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Bobís Winings
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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 my dessert.

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 worked well. 

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. 

Round 1

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.

Round 2

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.

Round 3

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. 

The Closer

Assorted Chocolate 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 vinegar/citrus flavor.

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 hold.Ē 

 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 ToscanoEven 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 coffee.

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 $ (6.75)   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 SegreThis 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.

  1. Immediately purchase a portable generator.

  2. Get the large tree over hanging the back of the house trimmed.

  3. Switch to cable.

  4. 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 room. 

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 Schramsberg 2001 Reserve 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 and bread. 

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 in.

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...

2007 Domaine du Pere Caboche Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Elisabeth Chambellan Vieilles Vignes $$ (26.99) This 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 

Happy 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 taste: 


$- under 20 dollars
$$- 20-50 dollars
-50-75 dollars
-75 to 100 dollars
-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!!!.  

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