This page contains Winings
from the 4th Quarter of the year 2002.
To contact WinoBob, click
December 31, 2002
with the old, in with the new; and for the tech world, good riddance.
The year 2002 holds very few positives for life in the electronics world.
As for WinoStuff, the popularity of the site and the number of people
bookmarking us in their "Favorites List" continues to escalate
exponentially. Linear graphs are
for those unwilling to put out their best.
So, in my name and in the name of the WinoStuff crew, I would like to
send out a huge THANK YOU to all our Wino comrades who find what we do here
educational and entertaining. We
look forward to many exciting new things, like any high budget show, the special
effects this coming year promise to rival Star Wars the Sixth.
I hear Wino John has purchased some exciting new software that can make
Wino Wilson come to life. So look ahead to the dancing and talking Wino Wilson…
here it is, the day I need to unveil my selection for Grape of the Year.
For those of you who have taken the time to read this stupid column I
write, you know I do very little research, and mostly spew incoherent thoughts
and bring up inane issues that that carry little weight in the Big Picture of
the Wine Gurus like Marvin R. Shanken and Robert M. Parker Jr. But this is the one entry I do spend some sober moments
pondering. I do take this
responsibility seriously and try to define a grape that has relevance to the
world. We are not a political,
touchy-feely bunch as you can see from the irreverence we bring to the serious
world of wine. However, this is the one time we do get serious and will
treat this Year of the Grape naming procedure as ceremonious and important as
the Unwrapping of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Make no mistake, if I survive nine years hence, we will be unveiling the
First Official Grape of the Year Calendar with the same pomp and circumstance
given to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
the Year 2002, our staff felt the Zinfandel Grape defined the Spirit of America
in light of the events that closed out the Year 2001.
Though Wino John has never listed any of the Zinfandel wines he enjoyed
throughout the year, I tried to do my part to support this patriotic grape. As we enter 2003, we are in a climate of global unrest and we
face serious threats on two fronts. We
believe the Year 2003 needs to be a coming-together, a year when we realize that
we all have a great deal in common, whether you come from France, South Africa,
Spain, California, Macedonia, Tunisia, Crete, Italy, Australia, Argentina or
Chile. (that represents 5 Continents) We
need to find a grape that unites many countries and peoples of many differing
races and religions, and this one does. This
grape also spans the economic strata by producing inexpensive wine to stylish,
classy collectible wine.
world renown, Oz Clarke described this grape to me in this manner, “(This
Grape) has a wonderful raw-boned power that sweeps you along in it’s
intoxicating wake. It exudes a blithe bonhomie (I’m not sure if this is a good
excretion or one that looks like what came from my bung) and a taste -all ruddy
cheeks and flashing eyes… that seduces you and makes you think it’s all
harmless fun. It is the wild, wild
woman of wine, the sex on wheels and devil take the hindmost, the don’t say I
didn’t warn you.” Yes folks, the opinion of a wine guru quoted right here at
WinoStuff. OK, so I got the quote
from his book Oz Clarke’s Encyclopedia of Grapes, but that’s what he would
have said if he ever returned my calls.
Winos and Winettes, I give to you the 2003 Grape of the Year... Granacha
Tinta is the most widely planted red grape and has origins rooted in Spain well
before the Romans ruled the lands. Granacha/Grenache
most often teams up with his buddy Syrah/Shiraz to provide enjoyment from wines
produced in the Rhone Valley and as a major player in the seductive
famous GSM, Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, have caught the attention of the
Rhone lovers around the globe. Most important, is the wine from Spain where this grape
started and the beauty that is defined in a good glass of Priorato wine.
This is our grape, for it’s multicultural presence, for it’s high
alcohol content, for it’s spicy and raspberry flavors and for it’s wild,
wild woman allure. So my friends,
drink up to a year when we can come together and put aside our differences over
a bottle of Holy Trinity, or Les Terrences, or Beaucastle Chateauneuf du Pape.
Let us drink to the similarities we share as humans, not alien clones,
and the positives that can come from a cooperation of nations.
I give to you Granacha Tinta/Grenache and toast to you, “A Safe,
Healthy and Prosperous 2003.”
December 30, 2002
Well, I just looked out the window and realized it’s
another day, not sure which one yet, but the sun is shining brightly. I
hope I haven’t missed New Years. You see, I have been enjoying the
Christmas present I received. No, not the book by Robert E. Parker;
though the book is chock full of wine information. I noticed that
WinoStuff.com was left off the appendix of great wine sites. Oh,
wineloverspage.com is listed and Robin Garr is listed, but WinoStuff has been
mysteriously left off the reference list. The Parker people still fail
to see the world influence WinoStuff carries as evidenced by those Foreign
Consultants who keep getting in touch with Wino John. That’s OK, next
Christmas, when Winostuff-the Movie gets released, we will not be
mentioning Robert E. Parker in our appendix! Wait, does a movie have an
appendix? I have an appendix, but it has been rendered useless by
evolution. Perhaps evolution will render Robert E. Parker’s appendix
useless (his book not his real appendix since it is already useless).
And WinoStuff will become the most important organ in the Wino Body.
I digress. the Christmas present I am referring to
is the Giant victory that they prophesized on their terrible towels, “Win
and In.” Unlike Wino Wally, I did not have an ample-breasted drunk
woman showing me God’s greatest creation. However, I did have Wino Lou
showing me gracious hospitality by again getting me into the luxury box of the
company he works for. If Wino John wasn’t such a temperature
sensitive mammal, he too could have been sipping Robert Mondavi Private
Selection merlot out of plastic cups, in the swank environment of the rich and
famous. Hey wait, what’s more Girlie-manish, Wino John being scared to
be out in weather below the temperature of his wine cellar, or me drinking
Merlot? Holy crap, it might be me drinking Merlot! No way, this is
my entry! No, it definitely is Wino John worrying about freezing at 40
degrees (maybe that’s where the term fair weather fan comes from).
Not knowing if Wino Lou and I would be at the same place
in the stadium for the game, we did drive to the game together and toasted
with a bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel to a great game. Wino Lou, like
Wino John, is a Philly fan, but Wino Lou is not afraid of a little cold
weather. No wait, Wino Lou didn’t even bring gloves since he was going
to be in a 70 degree luxury box the entire game. What the hell is it
with Philly fans? Are they all cold-blooded reptiles? So I toasted
to the game and to the football gods and to artificial turf (which will be
back in Giant Stadium next year) and to health and to a great parking spot and
to the Maras (Ok, I really didn’t toast the Mara’s they still haven’t
gotten me my tickets). The only situation that would make this a dream
season is if the Giants
beat the Eagles for the NFC Championship, then go on to beat the Jets in the
Superbowl. (Editor's note: Go Eagles!!!)
Now, back to all that studying I have been doing on the
Grape of the Year.
2000 Ravenswood Zinfandel Sonoma County
Hang in there to get past
the wood and tannin because this one has some really nice flavors of black
fruit, chocolate and blueberry. A fun wine to enjoy with friends.
2000 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Merlot
Rough and tumble with some dark cherry and raspberry, but the finish is
short and there is little charm to this one.
Crap, time is running out and Wino John has called me three times today to see
if I have the Grape of the Year ready yet.
I told him I was doing extensive research and have been holed up in my
office for the past three days trying to make the wise choice.
I even had to get help from my best friend, Wino Wilson.
As you can see here, we are hard at work. Sorry, this was when we took a
break and had a quick drink to make sure we tasted as many different grapes as
we could to make a sound judgment. No,
really, we have been at it all night.
I promise, I
only have twelve more wines to drink, but we will have this thing figured out by
New Years Day.
Corazon $$ (24.99)
This blend of Bonarda and Malbec is a good tasting, medium-bodied wine
that has a strong backbone, with a spicy dark fruit flavor.
Good at the cost, but if this ever was priced below twenty dollars, it
would be a fantastic wine; hints of smoke and raisins develop late in this one.
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (42.00) This
ruby colored lush wine delivered red fruits, soft tannins and brown spice with
an attitude that told us it preferred to sleep in the cellar several more years
before it would show all it has to offer. Drink now, but buy two to hold and
enjoy in five years.
I find myself
now, shopping for a wine or bottle of scotch as a present for friends and
relatives as an excuse for me to look for myself.
As with most fathers, they don’t want another plaid flannel shirt for
Christmas, so I usually buy my father a nice bottle of scotch.
Let me qualify that statement, I buy my father a nicer bottle of scotch
then he would buy himself. It
really turns out that I look quickly for his scotch and spend the remaining time
browsing the wine shelves for, uhh, myself.
This past week,
I shopped for 45 minutes at my local, Mr. Kim’s wine store.
I saw Silver Oak, Caymus, Caymus Special Selection, Gaja, Lafite, Vosne
Romanee and more. None fit into the budget, so I relegated myself to the lower
end selections. I grabbed a few
bottles of things I wanted to try, and last night as the TV blared in the
background and the log crackled on the fire, I opened a Priorat for my personal
enjoyment. As you know, I have
taken a liking to Priorat’s bold wines for their thick, inky, flavorful style.
Unfortunately, I did not pick a winner and this wine will not be on my
lists for the year 2003.
Igneus Barranc dels Closos $
There is little for me to discuss on this wine. It is a blend of
Granatxa, Carinyena and Cabernet Sauvignon but I was hard pressed to find any
resemblance of fruit.
Let me first
ask how many of you spent the night of Christmas shoveling out from the “White
Christmas” that hit the North East? This
morning, the quick freeze has the roads icy, but drivable.
The last time I remember seeing snow on Christmas Day was in 1977, but
you know the memory is the second thing to go.
something else that happened for the first time in about as many years.
Our Christmas Eve celebration found the audience of WinoStuff increased
by two. Yes, my reading audience
has doubled. For the first time in
many years, both of my parents enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner.
Well, for my father, alcohol consumption is not a new phenomena, but he
did decide to depart from the Bud and a chaser of Cutty Sark to celebrate with a
glass of wine from the bottle I brought. More
interesting is enrollment of Wino Mom to the ranks.
For the better part of my forty plus years, Mom has not shown a great
deal of interest in alcohol, except for the occasional rub on the forehead
during a high fever. I guess that because of all those breaking news stories Wino
John has offered about the health benefits, Wino Mom has decided to enjoy a
small amount of Wine with dinner to ward off the rheumatism.
She has started slow, but haven’t we all, so I will anticipate a guest
column from Wino Mom or a guest book posting questioning my review of a wine in
the not too distant future. So if
we can all welcome our newest member to the Wino ranks, the women in her Mahjong
Club will be happy to see your letters.
The second new
experience this Christmas was drinking a wine that had been stored in the
freezer to keep it fresh since it was not finished when it was first opened.
As you can see, this was a totally new experience, if you ever read any
of my entries, you know I never open a bottle that I don’t finish.
Wine storage in racking before consumption, I have that under control.
Wine storage after opening and not consuming…well, uh, that’s stupid.
However, I did some research and found one reference to freezing opened
wine from the Wino Eggheads at “The Oxford Wine Room”.
There are reams of articles on inert gassing, degassing, refrigeration
and or dumping of the open bottle; but I have never froze and thawed a wine for
later consumption. To be
forthright, I did not taste the wine prior to freezing to compare the
difference; though the wine did not taste ill-effected from the experience.
So I offer this business opportunity to the world, Wine-Pops! Yes,
wine on a stick for those hot summer days. Maybe a Cabernet twin pop to
share with an over heated friend. Maybe
I should just make wine ice cubes for my crazy aunt so she can just pop one in
her mouth and not need to dilute the wine in her glass.
I will be in my lab coat, boxers, and black socks for the weekend.
Sorry, I mean I will be in my Lab doing
experiments with my liquid nitrogen tank, Erlenmeyer flask and Bunsen burner
seeing how well this will work. Recommendation
number one: like a gold fish, you can only freeze and thaw wine once, do not
Since it is now
six months beyond the Chardonnay Challenge that Wino Wally posed, and since Wino
Mom requested a nice white wine with our traditional Polish Christmas Eve
Dinner, I dug into the only 5 bottles of Chardonnay in the cellar and brought
one of the, dare I say, "award winning" white wines I would have
placed into the contest.
Mulderbosch Chardonnay $
it’s the sun or the heat or the salt air breezes but this example from South
Africa holds up well for those liking a bit of weight to their white wine.
Rich and buttery with a nice blend of acidity and fruit make this wine a
great selection for those that want a bigger Chardonnay.
I don’t know the cost and I don’t know what this tasted like before
the freeze, but the thawed wine showed nice plum and fig flavors with a long
Well, I will
tempt the political correctness gods and wish all a Merry Christmas.
With the way the holidays fall this year, most people were finished for
the year last Friday. This means
there are ten full days of wine enjoyment for this festive season. And for the first day of the Holiday Season, the first wines
I had were with my Wino neighbors, Wino Chris and Wino Karen.
These neighbors I see, well, once per year, around the Holidays, to drink
a bottle of wine. Though I was the host, I was less than impressed by the wines
I opened. On the second day
of the Holiday, we celebrated at Wino Lou’s house.
Wino Lou spent the day preparing homemade pasta so it was only polite
that I brought a 1997 Italian Wine. The
Season holds many more exciting days to drink wine, but if I don’t start
posting them now, I might never remember what I started with so here is the
beginning of the list.
Guigal Cote Du Rhone $
This is at the opposite end of the number one wine from E.
Though a small amount of fruit shows up, it doesn’t last long and
leaves little impression on the senses.
Loom Cabernet Sauvignon $
Though I really enjoyed earlier releases of this label, this release
smelled and the taste was boxed in by all the wood.
This wine also had a bit of a tangy aftertaste that made it of little
interest for me to try again.
Castello Banfi Excelsus $$$
Let sleeping dogs lay, this one needs time to develop and blossom into the
richness of the blending between the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. As the tannins soften, they release a flavorful plum and
black currant with a hint of pepper and spice.
As we head
into the holiday season, here’s hoping you get the wine of your choice.
I have sent bubble wrap to the North Pole in my request for a bottle
of the 1999 E. Guigal Chateauneuf Du Pape so the bottle will not clang
against the walls of my chimney. I
will aptly supply the milk and cookies with a shot of Tequila, 1800 Gold.
He said the milk coats the stomach before the Blue Agave warms the
skin. Little secret, after 2 am
it’s not Rudolph’s nose that is aglow.
Which reminds me that many years ago, I once played Santa for a group
of kids. All the time I was
listening to their requests, I was thinking of all the funny things I could
have been saying that would have traumatized these kids for life.
As a Santa, they prep you to ask them if they were good little boys
and girls. I would have loved to say, "Hey kid, that’s NOT what
your mom told me. She told me
you were a whiney little bastard and I’m going to bring you a cheap knock
off of the Red Power Ranger."
(Now, that was a company that made tons of cash! Saban
Entertainment pumped out tons of poorly-constructed, cheap, made-in-China
plastic things that fell apart 5 days after the kids played with them.)
Once, the last kid slobbered all over my itchy white beard that was
made out of some highly flammable toxic polymer. I should have gone
over to the bar and slammed down a few red wines.
Hey kids, Santa is an alcoholic who derives pleasure from living with
small, hairless elves in a place that is dark for six months of the year!
I really do love this time of year. It
gives me the opportunity to see just how much people think of me as I unwrap
a goofy theme tie, not fit to be worn at the Geekiest of business meetings,
or the umpteenth bottle of Bailey’s with the card, “I didn’t want to
buy you wine and embarrass myself.” Bailey's?
Isn’t that the beverage 21-year-old girls drink to catch a buzz
after dinner? Hey buy me a
bottle of Yoohoo and I’ll spike it myself with Vodka.
And yes, I did receive a Fruit Cake one year as a serious gift from a
former guest to the Wino Bob Holiday Bash…
week I will be holed up in my room, placing serious thought into selecting
the candidates for Grape of the Year to represent 2003.
Wino John and Wino Wally aren’t as off the cuff as I am and require
a plethora of backup documentation on the why's and why not's for Grape
selection. Like a girlfriend,
it is out with the old and in with the new.
Here are a
few from my recent evenings alone in front of the TV
Marques de Murrieta Rioja Ygay Reserve $
The name says it all. "Rioja", I mean, not "Ygay",
though that is a strange name for a wine in my opinion.
Largely Tempranillo, this is not the best example of the fruitiness
of this grape. Ok for a pizza,
but not much to impress your friends.
Alice White Shiraz $
(9.99) his wine has a good amount of red fruits and a spiciness and woodsy
finish. Bring this one out for
some duck confetti or grilled lamb.
Hedges Columbia Valley $
(14.99) This Meritage from Washington left me longing for a Pinot Noir. Unfortunately, there was not a great deal to find in this
wine from the first to last sip. Depth
and complexity from the blending of 5 grapes should reveal a bounty of
fruits but this wine had neither. Save
this one for the demi glaze reduction but not the dinner accompaniment.
usually not one to ask for more government.
However, in the recent turn of events and in light of the new
Department President Bush has recently formed, I feel it is my duty and
right as an American to offer up an addition to the forces we currently
have. This one, for reasons I
will explain must be formed swiftly to keep me out of jail.
othing worse than a
swarthy stick figure all dressed in black, sharing a cell with a suicidal
maniac who hasn’t had the company of a woman in 5-10 and is looking for
love in all the wrong places. Last
week, I had to make a citizen’s arrest.
Wino Bob, are you a hero? Did you catch someone burglarizing an
expensive car in Essex Fells? Or
did you wrestle a mugger to the ground and return the purse to a poor old
lady? No, Winos and Winettes, I
took it upon myself to place handcuffs around the bartender at UnBacchus.
Though she enjoyed it, I had to inform her why I was placing her under
arrest. What I saw was
egregious, it turned my stomach, and I had to avert my eyes from it and
quickly tackle her and bind her at the wrists.
Though UnBacchus has never been a place I go for top wine ingesting,
it is a place that offers a selection of low-end reds and whites, for those
who might want to add some ice or a splash of club soda to add the fizz that
will tickle your nose. But the
other night, as I found a seat, right in front of the place that for months
held the mega bottle of Luna di Luna Red, I saw it.
Like dancing Wickens during the Summer Solstice, like a Hun in heat,
this sight was vile and left me little choice but to stand up for the small,
hurt member at the bar. There,
on top of the beer cooler stood a carafe of the remaining Luna di Luna, with
a beer coaster across the top to keep flies out.
And then, the bartender had the nerve to serve it to a patron who
wanted a glass of red wine. It
was bad enough when that bottle stood open for months, but to have the
carafe there, exposed to every breeze, sneeze and bar sleaze to infect what
little fruit that crappy wine had when it was just opened, is an outrage.
I am sticking up for the Luna, but really, I am sticking up for all
the wine at UnBacchus which one day may realize the same fate as the Luna.
Since the bottle was not completely empty, but we needed space,
let’s place the wine in an open container to use whenever the situation is
called for. God save the Grape
and teach these wicked people a lesson by placing one of them in jail for
wine abuse. Even if I do not
like the wine, I respect the winemaker and no one’s hard work should be
disregarded in such a fashion. So
winos, join me as Official Members of The Wino Patrol, whose duty it will be
to stop wine abuse such as this, and to secure the future for these wines to
reach their full potential in life so that patrons can consume them and
excrete them, till their heart’s content.
I ask for the Official Department to be formed by this administration
and nominate former Mayor of NY, Rudy Combover, as the Head of this Task
Force. “Schop Abusching that
Wine, or I have to bring the long arm of the Law down on you like I did to
Schcoresch. This is a Schacraledge.”
Let the Wino Patrol make wine-drinking a safe, fun, enjoyable time
for all and let’s keep the ice and soda out of the glass.
Oh crap, I have to go arrest my Crazy Aunt...
gone too far? First I read
about Dolly, the cloned sheep that opened up the Pandora’s box of how far
our moral standards would let this go. Then, it was reported that a series of other farm animals
were cloned. Although there is
great excitement in Arkansas and parts of Mississippi, the scientific
community has stirred the morality of the world on where this will take us.
Most recently, a news report from Italy claims there is a cloned human
in development. This may have
been the start of the down fall of humanity, human body farms and cloning of
tortured, twisted individuals who spend all their free time alone in a dimly
lit room on the third floor of an old house…. Never mind.
Winos and Winettes, I ask you to join me in becoming ONE voice in the Moral
Outrage department to vocalize our opinion against the latest in scientists
gone mad with genetic engineering. We
tend to be technology friendly at Winostuff, but this latest issue will
certainly land these misguided researchers into the front row of Hell.
I hope you are sitting down.. Yes the wacky, defenseless Frogs have
decided to make a white wine that has the health benefits of red wine.. Can
you F'n believe this? Hold on, I’m hyperventilating. I will say it slowly so I don’t faint again.
A Dr. Pierre-Louis Teissedre (pronounced Pier Lew Teder) of The
University of Montpellier genetically engineered a Chardonnay that now
contains the polyphenols of a red wine.
They have named it Paradoxe Blanc after the health benefits
the medical community points to as the chemicals that allow the fat, lazy
French to eat all those cheesy sauces and logs of cheese with very little
adverse effects on their hearts.
realize what the French are doing to the only thing they gave the world
which is worth crediting to them, save the Statue of Liberty?
First, the press on the mislabeled Burgundies and crappy cheap
counterfeit wines, then they started blending other things in with the Pinot
to make their poorly produced wine more palatable to consumers.
But the audacity of creating a white wine, usually enjoyed by the
female and less masculine amongst us, to be a beefy, robust “Red” wine
has me ready to fly to the University of Montpellier and punch Dr. Teder in
his French proboscis. But what
else is one to expect from a country that cut off a woman’s head for
eating dessert, denied us their air space, and crowned Jerry Lewis a comic
genius? And another thing, mime’s are stupid. I know they
don’t have a friggin' rope in their hand.
Next time I see one of those French, pancake make-up, red beret and
striped shirt non-talking circus clowns, I’m going to duct tape him into
that imaginary box. Don’t
F with my grapes….
yesterday’s ramblings, I needed to relax and settle myself. So, it
was a quick trip down to the cellar for a bottle of red, then a quick trip
back to the third floor to sit next to my old radio with tin foil wrapped
coat hangers for an antenna to check in with the world through the eyes of
the media. I grabbed a Chilean
Syrah since I do not have any E. Guigal Cote Rotie in my cellar at this
moment, but I am glad that Wino John finally accepted my WOTM suggestion.
Though it was more like the caving in of a worn-down parent by a
fixated four year old, "I want E. Guigal, I want E. Guigal, I want E.
Guigal…" “OK, if I name E. Guigal as WOTM this time, will you
just shut up and go away!!!” Thank
I sipped and watched, it occurred to me that talk radio was split on two
very important subjects. The
first being the 13, 000 page disclosure, single-spaced front and back, in
Arabic which Mr. Hussein submitted to the inspection staff.
The only thing I could think is that once the translation is
complete, the report will read like the novel Jack Nicholson wrote in The
Shining. Hey, I know the Arabic
alphabet is more complex then ours, but does it take 13,000 single spaced
pages to write, “We have no weapons of mass destruction”?
OK, I’ll be nice, I’ll spot you 20 pages of International
pomp-and circumstance, and I’ll spot you another 10 pages of pictures of
hot chicks to distract the readers, but 13,000 pages.
Hell, Tolstoy didn’t need 13,000 pages to write War and Peace,
and that was a much larger country. (OK, I never read War and Peace, but I
think it was only 1300 pages). War
and Peace, is that what we want to accomplish anyway…
second most talked about topic deals with the leader whose future is
uncertain also. Yes, not since the Fonzi jumped the Shark episode of
Happy Days was there some much air time dedicated to the ending episode of
this season’s Sopranos. Everyone
complained about the slow moving, go nowhere plot lines in more than half
the season, but it is the most anticipated ending since M*A*S*H (I don’t
know that for fact, I just wanted to use the asterisk key).
No, what might happen tonight is that Carmine might submit a
thirteen-word note to Tony that reads something like this. “If you kill me
or one of my guys, we will kill you.”
See? Short, sweet, and to the point.
My take on the whole thing is that Furio has moved back to Italy to
buy a small vineyard in Tuscany where he will get in touch with Carmella so
she can leave Tony and become the marketing director for “You lika my wine
or I kill you” Inc. I know it will be hard to fit on the label but Meadow manages
to do a clip art stick figure with a ponytail and big nose that’s next to
a Horse’s Head. Syl will
finally tell Tony he wants out to follow his life long dream of becoming a
rock star, while Christopher enjoys rehab so much that he moves to take over
the East Coast’s rehab facilities as a cover to distribute heroin to the
addicts he is trying to cure, one of which turns out to be AJ.
Finally, after Tony sees the horse picture in Pauly’s house he
turns Pauly over to the Russian guy that never turned up last season and
they make Pauly their own Pony Boy by using his internal organs as a suite
case on trips to and from Russia. Tony,
left without a crew decides to open a small Italian deli in Belleville where
Janis cuts proscuite and parmagiana all day while Tony walks around in one
of those butcher outfits, sips espresso, and eats Biscotti all day.
Thereby, David Chase appeases all the groups demonstrating against the show
by making Tony turn into a really nice guy and living happily ever after…
Montes Alpha Syrah $ (12.99)
This is Jethro Bodine in Armani, great window dressing, but short on class
and finesse. An attractive nose
with an abundance of eucalyptus and chocolate, but a rather undignified
harshness and little fruit. Best
served to a drunken crowd where it’s quantity not quality.
December 7, 2002
Pearl Harbor Day, or something like that.
I have been doing a lot of thinking while I have been doing a lot of
drinking regarding the complexities facing our younger generation.
Back when I was a boy in seminary school they taught us to petition
the Lord with Prayer, petition the Lord with Prayer… YOU can NOT
petition the Lord with Prayer!!! Before I slip into
unconsciousness .that was for you Doors fans.
Back when I was Growin UP, I took month long vacations in the
Stratosphere and boy, you know it’s really hard to hold your breath.
Sorry; Springsteen. Anyway,
what I am trying to say is I grew up when the magic age of 18 allowed you to
do everything. Our government
recognized us as citizens who could vote, go to war, be tried as an adult in
court and purchase and consume alcohol.
Today, 18 year-olds can vote, go to war, be tried as an adult in
court and need to wait another 3 years to purchase and consume alcohol.
Are we better off as a society for this restriction?
Recent studies have shown that teenage sex is decreasing and
virginity is on the rise. I
guess that’s a good thing, kids are making wiser choices at 2AM and not
letting beer goggles make them sleep with an ugly girl.
The Gen-Xers seem to have been lost in this career abyss and live at
home syndrome. Maybe if they were able to drink a glass of wine or two
and take the edge off, they wouldn’t have developed a generational
irritable bowel syndrome. HBO
tells me that Ecstasy in on the rise, cocaine was a drug of choice for the
wealthy youth from the lucrative 90’s, and pot smoking is up.
I don’t remember school massacres in the 60’s and 70’s.
We had protests that ended with a few night sticks to the noodle and
some fire hoses and rubber bullets, but no one walked into my high school
with a gun to take out students and teachers.
live in a great country, I dare say, The Greatest Country in the World.
Our respect for personal freedoms is second to none (except for those
silly Liberals that want to take my gun away and want me to stop smoking any
place inside or out, or the fact that too much McDonalds makes you fat).
And our value for human rights has given rise to an industry of
lawyers who will defend a criminal and set him free, like O.J., just to
ensure no innocent man is wrongly put to death.
But in the world arena, the US is last in legal drinking age.
What makes 21 the magic age for maturity only in regard to alcohol?
Don’t you think one
has to be mature in handling pressures while maintaining a 3.9 average at
Harvard, or delivering a payload under the cover of night against a hostile
enemy who is trying to kill you with their best weaponry?
Here is a picture of the Board that didn’t want you to drink at
you really want to be sober and have to kiss one of those beauties?
say when we turn 18 (collectively speaking, I have been their more than
twice now), we get our voter’s registration, our draft card and a Drinking
Wheel that we can use to calculate how much alcohol we have consumed, how
much we weigh and if we are impaired or not.
Wino Wally, you should place this in your Christmas Gadget review for
look at the list below, and see if it make sense for the Greatest Nation on
this earth to be so prohibitive to our young adults and see if we can bring
the age in line with the rest of the Rights we are given on our 18th
Drinking Age By Country
Minimum Drinking Age
(age 19 in some provinces)
(age 17 with an adult)
(age 16 in restaurants)
* - with exceptions. This chart was provided by years of research and
investigation by too many people to acknowledge at this stage, but it
legally serves as a disclaimer and removes me from the talons of a money
grubbing lawyer who has nothing better to do than search out frivolous
lawsuits because of frustrations brought about by the unusual love for his
mother and the miniature size of his manhood.
used to say, “When you want things done right, take matters into your own
hands.” As much as that got
me through my teens, it certainly allowed me to recover from the God-awful
wine experiences this weekend. I
decided last night that I had to open up something to get my olfactory
senses back on track and tie one on with a good bottle of wine.
The plan last night was simple, slice up a plate of Stilton Cheese,
turn on the USC vs Notre Dame game and drink a red wine that will place a
Wine Smile back on my face. So I invited Wino Wilson to watch the game with me and after
I poured some wine into his wine hole on top of his head (which used to be
the place where the cork came out of since his mouth is not really a mouth
but the result of my drawing a mouth on the front of an unlabeled wine
bottle), he loosened up and really enjoyed the game.
I think his Catholic upbringing had him cheering for Notre Dame
although he told me he didn’t care who won since they were ranked 6 and 7
in the National Rankings and the USC offense could struggle against the
highly rated ND secondary.
me to the next question, why isn’t there a Wine Bowl, or commercials for
Wine during football games? We have been treated for years to that childish commercial of
Budweiser bottles with little helmets on their heads playing a modified
version of the electric football game we had as kids.
Our game was put together by my older brother, who at the time,
placed the running back on the stand that was designed for a tackle; he cut
right on every play so we had a special rule that after the first 5 yards,
we got to rearrange him and point him way left so he would run almost
straight through the line. I
believe my mother threw the game away when she found my sister spending a
great deal of time with the field on and no players on the board…
I say we
develop the next great Super Bowl commercial with cepages playing each
other. I could hear John Madden
now, “Here’s a grape that has a tough skin and is really harsh and
crunchy, Al. Tonight, I look for the linebackers of the Malbec’s to
crush the West Coast offense of the fanciful Pinot Noirs.” You know what, it sounds stupid to me too, now that I read it
back. Somehow cepages and
football just don’t mix and we all know that any of the French grape teams
would offer no defense. Hell,
if they lost the coin toss, they’d probably surrender the game.
What do you think of Winostuff Stadium? I must call my good
friend Jerry Rice and see if he can get me a meeting with Al Davis.
I think the Oakland fans are much more Wino-oriented then the Forty-Niners, but there are many other reasons for that…
suggest the Liberty Bowl be renamed the Free the Grapes Bowl, the Orange
Bowl be renamed the Cabernet Classic and the Fiesta Bowl be renamed the
Drink More Wine Bowl, but then again, I spend a great deal of time with a
wine bottle I painted a face on…
Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel $
(14.99) Zinfully pleasing, this wine has great fruit and a complex nose.
Right from the first sniff, I got cranberries and cinnamon, and then
there was a host of raspberry, dark cherry and chocolate. The only reason I
didn’t give this one a higher rating is that the after taste ran hot, too
much of an alcohol back-draft and not enough of a long fruit finish.
Let this one sit open for sometime.
I must have
pissed off the Wine Gods. Thursday
was uneventful as I mentioned. Friday
has carried the tradition of hooking up with friends in a “Big Chill”
type get together where everyone brings some leftovers and we have a shared
meal. Since driving would be a
minimal, I grabbed a bottle from the cellar that I was looking forward to
drinking and I headed out the door. These
friends are the type that have no problem opening the wine I bring.
They know I’m not offended and they don’t have an ego that would
have them insisting to drink what they opened.
So I went with a smile and looked forward to a bottle I had in hand.
was roaring and the table was set impressively with a bottle of white and a
bottle of red in a wine caddy. When
the host asked me if I wanted wine, I smiled politely and said, “RED.”
With that she took several other’s order and trotted off to the
kitchen. Moments later her
husband brought out the appetizers and she carried out the wine glasses and
handed each of us our respective drink.
OK, Wino Bob, breath in the nectar of the Rhone Valley, prepare your
taste buds for the vibrant spicy sensation that will awaken the
inner… Hey, what the hell is this crap?
There’s no spice and black fruit and cedar and leather and horse
manure. No, this smells like a freshly cut tree and it tastes
like, wow... I don’t even know what to say. Politely, I drank and smiled and held myself from breathing
in while I joined everyone in a quick toast to health and friends and some
crap like that. Not wanting to
be the wine snob, I choked down the glass and headed to the dinner table
when instructed to do so. There
the bottle stood, label facing away from me, so I politely, turned it around
and much to my humor and dismay, I mumbled. “Turning Leaf, what the F#@&.”
Yes, pissing off the Wine Gods is not fun and I still don’t know
what I did to them, but my Friday night drunk was curtailed by the fact that
my only wine choice was Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon. Sorry,
it is almost 8 PM on Thanksgiving night and I am still sober.
Yes, this was the first time since I owned a house that I did not
have people over. As families
grow up and out, this was the first semester of two nephews being out of the
house. So my sister invited the crowd to her home to welcome the
future pillars of society back from the liberal campuses across this great
nation. Again, as I always do
when speaking about my eldest nephew, I will bask in reflective glory,
knowing that somewhere in the gene pool from our branch of the tree, he has
gotten the intellectual infusion to be on campus at Harvard. Yes, oh yes, the nephew who (or is it whom? I must ask
Frank next time I see him.) that sat for hours taking in the wisdom of Uncle
Wino Bob is a Harvard Man. My
other nephew is attending College in Florida so Thanksgiving is a time of
family, a time of homecoming and a time for Uncle Wino Bob to get drunk and
make my youngest nephew pull my finger after dinner. Usually, they joined us
at my home where the only traveling I needed to do is to the cold bathroom
floor after the house clears out, so I could pass out and be close to the
porcelain bus after drinking wine all day and after dinner cordials all
But with an
hour drive home, I did not over indulge and only had time to drink the
Beaujolais Nouveau I agreed to bring. I
did not partake in a before, during and after dinner wine this year.
No, for me, the Thanksgiving Day meal was, ahhh, a meal.
Blessed is this weekend, for tomorrow through Sunday I will have time
to make up for the rather dry and uneventful dinner.
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau $ (8.99)
Where’s the fruit? This wine
should be screaming with raspberry and strawberry and a brash bit of acid,
but I found it to be rather unexciting.
This serves as my once-a-year dose of Gamay, but does not show the
wine in the spirit it should be. I
was looking for a packet of Starburst but got gummy bears instead.
Christmas, Happy New Year, and the like. Yes, here I sit one day
before Thanksgiving and outside the window of my small dank room on the
third floor of this boarding house is a pile of snow.
Couple this with the fact that the town has all their Christmas
decorations lining the streets and the meters have been covered with those
holiday park-for-free bags, excuse me but I haven’t killed my turkey yet.
Just because President Bush has offered up the ceremonial pardon to
the Official US Turkey, I have not. This
is the first Presidential Pardon of a turkey that actually has feathers,
unlike those late night pardons Bill Clinton made while the staff put the
Presidential silverware in his El Camino to drive it up to Chappaqua.
I stopped in to Kings to pick up a few items for the weekend and I hunted
high and low for my new friend and wine department manager, Mark.
One thing that caught my eye was the soon to be hottest item in NJ,
TOFURKEY! What the..., who the…??
TOFURKEY, a lump of Tofu molded and colored to look like a turkey.
Can you imagine the Native Americans heading into Plymouth with a
Tofu Turkey in tow? Black
powder musket firing would now be the ceremonial action on the last Thursday
in November instead of a gluttonous adventure with family, friends, and
wine. OK, so I don’t have
friends and the family thing has lead to the drinking heavily thing.
My proposal is to skip the over-indulging in starches and triptophan
and get right to the wine consumption and arguing.
If I were John Smith, I would have brought wine to the first
Thanksgiving and we would have owned Manhattan a lot sooner and for a lot
less than all those valuable beads and shells and stones and sticks that we
paid for it. Everyone knows
that the Red Man can’t hold his alcohol, so we could have been building a
casino by mid 1600’s in Connecticut and not paying taxes on our tobacco.
shook off the shock of the plastic turkey, I was hit with the uppercut of
Beaujolais pricing at $9.00 a bottle. I’m
sure in the next five years, Wino John will be posting a story of the
Frog’s blending Gamay with Cabernet Sauvignon to make the Beaujolais
heartier for the turkey stuffing and spicy pies.
“Zis year, ze Gamay was not so fruity zo we blended it with zome
Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Now pay us $15.00 because we are French.” Why don’t you just eat a Tofurkey and drink White Zinfandel?
So, my new
friend Mark was no where to be found and I paid the clerk the full Monty to
sample this year’s Beaujolais with no intention of ever drinking the Cru
Beaujolais, nor the Village, nor any 100% Gamay from anywhere else in the
world. Tomorrow, I will taste
it and write about it and give my uneducated opinion of the wine as
tradition, like bourbon sweet potatoes, chestnut stuffing and a 20 pound
fowl whose neck and organs are neatly sealed in a plastic bag and stuffed
inside it’s own cavity. I
will eat that bird’s flesh for the entire weekend knowing it tastes like
turkey and not like some soy-based, saw-dust-pressed, composite
thermoplastic of a mind game. And
nothing better than Grandma’s recipe for turkey neck soup and giblets
gravy to remind us that they ate the real thing at the first Thanksgiving.
friends in PA, happy hunting! Yes, Monday is a holiday in PA since
everyone over the age of 10 will be out thinning the deer population.
Just don’t shoot your hunting buddy…
Thanksgiving to you and yours, and as far as wine selections with your real
bird I offer the following:
It was card
night this weekend and with needing to have some cash in my pocket to cover
the food charge and the buy-in, it didn’t leave much in the till for
purchasing wine. If only I
could get Nike or Microsoft to sponsor my wine consumption, I could have
some real pocket change to drink the good stuff. Just think, when you log onto our page, you could be greeted
with a pop-up that says, "This month’s drunken, inane babbling of
Wino Bob brought to you by Roche Pharmaceuticals" (hint to Wino Lou,
talk to the Big Boys about sponsoring my black outs).
I don’t know anyone at Pfizer otherwise I would push for the Viagra
sponsorship. Which reminds me,
has the email Spam gotten way out of hand?
It seems I get a great deal of mail with headlines wanting to sell me
generic viagra, all natural man enhancers and something that will guarantee
to make me 3 inches bigger. Wino
John gets all his money offers and someone wants me to buy lifts for my
shoes, I guess. Why 3 inches and will I have to let the hem down on my pants
to accommodate the added height. The
funny thing is that I can guess how to make someone 3 inches bigger, but why
do they say they will make me ¼ inch thicker.
My waist doesn’t need any help expanding from all the liver damage.
It’s amazing they can be so specific in what they will make me grow
to. I will have to open one of
those emails up next time to see if they explain it.
wine hunting is what I did before the card game.
I managed to find a Shiraz for $6.99 that brought me some luck after
consuming half the bottle. Though
it was not stellar, this wine had some good qualities, not the least of
which was my change back from the ten-dollar bill I handed the clerk.
the web cam, Wino John hinted around spicing up the picture and I am not
opposed to drinking wine nude, though one must understand that at 55 degrees
the grapes have a tendency to stay close to the vine for warmth….
Tyrrell’s Old Winery Shiraz South Eastern Australia
$ (6.99) Prepare yourself for the mouth drying tannins of this wine.
If you can stay with it long enough, an earthy, herbaceous fruit and
coffee flavor come to light. The
tannins will soften to reveal a pleasant drinking wine.
Wino Wally for his brilliantly stated position on de-snobbing the wine rags
with down to earth, gut level, unpretentious information. (Geez, I
hope that’s what he was writing about.)
For years now, OK for months, well actually I complained to Wino John
one night in a drunken stooper (me not him) about the exact same issue.
Why is it that the wine critic for Food and Wine
magazine, or the Vine and Spirits editor for Departures is
able to jet off and tour the top Chateaus for research and I am relegated to
gawking in the South African isle of Home Liquors?
Damn it, we need first hand research! I should be able to lunch
with Joe Drouhin and ask him about this year's attributes of the Nouveau
Beaujolais while munching on fois gras in a baguette or something French
like that. Instead, I am
walking the floor at Shop Rite Discount liquors asking the manager if I can
get a mixed case discount to sample the new release.
I even went
as far as contacting Lori DeGraw of Wine Television (airs
Sunday nights at 9PM on Discovery Home and Leisure Channel in NY), to offer
our services to review the upcoming release in the Rhone Valley.
After she stopped laughing, I then proposed we submit a hand-held
VHS-C tape to her of me drinking Rhone wines in my basement.
At that point, she hung up and changed the phone number of her production
company. But how else are we to
expose to our massive audience the various bargain wines from unknown
vineyards unless we can meet the cellar masters, walk the soil, and sample
the barrels of the cult wines of the future?
afternoon, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called
Continental Airlines to book and excursion fare, coach ticket with a
Saturday stay-over, 60 days in advance, with a non-refundable status and a
$100.00 change fee, to the Rhone Valley.
Considering the fact that they could only get me to Paris, then I’d
have to hop a train to my starting destination, then rent a car for the ride
through the picturesque Valley of the Pope’s new house, with room and
board and time off from my real job, the whole thing was going to cost
$4,276.84. So I guess the trip
to Mr. Kims, which I can walk to, will have to serve as my participant
observation research of the Southern Rhone Region.
Boy, I can’t wait for Wino John to get his money from the Nigerian
Consulate’s private attorney. I
think that should be here any day now.
still stands to put streaming video on our web page with a 24-7 web cam in
my cellar to show the research that a true Blue Collar Wino does to bring
our reviews to the World Wide Web. No,
there are no invitations to dine at Chateau Beaucastle, and no, there is no
private tasting at Caymus or Silver Oak.
We drink the selections purchased on our own from the monies left at
the end of the week after mortgages, car payments, food, gas and electric,
DSL, DirecTV, Hair Jell, moustache wax, Black Sweaters, and Nestles $100,000
bars. That is why I bring you
the best of wines for less than 20 dollars.
Maybe one day we will become pretentious snobs when the gates of
Harlan Estates welcomes the staff of WinoStuff.com, but for now, I must ask
Wino John where I can get a web cam to wire up in the cellar for $19.99.
So there, Jay… (Editor's note: Interesting
idea, Bob, and technically not too difficult. However, how are we
going to make money from people watching you consume mass quantities of vino
in your basement? Unless, of course, you and the Mrs. were
to... Never mind.)
5.4cm long and 2.5cm in diameter? No!!!!
5.4cm is 2.125 inches, give me some credit.
OK, dirty minded winos, that is the typical dimensions of a cork.
But as in life, some are longer, some are shorter, some are fatter.
So, what’s the cork envy all about, Wino Bob?
Some things in life just aren’t fair…
You see, it all relates to this stupid wine corkboard thing I have
been trying to complete. The
picture in the magazine shows all the corks in a nice orderly structure.
It seems that the wine I drink, as in life, have corks in varying
lengths and, dare I say, girths. Nothing
screws up a nice row of freshly extracted corks until there is one that is
longer and thinner or shorter and fatter then the rest.
Show offs. For the sake
of the male psyche, would the cork industry admit to a standard.
Quite frankly, the longer corks exceed the extraction stroke of my
Big Bertha wall mounted cork extraction device.
If Big Bertha can’t handle it in the normal operating procedure,
what will one need next? The
designers manufactured the range of Big Bertha to penetrate the cork through
half of the arm movement and then extract the cork during the remaining
travel. But now, with the
longer corks, you have to awkwardly hold the handle steady, and then tug
downward on the bottle. This is
a sure recipe for disaster. Wine
spilling all over, a popping sound and the obligatory, “Oh Shit” as the
bottle suddenly frees itself from the restraint of the lodged cork.
Every book I have read says longer is not better, it needs to be long
enough to do the job. The cork that is…
Beringer Founder’s Estate Pinot Noir $
Not a shinning example of Pinot, not that I am any kind of Pinot
expert. Mild fruitiness just
doesn’t deliver enough for me to brag about this wine.
Black cherry and a hint of oak, but nothing exciting here.
Cooking Studio Presents
with Andrea Immer at Bacchus Chop House & Wine Bar
Despite inclement weather on Tuesday evening, Wino John and I attended the
dinner, book signing, and charity event hosted by Andrea Immer, second from
the left. Michael Frodello,
immediate left (head chef and owner of Bacchus) and the King’s staff
designed an epicurean adventure for the delight of a small, intimate group
of about 34. The evening’s
activities were delayed a bit while the crowd made their way through the
flooded and slippery highways and by-ways of New Jersey’s finest
entanglement where routes 80, 23 and 46 merge.
Having a cot in the back of Bacchus, I had plenty of time to warm up
with a few glasses of wine before the festivities began.
So, I did
dampen the enjoyment of the Champagne served doing the mingling time.
We were treated to Veuve Cliquot Brut, Champagne that holds a dear
place in Andrea’s heart and anyone else that dinned at Windows on the
World, where Andrea was Head Sommelier. Veuve was the house Champagne and
many of the guests at the dinner remembered special celebrations they
enjoyed at the 107th floor of North Tower.
The diminutive, perky, and may I be politically incorrect by saying, attractive
Immer spoke about her love of wine and treated us to a small discussion
regarding the pairings she selected for the meal.
As her new book points out (visible on the table), keep an open mind
when selecting a wine to go with dinner and you don’t need to stick to the
old world "red with beef, white with fish" rule of thumb.
To prove this, Andrea selected two differing cepages, to allow us to
judge with our own palates which best suited the fare.
Dinner consisted of:
Shrimp and Lobster with Thai Curry Fregola with Roasted Acorn Squash
Leon Beyer Riesling
Cocoa Dusted Filet Mignon with Brandy Demi-Glace served with French
Beans and Potato Gaufrette
Frie Brothers Pinot Noir
Heitz Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Assorted Petit Fours
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Gold
Graham Malvedos Vintage Port
Much to my
enjoyment the curry shrimp and lobster was supported well by the Riesling,
but stepped all over the Chardonnay. As
an experiment I dug out the meat of the squash and tasted that plain.
The sweetness of the squash was handled much better by the Chardonnay
then the Riesling. To my
palate’s pleasure, I found the Riesling a versatile wine for those off
times I decide to eat curried goat at the local Indian restaurant.
filet, my hand would not even go near the Pinot Noir.
The cocoa and brandy screamed Cabernet all the way, though I took a
token sip of the Pinot just to ensure I was not heading to play for the
other team. No, Beef and Cab
still make my taste buds dance. As
for the post mortem, I hung with the Ruffino and cheese, while keeping the
Port and Chocolate together in what could be considered a closed minded
decision on my part. But for me, that made the best match.
was capped off by a brief discussion with Andrea, and Wino John getting a
personal autograph on the copy of the book Andrea’s people sent John to
review for our site. It will be really cool when we can get to the point of "having
people", but when in public, I act as Wino John’s people and hold the
door, open his umbrella, hand him the pen for autographs, you know, Wino Boy
Friday type crap. If ever you
get a chance to attend a function where Andrea Immer is presenting, do
yourself a favor and go. It
will be an enjoyable evening and help a good cause.
We, on the other hand, have no cause and are there just to drink
wine. I did have the pleasure of sitting next to my new best
friend, Mark, the Fine Wine Manager at my local Kings Store. Mark will be seeing a great deal of me once I receive the
Kings’ discount membership card he promised me.
apologies to my dinner guests last night. It was the first time in my
life that I did not ask a guest what they would like to drink.
No, these guests just drank what I gave them.
Well, it wasn’t like they were going to get muddy water.
We had been speaking about a dinner for awhile and they walked into
the house and declared, “We are here for the ride.”
Which basically boiled down to the fact that they would drink what
ever I told them to with what ever we served.
Still haunted with the fact that Jay McInerney has a book called
“Bacchus and Me” and our writings are floating around the publishing
world looking for that book agent, I started my guests off with an aperitif
like Jay suggested. Yes,
I served a well-chilled Lillet with appetizers and I wore a smoking jacket
and swirled my snifter and commented on the world of politics. OK, I don’t own a smoking jacket, but I spill enough wine
on my sport coat so I have deemed it a Drinking Jacket. Note to Wino John, let’s call one of those Gay French
Clothing Designers and corner the market on the “Winostuff Drinking
Jacket” to swagger around high priced cocktail parties in and talk world
politics while looking soave and deboner.
Actually, as we sipped our Lillet, one of our guest who did run
locally for councilman, entertained us with the behind the scenes story
regarding his campaign. Unfortunately
he lost by 3 votes in a night that had him declared the loser, the winner,
and then the loser. Yes, they
even went to the county courthouse to review challenged votes.
Damn, he told me if he won, he was going to appoint me to a no-show
job on the town books. Had I known it was so close, I would have voted
for him a few more times.
dinner, I opened up a well-endowed French Red. After she slapped me, I
decided to uncork the wine. Actually,
I did give my guests a choice to match up with the two styles of marinated
pork roasts I grilled. Since I
do not eat the Teriyaki style roast, I bought a Pinot Noir, which I did not
consume myself. I figured the
ladies would eat this milder fare and drink the milder wine.
Though, I will sniff, swirl and spit this wine to review at a later
date. For me it was the
Peppercorn-dusted pork roast and a hearty Hermitage.
I even went as far as serving a dessert wine.
Actually, someone had brought a dessert wine one evening that I had
placed in the rack and forgot about. Since
my guests allowed me the lattitude of broadening their horizons, I decided
to open it and give it a try. The
great thing about the dessert wine was the picture of the family that owns
the winery, which came with the bottle.
I give you the Bertz family from Weingut Ernst Bertz
a lovely photo of the Bertzes, I wonder which one played Ethel’s husband
in I Love Lucy.
Jaboulet Hermitage Rouge, La Chapelle $$$
Rich, deep-intense color defines this full-bodied 100% Syrah based
nectar. Black fruit, bold chewy
tannins, tar, smoke and spice. A
great match to the bold peppercorn pork roast.
Rheinhessen Huxelrebe Beerenauslese, Weingut Ernst Bretz
(14.99 dessert bottle)
sweet with mineral, peach and mango flavors, Unobtrusive as a compliment to
apple pie alamode.
often I share my email with you. Most
of the time its stuff like:
don’t know your chardonnay from a chardonel
and smoke, that must be what you did last night because it ain’t in
you ever graduate 6th grade
something you can taste, right here
my people don’t appreciate your attitude towards our wine, you might
want to change your review or you will be getting a visit this week, if
you know what I mean, Cuz.
so often, I get a nice email and this is one I received this week.
was cruising the net trying to get away from the usual porn sites and am
interested in classing up my drinking habits.
I came upon a search engine that highlighted your site.
After seeing how much fun wine seems to be, I put down my bottle of
spirits and looked through the wine reviews.
Your site has a great many helpful hints and I decided to purchase a
bottle of the 1998 Holy Trinity. My
sisters and I really enjoyed it as we swirled and spit and played drinking
games on Saturday night. We
have now added winostuff to our favorites list and will be checking back
often. Keep up the fine work.
I have sent you my picture, if you are ever in Newark, look me up
evening I dashed into Bacchus to, uhhhh..., use the men’s room. You know
when you are out on the road and need to use a restroom, you seek out a
familiar location. Maybe you
don’t understand the life of a salesman.
We love to drink coffee throughout the day to keep us up and hyped
even after the fourth consecutive door is slammed in our face.
But one cup of coffee in equals 1.5 cups that need to
be released at some point (coffee being a diuretic).
I can tell you every exit that has a hotel along the Long Island
Expressway from New Jersey to River Head, NY.
So late yesterday afternoon or early evening, I ran into Bacchus,
ordered a glass of wine to be a patron, and used their facility.
I made small talk with Ryan just to make like I had an agenda other
than the need for a comfort station. We
spoke mainly about the upcoming Andrea Immer dinner on Tuesday, which
currently has several seats still available.
One of the possible reasons for this is that the event is tied to a
charitable cause. I say that
with no bad intent; just the reality of the mind set of people in this
current economy. With my own
past history in charitable endeavors, I was always faced with the
statements, “Why should I support your cause when I have a cousin that
has…?" Or, "My co-worker supports X so I do not want to
donate to your cause.” Couple
this with the out-pouring of gracious giving post 9-11 and people in this
area seem over-tapped. Finally,
we are in a belt tightening economy so donations are the first to go. (Wow,
that was a long way around the corner to my point).
Since I was
in a dash-in, dash-out mode, one of the other patrons I know well bought my
drink. As etiquette has it, it
is polite to thank that person with some acknowledgement.
Being awkward with the English language, I constantly fumble with
what to say, trying not to be dry with just a thank you.
This brings me to the question I am posing to all my faithful wino
friends, “What do you say when Toasting with someone?” I
would like to create a list that we can keep adding to of our favorite
To be a bit
pedantic, I researched the origins of “The Toast” and found two
differing stories. Believe what you want, but send me your favorite
lines and we will post them up for all to see.
If I don’t get any input, then Wino John will burry this entry deep
in the archives never to see the light of day again.
has the Romans responsible for the creation of the toast dating back to the
early days of their crude wine making techniques.
Usually, the wines were the safest beverage to consume (since water
gave you the Pope’s revenge) but they were often harsh to the taste and
unrefined. The Romans would
actually place a small piece of burnt bread into the wine jug, which allowed
the charcoal to absorb these harsher elements and make the beverage more
story I found was that poisoning ran rampant in the early days of
civilization as a method of removing opposition.
As a way of showing one’s trust as a host, they would pour a bit of
wine from their glass into their guests glass to prove it was safe to
consume. As trust developed,
guests would bump their host’s glass to signify they accepted on faith
that the wine was safe and they need not pour any into their glass.
This glass thumping became a ritual for friends.
up in a Polish-American, beer-drinking household, we did not do much
toasting. Holiday meals did not
have a toasting ritual, We had other rituals, but none included a beer
toast. During the times I
remember at my Grandmother’s
tavern in Newark, patrons would use the following Polish toasts:
When we did
have a shindig at the homestead, and all my aunts and uncles were there
downing Brandy Alexanders, Highballs, Whiskey Sours and Beer, my Dad would
use one of the following, which are the only two toasts I remember to this
Over the teeth
and through the gums
Look out belly here she comes
Body if I
knew I was going to live this long,
I would have taken better care of you
Beer Drinker Ray
The he would hoist a shot of Cutty Sark and
chase it down with a beer.
I have also
So tell me your favorite toasts and let’s post a list through the year.
drink to your charm, beauty and your brains
Which gives you a rough idea how hard up I am for a drink”
the media, OK, sorry, being a consumer of the media, I drank my wine and
watched this “old fashioned count the votes before predicting” coverage
of yesterday’s election results. I don’t know if it was the amount of wine I consumed or the
lack of immediate results but I found that most pundits and T.V. anchors no
longer report the who, what, where, how and why of the story.
It was apparent in the NY media that most of them are CRY BABIES.
When will the pendulum of objective reporting flush itself back into
mainstream news? I recalled the
steadfast, unbiased reporting of Huntley and Brinkley or the babbling old
coot, Walter Cronkite, in elections of yesteryear.
In my final statements on this debacle in New Jersey, I am glad to
see that forging into the 21st Century, NJ will be represented by
an oatmeal and stewed prune eating, miracle ear wearing, comb-over doo-lapping
fossil of a man, who was born before the advent of television and the
transistor. Let us move forward
into our future guided by a man older than my grandfather to steer the way
for NJ over the next six years. The
betting people in NJ believe Mr. Lautenburg will not fulfill his term.
Time stamp this entry so we can claim, “we predicted it in a fog of
red wine” when the NJ Democratic machine puts in a pinch runner because
Old Frank blew out his hip one night on the way to the bathroom to relieve
his swollen prostate. I will go
out further on a limb to speculate that Gov. McGreevey might appoint himself
to the Senate seat when the mirror test has the Democrats debating if there
is a breath mark from Frank on the glass.
I will now
be contacting the Junior Senator from NJ to see what monies he has accepted
from the wine, spirits and liquor lobbyists.
I will make myself a PAC if need be to get the buttonhole of these
politicians to allow wine shipments into the state. Maybe after reading this, the editorial staff will vote to
keep me from getting direct shipments from California. But for now, Wino Wilson, Wino Melvin, and I will be filing
the federal application to become the voice of NJ wine consumers and
collectors. Did we just sit
still when the German’s attacked Pearl Harbor?
Hell, no! Now who’s with me…? (OK Bluto, great
Roseblum Chateau La Paws Cote du Bone Roan $
California’s funny approach
to Rhone Ranger’s wine, this blend just does not deliver the polish of the
Southern Rhone Region. Black
cherry and currant dance through this glass, but there is little depth and a
weak finish to this beverage.
Election Eve and I am going to say nothing more than wake up tomorrow and do
your civic duty; “Get Out And Vote.”
you by the Drunken Haze of:
Cabrieres Chateauneuf-du-Pape Prestige 1995 $
Thou shall not covet they neighbors goods, but this wine is a steal.
Robust, flavorful, fruity, spice, tobacco, black pepper, cassis, (shall
I go on?), black cherry, and a punch of tannin to make this a keeper.
This is one of the reasons the Pope wanted to leave Rome.
Hot Dogs and Apple Pie, that’s what America is made of.
Except that this year’s World Series was out-viewed by
an audience, myself included, who wanted to see which of the 25 women
who prostituted themselves on T.V. to date a guy they only met at the first
episode. But in 13 weeks, they
will decide to marry him, or get a book deal, or try to co-host a show on
MTV. Are we that intrigued with
reality T.V. that watching a guy date multiple women captures our
imagination more than Barry Bonds hitting a ball into the upper deck?
OK, so it’s Bachelor, Hot Dogs, and Apple Pie. That’s what
America’s made of. That’s
not right! Take out reality T.V. and insert Wine. Hot Dogs, Apple Pie
and California Zinfandel (I said Zinfandel, not white zinfandel you
chucklehead). So, it’s not going to be the new bumper sticker on every
Chevy in town, but it does describe last night.
attempt to make up for the Faux- Italian Hot Dog disaster last summer, we
hosted our friends, the Wino Lou Clan, at Chateau Winostuff for a experiment
on which wine suits a deep fried Hot Dog with Fried Peppers and Onions and
Fried Potatoes topped with mustard and ketchup.
Wino Lou, being the scientist and gourmet chef, assisted in
researching the roots of the Hot Dog and suggested we at least try a wine
suited for the genus “Sausagious Venanious”. A simple review
indicated that most pairings recommend Alsatian white wines for this type of
fare. Now I don’t know a
great deal about science, but I think Wino Lou does secret experimentation
in his basement. Fact: in all
the times I have been to the Wino Lou homestead, he has never shown me the
basement. Fact: Wino Bob lives
in his basement. I have
overheard Lou speaking of “Stem Cell Research and his personal interest in
it.” To me, Reidel has the
lock on stem cell research, They have scientifically designed a wine
glass for every type o f grape. With
their name recognition, why would anyone that smart be spending inordinate
amounts of time in their basement trying to develop cures for diseases with
wine glasses? The stems on the
wine glasses I have are just fine. The
other thing I don’t understand is how a smart science type person could
believe in elves. He kept talking about making pants for elves.
This week I think he has to splice the jeans for the Gnomes.
Doesn’t he know that Gnomes are the plastic little figures you put
in your garden? They don’t need to have their jeans spliced and sewn
together. I think they just paint
on those pants… Personally I think he’s cloning sheep in his basement
for his own enjoyment.
last night, I opened a Gewürztraminer from Alsace, an Italian Red, and a
Zin to see which held up against the heart clogging, deep-fried pig lip
tube. This ain’t no wimpy
sausage so the Gewurtz just didn’t stand up. The Italian Red was OK, but was overshadowed by the potato
starches and the peppers. So in
my humble Wino Bob opinion, we passed a resolution at the dinner table that
with the World Famous Dickie Dee’s Italian Hot Dogs from North Newark, on
the Ave., a strong American Zinfandel has the balls to not get bitch slapped by
Hot Dog Tony. One day, when the
Yankees get back into the World Series, Baseball will be back in the phrase,
but for now it’s Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Zin.
That’s my story and I’m stickin' to it.
Renwood Zinfandel $
(8.99) A compliment to the Italian Hot Dog from Newark, this wine is robust
and firmly structured with dark cherry, spice and chocolate flavors that
stand tall in the face of adversity. A
soft finish for such a bold wine.
another shining example of WinoStuff’s influence on the media.
For those of you who haven’t seen this article from Seattle’s
paper today, please read the reprint below.
Wine: Wine laws can set heads a-spinning
WHICH from 1919 to 1933 banned the "manufacture, sale or
transportation" of alcoholic beverages, is often referred to as the
"great experiment." That experiment was either an abject failure
or a screaming success, depending on your perspective.
failed to live up to its mission, which was to prevent Americans from
drinking alcohol (Will Rogers said that "Prohibition is better than no
alcohol at all"). It succeeded in ruining a thriving American wine
industry. It also gave organized crime the foothold it needed to flourish in
the law was repealed in 1933 it did not go quietly. Some would argue that it
did not go away at all -- it simply morphed into the archaic mosaic of
baffling wine laws that we have today. One result of repeal was that each
state was given the latitude to regulate alcohol as it saw fit. We now have
50 different sets of often contradicting laws that can be maddening (and
costly) for wine producers and importers. Doing business nationally is like
doing business with 50 different countries. It's not so great for us
of the most notorious examples of this is the fact that, depending on where
you live, you can be charged with a felony for buying a bottle of wine out
of state and having it shipped to your home. (The winery that sold it could
lose its license to make wine.) Though many of these laws have been on the
books since repeal, they became an important issue in the late 1980s when
wineries and wine clubs began mail-order businesses.
wineries are too small to set up a distribution system in every market so
they often rely on mail-order programs to sell their wines. The issue became
even hotter during the 1990s wine boom, when many collectors and other
consumers turned to the Internet as a source for many hard-to-get wines.
Several dot-com businesses trying to sell wine via the Internet during that
time went bust largely because of these restrictions.
irony here is that the primary enemy of what many believe to be a
constitutional right of free trade between states is actually a sector of
the wine industry itself. Wholesalers believed they could lose sales if
consumers were allowed to bypass the three-tier system in place in most
states, in which the supplier (e.g. a winery or importer) must sell to a
wholesaler who then sells to a retailer or restaurant. Lobbyists pressured
local governments to enact, strengthen or enforce laws to prevent the
interstate sale of wines and many happily obliged. In 26 states it is now
illegal to ship or receive wine from out of state.
biggest argument presented for these laws is that children could gain access
to wines via their computers or catalogs. Though virtually no informed
person really believes this to be legitimate, it remains the rallying cry of
the lobbyists. The issue is really about wholesalers getting their markup on
all wines sold in their territory, states concerned that they may miss
collecting a tax on these wines and that some groups or individuals simply
want to do whatever they can to impede the sale and consumption of all
alcohol. Those in favor of reciprocity between states argue that while most
anyone can legally and easily get items such as prescription drugs, guns and
ammo delivered to their door, they cannot receive a bottle of wine.
tide may not yet be turning but it appears to be stemming. Over the past few
years there has been more organization to change laws and prevent new ones
from going on the books. Groups such as the American Viticultural
Association, which represents 650 wineries nationwide, Free the Grapes!
which claims 300,000 members, and the Coalition for Free Trade, which is
trying to get the Supreme Court to hear the matter, all think they are
making some progress. There has been little new state level legislation
prohibiting wine trade between states and just this year court decisions
have dealt a blow to shipping bans in North Carolina, Virginia and Texas.
However no one on either side expects things to change dramatically soon. So
if you're planning to send a case of Washington wine to a relative in
Kentucky, you should check to see that Uncle Harvey won't wind up spending
the holidays in the pokey.
Washington state, no stranger to wacky wine laws, is actually one
of only 13 states that allow for interstate shipping. The others are:
California, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa,
Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Hawaii and West Virginia.
Eleven states allow limited or highly restricted shipping. They are
Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Louisiana, Georgia, New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, Alaska and Connecticut.
It is a crime to ship wine into these 26 states: Utah, Arizona,
South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama,
Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, South Carolina,
North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, New
Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.
Kinssies is a free-lance wine writer, an instructor at the Seattle Culinary
Academy and director of the Seattle Wine School. He can be contacted at
206-782-0617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
of the expansion of Winostuff’s issues and concerns into the power brokers
inside the Beltway, President Bush,
who I believe signs the Guest Book under the alias of Robert Parker to keep
me off track, must have been moved by my recent political outcries.
Please read the entire article from our News For Winos
section on our front page, but the important statement is:
the legislation would open the opportunity for residents of 17 states to
ship wines home when they visit vineyards. Those states are: Connecticut,
Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New
Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
qualify, wine bottles or cases must be purchased at the winery and buyers
must be of legal drinking age, the AP reported. In addition, the wine
must be for personal use, not resale, and an adult's signature is required
law does not allow people to place orders to out-of-state wineries via the
telephone, e-mail or postal mail and receive shipments.
this still does not allow us to call, join a Texas wine club, or email in
our orders, and yes it only consists of those much sought after Lubbock
Rhone’s or Amarillo Chardonnays, it shows how influential a unified voice
can be. So drink more Texas
wine! OK, that’s really not what I was after, but if a progressive state
like Texas can show such great leadership, it will not be long for NJ to
La Crema Syrah $
Though this is a product of the ever-expansive Kendall Jackson
Holdings, this is a nice drinking fruity wine that is drinkable right now.
Chocolate, raspberry, dark cherry and black pepper in this wine is a
delight for the red wine lover
not many people I still see from the old days.
I can count on a lobster claw the high school friends that I interact
with on a semi-regular basis. Wino
Stan is one of those few, though he is more accurately described as Wino
Page Stan, a Wino apprentice, eager to put in his time and learn the trade.
Last evening, the moons of Jupiter aligned and our schedules had us
both available to grab dinner. Since
he knew my frequency at Bacchus and he himself has enjoyed a bottle of wine
and a cigar at the every subtle color-changing bar, we decided to go
somewhere else. For
convenience, (mine, not his) I was able to get a reservation at Luce, the
Kings Road Winery serving restaurant, which also allows you to BYOW (Bring
Your Own Wine).
wine shopped in a while, I headed out to Home Liquors to see interesting
bottles lie on their wire mesh shelves.
Being a Saturday night, I figured two bottles between 3 people (his
date is some kind of health nut and she doesn’t drink but a polite sip of
alcohol or eat starchy carbs - there’s a Party Girl).
Knowing that Wino Page Stan would drink what I brought, I did the
obvious, bought the wines I wanted to try.
And yes, I did buy a Pinot Noir for the appetizers.
(Editor's note: Cough, coughomo, cough, cough...) I must say, it was better than expected and has me intrigued to see
if this was a fluke ( an unusual occurrence, not the fish).
Home Liquors is stepping up their higher-end wines boosting Caymus
and Caymus Special Select, along with Silver Oak Alexander Valley.
Their Bordeaux section has always been highlighted with the chained
down first Growths and the ever-intriguing Petrus.
I often stop and stare wondering why a Frog Merlot (that female
version of Cabernet Sauvignon) can command such a price.
Am I so unsophisticated in my wine appreciation that the testosterone-void
grape of Bordeaux is the one that all the Snobbish Frogs leap to purchase?
Then I think of how easily they rolled over during the war and it
Luce turned out to be a fun night, with our comedian wannabe hostess, Thursa
treating us to coffee and dessert. Appetizers
of rock shrimp were handled well by this pushy Pinot.
I never quiet know what to buy, so I just picked a wine whose name
fit the soft fleshy, whimsical, fickle self-hating red grape.
What better person to get in touch with this grape’s feelings then
a guy named Bruce? More
correctly Dr. Bruce. Tipping my
hand here, the old doc did well by this one and has me interested in more of
his offerings. For dinner, I
grabbed a wine from Hermitage, you guessed it, a Syrah that had me select
for dinner, and you guessed it, Lamb Chops.
Wino Page Stan had the tuna steak that he said went well with the
Syrah, while the ladies wrestled with Dr. Bruce for the remainder of their
meals that were also the grilled tuna over wasabe mashed potatoes.
Though the waitress we had left her personality in her other outfit,
Thursa more than made up for it, frequently checking to see that we were
enjoying dinner and discussing several humorous topics of life in the
restaurant business. Even
without drinks, this is not an every Saturday Night place, but the food is
worth it if you are looking for a treat.
David Bruce Central Coast Pinot Noir $
(20.99) A bold, brash Pinot showing a rich color, cherry and earth flavors
with a toast finish from the oak barrels. The soft tannins structure this wine on the power side of
Pinot Noir making the Good Dr. someone I will sample more frequently.
Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Hermitage Rouge, Les Nobles Rives $$ (29.99)
Inky purple hue and the oaky nose greet you then you are impressed with the
dark fruit flavors spiciness, chocolate and leather from this big bold wine.
A great compliment to game birds, venison or lamb in a mushroom
27, 2002 Warning - This installment of Bob's
Winings is rated R. It includes graphic pictures of Bob's bung.
Parental discretion is advised.
disrespect to Wino John’s daughter’s artistic talent, he shamed me into
posting pictures of my new/old wine barrel.
Unfortunately, I did not chronicle the entire cleaning process, but
as you will see from the pictures, this barrel will need a second washing.
What amazes me is that someone was producing wine in this thing
without cleaning it. In my
uneducated opinion, I do not see how any of the oak attributes could effect
the wine with such a thick coating of sediment.
So for now, I will post the pre-second cleaning pictures until I
purchase the chemicals to re-wash it.
Front view of the barrel with my newly cleaned wooden spigot.
A fresh new bung stopper to keep the faint odor of this still uncleaned
barrel from escaping.
As you look deep inside my bung, you can still see residues lining the
walls. One more flushing and I
believe my wall linings will be as good as new.
then, I am swearing off watching The Discovery Channel.
Last night, as I was recovering from a three wine bottle divided by
two people drink-a-thon, I saw this show about hangovers.
Discovery followed and tested nine Gen-Xers as they partied on a
Friday Night. They had staff doctors periodically testing them with
hand-eye coordination tasks and the usual blood pressure and Breathalyzer
stuff. Most of the information
I knew and wrote about several months ago regarding what your body needs to
recover. However, there was one
fact that SHOCKED me. The commentator was a SHOCK-JOCK and I became
SHOCKOLIFIC. MEN, hold onto
your corkscrew... This show stated that excessive drinking would
shrink your Grapes. Yes,
prolonged excessive drinking will not only Amarone your little Boyz, it will
knock your testosterone levels so low that you will begin to lose your
masculine build and become Pinot Noir (soft and fleshy).
Holy Crap on a Biscuit, excessive drinking will make me a woman!!
Here I have invested a great deal in wine consumption to develop a healthy
heart, powerful lungs, a black liver and a vagina?
What the, who the…??? Ok, ok, reality check. Is it my
definition of excessive or is it some tea-totaling, medical
egghead fear-mongering his way to the top of the periodical section at the
School of Medicine and Dentistry?
I guess my
Christmas gift idea is ruined. You
know how Wino Wally is constantly combing the Hip and Fashionable World of
Cool Wine Gifts. This year I
was planning to make all my Wino neighbors this Corkboard thing made from
real corks. I started it four days ago and this is how far along I am on
the first one.
the rate of 31 corks in four days, I figured it would take me 3 weeks to
make each gift. However, in light of this new information, I will be
giving them each a cork, a thumb tack, and a post-it note pad.
My Grapes are still of interest to me and they need to remain on the
vine, if you know what I mean…
Torres Gran Sangre de Toro $
(15.99) As I continue my Spanish wine kick, this blend of 75% Granacha (my
Rhone roots) and 25% Carinena make this a delicious wine that is medium
bodied and packed with plum, black cherry and strawberry.
The Granacha brings with it the spicy black pepper and black licorice
flavors that have me intrigued with this wine style.
Punter’s Corner Cabernet Sauvignon $
Bummer, when I uncorked this wine, the black/purple contrast on the bottom
of the cork to the light tan body had my mouth watering for a big-ass wine.
Hints of eucalyptus and chocolate mint had my mind racing with
visions of a rich full-bodied drink. Then
I sampled it and was left with one thought, “Where’s the Beef?”
Never judge a book by its color and nose. Maybe it’s the Russian
Vascos Resrva Cabernet Sauvignon $(14.99)
This wine will not remain sub-twenty dollars much longer.
A favorite Chilean of mine, a nicely balanced fruit and tannin
combination makes this a crowd pleaser for those not looking for the big
A wise old
man once told me follow the money in politics.
As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I have contacted the
Governor’s Office as well as my elected Officials to see why NJ wine
enthusiasts cannot enjoy receiving shipments directly from
California Wineries. To
date, the Governor’s Office has ignored me, Senator Toricelli must have
placed my correspondence on his “things I need to do before I quit the
race” pile, but he left my email address in his other pair of pants (the
one’s that were confiscated during the investigation).
receive and automated reply from my Congressman’s office stating they are
very busy, but will try and get to my request as quickly as possible.
During my hunting, I found this list of the Beer, Wine and Liquor
Lobbyists and their contributions for the last Presidential Election.
One of these organizations is keeping wine out of NJ.
Beer, Wine & Liquor
Total For Beer, Wine & Liquor: $10,635,475
Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine
American Vintners Assn
Austin Nichols & Co
Bacardi Martini Inc
California Assn of Wine Grape Growers
Camara Nacional de Las Ind Azucarera
Distilled Spirits Council
Genesee Brewing Co
HP Bulmer Holding
Inform Coal/Preserve Adult Acces to Wine
Interstate Wine Coalition
Joseph E Seagram & Sons
National Assn of Beverage Retailers
National Beer Wholesalers Assn
National Licensed Beverage Assn
Robert Mondavi Corp
Royal Wine Corp
United Distillers & Vintners
West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Assn
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America
Wyder's California 1995 Inc
entry is not real and was just put in by the Chucklehead that wrote this
Jacob’s Creek Semillon/Chardonnay $
A refreshing citrus and fruit dominated by lemon and apple flavors,
a great wine for the summer. Aussie’s continue to thrill me with
has come for me to move to the next phase of barrel evacuation.
The soda ash solution has been doing it's thing for three days and the
gunk that is flowing out of the bung is horrendous.
(Editor's note: I hate it when horrendous gunk flows
out of the bung...) How could the wine produced in this barrel be drinkable? Step two is the sodium bisulfite and citric acid mixture.
Soon, this barrel will be clean and rejuvenated.
I am getting the wine production bug, so I am heading out to the
bookstore to educate myself on the art of the crush.
Recommended Method for
Cleaning and Maintaining Oak Barrels
Initial treatment for new
barrels and cleaning and sanitizing of used barrels.
Rinse barrels several
times with cool water.
Fill half way with hot
(140-150 degree F) water.
Add soda ash solution,
see table below, and mix by rolling barrel.
Fill completely with
hot water, replace plug.
Allow to stand for 24
hours, and then rinse several times with cold water.
Immediately fill with
wine or proceed to step B.
Keeping barrels in good
condition. Immediately after emptying barrel of wine or from step A
Rinse with cold water
several times, with barrel 1/4 full of water and plenty of rolling,
both sideways and end over end.
Fill half way with cold
Add sodium bisulfite
solution from table below.
Add citric acid
solution from table below.
Mix by rolling, fill
completely with cold water, replace plug, and place in storage.
Check water level every
month, add cold water to keep barrel full.
Before using, rinse
several times with cold water.
cleaning left me thirsty and with nothing better to do than open up some wine to
note: Since The Barrel-Boy did not provide us with any photographic
documentation of his
barrel-cleaning adventure, I had my 9 year old daughter create an artist's
rendering of Bob, his wine press, and his new/old barrel. Bob is the
one on the right.)
Jade Mountain Mourvedre $
Don’t look for earth shattering depth or flavors in this bottle,
remember this is a blending grape. Unless
you are a true Rhone and drink Bandol wines, you have only seen this as an
enhancing grape. Black cherry,
and a spicy body dominate this cepage.
small Public Service Announcement. There
are still several tickets available for the November 12th Andrea
Immer dinner at Bacchus. For
business reasons, Wino John and I will be attending. This is being handled through Kings Supermarkets Cooking
School. The folks at Bacchus
will help you out, but reservations must be made through Kings. Seating is limited so book as soon as possible.
had a dinner at Bacchus in awhile, it just so happened that Wino Rocker
needed to air out the old lady so he called me up to join them.
I guess the Stone Pony Experience with me was a bit more then Mrs.
Wino Rocker could handle, so a good 3 month reprieve was necessary.
The evening started with some drinks at the moody bar (a subtly
changing muted color under cracked glass arrangement).
Needing to bring new reviews to my page, I started off with a Zin and
see where the evening went from there.
So Zin it was, accompanied by jovial conversation from my hosts and
those at Bacchus from the Old Guard. Though
the numbers are dwindling from the originals, I do so enjoy those who
made it clear to Wino Rocker that I left my wallet at home, I handed him the
wine list and allowed him to select our dinner wine.
He has become a Shiraz Head, which is great with me.
Out for new experiences, I selected the Grilled Wild Bird Platter
consisting of baby quail stuffed with cranberry wild rice, duck breast,
ostrich fillet and duck and fois gras sausage.
This was a multitude of taste sensations that was enhanced with the
texture and flavors of the Shiraz. The
meal ended with a Fonseca Port and Hazelnut gelati.
If only I could have lit a Fuente Opus X, I would have been in
heaven. The meal was
delightful, the conversation was thought provoking and the fact that I got
the general manager to tell my host his credit card was declined and he
would have to pay cash, including the complimentary after dinner drinks,
allowed the entire staff to enjoy a joke.
Good food, good friend, good wine, that’s why I like doing this
Valley of the Moon Zinfandel $
This Zin is made up of 93% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah and 3% Barbera
boosting lush ripe flavors of raspberry, strawberry and vanilla. A silky texture and balance of tannins draw you into this
Kangarilla Road Shiraz $$
(44.00 rest, 25.00 retail)
For big wine lovers, this one features a bunch of blackberry,
mulberry, and black cherry, with an undertone of chocolate that gets in your
face from the first sip. A
surly, spicy number for grilled meats with enough oak to smack your mouth
up, bring this to the Bar-B or with veal chops or lamb shank.
of you in NJ, this entry will have nothing to do with the Sopranos or the
politics of the IAADL. It seems that the editorial staff does not
believe in Freedom of Drunken Ramblings and I have been served with a gag
order (insert sick and twisted joke here).
So I must get back to the core values of this page, writing about
wine and wine related stuff. I
see Wino John has had a most excellent adventure during the harvest fest in
California, nothing sweeter than scrubbing the purple off your fingers for
days. I see Wino Wally spends a
great deal of time educating himself on wine related stuff and purchasing
the latest in Wine Tech Gizmos. He
is the “Bill Nye” of the group. So
in an effort to participate with something Wino John would not reject, I
spent the day figuring out what I could talk about and actually relate to
someone other than Robert Parker, Marvin R. Shaken and Stevie Wonder.
Just a question, does Stevie’s computer screen translate my
ramblings into Brail? I once
dated a girl whose acne spelled out "Hot Momma", on the left side
of her face.
attempt at developing my leg muscles to keep up with my youthful heart,
powerful lungs and rejuvenated liver, I walked into town to browse the local
wine shops. Yes, we have Mr.
Kim, the well stocked Mom and Pop Shop that carries high end French, Italian
and California wines, but stores it at ambient temperature.
Last week Wino Jeff told me that he bought a bottle of wine that was
bad. I, myself, have purchased
several wines that showed signs of cork shrinkage, even though it was not
swimming in cold water… We also have a chain discount place which
dedicates two rows of shelving to jug and box wines.
I guess they get more traffic from the westerly towns (wine snob
comment). Unfortunately nothing
excited me to the point of over-spending my hard earned money at Mr. Kim’s
or lugging home a month-by-month comparison of box wines.
alone and flummoxed, I headed home though I did leer for an unacceptable
amount of time into the display window of the local lingerie shop.
There was this one dummy, she was beautiful, and then I saw her
trying to count the change for a customer, forget it.
Several blocks from home, I glanced into the window of an “Antique
Shop.” I watched a lot of Road Side Sale Shows and I still don’t
know the difference between "old and collectible" and junk that
someone is throwing away that I think is cool.
There in the back corner was an oak wine barrel with a wooden spigot
and dried out bung. (again, sick and twisted, you know the drill).
So I went inside, haggled with getting my wallet out of my back
pocket and paid they guy the asking price in the tag.
Now, with several blocks to go, I had the dilemma of carrying this
thing home to place in my quickly cluttering wine room. As the old Polish beer drinking song came into my head,
“Roll Out the Barrel, and We’ll Have a Barrel of Fun.” (hey, it’s a
drinking song, not an anthem though my family sang this just after the flag
salute). Up the street, across
the Avenue and up the hill rolled my barrel and me.
As I let it
settle in it’s new resting place, I started to detect a rather pungent
odor filling the room. I
attempted to extract the dried bung cork to inspect the inside and wham; the
vinegar smell of an unclean barrel hit me like smelling salts.
Great, a cool barrel that makes the whole cellar stink.
Needing a fix, I hopped into the car and headed to the place I knew
best for supplies. Corrados in
Paterson, NJ, has everything you need for wine making.
A quick question to the brail faced clerk and he grabbed three small
bags of white powder and told me to use bag one, soak for three days, rinse
mix bags two and three in a 5 gallon pail, roll the barrel several times and
Voila. As In life,
Wino John gets to enjoy the harvest and I get to swab the barrels, but hey,
the fun is just beginning. As I
filled the barrel with bag one and 30 gallons of water, the spigot is intact
and the barrel doesn’t leak. If
this thing cleans up well enough, I just might start reading up on wine
making. I have a small press and now an oak barrel.
Maybe I should unearth all the Milk Thistle I planted after Wino
John’s liver article and plant a row of Cabernet Franc.
Hey, it’s Jersey; we don’t have the climate or soil for Syrah.
have had just about enough of this "fact is funnier than fiction"
section of life. Life imitated art this week in NYC.
Episode two of The Sopranos clumsily presented a
gangster’s take on Italian pride for the Columbus Day celebration.
This week, the Italo-American something-or-other denied Mayor
Bloomberg’s guests from marching along side him.
His guests you ask? Yes, two actors of Italian descent who
appeared in roles on the Sopranos. First
off, until last Friday, I never saw the term "Italo-American", but
it was fun listening to all the newscasters become tongue-tied with this new
pronunciation. Second, have we
come so far as to pigeonhole an actor into their role so they cannot be seen
as a real person? I think all
the papers made it clear that the words, “Actor that portrays the role
of…..in the HBO hit series, The Sopranos."
Hey, if all of a sudden it’s such a big deal, why did the open
casting call in Harrison, NJ stretch clear across the Clay Street bridge
into Newark with every Italian wannabe actor waving head shots in front of
the casting directors of the show last year?
If this show is so unpopular, why does it draw such huge ratings?
Well, I had
about enough of that, especially since the events in the Washington DC area.
Wino Wally is remaining cautious in his daily route.
I never thought that in America one would have to seriously consider
if they need gas in their car. I
pray that this person or persons will be found and taken out in a hail of
bullets. To catch someone like
this gives that bottom-feeding part of the lawyer population in the US an
ability to mug for the camera and write a best seller after the trial.
You know this sniper must have been left in the shopping cart once in
a mall as a child and they are acting out their years of unresolved emotions
of feeling neglected by their parents, or so the bullshit will go from the
lawyers that will jump to defend this animal.
I say let the animal’s lawyer load groceries in a parking lot and
have the chips fall where they may.
with the cable news pundits spewing off some half cocked, unsubstantiated
psychobabble, I drank my last Italian red wines for at least a month.
I’ve had about enough of that.
This, as I proclaimed at the beginning of the year, is the Year of
the Zin and the next several weeks, or days, or bottles will be Zins.
I may even mix in a Syrah or two just to straighten out my blood
Villa Il Poggiolo Carmignane Reserva ? (gift)
This bottle of wine from the small DOC 10 miles west of Florence is a
Sangiovese, muted superbly with a small per cent of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The fruit was roaring and the tannins have mellowed making this a
splendid accompaniment to my Rigatoni Rosario.
Modus Toscana Tenimenti Ruffino $
(12.99) A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
The fruit on this wine took an early backseat to the wood.
Over several glasses it softened and brought out a pleasant dark
cherry, red fruit and blueberry hint.
“This thing of ours, it’s like a family.
Through time and memorial we have a certain code.
So remember, once you enter this family, there is no getting out.”
Unnamed Source of the NJ Democratic Leadership Council
As I sat in
front of my radio yesterday, listening to the Talking Heads dissect this NJ
Senatorial Issue, I ate red sauce from a jar and Ronzoni noodles with my
Italian Red Wine binge. The situation becomes stranger as each day passes and this
ruling by the courts has set up a precedent for future races that are
failing a major party. But
enough Red wine and it takes the edge off the seriousness of the situation.
I actually laughed out loud yesterday while listening to clips of
Gov. McGreevey’s defense of Frank Lautenberg.
With Frankie boy tipping the birthday scale near death, McGreevey
tried to insert a joke about Lautenberg’s vigor.
I am recalling it to the best of my wine soaked gray matter, “You
know age isn’t even an issue, and the thing with his paternity suite is
only a rumor.” Interesting
statement Governor, your best defense is to make a joke about an
illegitimate child fathered by a 78 year old man.
For reasons I will not go into today, I have heard the Governor speak
several times and he has made other joking comments that have raised an
eyebrow or two. I think Bill
Clinton’s jovial manner has most Democrats trying to emulate his public
But this is
not Face the Nation and I should not be wasting valuable time
on political speak. As
customary, I should be following the rules of not covering the topics of
Sex, Politics and Religion in this form.
However, Sex and Religion have been subject matter over the past 2
years so Politics has finally found it’s time.
this issue in NJ, I decided to fight for the rights of NJ wine lovers and I
became a frequent visitor to the Governor’s web page.
As all web pages go, there is a “Contact the Governor”
icon. I have been asking the question about the administration’s
position on making NJ a reciprocal state and letting us receive deliveries
directly from our favorite California wineries. I started two weeks before this Toricelli crap and to date
have not gotten a response. I
also posted a note to Senator Corzine asking for help in our cause. So I come to you, the readers, who want to join my
“Lobby” to let Wino John fill his cellar with Caymus and Silver Oak and
Clos du Bois. I need to show
the NJ administration what a voting block WinoStuff commands and play
politics with our wine shipments. Give
me Liberty (School) or Give Me Death.
OK, I can back off on the "Death" thing, but give me your
voting support. Let’s become a Lobby group that can send gifts and envelops
of cash to our politicians so we can have them give a "Political Happy
Ending…" NJ Winos
Unite and let our voices be heard, this is a Representative Democracy.
Feudo Monaci Salice Salentino Rosso $
This blend of 80% Neroamana and 20% Malvasia Nera brings a nice
balance of red fruit, tobacco, leather and soft tannins.
Pleasant, with Ronzoni boxed pasta and Aunt Millie’s Organic Sauce
from a jar. This could be an
everyday table wine as a warm up for a meal.
Vino. I had to drown myself in Italian wine this week.
Why, you ask? Wino Bob,
was it the overabundance of the Soprano’s this weekend?
No, although this was the worst Sopranos in a while, I managed to
survive the tedious hour long drumming of the age-old debate on
“Columbus-Hero or Hitler”. As
a resident of NJ, I will NOT be discussing this topic, one too many calls
from the Head of the Italian-American Anti Defamation League.
This state is severely divided. On one side you have the wavers
of the Red, White, and Green, in your face, proud to be an Italian-American,
not willing to admit there is a family anywhere in the world upon which the
Soprano’s are based. Then,
there is the other camp that wants to star in the real life version of the
Sopranos. So for those reasons
and more, I will stay off the daily phone list of the IAADL.
Ralphie’s two encounters with Janis last week are nothing compared to
So let me
tell you why I am drinking all this Italian wine; to celebrate the recent
events of our Political Machine in NJ.
Yes, everywhere we turn, the radio and TV and papers are highlighted
with the name, “Senator Robert Toricelli”.
The Torch, as he is affectionately referred to, has caused me to
watch the local news with Italian Red Wine color glasses.
Only in NJ can a Senator pound the podium and tell us how innocent he
is on ethics charges, even as the tape and laundry list of “gifts” is
being read in court. So, where are we NJ residents today? Caught in a Political battle where 2 of the Judges,
addressing the issue of Toricelli quitting because he can’t win, are on
record as campaign contributors to the man they are now sitting in judgment
of. I no longer understand the
term “Conflict of Interest”. So
the Democratic Brain Trust in NJ read the political polls and realized their
candidate is in voter’s hell. So
what do they do? They call a time-out
and do an end around. Yes,
election-laws, schmelection laws. NJ
is a Democratic State, so the dumb voters won’t care what we do.
The current platform seems to be, “Vote for Anything that says
Democrat, even if we have illegitimately unmothballed a 78 year old
ex-Senator who no longer wanted to be a Senator because….we are not an
evil Republican”. I thought the voters used the Primary to look over the
candidate’s positions and select the person they want.
By simply placing a new name on the ballot, are we to assume that
Democrats in NJ are cookie cutter idealists?
Unplug A, insert B, it doesn’t matter what his positions on issues
are, just know they are not a Republican.
Groups are up in arms over the Sopranos. Certain NJ groups are up in
arms over the Political issues. But no one seems to be up in arms
about the current processes going on today in the court system.
Mark this day in history as the Day Losers can Replace a Candidate
that Might have a Better Chance in a Race.
Didn’t ex-Senator Lautenburg state he was tired of the personal
drain the Senate placed upon his personal life?
Hey, not for nothing, but a six year term for a 78 year old man seems
a bit taxing. Speaking of taxing,
that is issue one for Mr. Lautenburg.
NJ has a bad rap for being down and dirty on politics. Read the
papers, watch TV, and you can understand why outside observers smirk when
the subject comes up in conversation. We
have just set a new precedent that if your candidate is behind, ignore the
laws and insert someone with less political baggage.
Win at all costs and let the laws fall under our feet and get
trampled for reasons, well, for the betterment of… well, ignore the laws
cause Republicans are bad people with three eyes and a secret horn that only
other Republicans know about and rub as a greeting similar to the handshake
style of Byron Scott. Let me
see, the laws really don’t apply to us. I’m sorry, I was taking about
the Sopranos. I know it is hard to differentiate.
note: Tough day at the office, Bob?)
Petrolo Terre di Galatrona $
This 70% Sangiovese and 30% Merlot
is the perfect pizza wine. A fruit forward beverage packed with dark cherry, raspberry,
chocolate and a soft smooth finish. A
friend to red sauces for pasta to parmigiana.