This page contains
Winings from the 3rd
Quarter of the year 2011.
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September 23, 2011
Might I take a moment and give a shout out to Mama Wino
John. For it was your nine months and the pangs of labor that birthed the
now-famous Wino John, yet he takes accolades for being squeezed out like a
cantaloupe. You did all the hard work and he is primping around like a
peacock. Dude, the doctor wacked your bare little ass and you cried, now you
expect the royal treatment. You throw a party and only me and Wino Rocker show
up? It must not be the real party. Last night a small party of three ate and
drank in celebration of an event several, nay, many decades ago. OK, we just
wanted an excuse to drink wine and have dinner so we blamed it on WJís
birthday. Matt, in usual fashion, served up a tasty dinner. I went with the
pasta special. I was pleased. As for the wines we enjoyed, Wino Rocker offered
a bottle from his recent winemaking endeavor. The Chateau Wino Rocker served as
We definitely drank out of order, but with the day I had, I
started quaffing before WJ arrived. I brought a 2004 Finca El Puig. This wine
was an inky Priorat blended of Grenache, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. Trust
me, it stains your insides. Nice black fruit in the glass but the finish for me
was a bit of a flaw. I paid $29.00 for the wine and I would definitely buy it
again. Wino John treated us with a Phillipe Gimel Saint Jean du Barroux. At
$25.00, this was a treat. The blend of syrah, Grenache, carnigane and cinsault
Joe and Danielle surprised the old fart with a double
chocolate truffle something or other with a candle and an off-key rendition of
Happy Birthday. The other diners were underwhelmed and slightly annoyed. I did
my best to sing obnoxiously out of tune resembling nails on a chalkboard.
Fortunately for us, the dining room emptied fairly early allowing our drunken
tomfoolery to not get us kicked out.
On a sober side, tomorrow would have been my dadís 77th
birthday. Miss you, pops.
September 13, 2011
I know it wasnít the best
of timing but Sunday night was the Essex County Wine Society's fall dinner. For
me, it was my first time at Culinaire in Montclair.
The dream of chef Ariane
(part of the restaurantís namesake) and partner/husband/pastry chef Michael
Duarte took shape 18 years ago, when the two graduated from the Culinary
Institute of America. It has since blossomed into a superbly received dinner
spot, beloved by neighborhood gourmands and critics alike. From the cornmeal
crusted oysters to the warm blueberry cobbler, only the freshest, top quality
and often-rare ingredients are masterfully combined. The result is a sensory
experience to be savored
And yes, Chef Ariane was on
Bravoís Top Chef.
The sparkling wine flowed
as a variety of hors d'oeuvres made their way around the room. I have to say,
when you wrap anything in bacon itís great but dates in bacon really have become
a WB fav. The mushroom and goat cheese tarts were delicious as well. Then it
was time to sit and enjoy the ride.
Seared Cod with sautťed
leeks and potatoes in lemon thyme beurre blanc. Paired with
2006 Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur.
I could have stopped right there. The
fish was cooked to a flaky, moist opaque texture and the sauce was suited well.
The minerality of the wine cut the sauce and supported the fish.
Chicken Chasseur showing
cremini mushrooms, tomato and white wine. Paired with
2007 Hospice de Beaune Volnay 1st Cru
Santenots Cuvee Gauvain. The wine
won here. I am not saying I didnít like the food but the nose on the wine of
violet, spice and dark cherry was heady.
Braised Short Ribs with
goat cheese polenta, summer greens and crispy onions. Paired with
1999 Bodegas Alion Ribera del Duero.
Like the first course, a balanced delight of food and wine with neither muscling
up the other but rather a four-part harmony on the palate.
Truffles (Yes Wino John, I said chocolate truffles) paired with
1994 Graham Porto Vintage.
Does anyone really need me to comment on how well port and chocolate go
together? I didnít think so.
It was a great event. The
food and wine really worked well. I was happy I had the opportunity to attend.
Next up, October 6thís event will feature wines of Meursault. Thatís
right, we will be drinking white. Any problem wit dat!
September 12, 2011
What a night at Tree Tavern 2.0. On Saturday evening, we
had Swine and Wine Part Deux. The Gods smiled upon us with a perfect evening.
The humidity was low, the temperature was pleasant and the sky was clear. Frank
and Auggie from Party Chef cooked up a hell of a meal. Fortunately for me, I
got there early enough to catch a glimpse of the special basting process.
After seeing the Mojo Juice injected in that part of the
pig, I ate from the other end. The Mojo kept the pig meat moist with a great
Look at that beautifully crisped skin. Frank was nice
enough to save the cheek (head check, not ass cheek) for me to enjoy.
The crowd arrived at 5:45 PM and the last one turned off
the lights at 2:05 AM. The food seemed to be kept in never ending dishes. With
this lovely swine were three bean salad, grilled veggies, corn on the cob and
rice with beans. Trust me, no one left hungry. Of the stated time, the food
actually went from 7 PM till 10:30. The rest of the time was consumed in deck
shuffleboard and wine consuming. As the event was originally planned for August
27th, we poured out two Roses and one Red. The Roses were the
Oriel Femme Fatale and the much sought after Morris County crack- Tuck
Beckstofferís Hog Wash. The red was TaMas Double Trouble, a blend of
cabernet sauvignon, barbera and petite sirah. The crowd of 50 generously
complimented Mike on the new look to the outside bar and dining area. And if I
am not mistaken, there were two standing ovations for the great job Frank and
Auggie (donít worry I looked "Auggie" up on the urban dictionary and there are
no alternative definitions) did with the pig. (Although I think Frank might
have been a little too attached to the pig if you know what I mean...)
This was really a great night. There are about 40 pictures
posted over at the meetup site if anyone is interested.
This is what I posted 10 years ago.
As I drove on Route 280 East into Jersey City, just North
of Newark Airport, my thoughts and prayers on this day are with the friends and
families of those who lost their lives in this disaster. Unlike the clear day of
last year, there is a haze over New York and the forever-altered Skyline is
dotted with half-mast flags. Seeing the construction sites in Jersey City with
touching signs, and tributes, one can only hope that our collective backbones
will not go soft and let those responsible go unpunished. One year has
tattered and frayed the fabric of our country, but it has not torn or divided
it. We are a Great nation and no truer are the words that Abe Lincoln delivered
at Gettysburg in a defining moment in our Countryís history then today. As the
national media is dedicating their time memorializing this event, I felt
compelled to publicly thank the iron workers, firemen, policemen, Emergency
workers and the thousands of volunteers that went sleepless this year in their
unselfish efforts to restore normalcy to our lives. I will always cherish the
events I attended at the World Trade Center, the World Trade Center Club and The
Windows of the World Wine School. Let us never forget those innocent 3,280
Americans who are our Aunts, Uncles, Mothers, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters. We
are One Nation, indivisibleÖ.
When was the last time you saw a flag flying from the
antenna of a car or house? When was the last time you dropped by the local
firehouse and thanked a fireman? When you see a solider in an airport coming
back from a tour, do you say thank you?
We woke up on 9-12-01 as a new nation, united, determined
and purposeful. Where are we today?
September 9, 2011
Just a quick, non-wine entry... This picture is dedicated
to my great uncle Walter who told me one summer night while he smoked his White
Owl cigar, ďSon, you can tell a quality cigar by the size of the ash it can
I am liking the quality of this one.
September 8, 2011
I guess the golf thing was enough fun for the three of us
and Some Dude Named Rich to grab dinner last night. Fortunately for me (letís
face it, itís all about me), Some Dude Named Rich (SDNR for short) showed up
with a red wine. If he had arrived with a girly white wine, I would have had to
ask him to leave and pay for our dinners as punishment. I need to make a
disclaimer up front; I am fighting some kind of sinus deal that had all of the
wines tasting like cherry phlegm. I brought a Gigondas which was medium-bodied
and for me, didnít have a lot of fruit. The others at the table said it wasnít
bad, just not lush. Since I am handicapped at the moment, I will let you know
the wines we enjoyed but not really give them a full out review. I was a bit
disappointed with my 2004 Chapelle St. Arnoux,
which rocked a 14% alcohol and little fruit for
me. We passed this one off and moved to TOBís Italian wine. He contributed a
2004 Piccini Sasso Al Poggio Toscano.
Even in my altered state, I found this wine
jammier, with plum and raspberry. It was a good wine for the pasta. WJ
unloaded a Big Ass Barossa. As I had chicken and shrimp in a demi glaze, this
wine fit my needs. The 2008 John Duval
Entity Shiraz was deep and dark, kind of
like my camp counselor. For those who donít remember, Mr. Duval spent formative
time at Penfolds and some of his familyís fruit went into making Grange. A side
note, the Duval family, besides growing grapes, ran a sheep stud farm in
Australia. No doubt that is why WJ is familiar with him. I found
blackberry, plum and spice in this one. Either the other two wines cleared my
nasal passages or this was one powerful ass wine that fought through phlegm like
a hot knife. Wowzer, this was one to enjoy. By the time we opened SDNRís wine,
all I could taste was a cherry cough drop that was from the
2008 Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon.
I think we should have had the Entity last, it ruined
me. I was fixated on the sheep stud farmerís fruit. Anyway, it was a fun night
with good food, lively conversation many laughs and a cornucopia of wine. I am
looking forward to doing that again soon.
To round out the evening, I
brought a bottle of Amarula Cream Liqueur. This is made from the marula
fruit of South Africa. Itís not true that elephants get drunk on this fruit but
it is tasty and provides the elephant a good nutritional value. Goes great with
August 30, 2011
For a personal reason, I ended up in Seaside Park yesterday
afternoon. Yes, Seaside, bitches! One day after the storm of the century, as
the century is 10 and a half years old we donít have a large database. I know
the media made it the storm of this administration. Good thing that Vineyard
vacation was cut short and our Prez de-energized the eye of the storm and saved
the oceans from rising. Actually, I was in Seaside and Barnegat, both showing
signs of sand on some streets but I only saw one downed tree and the homes on
the water were still standing. Fairfield is dealing with more devastation than
whatís down here. No, I did not see the crew of Jersey Shore while in Seaside.
The boardwalk and beaches were sparse. For the sake of the business people, I
hope this week picks up. The meager volume of beach goers will not end the
season well for those who make a living taking money from guilt-ridden parents
as their crying, bratty kid forces them to spend hundreds of dollars for the
latest stuffed toy. For me, I looked in the wine store window and cried until
I bought myself a bottle.
What can I say, I looked for a diamond in the rough and
ended up with basic carbon. This wasnít even a low-grade diamond, cloudy and
unpolished. It just about made it to graphite. It would have been better
leaving this in the ground and not placed in a bottle.
So I took a chance and it fell flat.
2008 Roe Saint Andre Grand Vin Bordeaux
You get what you pay for and by the price, you can imagine
what this one was like. Good experiment but itís a no go on this one.
August 29, 2011
I donít know how it happened but we ended up in a small
piece of the area that still has power and few downed trees. Several miles
away, the Avenue is crisscrossed with oaks and elms and the Passaic River has
consumed much of the junction to Rt. 46 west. It will take several days to get
the dampness out of the basement and to rake all the small twigs and branches
but things are running. With dinner yesterday, I had a sample of a wine Mike
located at a trade show. The wine isnít yet available in the USA, they are
currently searching for an importer. I went with the less expensive of the two
reds as it wasnít a day to celebrate, more like a day of quiet thanks.
I am a bit reluctant to comment on the wine, as it will not
be found here. For those outside the USA, the wine was 2009 Clos Pons Alges
Costers del Segre. This blend of
Tempranillo, Garnacha and Syrah, offered blackberry and black
cherry flavors and a raisin, woody finish. At the right price this could be a
very nice buy. More to come.
August 28, 2011
I am sitting on the front porch with a cup of Paul Newman
bold from my Keuric coffee maker and an A. Fuente Gran Reserve cigar celebrating
the passing of Irene. I heard from all but Mike that they faired well. I hope
Mike is OK. Barnegat still has power and no house flooding. I have about three
inches of water in the low spots of the basement but that is minor. The trees
are still standing and the power is on. It did take me until this morning to
see the PPV movie ending as DirecTV sucks in bad rainstorms. I watched the same
part of Win Win and kept cutting out for the last 8 minutes. Finally, I saw the
Hollywood happily-ever-after finish, which was disappointing. Life is not
happily ever after, so why heap bullshit on the audience. Many times, it
doesnít work out but as humans we adapt and make the best of it.
With recent turn of events, I decided to go back to my
rambling column and when wine is able to be included it will be. I backed off
for a while but sometimes you need to go back to basics. You dance with the one
that brought you to the prom, you damn the torpedoes. You buckle your chinstrap
and put your nose to the grindstone.
Bloomfield Ave must have flooding. With the unusually
high volume of traffic right now, they must be diverting cars off the main
road. The storm has taught me a few things.
Immediately purchase a portable generator.
Get the large tree over hanging the back of the house
Switch to cable.
Start off a storm with a new bottle of wine.
Last night while on storm watch, I poured myself the
remains of the wine I opened Thursday evening. For a storm like this one, I
should have treated myself to a better companion. Just so itís not a total
wasted entry, I was drinking the 2004 Bodegas
Ondarre Rioja Reserva $ (14.99)
It was a warm spicy companion for a wet windy night. Flavors of dark
cherry, tobacco and licorice came and went. Unfortunately, the finish was
simple but it did the job.
OK, big Guy, (and I mean the real
big guy not our big guy at WinoStuff), thanks for sparing us, friends and
family, from what could have been some major shit. Over the next few days, I
will be berming around the foundation to lessen the water intrusion. But most
of all, I am going back to inane ramblings from the dark, dank third floor
August 27, 2011 Editor's Bonus Update!
Check out these pix of the newly renovated patio area of
the TREE TAVERN. Damn, Mike, the place looks great!
August 27, 2011
Wow, the forecast looks bad so, basically, the internet will
be down. Without the internet, how can I
cruise research porn
wine? I was excited to have a quiet weekend of wine writing, drinking and
posting. Unfortunately, our old power grid is stressed in less severe
situations. Come on, Irene, give us a break. The biggest disappointment is
that our pig roast was postponed. I had the pleasure of seeing the newly
landscaped patio and outside wet bar at the Tree Tavern and, let me say, it is
beautiful. As a crusty old bastard, I donít use 'beautiful' very often but the
area is incredible. I am planning to get some pictures to post. The reschedule
date for the pig roast is September 10th. I canít wait.
Stay safe. Hopefully your power is OK and you had the
chance to hunker down with some nice wine.
August 26, 2011
I told you it was coming. Yes, the end of the world.
Those Mayans knew what they were talking about. This week in New Jersey, we
will have felt the rumbling of an earthquake followed by the battering of a
hurricane. I swear to Christ, if locusts rise from the ground next Wednesday,
we are f&%$íd. As the human clock nears the stroke of midnight and soon the
earth regenerates for another hundred million years, I caught apocalypse fear.
First, and very late in the game, I ran from store to store looking for a
back-up generator to survive the pending power outages. OK, nothing left.
Secondly, I hit the war-torn food store to stock up on the staples. Which leads
me to the question... What wine goes with French toast? By the way, what do
the French call French toast?
French toast, you ask? Based on the areas of Stop and Shop that were empty, it
seems like my town bought out the bread, milk and eggs, plus the bottled water.
I never saw a food store picked clean like that. So after tomorrow, when the
power is back and we are all OK, what the hell do you do with all the eggs, milk
and bread? Make French toast of course. And what do I recommend you wash down
that French toast with? I am saying a nice sparkling wine like
It has been described as having spiced aromas of
gingerbread and brioche lends density and richness to the varied fruitful pears
and peach. Brioche, bitches! What more do I need to say? So think of me over
the next few days when you are wondering what to do with all that milk and eggs
Hopefully, all will be safe and the storm will bounce eastwardly to lessen the
damage to property and lives in the balance. Since it will be too nasty to
drive, I will be drinking.
PS: For the record, I did not wear the salmon pants with the man boobs shirt.
They were two separate fashion occasions. Salmon pants are very fashion
forward, my friend.
(Editor's note: Dude, pictures don't lie...)
August 7, 2011
As you well know, I am not an Italian wine expert. As most
are meant to be enjoyed with food, I mostly drink wine alone, naked, just me and
the bottle. And by naked, I mean without anything to enhance or accompany the
flavors in the wine. Ok, I mean most of the time I am in my dark, dank third
floor office with nothing on watching reruns of I Dream of Jeannie. If only a
cute blonde genie lived in my empty CdP bottle my world would be complete.
At dinner the other night, WJ brought a Brunello that I
found drinkable without the necessity of food structure to balance the acidity
and to coax out the deep-rooted flavors through interplay withÖ. (wine geek talk
alert). This wine was able to stand-alone and for that I say ďLei mi ha toccato
in un brutto postoĒ. This might actually be the best wine for a Thursday night
as you watch Jersey Shore Italy.
2004 La Rasina Brunello di
Montalcino $$ For an Italian, I found
this very approachable. The nose was black fruit and floral with blackberry,
blueberry and a touch of minerality on the palate. A sexy, silky finish drew me
August 6, 2011
I have no interest in
repeating a week like this one. I have been lax in posting several wines that I
had the past few weeks. I am not much in the mood for jokes so Iíll get right
to the point. I have been ignoring the BLOTY, so last time we crashed Cafť
Gourmet, I brought along a CdP...
du Pere Caboche Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Elisabeth Chambellan Vieilles Vignes
wine offered a medium bodies deep ruby pour with a licorice and herb nose and a
generous amount of dark cherry, raspberry and a pleasant finish.
I will post up more later.
August 2, 2011
I wanted to post a short note passing along our deepest
sympathies to Winette Alice. I think she is the first and only person I ever
referred to as Winette. A dear friend of WinoStuff and my close friend in my
geek world job, Wino Paul passed away this week. There are several old posts of
Wino Paulís adventures with me. Two most memorable were our venture in the
Hollywood Hills when we bought a map to the star's homes and his frugality at
dinner that earned him the nickname Wino T-Rex. Rest in Peace, my friend. You
are in a good place. When we were on business trips, he would ask me to pick
something good from the wine list. Thanks for all the great memories, you will
truly be missed.
July 16, 2011
Sometimes you need to stick with the usual. The
restaurant? No, that was the usual. The company? No, that was the usual. The
wine? Now thatís where I went wrong. A quick dinner at GC and I went with the
house salad and the pasta special. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I went with
a Cahors red. As we all know, Cahors is the king of malbec. I am a malbec head
and enjoy the pricing and power of those from Argentina. "The main difference?",
you ask, this is old world French. We all know that malbec is a back up singer in the
Bordeaux quintet. For me it should have never left the band for a solo career.
Even Little Stevie came back to the Boss. The wine I brought was the
2007 Francoise Pelissie Croix du Mayne. The
wine wasnít bad, it was just one-dimensional. For me, Iím looking for a party in
my mouth when I take that first sip. This wine was 85% malbec and 15% merlot.
There was a black fruit on the palate yet it faded fast and had little else.
Fortunately the dinner was rescued by a bottle of 2007
Andrew Will Sorrella Horse Heaven Hills and a 2005 Il Poggione Brunello. The
Sorrella showed a rich deep flavor from its blend of cabernet sauvignon,
cabernet franc, merlot and petite verdot. Sorry, malbec, you are out of the
band. Great blackberry, mocha, toasted coffee bean and spice, well balanced and
a long finish made this enjoyable.
The IL Poggione Brunello di Montalcino showed plenty of
that Italian acidity that makes these wines a great food companion. A heaping plate
of rigatoni in red sauce with veal meatballs would have brought out the
cherries, sweet spice, anise and violet flavors. I think we should have
reversed the order we opened the last two, but then again, who the hell am I?
Good save, guys. I wonít be shopping in the weird France
aisle in my wine shop next time.
July 8, 2011
How is this for a fun night? You want into a restaurant for dinner with friends
and there is a magnum of 2002 Pride Reserve Claret open on the table. Wait,
please, you must ease into the Pride. So we start with a 2004 Bouchard Pere et
Fils Corton Charlemagne. Dude, you drank too early, the effervescent 2005 Domaine Belluard Gringet Vin de Savoie Terroir de Mont Blanc is
open. Jesus my head is spinning. Take a breath; drink the Mont Blanc to
refresh the palate. Then we compared the Corton with a 2005 Kistler Dutton
Ranch. I went with the bay scallops and avocado, which had me favor the Kistler
as itís subtleties and fruit enhanced the ethereal rush of the scallops. For
the Pride I went duck in a red wine reduction. Lordy, lordy was that a night.
The restaurant was Blu in Montclair, a store front favorite of the locals. Our
table of five was the largest in this gem of an eatery. I was so out classed
with wine that I ended up bringing my bottle home. Of course we didnít need it,
we had a dessert wine. By that time I was too tangled in food and quality wine
to write down the information on the split. And that folks was a Thursday
night. Heaven help us if we were out for a Saturday night. Sometimes I bitch
and moan about the crap life deals me but last night was not one of them. It
was a very special evening and I appreciate the opportunity of participating in
this one. I just hope I didnít dream it.
July 4, 2011
Independence Day !!!
This is usually where I find a picture on the Internet of
some patriotic symbol. However, with recent developments, I am relegated to
words. We here at WinoStuff.com would like to wish everyone a safe and
enjoyable July 4th celebration. Remember what this meant to this
great nation and drink American wine at your cookout. Remember zinfandels go
great with ribs on the grill or maybe a NY state riesling with your hot dogs or
grilled sausage. But most of all, appreciate the courage and bravery of the
great founding fathers. We are not servants of a monarch. Leadership and
walking a path less traveled created the best country known to mankind.
Bobís 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!!!.