finding a sweet spot in the Maipo region of Chile.  Nice smoke, tobacco, spice and black fruit.  Keep this around for weeknights.

2001 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (30.00)   Impressive upfront with cassis, dark fruit and an oaky finish.  Nicely crafted as a dinner wine out with friends

1996 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (78.00)    The dirt from Napa hits you in the face like a dust storm, with rich complex flavors, and a good finish, not their best year.

August 5, 2005

In what can only be described as a near perfect afternoon event, with a panoramic backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, I attended the Lauber Imports fall 2005 tasting.  Let me get the bad stuff out of the way first.  I said 'near perfect' not to describe the event, but rather to describe the setting.  The tasting was held at Frank’s Waterside in North Bergen, NJ.  Don’t get me wrong, the place is elegant and the view is spectacular.  The minor issue is the ownership.  Rumor circulated that this place is owned by Senator Frank Lautenberg, NJ-Dem.  You remember Mr. Lautenberg, our Senator that retired, telling New Jersey he had enough of public life and turned the reigns over to Bob Toricelli.  You remember Bob "the Torch" Toricelli.  Toricelli was "severely admonished" by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting thousands of dollars in gifts from a campaign supporter.

As the noose tightened about Mr. Torch’s issue with ethical behavior in public office, the cigar-chopping, political under bosses of the NJ Democratic Party pulled the ultimate bait-and-switch 54 days outside an election and placed the retired, elderly, done-with-politics, Mr. Lautenberg in his stead.  Word is he keeps a low profile as not to limit the patronage at this beautiful restaurant.

Now to the exciting stuff.  I died and went to Wino heaven as I walked into the banquet room lined with long linen-topped tables and row upon row of opened wine bottles, clean glasses and 4 hours.  Holy crap Marie, I almost dumped happy juice in my shorts.  The 100 plus page book explained the numbered bottles and guided me through a utopian, several hour journey into the new releases of reds and whites, sparkling and dessert offerings from Lauber Imports (  With over 250 wines to “taste” as they say, drink short, as I say;  I attacked the red table with military precision.  Glass down, pour, sniff, sip, glass down, pour, sniff, sip, glass down, pour, sniff, sip….on and on I made headway from California, through France, into Italy, Spain and Portugal, over to Australia, and Germany, landing somewhere in the slopes of Chile or Argentina, or at the bottom of the table, on the floor, wine spilling from my glass, with a happy purple grin on my face and a stirring in my loins.  At this point, I cannot accurately comment on each and every wine I tasted, but some of the drunken scribbling in the book that degenerated to an up or down arrow, has me excited about the following:

  • 2003 Bonny Doon Le Cigar Blanc

  • 2003 Bonny Doon Cardinal Zin

  • 2002 Elyse Syrah

  • 2002 Grgich Hills Zinfandel Napa

  • 2002 McDowell Syrah

  • 2001 Paraiso Syrah

  • 2002 Qupe Bien Nacido Hillside

  • 2003 Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel Reserve Old Vines

  • 2001 Voss Syrah Ocala

  • 2001 Hugo Estates Shiraz Reserve

  • 2004 Norfolk Rise Shiraz

  • 2003 Turky Flat Butcher’s Block-  I need more of this one)

  • 2003 Yalumba Bushvine Grenache

  • 2003 Vasse Felix Adams Road Shiraz

  • 2003 Casa Silva Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

  • 2001 Chateau Faugeres

  • 2002 Domaine Michael Bouzereau Meursault Les Grand Charrons

  • 2003 Joseph Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir

  • 2002 Guy Bocard Meursault Vieilles Vignes

  • 2002 Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Ruchets

  • 2001 Jean-Luc Colombo Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Bartavelles

  • 2004 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese

  • 2003 Fourplay No 1

  • 2000 Dievole Broccato

  • 2001 Tedeschi San Rocco Ripasso

  • 2000 Tedeschi Amarone Valpolicella

  • 2004 Brampton Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2002 Plasisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2005 Nederberg Lyric

  • 2005 Thelema Sauvignon Blanc Sutherland

  • 2004 Can Feixes Blanco Seleccio

  • 2002 Condado de Haza Tinto

  • 2003 Guelbenzu EVO

  • 1996 Cune Contino Gran Reserva

There were many more that are good, but these are the ones that caught my attention.  I would like to thank Big Bob for inviting me and the people at Lauber Imports for not throwing me out once I was inside the doors. 

August 4, 2005

Hanging around with Wino Lou, I am learning the finer things in life.  Yes, for the second time in recent history, he convinced me to head out to a local county golf course and try and smack that little white ball so it lands somewhere within the geography of the township.  We head there just at closing and we can walk nine before we no longer can see the ball.  WL has this mother of a driver and he can crank one out as I have never seen, not that I am into watching a guy crank one out.  I think he sailed one 295 yards off the tee.  He also has a great short game that keeps him in scoring position whereas most of the time I am hacking out of the sand trap.  My golf game sucks. 

The best part of the night was heading back to Chateau Wino Lou for a big ass California Cab.  Wowzer, golf and wine, I almost know what it would feel like to be Wino Wally for the day.

Oh yeah, with regard to the Giants focus group meeting; Mr. Mara did not really want my wine input.  No, Giant fans and season ticket holders, the new stadium is on track and heading the upscale, non-lunchbox crowd.  They questioned the 12 of us on the wait list, what PSL price we might be willing to pay for general admission seats, would we be interested in club seating, or loge box seating.  After all was said and done, the bottom line comes down to a modern stadium, catering to wealthy people, and a reduction of general admission seats.  Think about that, the current season ticket holders maybe forced to upgrade to club level or lose their seats to a waiting list that places them in front of me.  When I first heard the new stadium was increasing from 76,000 to 80,000, I figured I was in.  But NO, the bottom line seems to be PSL, club seat, major cheddar or sit at home and continue to watch on direct TV.  The only highlight was walking down to the locker room and seeing the plaques for Phil, George and LT.  No, they are all at camp in Albany, the locker room was empty.

2000 Plump Jack Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (40.00)    The nose on this one is delightful, with cassis, black fruit and earthy tones.  Tannins will make this one keep for some time and the finish is velvety.  Thanks for sharing, WL

August 1, 2005

It is great to wake up in the morning with a steaming hot WinoStuff mug of French roast and pop up the homepage of my link to the outside world to see that What’s New is actually NEW.  But, WJ does not want me commenting on it, so I will not actually comment on the fact that he only updates in months that start with the letter “A”.  It would not be right for me to spend time asking him to at least update in months that start with any vowel, which would have October in his comfort zone. 

My wine intake this weekend was limited to dinner out Saturday night with The Wino Rockers.  I have to learn how to space my Wino Rocker events as even my liver has a hard time keeping up with the gullet-free WR who sucks wine out of a bottle like a female mosquito sucks blood from a human, mostly for reproductive purposes.  It seems the only time his stringer comes out is after two bottles of wine.  It maybe a new medical phenomenon, as most reports indicate the stinger of the male Rocker is rendered dormant after one bottle.  Mrs. WR, I hope you survived.

I am a bit upbeat today, kind of looking forward to the quick passing of the next 24 hours.  Over the weekend, I was invited to a focus group forum at Giant Stadium to be held tomorrow evening.  As a twenty-year waiting list slob, I guess they felt sorry enough to throw me a bone and ask me to participate in a discussion revolving around the development of the new 700 million dollar home of Big Blue.  I think Tim Marra is a big wine collector and he had me placed on the list to develop the wine offering for the new select, luxury boxes.  I am sure the mega-wealthy owner of Big Blue likes Big Reds and wants to ensure Giant Stadium has the unique wines to offer the captains of industry.  This new 80,000-seat stadium needs to be the jewel of the NFL.  I am thinking, if things break for us this year, we might even be watching a Giants-Dallas game at the new WinoStuff Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  I can’t wait for John Madden to announce, “Here’s a stadium, that used to be the home of cokehead LT, now, Boom, big corporations come in and well, WinoStuff!  What the hell is a WinoStuff?  Boom.”  Due to Pat Summerall’s recent liver transplant, he will be banned from doing any games at WinoStuff Stadium.  I just hope we can beat the Eagles every time they show up at WinoStuff Stadium.  Tim, I say we celebrate with a bottle of Screaming Eagle.  Dinner starts at 6pm sharp as we plan for the focus.  I will be focused and intend to focus on what improvements need to be made on the new stadium.  So you see, the power of this web site has us branching out from politics to sports.  However, with the upcoming Governor’s race, I am ready to dig into this race of multi-millionaires.  Stay tuned for exciting news on the Corzine campaign front….

2004 Rock River Sauvignon Blanc $ (10.99)   The wine offers kiwi and grapefruit on the nose, but pales on the palate.  Crisp and clean up front with a wimpy finish.

2003 Bodegas Borsoa Primizia $ (9.99)    A Spanish red of Granache that did not fulfill its obligation to burst ripe fruit flavors and spicy overtones, a big disappointment.

July 29, 2005

Well, do I have Bordeaux on my face.  I feel bad.  I totally dis’d the wine offering my neighbor brought last night.  In an unusual Thursday evening gathering on the porch, the likes of Wino Rocker, Wino Lou, and the often-stealthy Wino Chris, et al, had a spontaneous drink fest. The crowd was into the second bottle when Wino Chris came by bearing a gift of..., well..., wine.  He handed me the red stuff, which I placed on the server next to the open one we were consuming.  The conversation was flowing, and the bottom of the bottle we were consuming came up dry.  Without much thought, I grabbed the wine WC had handed to me, I cut the foil, uncorked that sucker and started pouring like last call at Rascals.  We consumed it within an hour and I headed to the basement for the fourth and final of the night.  

Not thinking about it until this afternoon, I rummaged through the recycling bin in the yard and brought the bottle up to the hot, dark, room on the third floor.  I started hunting down the label.  I have not been keeping up on Bordeaux since the boycott.  Without nailing everything down, I think I opened a higher end wine than I first thought.  Stupid me, I should have brought the bottle into the house when WC handed it to me, researched it and then figured what crowd it was worthy of serving.  Not that I am pedantic, but when Wino Rocker is on his third bottle, he isn’t very much interested in the wine other than how much of a buzz can he catch.

I want to send out an apology to Wino Chris for not respecting the juice.  We had a fun time, and I do not want to discourage you from bringing over another nice bottle of red.

1998 Clos du Marquis, St. Julien ??    Rich texture, deep dark fruits and a smooth velvety finish has me crying in my beer, actually wine glass, over opening this one last night.  It was a bottle I should have enjoyed with a special meal instead of tortilla chips and salsa dip.

July 26, 2005

In the most unlikely of places, not just that it was Manchester, New Hampshire, but it was in a strip mall, between Curves, KC Rib Shack and a nail saloon, that I was treated to a culinary treat.  Yes, Geekdom is killing my ability to drunkenly slump in front of my TV and pass out.  I have been dinged with these training missions to sharpen my talents.  After a grueling day, a fellow trainee and I were invited to dinner with the GM of the plant and he pulled us into a strip mall off Second Street in Manchester.  I verbally abused him as the Curves and KC Rib Shack signs glowed in neon, but hidden just to the back right of the parking lot was a small store front with the banner, “UNWINED”  in bold letters.  UNWINED, I like the name, but come on, it's in Manchester, NH and in a strip mall. 

Passing through the front door, tacky crushed velvet purple curtains adorned the entranceway.  The room was small, with overstuffed high back chairs around barren dark wood tables.  A couch sat on a small platform with a coffee table that swings in front of the diners to enjoy their drinks and appetizers.  The food menu is pointed, a few salads, two styles of fondue, and a fish, meat or poultry special.  The wine by the glass menu numbered in the 80’s.  Yes, most of the bottle offerings were also offered by the glass.  I simply wanted a glass of red, and the other two associates said they would drink red, so we ordered a bottle and our host ordered a full serving of fondue.  Fon-f'n-due, melted cheese that one gets a pointed stick to hang small sections of bread, apple slices, or broccoli from.  Jointly coating these morsels with soft cheese, and eating it off the pointed stick, then redipping it into the cheese bath.  Not only is it unhygienic, but it just ain’t right for three guys to be eating from the same melted cheese bowl kept warm over a candle.  I’ll take the Rainbow Rose please. 

OK, so to offset this less then manly dinner, I selected a red with some firmness, some muscle, but not overly slapping to the chard drinkers among us.  It turned out to be a great night and one bottle turned into one per person.  The $178.00 bill had about 49.00 of food and this little, unimpressive place made a big impression on me as a new hangout next time I find myself in Manchester, NH.  After work, when the tension has your back in knots and your asshole boss shit down your neck all day, relax with one of the 80 wines by the glass, and UNWINED.

2002 Joseph Phelps La Mistral $$ (40.00 rest.)   What a nice wine with spice and cinnamon on the nose, blackberry and anise and a firm but lengthy finish.  A treat of Rhone from good old California.

July 24, 2005

Like a kid at Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, Festivus… I had to schedule a dinner out last night to try some new wine.  Stumbling upon a wine find, I held in my hand a bottle of Big Red from down under.  Not the really, really big red, and not from Penfold, but what the wine label said was the pinnacle of offerings in style and fruit from this producer.  I will admit, I could not leave it sleeping in my cellar.  No, I had to crack open the six-pack and draw out one of the sleeping glass vessels.  Not having been out in awhile with Wino Jim and Winette Maggie, we headed for one of the other BYOB Italian restaurants in Caldwell, on Bloomfield Ave., between Roseland and Central; not a new place, just a new owner.  Le Stella’s is a small storefront, but offers a family atmosphere.  Actually, I almost felt so much at home, I nearly headed back by the kitchen and grabbed my own dessert.  The food is flavorful, nice sized portions and reasonably priced.  As I was excited to try the big Aussie red, I went with the veal le Stella which matched well.  I know the restaurant business is hard, most do not last a year.  I think this one has a good shot.  The tough thing is that the place was full around 7pm, but there was no follow on for a 9pm crowd.  This area, as I have mentioned, is tough in the summer, I look forward to see what September brings for the weekend and if those tables can turn twice on Friday and Saturday, then it will have a good shot. 

1997 Mitchelton Print Series Shiraz, Victoria $$ (45.00)   When I drew the cork from the neck of the bottle, I was greeted with a deep, dark, inky color.  Bingo, love at first site.  The first impressions were of blackberries and eucalyptus.  The wine shocked my palate with tongue smacking tannins.  Hold onto this one for a bit longer, or decant, decant, decant and let it open before tasting.

July 22, 2005

Where does the time go?  I am stepping up and taking full responsibility for the lack of new content on my page.  he last few weeks, I have been at meetings where Bud and Coors Lite ruled the day, or drinking the same old, same old.  I have not had the pleasure of adding a new wine to encourage my entry.  It seems some of the readers have been complaining that I should not be rambling without a wine review.  There seems to be some unhappiness with the way I spout off without having a wine review attached, so I have not spouted in awhile.  I have bottled up my comments on several subjects that range from World News to Drunken Views about the times we live in.  So today, I arranged to meet Wino John for lunch, mainly to see if he was still alive and to discuss some exciting WinoStuff corporate business-type crap.  The main event on the agenda was when we can get together and drink some wine over dinner so I have something to write about.  And to nudge with a hammer, the creative juices in WJ so we can tear down the April 2, 2005 heading on the area called, What’s New. 

On a side note in the Geekdom world of making a dollar a day, I spent this week in Chicago, drinking bland, over produced glasses of over priced yellow water called beer.  Among the meeting participants was Geekdom’s Geek, Wino Paul.  One of the evening’s events was a celebration of great Geek work for the past year, and the Geek of Geeks wound up being recognized for his geekhood.  We toasted to the major recognized accomplishments of Wino Paul’s alter ego, Geekboy Paul, with several bottles of the hotel’s offering, Kendall Jackson merlot.  “I am NOT drinking Merlot”, but Miles, it is the only thing that is offered, so we are drinking merlot.  As a matter of principle, I will not be reviewing the 2001 KJ merlot from the dinner, but I do want to acknowledge the fact that Geekboy Paul is a well-respected member of the high tech world of electronics and was honored by his peers and superiors for it.  Now if I can only get him that well respected on wine etiquette, he would be the Renaissance man. 

2000 Canonbah Bridge GSM $ (13.00)    A blend of my favorite three Rhone grapes put together by the loving hands of the ancestors of debtor’s prisoners from down under.  This wine was plumy and full with a hint of cinnamon and the finish of a bigger wine.  A nice Aussie.

July 9, 2005

At this point, the only thing I can do is invite WJ out for dinner, drink a shit load of wine and hope it inspires him to UPDATE his page.  I will even give him the easier of the tasks by allowing him to review the two wines he brought and I will review the two wines I brought.  Wait a minute, that’s four wines for two people, Holy crap Marie.  Just to place more pressure on him, I will inform you that his duty is to post up something about, The Great Wall Red and the Two Buck Chuck Merlot.  Yes Miles, we will drink merlot if they want to. 

Stopping briefly in Costa’s to say hello to the proprietor, we walked a block and a half to one of the three Italian BYOB store fronts on Bloomfield Ave.  This one is called Le Stella and the food was far better than the Montclair BYOB I ate at on Weds.  The prices were reasonable, but not the best in town.  Casa de Filipo and Russillo still have slightly better food pricing.

We opened the Great Wall Red and the Two Buck Chuck, just to pass time awaiting our appetizers.  I had the fried polenta with shrimp in a light cream sauce.  By the time the food started to come, we ditched the first two wines and opened two more.  The Chianti Classico was fitting for the preamble and the house salad.  Chianti offers that bone dry, acidic quality that dances with some rhythm when the salad has a vinegar base.  But as for the main course, I had to switch to the super Tuscan for a better match to my veal saltimbocca.  The dish offered tender pounded veal in a flavorful reduction with proscuitto and melted cheese, wow.   

The summer crowd was minimal, with only about 5 other tables full.  Most tables had four people and two bottles of wine.  Light weights.  I do not know how these places support their staff with so few tables turning.  For their sake, I hope next weekend picks up.

2001 Castello Banfi Cum Laude $$$ (39.00)   This blend of 25%   Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 15% Syrah brought with it berries and spicy cherries, as well as clove, anise and black pepper. A full-bodied red with dense tannins, it marries well with all meal like veal saltimbocca.

2002 Nando Chianti Classico $ (7.00)   Dry as a bone with high acidity, the fruit was hidden for what seemed like most of the bottle, ripe cherry and tea come through at the end.

July 7, 2005

For the past several months, I have been reading reviews, seeing internet comments and having my curiosity peaked about a certain restaurant in Montclair.  I had the occasion to take a customer out to dinner so I decided it was a good time to try this place, especially since it was a spur of the moment thing and an early weekday night.  In fact, we got there at 6pm and the staff was still setting things up.  First in, we had the run of the place and we had attentive service.  However, I have to say, for a BYOB, the food was pricey and my meal was not as flavorful as I anticipated.  Maybe I went in with too high expectations, but everything I read made me think it was going to curl my wing tips.  For an Italian restaurant, the calamari was OK, but there are many around here that make outrageously good calamari, so I would not get that again if I find myself back there.  For dinner, I had veal osso bucco and it left me somewhat disappointed.  The fried artichokes were tasty and the sun dried tomatoes added a nice dimension, but the veal was fatty and the polenta was tasteless. 

In my maturing years, I decided not to blaze the name of the restaurant from this first encounter, but if I do return and the next meal I have there sucks, I will be sure to post it in all big bold type.

2000 Scipion Priorat $ (16.99)   A Spanish blend of 60% Granacha, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Carinena from my favorite place in Spain.  The nose delivered roasted nuts and raspberry, cherry and a touch of spice.  Nice wine for the price.

July 6, 2005

Well I got my five day chip, from cigars anonymous, but I guess I wasn’t supposed to reveal that, hence the term anonymous.  In the spirit and theme of the week, tradition rang true one more time.  As last year and the year prior to last, I hosted a Father for his birthday.  I say a Father since he’s not my Father in the biological sense, but rather he’s all our Father in the Biblical sense.  I hope that came out right.  After this Father did me a solid for my folk’s 50th anniversary, I agreed, until coins are placed on my eye lids, that I would take him out each year for his birthday, at Bacchus no less.  I happened to be only 4 months late, but last night I had nothing to do, and last night, he was left without a sick person to bless, a wedding or funeral to perform and not a soul to save, so we headed out for some steak and wine at the God of Wine’s earthly home in West Essex. 

Tuesday night at Bacchus had a four person customer count in the bar and an 8 person head count in the dining room.  Not quiet the place to claim as a hot spot.  Nevertheless, he ran into some of his flock and I think he may have been forced to hear a confession or two while I was ordering the first round.  Dinner was better than the last two times I ate there; my T-bone was tasty though the sautéed spinach is about half the size it was when they first opened. 

After dinner, I convinced the Padre to forget about his Rosary meeting and we bellied up to the bar and sat with the staff as they were the only ones remaining at 10:45.  Jimmy and I got into a discussion about wine and what he’s been bringing in.  Like a proud new father, Jimmy took the key from his ring and unlocked the wine locker, sliding out a shelf of 11 bottles of 1974 Petrus.  Shelf two had 8 bottles of varying vintages of Lafite Rothschild between 1973 and 1983 and several prizes from Mouton Rothschild. Yes, the special locker now is carrying some big name wines and the wealthy from those certain towns I cannot drive through, are buying them.

The only thing that worries me is that the head count on the weekends is very low, but if the weekdays do not bring in the bacon, how many more expensive bottles will be in that locker?

 2003 Evans Wine Co. Nine Stones Hilltops Shiraz $ (10.99 but 8.50 per glass at Bacchus)   A nice, inexpensive red with black fruits and an earthly nose.  Nicely balanced tannins and a soft finish make this a good partner for a T-bone.      

July 5, 2005

I need to add this update before I lose two readers.  Several weeks back, I was invited to a big party at the WP&WA house (that’s Wino Paul & Winette Alice for those new readers).  When an entry didn’t appear here the next day, Wino Paul expressed his disappointment.  I, for once, was trying to do the right thing.  You see, I have spent time telling you how Wino Paul has T-Rex arms and his T-Rexism prevailed as his wine for the event came in Cardboard boxes.  Yes, as God is my co-pilot, WP offered the 40 plus guests the best blush and white wine a box could offer.  I consumed beer that day, and didn’t feel the need to write about this wine ordeal since he promoted the site to all his relatives and, as they told me, he is picked on enough by all the cousins. 

So yesterday, I continued the tradition of heading there for the 4th of July b-b-q.  Being a cordial guest, I brought two bottles of wine, a white and a red, figuring any of the women would enjoy the white and he could replace my bottle into the space on his wine rack that he took out a bottle for us to enjoy with dinner.  By the way, he did manage to keep 99.9% of the food on the grill and out of the ivy.  The cream cheese stuffed peppers were a nice warm up and the fajitas went well with the delightful weather by the water.  But I cannot share a new wine review with my fellow Winos and Winettes, as we drank both bottles of wine I brought.  He dangled this carrot that he would open up a special red they brought back from Napa for this celebration of our Nation.  However, I don’t have the energy to cut and paste the reviews, and I don’t like to be redundant.  As I departed for the evening, and the party seemed to be getting kicked into high gear as Wino Paul started heading to the basement, yelling, “Who needs more wine…?"

So, Wino Paul, if you want to submit the review of the wine you had after I left, you can be this week's guest columnist. 

July 3, 2005

If you do something two years in a row, has it been long enough to become a tradition?  This weekend, as with last year, on the Saturday before the 4th of July I went into the city to hang out with my brother.  And, for the second year in a row, I will be attending a 4th celebration with Wino Paul and Winette Alice.  Tradition, tradition, tradition, whatever it is, it turned out to be an interesting evening in the city.  The traffic was nonexistent for a Saturday night and the door-to-door trip took less than half an hour, which left half an hour to kill walking around the half-empty city.  The weather was a comfortable seventy plus with low humidity and a breeze to keep the summer city pleasant.

Dinner was a reservation at a swank eatery on 44th that had the bill for two hamburgers and a bottle of wine (inexpensive wine from Provence) making the latest episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Yes, the db burger and table red came to a whopping $150.00. OK, so the wine at any restaurant will be outrageous, like $80.00 for a $15.00 retail bottle.  The burger however; is the creation of world famous chef, Daniel Boulud and he stuffs it with short ribs, fois gras and black truffles.  For the "in" crowd, it’s a must have, so I had it since I, for one evening, was in the city.  I chose the pomes scouflette, instead of the pomes frittes.  These were the most interesting puffed potato chip type thing I have ever seen. I cannot imagine how one lives in NY and eats out at trendy places.

We ended the night at the Campbell Apartment for a drink.  I guess Mr. Campbell was some captain of industry and needed a place to entertain business guests in Manhattan, so he had an apartment room built at Grand Central Station.  This bar is an after-work must for those heading back to Connecticut on the train, or those just wanting to drink at an in place. Its funny, with all the people we had in and out of our home when I was growing up, my mother sometimes referred to our house as Grand Central Station.  Mr. Campbell took it literally and his house was Grand Central Station.  The ceiling architecture is phenomenal and the cozy couch area by the fireplace must be great in February.

I never much was a city person, but my younger brother is and seems to know all the reasons behind why we go to the places he treats me to. I cannot get into the knowing the right thing, like where to eat and what type of shirt is in, our that this summer seersucker sport jackets are all the rage.  It seems Diesel jeans at $200.00 plus a pair, a tailored linen camp-style shirt and a seersucker jacket is the official uniform of the in crowd. But please, don’t show up with a single vented back panel on the jacket, they will laugh you out of the Hamptons.

So next time you are in the Time Square area of Manhattan, try db bistro (the sign outside has it in lower case as well as his business card) and bring a briefcase filled with hundreds so you can have coffee and dessert after your Boulud burger.

2001 Domaine de la Tour du Bon Bandol (Forget the price)

July 1, 2005

I don’t often share my personal info but I figure the more input, the better. Here is a recent situation I was faced with and how I tried to handle it.

Dear Miss Manners:

I have a bit of a dilemma and am in need of you advice. Last night I attended a wine and cigar dinner as the guest of a good friend.  So as not to disclose his real identity, I will just call him Wino Stan. It was a benefit for the local PBA.  These days, I figure it doesn’t hurt to support the local police, if you get my drift. Also at our table were two of Wino Stan’s friends.  They turn out to be major Big Ass California Cab collectors. As you might imagine, I had a great conversation about wine throughout the night and we got invited back to Wino Marty’s for a drinkable red. It was the only way to escape from the swill they were serving at the benefit.

After setting eyes upon Wino Marty’s cellar, simultaneous dilemmas invaded my thought process.

1.    What is the appropriate time to inform Wino Stan his friendship status is being overridden by my new best friend that I met through him? I have seen Wino Stan’s cellar and it’s on the second floor of a house, in a closet, in the kitchen, while Wino Marty has a 500 plus bottle collection of some of the most sought-after California Cabs.

2.    What is the appropriate time to wait before hanging out in Wino Marty’s basement and not telling Wino Stan I am hanging with his buddy? Though Wino Marty has some major stash, he was more than willing to open and share his prized possessions, something not found in all wine collectors.

3.    At what point can I ask Wino Marty if I can hold his three-pack of Screaming Eagle? Though he says he will be placing it up for auction, I do want to cradle it in my hands just to absorb the energy.

4.    How do I keep Wino John from reading this and getting invited to Wino Marty’s, then dumping me from the web site in place of WM. As you know, Wino John is the Big Ass California Cab guy and I am the new world value guy. Wino Marty will have much more to talk about with WJ, thus no longer needing to hear my rants about an $8.99 wine from Tanzania.  (Editor's note:  WANTED: New web site partner.  Great wine collection required.  Literacy would be a plus.  Preference given to guys named Marty.  Contact )

As you can see I am quite confused so your input on friendship, panache, candor and Big Ass Cab etiquette is greatly appreciated.


1997 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Bosche Estate Napa $$$ (research tells me it was 3$) 
Fruit up front with barnyard, black cherry and coffee on the nose. Big and bold on the palate with a strong finish.

1999 Silver Oak Alexander Valley $$$ ( research tells me…) Though generous to open, this one can use a bit more time in the bottle.  Early nose of Cassis and toasted oak with mellow black fruit and a soft long finish.

Bob's old Winings were starting to get as bloated as Bob's liver, so they were subdivided chronologically into Quarterly Reviews.  If you dare, click on one of the links below to go back in time and revisit Bob's musings.  Be warned however,  too much Bob can be hazardous to your psyche!  

Q1 2005     Q2 2005

Q4 2004     Q3 2004      Q2 2004     Q1 2004

Q4 2003     Q3 2003     Q2 2003     Q1 2003

Q4 2002     Q3 2002     Q2 2002     Q1 2002

Q4 2001     Q3 2001     Q2 2001      Q1 2001

Q4 2000     Q3 2000     Q2 2000     Q1 2000


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