This page contains
Winings from the 3rd
Quarter of the year 2010.
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September 30, 2010
We had to, he wasn’t around for the actual day, a belated
drunken birthday fest for Wino John. Not really a fest, just a spontaneous
dinner at Café Gourmet. Our chef friend, Matt, ushered us into a table and
whipped up my off-menu favorite. I am a bit worried though as WJ showed up with
a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape. He’s going French in his old age. What's
next? One can only imagine what mid-life crisis has the calloused-tongued, big,
bad, chewy, oaked cabernet lover turning to the Rhone. Does estrogen increase
as time passes? I will stop going to dinner with him when he shows up with a
Burgundy. The CNP was delicious, though I didn’t get the label. Just for the
record, I started in Rhone and continue to move bigger and bolder.
Mike and I had just finished a great wine tasting with our
buddy, Jason, from R & R. We look forward to some really great new wines at
High Point over the next week. An exciting find we brought was Epiphany Cellars
Gypsy Red, a blend 62% Grenache, 24% Mourvedre, 8% Syrah, 4% Cinsault and 2%
Petite Sirah, Once it comes in, I will have
more on this wine. Trust me, I really enjoyed this wine. I brought a bottle of
2005 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus
$$ (49.55) a wine I find of quality and craft
comprised of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec,
2% Petit Verdot. The wine has plenty of time to hang in the bottle and only get
better. Mocha notes, plum, cassis and dark cherry, what more can you ask for.
(Editor's note: This wine was spec-friggin-tacular...)
We finished dinner with Mike’s bottle of 2005 Summers
Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $$$ (59.55),
a terrifically expressive cabernet sauvignon with silky tannins from the
21 months in French oak. Brilliant black cherry, a hint of spice and a touch of
toffee on the finish.
I don’t know how it happens but we always end up clearing
the place. I do enjoy the laughter shared at these evenings out. I can only
say 'God Save the Queen'. Nothing better than good food, great wine and jovial
conversation to keep one’s spirits up. Maybe not if you are the owner of the
place we descend on, but for us, it was a great night.
September 24, 2010
This one B-L-E-W. I went to lunch with the Other Bob and
selected a blend of grapes I had high hopes for. I figured a syrah, grenache,
mourvedre, petite sirah would be a nice cheery wine for a lunch. The more the
merrier, this combo delivers for so many wines I enjoy. Unfortunately, the
taste was a turn off. It was surprising as the nose had promise. There was an
off putting taste on the back palate that made it hard to get through. The
offender was the 2005 Brassfield Estates Eruption. Clocking in at around
$15.00, I was hoping for a nice find I could brag about. At this point, all I
can saw is, “Stay Away”. Nothing to look at here, keep moving down the aisle.
Sorry, I can’t let you try this one.
September 23, 2010
Big HB to WJ. I trust the wine has a formaldehyde-type
Last evening was the 2010 Wine and Spirits Tasting for
Fedway and I will cut right to the quick. I want the HR position for this
event. Actually I want the HR assistant’s job for this event. The venue, food
and wine were great but the pouring team was beyond description. A1, top shelf,
Bravo! Did I mention the mandatory black attire? And the length was just,
sorry. Back to business. The venue was the Venetian in Garfield. Large, well
appointed, marbled, fountained, extremely large and classy is all I can say.
The food was excellent with sushi, Asian chicken, friend calamari, a carving
station, which I doubled up on the lamb chops and beef. One would not expect
such a venue in the tired, industrial section of Garfield.
Boiling it down to the basics, let's just say that there
were two wines of the oh so many I tasted. The crap wine of the night was at
the Banfi Vintners table, a wine called Palo Alto Reserva. Calling this
wine 'jet fuel' would be cruel to jet fuel. The runner up was a wine at the
Terlato table, Dry Creek The Federalist Zinfandel. The label is
eye-catching and with Alexander Hamilton on the label, I wanted this one to be a
winner. Sorry, Hammie, you don’t deserve to be on this label.
There were a plethora of OK wines, nothing exciting,
nothing bad, just drinkable.
There were many wines I found enjoyable, though nothing in
the 'diamond in the rough' category. In no particular order, I went back for
seconds on a few of these:
2007 Chocolate Box Dark Chocolate Shiraz
2006 Penascal Tempranillo/Shiraz
2005 Clos du Val Stags Leap District Cabernet
2007 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 Wakefield Wines St. Andrews Shiraz
- new to the US market but this one was top shelf.
2005 AVV Cyrus
2006 Palmaz Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Maison Bouchon Chateauneuf du Pape
2005 Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
And not too be white-phobic, I found this one:
2009 Silver Palm Chardonnay
- light oak, let the fruit shine through.
Overall, this was a very well run event. I can’t say
enough. Actually, I can’t say any more since I kind of crashed and wasn’t
invited. That’s another story.
One last note, 9/24 would have been number 76 for my old
man. In your spirit, I will be hoisting a shot of Cutty Sark and a Bud chaser
tomorrow night. Missing you.
If the Mosque and Qur'an
issues came up on 9-11-02, would anyone’s position be different? Has the
deliberate use of euphemisms, lack of visual exposure and the distance of time
made many feel differently? Does the hurt ever go away from a parent, child or
spouse who lost a loved one? Do we really remember?
September 3, 2010
At a recent wine event, we exposed the group, many for the
first time, to a South American carmenere. Carmenere
is a grape variety that is originally from France, specifically from the region
The wine produced from the
Carmenere grape was used to blend with other red wines such as Petit Verdot and
Cabernet Sauvignon in order to produce wines full of aroma and complexity. The
Carmenere grape we know today was initially called Grand Vidure.
The wine was a
2008 Casa Silva Carmenere Reserva.
$ (10.55) Vina Casa Silva was founded in
1892 by French wine pioneer Emilio Bouchon and is owned today by Mario Silva,
the fifth generation of winemakers. Many of the vines are more than 90
years old, carried over from Bordeaux pre-phylloxera. After decades of selling
its juice to bulk wineries, Casa Silva began a bold estate bottling initiative
in 1997, establishing the winery as a leader of the new generation.
Casa Silva Carmenere Reserva offers aromas of blackberries, plums, chocolate,
toffee, white pepper and spice. Made from 88% Los Lingues and 12% Lolol fruit,
this big red is full in body, powerful yet elegant. On the palate, it is round
and mouth-filling with sweet tannins and a gorgeous balance between fruit and
French oak. Aged 50% in French oak for 7 months. Hand-harvested and sorted. On
the finish, it is long and rich.
One wine does not a scientific study make, but this wine
gives me hope for an alternative red for my palate.
August 27, 2010
As the summer is grinding down, I had a chance to hang with
the boyz last night. No, not them, the other two nuts I hang around with, OB
and WJ. The original boys are with me daily…
So we do a dinner at Matt’s Gourmet Café in Parsippany and
have just a great dinner. I have become the foodie pedantic asshole who
switches things up on the menu. Can I have the special, but instead of X can
you substitute Y and I don’t want Z so double up on B. Signature dish my
ass, I want it my way. I tried to stay thematic and I brought blends. We
started with the 2007
Calcu Red this “Super Chilean” blend of
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenere, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot.
Winemakers Ricardo Rivadeneira and Alejandro Jofre captured the diversity of the
Colchagua Valley. Priced at $ (10.99), it was
ok. Nothing deep and fancy but decent red fruit for a social lubricant. We
then kicked over to the 2006
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound that delivered a more traditional Bordeaux
blend. No carmenere here. Faithful is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 10%
Malbec. Deeper, richer blackberry and currant flavors with cedar and vanilla
highlights and a Cavendish tobacco finish. I like this one even with its
upwardly creeping price of $ (20.99). At this
point the main course was served and OB anted in a
2005 Glen Eldon Dry Bore Shiraz. Hailing
from the Mars-like red earth of Barossa Valley in Australia, the wine hits you
with boysenberry, blueberry and blackberry fruit with a violet note on the
finish. A rich, jammy wine that was pleasure in a glass.
Wino John rounded the evening off with his
1996 Whitehall Lane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series
something or other. Wow, it is amazing to drink a wine from when I was like 9
years old. (Let me do the math, I think that would make me over 21). Nice
get. The wine served as my dessert and was mature to the point of gracious. It
offered its wisdom and strength without being crotchety, grumpy or demanding.
I can’t wait for the next dinner there to see what
mix-and-match stresses I can put on the kitchen as a pretentious asshole. Matt,
you are an all right guy in my book, or as they used to say in the neighborhood,
"That Matt is good people".
August 25, 2010
I swear, I was just looking up wine stuff. Damn internet.
Actually, I received a press release about Aubert Wines (see below)
Wines Purchases New Winery
New winery home to highly acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
ST. Helena, CA – mark and Teresa Aubert have announced the purchase of a new
winery, located at 333 Silverado Trail in Calistoga, California, to house
Aubert Wines. Aubert Wines produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from single
vineyard sites in the Napa Valley,
Carneros and the Sonoma Coast appellations. The Auberts
will start moving into the 8,000 square foot winery in January 2011.
“Teresa and I have dreamed of establishing a permanent home for our winery
for 11 years, and we’re thrilled that it’s finally coming true,” said
winemaker and owner Mark Aubert. “Over the last
27 years, I’ve had the privilege of working at and consulting with
well-known wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma Valley. I’m excited to bring
all these experiences to our own winery in Calistoga, a perfect spot for us
as it is centrally located between our key vineyard sites in Napa and
I Google Teresa Aubert to see if there
are any hot images of… never mind. I was doing some research into the winery.
There was an abundance of links to (beat) Wine, women and shoes.
I still have not found the link to Teresa Aubert and wine shoes but it peaked my
interest enough to read several of these sites.
It seems that women like to
hold wine tasting and show off fashionable shoes. This got me to thinking.
What would guys do that would be of similar structure? I don’t think I have
ever been in a room and had a guy (or anyone, for that matter) come up to me and
say, “Nice wingtips”.
The event, a whimsical wine and shoe pairing event designed
to educate people about wine and to sell very fashion-forward shoes, while
raising funds for local women’s charities, benefited Impact Oklahoma and Calm
I will tell you that it is not just an Oklahoma thing. I
trust Wino John wouldn’t be telling me he knows what fashion forward means
regarding anything. Wait, I could ask Big Bob, he might be fashion forward. I
can personally attest to the fact we have NEVER had a whimsical wine anything.
So if we decide to expand our horizons, how does one go
about pairing shoes with wine?
WARNING- I did have a black loafer
joke here but the CENSORS fined me for just thinking about it.
Truthfully, I can’t even come up with names of men’s
shoes. OK, maybe a merloafer? Hey, Wino John, that guy looks light in his
merloafers. Could that be what they mean?
Maybe a more masculine Bordaufer- rich leathery tannins in
a garment hue?
Help me out here. Anyone want to tell me about pairing
wine and shoes? I am all ears.
August 14, 2010
I'm not sure if Friday the 13th did in the
Knights Templar thus making it unlucky but for me it was a day of discovery. So
what, the world is falling apart, I found a wine I enjoyed. I understand Iran
announced it is going nuclear in a week, I had a well-priced bottle of
California cabernet sauvignon. I understand the President needs a fifth
vacation in as many months, not counting all his golf rounds. I would get out
of town too if I were so inept at my job. My vacation was in a reclining chair,
in front of the television with a bottle of 2005
Cedar Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine comes in around
$35.99 and black berry and plum fruit with black
pepper and mushroom teasers. Restrained oak is a compliment to this wine. It
is not big and bold but not meek either. I found this to be spot on in the “you
get what you pay for” category.
Unlike the President, my vacation is over and comes with a
blurry-eyed, fuzzy-tongue morning. Though, looking at the first lady, so might
August 9, 2010
A blast from the past hit me yesterday when we checked into
the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, WA. It took awhile, and a blaring sign (road
side, not a religious thing) for me to realize that the quaint, relaxing Salish
Lodge in Snoqualmie, WA. was the hotel used for the filming of Twin Peaks! For
those too young to remember, it was a murder mystery series with psychological
twists by David Lynch. I am a David Lynch fan and remember being glued to the
hour-long drama on TV. I didn’t know until yesterday that Snoqualmie was its
home. It turns out we were a week behind a big Twin Peaks convention. In all
honesty, we probably wouldn’t have gotten a room there had we been a week
In the bizarre twist of Twin Peaks style, I was fighting my
internal demons as the sommelier at the restaurant in the Lodge kept telling me
that the mer-ee-tauge (a pedantic French flare) would go well with my meal of
choice. It took all I had to not make a scene and tell him it is an American
word from merit and heritage. I then wondered if that small fact tainted his
recommendations. I did try some local wine with dinner and sipped a bit of the
Peak Frog Riesling before the Felicitas 100 Meritage. Hey, I
wanted to stay with a Bloty. Said mispronunciation guy then informed me that
syrah was the third best grape of Washington State right behind cabernet
sauvignon and merlot. I asked for the syrah, which was weighing in at $30.00 a
glass and before they poured it, they sampled it to me. Good thing. I thanked
my waitress for saving me the money. I didn’t much care for the local syrah and
would have been kicking myself in a Fight Club style self pummeling had I paid
for that wine.
The meritage was fine, not much to talk about. I did enjoy
a heaping helping pour of the Dow’s 20 Year Tawny for dessert. The
waitress was eighteen years removed from New Jersey so we hit it off right
away. The topper was that her brother was a Naval Academy grad and my nephew is
sweating out Plebe initiation. We had a lot to talk about and she did me well
by pouring the Dow’s to the maximum the port glass could hold. It really is a
great place. I recommend the Salish Lodge to anyone heading out to the great
Pacific Northwest. It’s about 35 mins. east of Seattle and it delivers the
essence of Washington State.
August 7, 2010
I’m in Leavenworth. No, not the prison, the town.
For the record, it is in the state of Washington. This quaint little town looks
like someone transplanted a village from Bavaria. With that said, I was taken
back by the number of wine tasting rooms/vineyards in Leavenworth. Technically,
six are in Leavenworth and seven are in the surrounding area. I didn’t get to
taste any of the wines but the names of the wineries are:
D’Vinery, Eagle Crest Winery
Ryan Patricks Vineyards
Bella Terrazza Vineyards
’37 Cellars Winery
I have to say, the tasting rooms were crowded and I saw a
few people carrying out purchased bottles of wine. I head out of here early
tomorrow but I might have to make an exception and drink early. Besides, it
would be Sunday, I will make sure I bless myself before I start sipping.
July 30, 2010
Hot town, summer in the city! I am thinking that the
Lovin’ Spoonful were into global warming in the early ‘70s. I needed to chill
last night in front of the tube. Dude, it's the season two premier of
Jersey Shore, which takes place in Miami, Fla. I am missing the point
of calling it Jersey Shore. Kudos to Governor Christi for comments about the
show’s poor portrayal of New Jersey. OK, I’m jealous. If I had washboard abs
and spiked hair, I would have tried out for the show. It seems they drink a lot
and I am a professional at that. I have been called creepy and they talk about
creeping. I have a nickname. Hey MTV, what about a show about doughy, pasty,
old drunks with a real Jersey pedigree?
I knew I didn’t want anything too heavy, so I went gru-vee. I am
recommending for a hot muggy night of mindless TV, the
Wolfgang Gru-Vee Gruner
I say this a nice summer alternative for those that don’t want
the pucker of the sauvignon blanc. Also, gruner pairs well with some quirky
food when you are trying to serve up a nice artichoke dip. Though it might have
choked Arty, it ain’t gonna choke Stymie. Stymie would have been a fan of the
Wolfgang Gru Vee. Now I need to search out a wine for the cream puffs my dog
wants. (Little Rascals)
I say buy it and try it. How else will you expand your
July 22, 2010
Nothing better than an executive board meeting to get the
juices flowing. Officially one year in and the agreement of non-agreements no
longer churns my gut. The topical discussion points sparking multiple side
discussions means health. New business being old business might draw annoyance
or anger, but much less when wine is involved. No, the juices I am talking
about are the gem wines I enjoyed with dinner. I believe 8, 9 or maybe 10 wines
passed clockwise, and I did remember to jot a few down that I will explore down
the road. One little jewel was a Domaine Raymond Dupont-Fahn Bourgogne
Chaumes des Perrieres. This is one of those that share a fence with the
rich and famous but finds itself just outside the pedigree/price gambit. Dare
not call it Meursault yet rejoice in the approachable price of $28.99. Flavors
flow of peach and a hint of lime and a chalkiness that provides a charm to this
wine. The embarrassing delight in public for me was the muted orgasmic sounds I
bleated after inhaling the head of a 1976 BV Georges de Latour. This
wine was a delight of antiquity like a worn leather wingback or a grandfather
clock. The color showed age and the tannins gone enough to indicate there isn’t
much time left. In fact, it may have offered up its last breath of life for our
momentary pleasure. And for that, we thank you. This wine truly was a friend
and confidant to my rack of lamb. The other I took note of was the Le Cadeau
Equinoxe hailing from the great northwest. Oregon nurtured this fruit to
develop dark raspberry, red cherry and blueberry with moments of thyme and
cassis. What can I say; I am fortunate to bump up against the fences of those
pedigreed wine aficionados.
July 13, 2010
One (that would be me) must realize that a bottle of Kim
Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, a 2005 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2005
Callabriga Douro Red and a 1997 Plumpjack cab, when taken together,
do not pair well with a screen door. In what could have been a youtube viral
video, I managed to overstay my welcome at the Wino John palatial estate when a
quick trip back from the bathroom left me blind to the sliding screen door.
Fortunately for me (but not for the door), my knee was the first of my body
parts to force its way through the woven mesh. Had my stride been different, I
would have been wearing a screen door custom fit mask. And we were having such
a good time to that point. I believe my visa to the private town owned by WJ
has been revoked and my car will not be allowed to exit the highway on any road
that would lead to the estate.
Fortunately for me, I had eaten a steak the size of a small
dog. Had the screen incident happened prior to dinner, I would have been
relegated to the truck stop on the highway for dinner. To that point, I had
been enjoying a fine Cuban cigar and finishing a South African cabernet. Then I
had to go to the bathroom. Oh boy, getting in was fine, but getting out proved
confusing. Boy, was that a long ride home. Anyway, I did want to say thanks to
Wino John for his hospitality, as he is no longer taking my calls.
2005 Callabriga Douro Red
This blend of Portuguese grapes
boast touriga nacional, touriga franca and tinta roriz giving a black fruit and
plum flavor with a touch of oak and vanilla and hints of the precursor of port
without the sweetness.
2005 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon
A cabernet from a South Africa’s
Stellenbosch region vineyard that dates back to 1693. This wine, for the price,
brings some nice dark cherry and dark chocolate to the glass. There is a touch
of tobacco on the finish. An easy drinker without too much to think about.
July 11, 2010
I found something interesting, as I was f’ing around the
Internet. This isn’t exactly wine related but it ain’t a political bitch
session about how screwed we small business people are either. For those
science dweebs, I found a density chart for liqueurs. Why do I need a density
chart, you ask? Hey, when you are having a crazy dinner party and want to make
those floaty after dinner drinks, you may need this information. You know,
those drinks that are layered with different liqueurs that combine in your mouth
to taste like something else.
Sloe gin 1.04
Rock and Rye
Triple sec 1.09
Tia Maria 1.09
Green Crème de
White Crème de
Crème de Banana
Dark Crème de
White Crème de
Crème de Almond
Crème de Noyaux
So remember, like a good free mason, the foundation is the
most important. Lay in the densest syrupy, sweet crap liqueur first. Then take
a well-chilled spoon, holding the concave side up, allow the next, lighter
liqueur to spread out evenly. It amazes your guests, making you seem like a
I am thinking a Kahlua, white crème de cacao, Tia Maria. I
don’t know what that might officially be called but my mouth just started
watering. I do think I had something called a bloody eyeball. I will have to
spend the night reconstructing it from this chart.
Have at it.
July 10, 2010
I received an email today and the subject header read,
PS, I Love You. Dude, Wino Bob gets these all the time. OK, maybe
not. So you could imagine how excited I was thinking I finally had an adoring
fan confessing her love for the Wino. Damn it! I opened the email to find a
flyer announcing the 8th Annual Petite Sirah Symposium being held
July 27th at Concannon Vineyards. What caught my attention was the
topic for the panel discussion, Can Petite
Sirah become the next Pinot Noir. Let me save you the time and
I was going to end this entry there but I guess I need to
bolster my position. The simple reasoning behind my point is that petite sirah
is too bold for the nuanced palates of the pinot nuts. There is too much 'in
your face' fruit and not enough “subtle complexities” for the crowd. Second, PS
is not as food friendly as PN. For me, I would make petite my meal so I fill my
stomach with whatever the table has to offer. For those pedantic enough to
spend their life chasing the terrior of Burgundy, they will never convert to
tougher skinned grapes. I say Petite will convert merlot drinkers, is a nice
change up for syrah lovers and will amuse cabernet lovers, but will never ever
replace the pinot. Besides, that panel is hosted by a guy calling himself Dr.
Vino. What good could come from a guy that hides behind a self-appointed
made-up casual wine-related name. The nerve of some people trying to be hip and
educational at the same time. What does he say, take two pinots and call me in
the morning? Just so we are clear, the WinoStuff copyright stamp reads 2000.
Dr. Vino’s copyright on his blog reads 2002. Dr. Vino is located in the NY
area. Wino, Vino, you be the judge.
I think I should email my input to the panel discussion so
they know what position to take.
July 9, 2010
This year is going down as the year of least number of new
wines written about by me. I got in a rut this year and started buying more
than one bottle of each wine. Thursday night TV has me drinking from the same
case and limiting what I can write about for this page. It’s back to one bottle
of each for a while so I can get back to basics. Last night, I was able to find
a wine I haven’t had before. You can imagine my excitement. Whoopee, a new
experience. As I was glued the television awaiting the big announcement (no,
not where in the world will LeBron go), who is the snake in the BB House.
Actually Thursday night doesn’t hold my attention, until this fall when The Big
Bang Theory moves from Mondays. Thank God for DVRs. I filled my glass with a
Portuguese red and sat down to watch a Buster Keaton silent movie called, The
General. I agree, a far fall from nights of dining at Bacchus or crazy cabfests.
A quiet night with a black and white silent movie. It happened to be Buster’s
last independent before he was part of a large studio and lost some of his
I guess my New Years pledge of not writing about current
events has lessened my verbiage.
2005 Quinta de Cabriz Reserva, Dao
The blend of 40% touriga nacional, 40% Alfrocheiro and 20% tinta
Roriz bring a cherry cola, fig and raspberry mix. This is a nice drinking wine
for a simple meal but not complex enough for a fine dining experience. Robust
enough for a silent movie but it wouldn’t hold up for Hot Tub Time Machine, if
you get my drift.
Bob’s scale combining cost and
$- under 20
$$- 20-50 dollars
$$$$-75 to 100
$$$$$-100+ ( not
in the budget)
I will use an icon, ,
to rate my wines. The more icons, the better I liked it and would love
to share this bottle with some good food and my rat friends. WinoBob
Editor's Note: A while back, Bob went off on a
tangent and changed his icon to .
He does this just to make me crazy!!!.