Bob’s Winings
Tasting Notes from a ^ Beer Drinker

This page contains Winings from the 4th Quarter of the year 2003.

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December 31, 2003

With little time left in 2003, I wanted to send it off with a brief meeting of friends at Bacchus.  Since there are no more friends there, (OK, there still are a few), I sat at the corner of the ever changing bar admiring their new 60 inch plasma TV, and thought to myself, “Wow, what a great TV.  I guess I will be paying more than the $12.00 per glass to pay for that baby.”  I went easy on my budget and had a simple South African Cabernet that drank really easy.  It was either that the wine was easy or my day was so shitty that any wine would have drunk easy.  Wishing Tony, the new owner, and Ed, the new owner too, a happy holidays, I sat there and consumed two glasses, while friends and co-workers entered for holiday parties.  Mind you, they were not my friends, nor my co-workers.  No, I sat alone at the end of the bar, enjoying my wine after a crappy day at the motor pool and saying to myself what fun it must be to work in a large office.  As 2003 rolls off my back like water from an oiled duck’s feathers, I bid it good riddance and await with excitement the coming of 2004 wishing, hoping, and pleading for better things to come.  To Tony, the bus boy, Jimmy, Mike, Ryan and John - Happy New Year.

2002 Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon $ (14.99) This wine greets you with a rich blackish plum color and a nose redolent of ripe blackcurrant and plummy fruit. Toasty oak aromas and sweet fruit flavors are balanced by soft, ripe tannins. Good structure with a soft, clean finish.


December 30, 2003

As this year is coming to a close, I do see a difference in the feeling about things.  Last year at this time, I was depressed.  I did little holiday Festivus celebrating.  In the past two weeks, think I have already enjoyed more company and holiday parties then the two previous Decembers.  People are feeling better about the outlook for 2004 so, hey, lets drink some wine.  I will keep things short as I have but a very small amount of time remaining before I must post up the Grape of the Year selection.  I did manage to enjoy a few new wines and here they are.

2001 Thomas Mitchell Shiraz $ (11.00)   This smooth-drinking Aussie offers some fine plum and dark cherry flavors with a nice touch of chocolate.  A good everyday wine to enjoy while watching the big game on the tube or crunching down on tacos with friends.

1996 Dominus Estate Meritage $$$ (89.00)   Like a greyhound chasing a rabbit, this one shows its power and elegance around the three quarter pole, with plenty of length for the home stretch.  Hold this for the winos in your life that would appreciate it.

1994 Diamond Creek Vineyards Volcanic Hill $$$ (65.00)   One can sit on this wine for several years to come as its tannins stand up and shadow box three rounds before the berry, cassis and smoky flavors from this one can step into the ring.  Once they do, it’s a heavyweight match up worth watching.


December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas!  In this Day of Political Correctness, I feel it necessary to step over the line and actually mention that for Christians, today is the celebration of the Birth of Christ.  I hope I do not offend non-Christians and I do wish your religious, holy, ethnic or self imposed celebration the happiest and healthiest to you and yours.  As for those of us celebrating Festivus, since it is for the rest of us, may your aluminum pole shine bright.  

Last evening, the new tradition was cast as the folks are finally settled into their second and final home of their lives.  A new tradition crept into the mix as we now have the pleasure which, as children, never existed.  We now get to sit in the family room as my father ceremoniously lights the fireplace.  Yes, growing up, Santa had to use that magic key since we never had a fireplace and, as a child, I felt left out of all those stories of old St. Nick being partial to coming down the chimney.  We went as far one year as buying a cardboard fireplace and thumb tacking our stocking to the corrugated mantle.  My father spared no expense as he purchased the one with the life-like plastic lit flame with rotating drum that offers “life-like fire noises”.  As a child, I was made fun of since I had no fireplace and had to propagate the myth of the magic key that Santa would use to enter our home, sprinkle magic dust into the lungs of our razor sharp short haired terrier so he would not awaken us with his high pitched barking and the screams of Santa as the dog buried his incisors into his ass.  So now, at the age of 43, the home of my parents has a fireplace and last night the family gathered around as my father, the woodsman, flicked the switch to the electric starter that kicked over the blue flamed natural gas to dance about the ceramic fake logs.  Merry Christmas, let the feeding frenzy begin. 

The spread of food was great with all the traditional trimmings I have written about in the past.  As Polish custom has it, the absence of meat had me looking for a white wine.  Well, the two hour drive actually had me looking at white wine since I knew I could control myself and manage the drive north on the Parkway.  I had a brought a bottle of red, though not the best choice with the pierogies and shrimp and mushroom soup and crab cakes and batter-dipped cod and tilapia and, and… No this meal is well suited for a crisp dry white with an acidity and flavor to handle the lemon, and sauces.  Besides, one bottle of red leads to another and the thought of me sleeping it off on Christmas Eve at the rest stop in Toms River just south of exit 82 would not have worked well.  My truck definitely does not have a chimney and the magic key might not be carried by Santa, but rather by a low seniority State Trooper who just might want someone to keep him company throughout the night.  So the new Christmas Eve routine was fine-tuned last night and it centers on the lighting of the gas fireplace, family, stories, food and a bottle of white.  I hope yours was as much fun.

2002 Grgich Hills Fume Blanc $ (16.99)   This wine is a great complement to fish, many styles of fish and offers a clean zesty citrus flavor with a refreshing finish.


December 21, 2003

The slap of reality drew me out of sleep and back to watching the ill-acted remake of Swept Away.  Madonna was now the love slave of the mate she was shipwrecked with and her lack of food and water never effected her hair or make up.  She was at sea for two days before they paddled to the island and her lipstick never wore off.  I was confused.  What was more difficult to watch, her acting or my life?  I found a glass near the couch that had a clear liquid in it and hoping it was melted ice, I cautiously took a swig to alleviate my dry mouth.  

Clang, bang, the heat ragged; I peered into the living room towards the front door to see if the dead bolt was still engaged.  The big scene was close at hand and I wanted to see if the remake was as steamy as I remember from my misspent youth.  I watched and suffered through the BS dialogue and the semi-aristocratic air Madonna tried to project.  She finally realized she needed to give herself to the mate in a totally submissive manner if she were to survive.  As I reached for the glass, I saw someone sitting in the burgundy leather wingback chair to my left.  He must have been sitting there for some time as he was shaking his head and commenting on Madonna’s poor acting skills.  Hey, you’re not that asshole White Zin grape that was here a minute ago, are you?  “No, Wino Bob, I am the Ghost of Grape of the Year Present and I have come to ask that you rename me as Grape of the Year.  You felt that a widely accepted grape such as I was the right thing for this year.  We, as a group, needed to heal collective wounds and promote unity.  I know you have tried to pick a different grape each year that had significance, but we are still in a desperate divide.  It is only a common grape found in all the major growing regions of the world that can soothe the aftermath of such a tumultuous time.”  Look, Grenache, Wino John would never accept me mailing it in.  He expects me to put time and effort into defining a grape that exhibits qualities that give meaning to the world and are significant to the world of wine.  I cannot and will not repeat a grape. 

With that, I felt myself being pulled through the door and floating alongside the current GOTY.  Where are we going?  “I’m going to show you your life from a different perspective that may help you realize my reign needs to be extended.”  We floated over an area on the East Coast where a high level meeting of a well known publication in the wine world was discussing the need to come out with a calendar featuring a Grape of the Month in a move to define this as their original concept so their high powered attorneys could draft a cease and desist order to  We were then on the West Coast, floating over a high powered meeting where a multi-million dollar dot com wine site was drafting a letter of intent to buy out the world renown

Then we floated over the countryside estate of Kevin Zraly who was having a high-powered meeting with his lawyer to issue a restraining renewal from me being able to mention him in my entries.  We went down the list of meetings and it seems like the lawyers will be having a financially rewarding holiday season.  Finally, we floated over UnBacchus and there I was in a corner stool, at the bar, alone, drinking a tall glass of house cabernet.  I saw myself pompously telling the guy sitting next to me how I am a wine connoisseur and how wine is for the refined.  The barmaid came over to me and politely asked me to stop bothering the customers.  Then she turned and asked, “Wino Bob, don’t you have any place to go?  Don’t you have friends or family to go home to?  You are in here every night, bothering whomever unluckily sits next to you.  It's Christmas!  Here is one on the house, but please, I’m losing tips by you chasing off my customers.  Sit, finish your drink and then get out.”  My bony fingers tipped back my last sip of wine and, embarrassed, I didn’t bother getting my coat from the coatroom.  Walking home in the cold dark dead of night, I saw families and friends in their homes laughing and singing holiday songs.  Me, I just headed to the sparsely decorated room on the third floor to turn on my computer.  As 84 emails loaded into Outlook, not one was actually for me.

 What the *$&@ with this grape dream?  Rubbing my eyes, I saw Madonna peaking over a rocky bluff spotting a ship near the island they were stranded.  Her love for this low level servant had grown so strongly that she didn’t want to be rescued. It would place her back into a world she no longer wanted to participate in.  Even drunk, I knew that Hollywood laid an egg and pulling the remote out from under my ribs, wiping the spit off my cheek, I punched in 249 to see what was on Comedy Central. 

South Park, the foul-mouthed construction paper kids who manage to find a clear lesson at the end of each episode and impart wisdom to the adults in their small community of South Park Colorado.   Hey Cartman, how you doin?  ……………….TBC

December 20, 2003

The red number on the digital clock flashed over to 4:57 AM, to bring in the only other light in the small sparsely decorated room.  The early morning air was quiet except for the occasional gust of wind that sent a barren branch scratching on the aluminum siding like nails on a chalkboard.  I shouldn’t have had that second cup of coffee.  The blue hue and hum of the improperly lit street light outside my window was my only companion.  Am I awake or still dreaming?  It has been one of those nights where the blurred reality between conscious and unconscious had me caught between night sweats and panicked TV watching.  The trapped water in the steam pipes bang out a ghostly version of  “At Seventeen”.  Crap, I’m awake, this is not the dream part, this is my friggin' life.  No the dream part was worse. 

Yesterday, frustrated by the techno glitch in my desktop, I called up Wino Rocker and asked if he was busy.  He is one of those friends that does not have an advance team and can go out at a moment's notice.  I told him that I needed to finally get my ass out to participate in the economy called “The Spirit of Christmas” and would be wandering aimlessly through the isles of several stores near his house.  If he was going to be around, I would head there afterwards for a drink to polish the edges off my day.  Three hours and one street hockey stick later, the thought that Ebenezer might not have been too far off in his outlook on life, braced my soul.  And in my best Eric Cartman, I jumped out of the checkout line, placed the stick on top of the sneaker rack and declared, “Screw you guys, I’m goin' home.”  

On my way over to the Rocker’s abode, I dashed into Brewer’s World in Totowa and grabbed the first bottle closest to the counter.  It happened to be an Aussie and Mrs. Rocker is a Shiraz fan so I figured the tide was starting to ebb.  As we sat and drank and talked, I realized that Wino Rocker is more turned off by the Christmas gift tango than I.  This year, I just can’t find that spirit of it being 'better to give than to receive' that I have been preached about to since the days when Father O’Connor broke into a chorus of Silent Night from the pulpit.  Getting more depressed from the wine and conversation, I departed and drove past homes with bright lights, air inflated snowmen, and the several living rooms filled with guests celebrating the holiday season.  As I turned onto my block, past the large house with the huge plasma TV in the family room, it was alive with a party.  Oh, yeah, these new neighbors invited me to stop in for a drink and to officially meet them, as it has only been three years since they came to the neighborhood.  A party, that’s exactly what I needed, a house filled with friends and family of which I know neither.  It would be perfect; I could introduce myself, grab a glass of wine and some dinner and stand in the corner of a crowded room, alone, depressed and mute. 

Hi, I’m Wino Bob, your neighbor.  Its so nice to finally meet you after all these years.  Do you have any wine?  Nice house, nice party, nice people.  I don’t know if I was more impressed with the bar and bartender set up in the entrance hall or the live two-piece raga band that kept the night alive.  Waiters and waitresses passed around platters of shrimp, lamb chops, chicken on a stick and little gay quiches.  The red wine was George’s Nouveau and for a mixed crowd it was acceptable.  So I doubled up on the wine, filled a plate with a weekend's full of fare and pushed my way into the room with the 60 inch Sony hanging on the wall.  Holy crap Marie, these people are rich…

Spinning into an eddy of financial depression as Country Club movers and shakers exuberantly talked on and on about their perfect jobs and perfect lives, until they paused for a breath to ask me what I did for a living.  As I stammered out a long winded explanation of the geek world that pays the bills, they politely excused themselves saying they needed to find their wife or a drink, or use the bathroom.  Not wanting to impose, I left, without asking for my coat, or thanking the hosts and walked the one block down the hill in the cold, dark dead of night.  Awake from the wake, I flopped on the couch and turned on HBO as they might have a movie with the chance of a nude scene at this hour of the night, or rather early morning.  The title came up as “Swept Away”, the Madonna remake of the first movie I ever saw when my parents got cable TV in 1976.  Late night showing of Swept Away and The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea starring Kris Kristopherson was the first girlfriend of Wino Bob Bobbinski.  OK, that’s not my real name but I figure if it worked for Kris, I’d give it a shot. 

The movie sucked, Madonna was horrible, but some how I kind of believed she was drawing upon reality in her distain for the ship’s mate.  Boredom, depression and the wine had me crossing in and out of sleep.  I remember lying on the couch, watching Madonna ride an exercise bike with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and then there was someone else in the room.  Well he must have been there a while since he too commented how poor her acting skills were.  It was Wino John.  Well, not actually Wino John, it was Wino John’s voice in the embodiment of a grape.  He stood up, walked over to me and said, “Wino Bob, I am the Ghost of Grape of the Year Past and I have come to talk to you about your life.”  What the %^#)?  My life?  Who are your really?  You are old, and your skin is mostly removed and hanging. “Yes, Wino Bob, I am the grape you named two years ago, and I think we need to talk about renaming me this year.  I also am the first wine you ordered at restaurants and bought bottles of and served to guests.”  

With that my heart started beating out of my chest and cold sweat dripped down my back.  I clasped my hands over my checks like the Home Alone kid and then I let out a girlish shriek.  Oh no, you are the processed grape that makes White Zinfandel.  God, don’t let my past catch up with me now, I am a famous wine web site person who is known for loving the big bold tastes of you in your full red skin.  You can’t be here.  I looked at the TV and saw Madonna shot a hole in the raft with a flare gun, and I turned back to WZ.  “Wino Bob, think about Zinfandel for Grape of the Year again.  It is the grape of America and in these troubled times, when the world is still not with us, you should show courage and rename me.”  White Zinfandel, my life would have been so different without ever having drunk you.  “Wino Bob, come with me, and I will show you what your life would have been like if you never started the journey to appreciate good wine.  Don’t be ashamed.  Many beer drinkers start off drinking a girlie sweet wine.  But it is the crossover that changes one's life.  Come, look, see yourself in that smoke filled bar.  You're sitting on the stool in the corner, alone, with a pint of Ramstein and a shot of tequila.  You’re mumbling to yourself, pouring salt on the bar and licking it off.  Now look, you just tried to pour salt on that guy next to you.  Now you are rushing out of the bar, forgetting your coat and walking home in the cold, dark dead of night.  You spend most of your time in a cold third floor sparsely decorated room, clearing spam about Viagra, Paris Hilton and penis-enhancing drugs out of your in-box because no one sends you any real email.  Your health is poor and you look like at stick figure.  You spend hours typing stupid, made-up stories hoping that someone would read them and think it is amusing.  You will end up alone, married to an amber bottle, seeking refuge in fermented friends….”  

Hey, asshole, except for the salt licking thing, that is my life………. TBC

2001 Peter Lehmann Clancy $$ (26.00)     Yet again the virtues of blending show through in this Aussie red.  Like CSN at Woodstock, these grapes prove that the sum is better than the parts with ripe plum, rich black cherry, currant and a kiss of spice with a supple finish


December 19, 2003

Four days and four hundred dollars in new software and this #&^%ing computer still is not right.  What the hell, you buy one inexpensive box of PC condoms and the virus from one Virtual Reality indiscretion seeps right through the natural lamb skin.  Yes folks, from one in the Geek tech world, did I ever tell you I hate computers.  If only I could do this web entry with paper and pencil, it would be so much better.  This entry contains very little about wine, except for the crappy bottle of Italian red I drank the other night in response to the friggin' mob scene outside my office.  No, literally, there was a mob scene.  Yes, they shot a mob scene outside my office on Wednesday.  The last week of shooting for the 5th season of the Sopranos found their way in front of the building next to my office.  Though none of the heavy weights were there, from the bits and pieces I put together in my own little warped mind, I think I scooped the ending of the season.  Wino Bob prediction: look for Paulie Walnuts to get whacked.  Call it gut feel, call it dreaming, call it a bad reaction to the crappy Italian red.  There was a scene shot with a car driving out of Galante Funeral Home’s driveway.  Rumors spread that the driver of the car was Johnnie Sac.  Now we all know that Paulie was looking to head to his crew feeling that Tony wasn’t valuing his talents.  So I’m thinking since this was shot for the last episode and then there are 10 episodes being shot for the final season, they are going to start whacking the stars.  Paulie goes, mark it down. 

As for my computer frustration, if there is a technology dweeb in the audience, help me fix this GD issue.  (Editor's note: Let's see...   Is there anyone affiliated with this site who is a computer dweeb?   Anyone who knows a little about computers...?  Anyone at all...?   I can't think of anyone...   Oh, yeah.  There's me!  What seems to be the problem, Lamo?)

2000 Villa Puccini Chianti Superiore $ (8.99)   This wine carries little excitement, minimal fruit and a sharp finish.


December 13, 2003

Happy birthday to my therapist.  Though all communications have been cut off, I know my file is still open…

I’m glad to see Wino Wally has been posting entries since this past week I have been in meeting for various reasons.  Not much time to write or drink, but there are two wines I can comment on.  I did want to ask Wino Wally how he came upon the idea of pimping me out as a Christmas gift.  After my last entry, I think I put the fright into Winette Alice as she commented that sharing info on my ball sack was more than she wanted to know about Wino Bob.  So this time I will leave my ball sack out of the discussions and make it cut and dry for those who actually look for information on this page.  Pimped out Christmas present note: if we do have dinner at Bacchus, I retain the option of wearing/not wearing underwear. 

One evening last week, we, as a group, were hosted to a group geek dinner at one of the nicer eateries in Newark.  Yes, that lovable town I was born in and spent the first six months of my life still has some great ethnic cuisine.  It warms my heart when I do get to go back there to drive by the building that once was my grandmother’s local corner tavern and is now donned with neon flashing lights highlighting the words, “Finest Go-Go in town.”  I’m sure my grandmother would turn in her grave if she knew the business she started in 1942 and ran seven days a week until her health failed in 1972, that scantily clad women are walking atop the mahogany bar in their 4 inch CFM pumps and desperate loners are dangling dollar bills from their last pay check in hopes of a smile and a two minute conversation.  Not that I would know what goes on in one of those places or anything.  Sorry, I was actually speaking of the famous Spanish Tavern on Green Street in Newark, where bronto-sized steaks, and chops and caldrons of shellfish stew cram the tables.  One of the managers sat to my left and ordered up some white wine, and as I was dining on my mound of mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, and lobster, I filled my glass with an Albarino that gently held the hand of my palate. 

My week concluded with a WinoStuff planning meeting at JR as the year is closing faster than an ass of a young boy seeing Michael Jackson coming his way.  It is time for the debate to begin and my time of contemplation, education and frustration as I toil over the task of selecting the Grape of the Year for 2004.  Please note that if the December 2004 issue of Spectator has the same grape posted, then it’s true they have listening devices planted on my phone and are monitoring the reams of documents that I flood to WJ as I justify my selection.  This year the process has not gotten any easier and WJ laid out the criteria I need to use to ensure a sound decision.  I will be sequestered for the next several days drinking, hanging a dollar between my thumb and index finger in hopes of two minutes,……sorry, flashback.

I mean, I will be alone, drinking, tasting, touching, feeling, and visualizing.....sorry.  Hey, I got two weeks to drink my ass off and figure this thing out.

2001 Agro de Bazan Granbazan-Amber $ (14.99)   A great companion to the seafood world, as one might find this sleek bottle netted along with the bottle nose dolphin as the Spanish fishing fleet trawls the Atlantic.  Crisp, clean and flavorful with the right balance to heighten the flavors of sea bass or shellfish.

2000 Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (25.00)    This wine has great black cherry, and cassis with a finish of toasted oak, but comes up a bit short on the body and feel for a Cab.  Good, but not one to rave about.


December 7, 2003

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful...   No actually, the evening with wine, words, food and friends was delightful.  It is a shame that we cannot get together more frequently, due to the fact that Wino Lou and Wino Bruce have real jobs.  Wino Bruce is a famous museum photographer who’s been to the most remote parts of the world photographing artwork and artifacts that date back to the beginning of… well, artifacts.

Wino Lou is one of those super smart scientist guys that has invented several of these pills Medicare is making a ton of money on by selling to older people and stuff.  He actually wears a headband so his brain doesn’t ooze out of his cranium.

And then in between their discussions of the latest art show opening, or the newest drug to cure something, I could only interject a sentence or two like, “Wino Lou, will this new medicine give me an oily discharge?”  Hey, don’t be so quick to judge my stupidity.  Did you ever read the warning on those fat reducing potato chips?  The food was great and the conversation was fun and since I could not add much to the intelligent conversation, I made up for it by bringing over a decent bottle of wine.  I was able to hang with a conversation on TCA until Mrs. Wino Lou started drawing the chemical formula on a napkin and explaining the microbiological reaction between the bacteria and the orgasmatron and then started speaking in Latin for the elements.  Boy, did I waste my years in college learning neat stuff.  Though it did allow me to build up a tolerance to alcohol and heightened my desire to pursue a career in drinking.  If I only figured out then that I could have studied wine in college, I could have been somebody, instead of a stick figure on a web site.

By the end of the third bottle of wine, I forgot to write down what Wino Lou had brought.  I know it was a South African; I could taste the Paarl soil and the balmy ocean influence.  Actually, I got a quick glance of the label and saw it was a Glen Carlou.  After all, it’s all about me anyway…  And to the delight of the crowd, I did keep my ball sack well covered.

2001 Qupe Syrah $ (17.99)    This is a wine I would drink everyday if I could.  Bob Lindquist is noted as one of CA’s original Rhone Rangers and puts out a quality wine with generous fruit and a classy spice with consistency and count-on quality.

1994 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (my first good wine to cellar from WJ)   1994 was a year to appreciate and this crafted wine offers a treat as it unveils plenty of mouthwatering black cheery and hints of green olives.  A finish that offers one the hint that this is just starting to disclose its grace and elegance.


December 6, 2003

Special Announcement

The Global Warming Protest against chemical manufacturers of CFCs has been cancelled due to SNOW!!!!!!  Hey Al Gore, its only December 6th and I am shoveling 11 inches of freshly fallen snow. 

Mother McRae, I cannot believe that winter has paid us a visit so early this year.  Snow has only one positive effect, the hectic schedule of the neighborhood grinds to a snail’s pace and the hunter’s get a day to gather on the corner over the roar of snow blowers to ask the question, “Who’s house tonight?”  Tradition has sprouted from necessity and each winter after the first major snowfall, we do a potluck dinner and wine evening at a volunteer’s home.  The holiday decorations, the crackle of a fire, and the warm friendly conversation over a cornucopia of food items and a well supplied wine flow make this a treat.  It is almost a Hallmark commercial.

Today, while I was blowing the walk ( that is not a phrase I will use again) a synapse fired that had been charging over the past two years.  Summer wine nights on the porch were commonplace for the neighbors, but the past two years we have not been able to connect.  Through the past two years, the winter gathering started.  So my mind raced with reasons why our time together with food/wine-loving good friends has shifted.  Forget the obvious crazy schedule answer, I ruled that out last year since we did have a few dates that would have work, but didn’t.  Then, while changing out of my wet clothes from blowing, my reflection in the bathroom mirror brought everything into focus.  Winter is cold.  Therefore, I must wear long pants, bulky sweaters and a jacket.  But in the summer, I usually wear baggy shorts, t-shirt and no underwear.  I must have let my saggy, saltwater taffy sack swing too freely the last hot humid night on the porch.  Maybe one of the neighbor’s kids has been scarred for life after Mr. Potato Head showed his bald spot. Yes, in the winter, Mr. Potato Head hibernates. To Wino Lou, Wino Bruce and Wino Chris, please extend my apologies to your families.  I will make up for it in wine and will be wearing an extra pair of under shorts tonight.  Let the fun begin.  (Editor's note: 





Now getting back to wine, I did get to see the Spectator’s Top 100 and I will not spend much time commenting on it since Wino John and Wino Wally are much more capable.  I just have one thing to say:  A Merlot?  Are you mad, woman?  A friggin Merlot…


December 1, 2003

Boy, did my extended weekend end in a bust.  The dreaded common cold took away my ability to taste, smell and enjoy wine so the remains of the poor wine I picked for Thanksgiving is my last memory of the beverage.  However, all was not lost, as a means of sleeping well last night to be refreshed and ready to tackle the morning, I grabbed a bottle of Vicks Nyquil.  Mother of God, did this knock me out, but one or two more nights of this and my buds should be back in working condition.

2003 Vicks Nyquil $ (5.99)    A full-bodied liquid with a mint and menthol nose that cuts through the stuffiest of heads.  A velvety mid-palate delights with a fiery finish.


November 28, 2003 

Uneventful, hey, I’ll take that as a win.  Thank God Thanksgiving is over.  Next year it is a Swanson TV dinner in the comfort of my small hideout on the third floor of my house.  Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes and an entire dinner comes out with corn bread and all.  Crumble the tin dish and Thanksgiving is officially over.  Taking the advice of WJ, I selfishly took wine that I wanted to try to dinner yesterday.  The crowd, mostly non-drinkers, polished off 6 bottles of non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider while I disappointed myself with my choices.  I stopped into Shop Rite Discount on Wednesday evening and only had about twenty dollars, so I picked two wines that I thought would work (for me).  I actually drank one glass of the one bottle and sent the rest to the septic tank/  Boy, was that a loser.  I finally found a Rhone I didn’t like.  When I got home, I read through a blurb on the wines from this appellation and when they said it could be hit or miss, they weren’t kidding.  Swing and a miss, you’re outa here.

The wine I opened and drank with dinner was a better fit, though nothing compared to the euphoric White Hall Lane Reserve I had on Wednesday.  I do think for the price, it was a good one and for a Thursday nighter, it was fine.  I’m thinking next year to just have a liquid Thanksgiving after my TV dinner so I won’t have to deal with the ever-expanding waistline from Bourbon yams, mashed potatoes and stuffing.

The headache can be cured by drinking more, they gut can only be treated by vigorous exercise and, other than the striking motion of my arm moving towards the champagne cork, neither 'vigorous' nor 'exercise' have been in my vocabulary for years.

1997 Eric Rocher Terroir de Champal Saint Joseph $ (8.99)   It gets half a point since the label said it is red wine.

2000 Sterling Vintners Collection Shiraz $ (12.99)    That is their spelling on the label for this California Syrah.  Nice nose on this one with a spicy dark cherry flavor and a hint of toasted oak.  A pleasant wine for a Thursday night, but not really up to a special occasion.


November 27, 2003

Great, Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful, and be with family and be thankful.  Do we really live in an age that we need a day to be thankful that we survived another year?  Are we living in such wretched conditions that we need to take an entire day, no, an extended weekend, to appreciate that we survived on cod and corn?  Look, I’m grateful that I live in America, and I am thankful that:

  • Red wine came into my life

  • I can kill millions of brain cells every night

  • My swollen liver makes for fun party tricks

  • I only received restraining orders from the industry giants and I don’t have to bunk with a large sweaty black man in need of loving in prison

  • Wino John corrects my spelling

  • You Winos send emails sometimes without using four letter words

  • Freedom of speech allows me to post my stupid comments on the WWW without fear of being taken out of my home in the middle of the night

  • I have the chance to share wine with some of you

  • Wino Rocker is wealthy and I can have him invest in my next get rich Ralph Kramden scheme

  • My family are not Puritans

  • Modern medicine allows me to live a healthy life and I was taught at an early age to eat citrus fruits so I don’t get scurvy

  • White Burgundies drink heavy enough to almost be a red wine

  • I am not French

  • Veronique Drouhin touched me, even if it was to choke me

  • ATMs were invented

  • Man made synthetics so after civilization dies out, the aliens that land here to re-populate the earth will see the plastic containers we stored our abundance of food in and the cheap rayon and polyester leisure suits we had to wear for our sixth grade school picture

  • For Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre

  • I took Kevin Zraly’s class, though he isn’t

  • We have lawyers that show us how idiotically liberal a society we live in

  • We can elect conservatives to counter those misgivings

  • For safe water to drink

  • I can go to Taco Bell for a bean and cheese burrito anytime of the night (they’re open late)

  • I can gorge myself on a steroid-enhanced turkey with six legs

  • I do not have to look at a woman in a burlap sack

  • I do not have flies buzzing around my swollen head

  • I can buy cheap wine

  • I can own a gun

  • I can speak out against idiot politicians

  • I can drink my cheap wine until I stumble into bed

  • God invented satellite TV with 500 channels

  • I drive an SUV that gets 8 miles to the gallon at ¼ the price

  • I don’t have to eat dog, then fashion it into my next article of clothing

  • We have indoor plumbing

But most of all I am thankful that I will be locked down at a table for four hours eating, drinking and exchanging conversation with people I haven’t seen in at least, uh, two weeks.  Thank God we survived through those long fourteen days of hardship, uncertainty and famine.

Yes, Thanksgiving officially started at Sundown last night, in front of the TV watching survivor and treating myself to a, dare I say, Big Ass California Cabernet.  (Editor's note: YES!!!)

1996 White Hall Lane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (36.00)    This one is only driving at 45 in a 55 mph zone, so if you are patient, it will only get better.  Crafted with love, this wine drinks big and has a great black cherry and currant flavor with spice and a long sexy finish.  I am thankful.

2000 Monte Antico $ (8.99)       This 2000 is light on the fruit and big on the acidity.  I enjoyed this one the first time I had the 99, but this one doesn’t deliver .

November 24, 2003

We spent an enjoyable evening touring the streets of Bayonne on our way to meet Winette Alice and Wino Paul.  The tour was unexpected as finding my way around Bayonne was a bit more difficult then expected.  The delay did put a wrinkle into the pre-dinner entertainment.  The time delay cooled the fondue and warmed the champagne, but the fun conversation more than made up for our delay.  Winette Alice had an 'in' at the restaurant so they were kind enough to hold our table.  The restaurant is called De Noi and is a warm, intimate setting with a cozy fireplace and soft lighting.  The food was delicious as I had the grilled shrimp over vegetables for appetizer and the meat stuffed tortellini with peas and proscuitto in a pink sauce.

As my luck with wet corks is running, it happened again.  As the wine list was given to me, I scanned the list for something not too expensive with a good quality.  The list was loaded with Italian wines and they did carry several high end Super Tuscans.  I selected something syrah based since Winette Alice loves this grape.  As the waiter cut the foil, I saw that crusty, rusty look of a leaky bottle.  The waiter drew the cork, and poured the wine.  I do not know if he was unaware of the reason one presents the cork first before the pour, or he knew that the cork was soaked and wanted to see if I would say anything.  The wine had an off smell and a vinegar finish.  I then made the waiter show me the cork and I pointed to all the things that made me concerned about the wine being spoiled by improper storage, the rust, the soaked cork, the smell, the taste.  To support my case, I suggested the waiter taste, but he informed me he had a bad liver and could not taste the wine, but would bring me another bottle.  The second one showed similar signs but the wine had not turned yet.  Not wanting to press the point, I let go of the issue.  I only hope that the high end wines are kept in a better storage location so someone paying two and a half times the retail price would not be faced with an issue that would make them have to question the waiter if the wine was spoiled.  Imagine spending $250.00 and the waiter telling you it was OK but that he couldn’t taste it to verify.

The gracious Winette Alice had coffee and dessert waiting back at the house so we headed out and spent the rest of the night enjoying stories and pictures from the world travels of Wino Paul.   

2003 George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau $ (7.99)    This year is delivering a darker, richer color and a more intense flavors of raspberry and strawberry with a nice balance of acid.  A notch up in body and flavors.


November 22, 2003

Happy Single Gun Man Conspiracy Day, or should I say Happy Magic Bullet Day.  Well here it is, the third week in November, and that means we are cloaked in two traditions I have a hard time dealing with.  Tradition number one, the easier one to discuss, is the fan fare that greets the tasting of Beaujolais Nouveau.  Admittedly, I am a novice to wine and its traditions, but as an outsider, I never understood why the wineries rushed out a pre released product for you to sample.  This is akin to ordering filet mignon as your appetizer at a fine steakhouse where you go to enjoy filet mignon for dinner.  Are there that many wine drinkers needing to have the 411 on the upcoming vintage of the light and fruity Gamay beverage?  Hell, except for the Grand Crus, I don’t have many people telling me they are stocking up on Beaujolais at the birth of their children to serve at their weddings.  I drink this wine young, I chill this red and yes, I serve this one to my crazy Aunt so she can add in a bit of club soda.  Help me here, FOWB (Friends of Wino Bob), if you tell me its just another excuse for the French to party and drink wine, I’m all over that.  But if you seriously look me in the eye and tell me that you need to drink from the barrel this special nectar of the Gods- I say, I say…. I say I don’t believe you.  

Now as I write, I am trying to schedule time in my day to run over to Shop Rite Discount Liquors and grab a few bottles to bring to Wino Paul and Winette Alice’s this evening.  It will be my present to them for the invite to their Chateau and to further our Fun With Wine classes.  As a precursor to dinner, it will be a fun wine, but knowing Winette Alice’s penchant for Shiraz, I don’t think this will fit her style.  But wine is a fun learning experience and I am off to broaden their horizons. 

Now that the wine-related part of the entry is out of the way, I wanted to just mention something else that his on my mind this week and, of course, was on JFK’s mind today.  The single gunman theory, Oswald worked alone, the Warren Commission, LBJ, the Mafia, Castro, Dallas, canceling football, November 22nd.  I spent hours at night this week switching between the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, ABC, and Comedy Central.  OK, Comedy Central has little to do with this, but I had so much conspiracy theory I thought my head was going to explode.  The Discovery Channel did a superior job, unlike any of the others I have seen so far.  Like Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special and The Great Pumpkin, it has become a thread in the fabric of Thanksgiving week that we see the latest installment of an interpretation on the JFK assassination.  

What sent me over the edge this week was the Canadian-born, USA-hating, highly paid in US dollars, Peter Jennings special.  He greeted the audience with the declaration of how their research would once and for all clarify the fact that Oswald worked alone.  The computer rendering of the renowned Zapruder film brought the best technological explanation of the bullet path from the book depository through Kennedy’s windpipe and into Connelly.   They spent good time and money developing this.  However, they fell short by totally ignoring the fatal headshot through the same computer analysis.  They never drew a line for the headshot to the 6th floor window.  They should have been able to digitize the fames that captured that split second when the second bullet struck the President.  But no, nothing was discussed.  There was nothing rendered, all they simulated was his fall to the left towards Jackie.  My question, how can a news show on a major network fall short of a complete, thorough and truthful explanation for the entire event after the declare they had all the evidence to prove their theory?  I have an editor, and Wino John often checks my facts so we present the most honest and truthful version of what spills out of my drunken stupor.  Shouldn’t WABC TV and their highly paid, Canadian-born, star news man be held to the same standard as this stupid web site?   I think so, and I say right here and right now, Peter Jennings is a dick.  Turn in your newsman credentials and apply for a job on Access Hollywood where you can bring out your left leaning bias and not have to pretend it's news.  Why don’t you take a job with Al Franken-stein and Al Gore on the All Al-Liberal Radio Network soon to be clogging the air space in a city near you?  Hey Al, you were funny in the seventies on Saturday Night Live.  Now get over yourself. 

So another year has come and gone and we again are left with more questions than answers.  Why do they need to taste a wine that has born-on dating and why do they need to keep locked up the documents that will clarify the entire JFK assassination?  Come on Teddy, I know somewhere in your Chivas-soaked soul, you can find the need for America to know the truth.  Stop stonewalling and let the truth be told.


November 20, 2003

After a week of driving around holding Wino John’s sack, I got tired and called him up to grab lunch.  “WJ, I am tired of holding your sack.  Can I give it back?”  “If your done with it, I guess, but I don’t mind if you what to hold it a while longer.”  Now all you Michael Jackson gutter heads think again.  I was holding WJ’s wine sack.  One night when we ate dinner at a BYOB, WJ brought a high-end cab in his high end wine sack and left it in the restaurant.  I went back and got it for him.  I hate being in charge of other people’s stuff so I needed to get it out of my possession. 

Since today was Laurie Day at JR’s, we met for lunch and I handed him back his sack.  I guess that’s enough childish humor with the word sack, which has me thinking again about words.  As you know I am a frustrated writer.  Back in college, I dreamed of writing the next great American novel.  As you can tell from my writings here, I neither have the Word-A-Day vocabulary nor the intellectual thought process to write a novel.  Fortunately, this dumb web site lets me write in my unintelligible fashion for my own amusement.  That is why I so enjoy listening to great music.  One of the things I never understood however is how these great musicians write words, that aren’t about what they mean, but mean something else.  I am too literal and when someone in the line of a song says, “When football teams are kissing queens…”, I immediately think that the songwriter from Train, from his song Calling All Angels, was not an athlete and his dig is that all the jocks are now the gay kids in class.  But he explained that this is about kids who are athletes because they are living out their fathers' sports fantasies.  I don’t make that connection but maybe some of my synapse has de-linked from the wine consumption. To me, you say what you mean and mean what you say, but great songwriters say what they don’t mean and mean what they are not saying.  That’s why I, as a literal person, thought that Meatloaf meant the two high school kids in Paradise by the Dashboard Lights were 'doublely blessed' since they were young and naked.  But no, doublely blessed meant they both had protection so they could go all the way.  Jesus, imagine if a songwriter was negotiating a contract in the business world.  “Yes we will buy the wave soldering machine as long as it’s sheathed.”  OK, does that mean I need to sell them a cover or does that really mean that they get a one-year warranty?  

This really gets mixed if I delve into the hip lingo of the Rap community where Bad means Good and Phat means Good and Dawgs mean Good and Whop Bop A Lop Bop means Good.  For Christ Sake, just say Good.  I guess having a fifth grade vocabulary forces me to, well, say what I mean.  So now here’s the 411 on the water I nizzled.  (411 is 'information' and water really means 'wine' and nizzled is a word I once heard Snoopy Doggie Dog say, but I’m too white to really know what it means so I thought it might make me out to be not so white which would make me cooler than I really am as a white man of middle class means).  Drizzle my phashizzle - I hope I didn’t curse at anyone…

1999 Freemark Abby Cabernet Sauvignon $$ (30.00)    This Meritage brings a well-structured mildly tannic firm beverage to your glass.  Flavors of blackberry, currant and black cherry delight before you brace for the tannins and acid which poke a sharp stick into the roof of your mouth.


November 18, 2003

Having such a great time last Thursday, I found myself stopping by Bacchus to have an attitude adjusting glass of wine.  Wanting not to beat the dog again after a day of frustration at work, a comforting glass of red wine, some light conversation and POW, instant Mr. Happy, until the bill came.  Double POW.  “I’m sorry, Mike, you must have given me the bill for that party of six diners, the table over there that ordered the 2 pound lobsters and Kobe beef.”  Mike picked up my check, looked it over and clearly stated, "No, Wino Bob, that’s your bill for the three glasses of Napa Wine Company Zinfandel.”  Thud- I hit the floor, three glasses of wine costing TWELVE DOLLARS each?  Holy mother of pearl.  As I researched my choice, I am finding that a bottle runs around 20-24.00.  Now I will admit, Mike showed me the bottle and it is the thickest glass bottle I have seen in a long time, but I didn’t expect to be paying by the pound of glass.  I expect a mark up, but I do want to be able to sit down after drinking a few glasses of wine.  This morning I felt screwed; it was the same tired headache I get from the $6.00 glass of wine.  What makes it double?  I believe next time I will inquire into the bottle price and sit and consume 2-3 glasses from my own bottle, put my name on it and ask them to hold it for me for a future visit.  Pow, twelve dollars per glass, so much for mellowing out after a crappy day.

2001 Napa Wine Company Zinfandel $ (24.00)    This is a richly textured, silky wine with plenty of cherry and raspberry fruits.  A touch of spice finishes this in a subtle, soft fashion


November 16, 2003

Not since the 'grassy knoll' and the 'Hollywood faking of the landing on the moon', has there been such a conspiracy theory to make news headlines.  On the heels of Wino Wally’s in-depth expose on the blatant ripping off of subject matter by the Wine Spectator of our original ideas, my copy arrived in the mail today. That Syrah grape headline just made me madder than hell.  Having plenty of angst from last night and now with this, I drove over to the local Shop Rite Discount Liquors.  By the way, let me tell you how good the renovations have made this store look.  The new racking is beautiful and the clean, crisp layout is impressive.  Anyway, I walked over to the first display that said red and had a price less than ten dollars, and a grabbed a bottle.  Then I marched over to the cooler that was stocked with sparkling wines, found the cheapest one that contained a cork, paid for it and drove home to alleviate some stress.  How did I do that you ask?  Simple, I headed down to the launch pad and unhilted my saber.  After a Don Quixotesque sword fight with windmills, I turned my attention to the art and craft of beheading a sparkling wine bottle.  With camera rolling to again document every twitch and bead of sweat, I took a deep breath, a practice tap and then with the fluid motion of a pyromaniac striking the match that blazed up Chicago, for the second time, I swung through with the finesse of Tiger Woods chipping one in from the fringe.  Swoosh, ting, pop, fizz, success.


Yes, Winos, the little man in the boat applied the surgical strike of a mid night navy seals' raid of a Talibahn training camp.  Quiet, swift and precise got me in and out of the neck and sent the glass encased cork across the room as a small amount of foamy spray gushed out the neck like a 17 year old boy on prom night.  Behold the first successful mission as I train for the coveted title of a "Napoleonic Admiral in Waiting" to be touched on both cheeks by a sweaty, pimple faced, over weight, non-deodorant wearing, balding Frenchman.  Winos, I am ready to take on your next big event with my saber wielding performance of champagnous decapitatous.  I understand if I do well, I can stand in at a Bris. 


1997 Domaine de Montgilet Coteeaux de L’Aubance  gift   Honey?  Yes dear?  No, honey is what this wine is all about.  From the dark gold color to the sweet honey flavor, this Loire wine is interesting enough to be served well chilled after dinner.


November 15, 2003

I know I am far from a wine expert, but even with my pea-brain knowledge base about wine, I know when people are trying to bullshit me.  You know I love the JR place.  It is a frequent lunch stop for WJ and I, but last evening I had an unfortunate incident.  No, nothing to do with police, or punches or strangle holds and no important industry people.  It was a simple, low-key Friday night.  I just wanted to grab an inexpensive bottle of wine, inhale some second hand cigar smoke and nibble on a fruit and cheese plate.  So I played a hide and seek game from the wine shop sales people, as they are most annoying. They shadow you and keep asking if you need help.  Hey, wine shop boy, what part of NO don’t you understand?  So after playing a little mind f game by picking up a bottle, and going to hand it to them to bring to the counter, then changing my mind and picking something else up, then changing my mind (he still didn’t get the hint).  Finally, I settled on a bottle of Torres Gan Sangre de Toro. (Unlike WJ, I am loyal to old friends, as you can see he quickly jumps on the bandwagon of the newest person to file legal documents against me.)  The Torres will be in Big Bob’s portfolio in January. 

After the ritual of paying, being told if I buy the 2nd bottle it’s 10% off and how I go about handing it to a waitress, show the receipt, there is a corkage, blah, blah, blah.. I found the affable Laurie by the bar, and she set me up at a table in the back by the fireplace.  Upon cutting off the foil, Laurie noticed a rusting to the cap and an obvious stain to the top of the cork.  She showed me the wine manager and told me to bring it to her so I can exchange it for another bottle.  Laurie accompanied me to verify she had just cut the foil and I showed the manager the cork’s condition.  The manager picked up the bottle, looked at the cork, turned to me and said, “ Oh that, that just means the wine is peaking, it will be really good to drink.”  What the f&$# ?????   Peaking?  Are you serious?  Play me the fool, but I have just enough pea brain knowledge to know that wine does not peak by making its way to the top of the cork.  Then they proceeded to sniff the cork and see if they could tell if the wine was good.  Are you kidding me?  You are going to try and off load an $11.00 bottle of Spanish wine to me by convincing me the wet cork is a must for wine to age properly?  What Sears Wine School did you graduate from?  I must admit, I became a bit testy with the young girl and even informed her that her distributor would make good on it.  So she reluctantly went and got another bottle of the same, had the affable Laurie cut the foil while the wine shop vultures danced around asking me if I wanted to buy anything else as they were checking the cork on this bottle.  As it turned out, that bottle’s cork was wet also and I was told to find a different wine to buy. 

What got under my skin the most is that this was the complete opposite of how I had been treated when something similar happened several years back.  At that time, WJ and I were spending a great many hours after work drinking our way through the inventory and talking about doing a web site.  We got to know Richie, the wine manager, and he was a true, customer-oriented person.  That’s also when times were good and I was purchasing a lot of show wines: Opus, Cask 23, Quintessa and the like.  One day I purchased a high end Burgundy and set it in my cellar.  Months had passed before I decided to give the bottle a try.  Jesus, mold and crap was all under the foil, the wine smelled like my jock after basketball practice.  So I was in JR the next week, buying some trophy bottle and I started talking with Richie about the problems I was having setting up my wine cellar and that several bottles had turned.  He spoke with me for a half hour, and finally asked which wines I lost.  I told him the one I was most bummed out about was the high end Burgundy I had read up on and that I purchased it there.  He looked through the shelves, found the same vintage and handed it to me, straight out.  Kind of like the Nordstrom’s mentality, go the extra mile to make the customer happy.  That simple act has lead to many a three bottle nights between WJ and I at the JR lounge, too many lunches to document and the buying of a good quantity of wine.  Now that the economy is down, I do not buy that much wine and my price range rarely goes above twenty dollars, but JR’s is still on my list of favorites, until last night.  I finally picked a different bottle, drank it quickly and headed home, but the experience was dampened by the way things were handled, not by the affable Laurie, but by the wine shop staff.


November 14, 2003

Needing to recover from the unfortunate incident with the champagne saber, Wino John used his industry connections and got us into the Joseph Phelps dinner at Bacchus.  The main dining room was over flowing with enthusiasts anticipating the pour of the night, the 2000 Insignia.  WJ and I were seated at a table for six and shared some great wine conversation with Tom, Ron, Jean and Kim.  Ron at one time ran a wine class in Summit and was very informative about the Phelps wines.  The evening was enhanced by the presence of Phelps Vineyards' President and CEO, Tom Shelton. 

Joseph Phelps Vineyards' President and CEO, Tom Shelton

Upon entering the dining room, we were handed a glass of the 2001 Chardonnay Los Carneros as a warm up.  Pay no attention to any spin WJ may place on my conversation with Tom.  We hit it off famously and he extended an invitation to us to visit Phelps Vineyards. Well not us - WJ and me specifically.  More like the cordial, collective 'all of us in attendance'.  But he did extend an invitation…

The first course was wild salmon over multi grain rice with pumpkin seed oil.  Boy, I can never get enough pumpkin seed oil.  It was paired with the 2001 Pastiche Rouge.  Phelps is an original Rhone Ranger and two Rhone styles were poured during the evening.  The second was a fav of mine for a long time.  The Pastiche is a solid wine for being sub 10 dollars as an easy drinker with a nice interplay of fruit.  I would keep this one around for those nights when you feel like a glass or two, alone, while watching some reality show in hopes of escaping your own miserable reality.

Course two was a roasted yellow and red beet Napoleon.  I guess if I do get inducted into the Champagne Sabering Society, I will be eating a great deal of this.  As a delight, they paired this earthy, beet salad with my fav, Le Mistral.  Fittingly, NJ was under siege by a blustery 50mph wind that fit the wine perfectly.  This 2000 vintage is weighty, bold and one of those wines I would like to bathe in, sorry, I mean it is well constructed with great aromas and bigger, chewier fruit.  Waiter, bring us another bottle.

Course three was sliced smoked duck breast tappas, which is a kind way of saying 'leftover duck sandwich on toast'.  Accordingly it was paired with the 2000 Merlot.  I could have passed on both.

The main course was roasted filet mignon, aptly paired with the 2000 Insignia.  Nothing better than medium rare red meat and a Meritage.  There was a collective sigh that rippled through the audience as the plates and wine were brought into the dining room.  There were tears in the eyes of the crowd and Wino John himself caressed and cuddled his glass to the point I was feeling a bit uncomfortable.  Phelps has a great reputation and the three wines that our table liked the best were the blends, which supports my position on wine.  The depth and complexity of blends are seductive and as one varietal may have a bad harvest, the wine master can play to the strength of the blend. 

I passed on the Fig strudel as fig and prune cause the same chemical combustion within me and there was no need to ruin the fun.  Upon draining the last drop from the bottles for the event, WJ and I headed to the bar for a nightcap.  We made some new friends and are hoping that once Tom checks out our web site and reads about the enjoyment and excitement with which we talk about his wines, our phone will be ringing to set up that private tour of the Phelps properties and have lunch with Tom.  It works that way for the writers from Spectator, the WSJ, the Times, Departure Magazine, Food and Wine…  So I am sure our media presence will be recognized and the Phelps brands will start flying off the shelves of the Bottle King stores all over NJ.  Dinner was hosted by Bottle King and WJ must purchase so much wine from them that his invitation was actually highlighted in 24K gold leaf.  Just one comment, go easy on the Le Mistral.  I will be out hunting down this wine for myself.


November 8, 2003

Warning, for those with weak stomachs, please do not read this entry.
Stop back in several days.

Winos, if you notice the warning and the font type and color changes, this is because the asshole, Wino Bob, decided to try his hand at removing a champagne cork by the art of sabering.  Wino Wilson here, and I just wanted to give you a quick review as I sit at the emergency room of Mountainside Hospital.  The doctors are looking for a tobacconist who is familiar with re-attaching  severed pipe cleaners.  Amusing as it was, and thank God I was rolling tape, the daft Wino Bob attempted his first practice run at his Napoleonic Admiral Kegel thing.  Unfortunately, it went bad.  Way bad.  The video is too large for the server to handle, but I did manage to snap a few shots of the aftermath as I waited for the emergency workers to arrive.  This is your last chance to turn away…

Warning- Not for the faint of heart!!!

Winos and Winettes, I present the disastrous pictures.  As I understand, it might be several days before WB can type for himself, so hang in there since updates may be delayed during recovery.


 (Editor's note:  WinoBob, don't say that I didn't warn you...)

November 7, 2003

I am typing this out today as possibly the last day that I have all my appendages.  Wino John is convinced that during my episode of champagne sabering tomorrow, I will slice through something and be less than whole.  Typing is challenging enough, but typing sans two fingers would make my updates fewer and farther between.  I am not embarrassed to accept any free bottles from any major wine importer to practice my craft, in search of my title: Official Champagne Swordsmen and Mass Wine Consumer, the Honorable Napoleonic Admiral in Waiting, French Foreign Legion Grand Kegel.  Life is made to be fun and the video camera will be rolling to capture this event.  Fun will be in the eye of the beholder depending on the outcome.  But as for now, I am thinking positively, drinking profusely and slicing spastically.

As for my wine drinking, Castello Banfi continues to be a favorite for my Italian wine consumption and, as white wines go, I am becoming a big fan of Sauvignon Blancs.  Last night I drank some of each.

1999 Castello Banfi's Cum Laude $$$ (57.00 restaurant)  - Latin for "with honors”, this wine is a blend of 25% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 15% Syrah.   A delicious combination of juicy berries and spicy cherries, with clove, anise and black pepper.  This one would taste great with a nice chicken parm with sharp Romano cheese.

2001 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc $ (14.00)     This is a great, crisp, snappy wine with a rich balance of grapefruit, gooseberry and green pepper.  Supported by fresh acidity, a mineral and flinty finish.


November 3, 2003

As I opened the door to the hallway, I craned my neck to see if UPS had delivered.  Thank you, Jesus, the Lord bringith my trusty sword.  Like Ralphie at Christmas getting his Red Ranger BB gun, my delight of seeing the return label from Texas had me tearing open the box to wrap my pipe cleaner fingers around the masterfully crafted wooden handle of my Champagne saber.  As Alexandre had promised, he included a sample of a Cliquot bottle he beheaded so I can see what to expect.  Now, all I need to do is buy a case of Cava or some crap that I can practice on.  I cannot wait to get tanked up and start wielding that saber around like a Mexican at a piñata party.  Nothing goes better than armaments and wine.  As the technique was explained to me by my mentor, the French soldiers used the back of their blade as not to dull their sword for, uh..., cutting the cheese.  You know brie is difficult to section without the sharpest of cutlery.

So here is a picture of my new toy and the beheaded bottle.  The shards of glass will exit the neck of the bottle if done correctly.  I’m seeing movie here, forget Freddie or Jason or Edward Scissor Hands.  My victims will full prey to my glass- encased cork flying through the air at approximately the speed of sound.  I jus have to learn to aim.



November 2, 2003

Less is more, so I have been told, so my entry today will be less rambling and more wine review.  The other evening, we had an emergency meeting of the WinoStuff staff.  Wino John was concerned that our content was staying up too long, not offering enough hard hitting stories fast enough to keep our readers interested.  He basically said he needs more new, fresh material so he can spend his evenings and weekends tied to his computer.  OK, who am I kidding?  We found a time when both our schedules were free so we got together to drink some wine.  Now isn’t that what this web page is all about anyway?  More wine, less talk from your new WINO radio 1310.  Yes, I like the sound of that..., "All wine, all the time".  There is a WADO radio 1210 in NJ but it is all Spanish and I cannot determine if they are all wine, all the time, so I hope I am not stealing their format.  I only get some of the stuff they say, like, "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah el Presidente George Bush, blah, blah, blah, blah, Ricky Martin, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah oil wrestling."

1990 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ? (this came out of WJ’s stash)   Big and bold, this is why WJ loves Cali cabs. Deep reddish-purple, with generous portions of black cherry, currant, mild oak and a robust finish.  Don’t waste this one on a stick figure, save it for the real guests.

1995 Floral Springs Trilogy $$ (40.00)   A harmonious Meritage that offers depth and structure with a good fill of red fruits, dark berries, a hint of mint and a vanilla finish


1996 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $ (22.00)   A dark red to purple hue and the flavors of coffee, currant and dark cherry play on your palate.  A mild amount of acidity and tannins show up at the end.


October 31, 2003

OK, I know, I haven’t posted in a long time.  I am sorry.  But I really haven’t had much wine this week.  I have been knee deep in geekdom as it looks like the economy is rolling over.  I took time last night to kick back and type crazy things into the search engine to see what came up.  I often combine words that normally would never go together and hit the search button.  Time and again, I do get something as a response.  As you can imagine, most are porn sites, but last night I found a site that had me stop, read and actually dig out my credit card to place an order.  Come on, everyone needs a pocket blender and spray on hair, or is it just me? 

As the dried, bloody scab of the boycott falls away and gives rise to bright pink new flesh, I have been looking at French related web pages.  Oui, Oui, and  mon fait la peau sous votre croûte paraît agréable et rose.  Actually, I found a site that explained the Art of Sabre a Champagne.  The what?  Yes Winos and Winettes, I have found my new calling.  I have decided to lean the technique of removing the cork from a champagne bottle in the rich tradition of the cavalry soldiers of Napoleon’s Army.  That would be the army that bet, the French.  Sorry, I am not going there at this time of group hug mania. 

My new friend and mentor, Alexandre, explained and happily sold me my very own Champagne Saber which will be arriving at Chateau Wino Bob this very Monday.  Like a priest serving first Holy Communion, I am excited in anticipation of its arrival.  The best thing will be the new career this will launch as I am sure my new skills will allow me to be the evening’s entertainment at your next important celebration where the ceremonial uncorking of a champagne bottle will add to the oppressively expensive wedding reception.  “Ladies and Gentleman, we are honored with the presence of an Official Champagne Swordsmen and Mass Wine Consumer, the Honorable Napoleonic Admiral in Waiting, French Foreign Legion Grand Kegel, Wino Bob.  Wino Bob, come over here and give me a high eight and a half.”

Though this will only be for professionals, I will have to rig something up to uncork and snap a digital picture simultaneously.  Stay tuned, more to follow.

(Editor's note:  Here is an artist's rendition of the 'Honorable Napoleonic Admiral in Waiting' simultaneously removing the top of a Champagne bottle and the lower portion of his leg...)



October 25, 2003

Do you think when Al Gore invented the Internet; he had any idea how much junk email we would have to wade through before you get to the important stuff?  I know I complained before about the increase in Spam for viagra and herbs that will give me what a woman really wants.  I don’t know how taking a pill will make me rich; I never opened the email to find out.  Here’s a question, how come all those pills only add 3 inches?  Isn’t America based on competition?  If Joe down the street invented something that would give a man three more inches, wouldn’t Sam reverse engineer the competitive product, and add 10% more of X and 3% more of Y, then market it as the first thing to give you 4 inches.  Then CDE Company would push the limit farther until a man could actually need three socks.

Anyway, I opened my Wino Bob email yesterday and deleted 30 junk ads, which left 4 actually ones I wanted to read.  The first was someone looking for a bottle of elixir, two were comments about information I posted in one of my entries and the last was one from someone I knew that had the following in the subject matter.  “Take a look at these Beauties”.  Let’s face it, we are all adults here and many times a joke jpeg or a, shall I say very sexy, jpeg finds its way around the internet as friends share special pictures with their buddies.  I have seen my share; some even defy my ability to describe without  having to censor myself.  All I have to say to some women out there is that to me, the neck of the bottle would seem more logical to start with.

So I glanced over my shoulder, though I really don’t know why.  I was alone, as always, with no one within blocks that could see me open this picture.  Without further procrastination, I clicked on the attachment Wino Lee sent and gazed into a set of beauties I could only wish for.  Got Im Himmel, I had to close the picture as my breathing began to rise, my heart beat more quickly and dare I say, my palms began to sweat.  I quickly readjusted myself in my chair to make room for the stirring I felt, and then reopened the jpeg.

Now I hope I don’t get Wino Lee in trouble since I know Winette Tia checks in periodically, but it seems that Wino Lee had a very special evening the last time he was working in Australia.  His host had invited a few people to dinner and these 5 Beauties were waiting at their table when they arrived.  If it were me, I don’t know how I would have lasted through dinner before I became Uncorked.  Would you look at them, but please, make sure your boss, wife, kids or neighbors are not in the room.  Get ready cause here it comes.

Sorry the picture is not clearer, but any wine lover would be jealous to have one of these with dinner, never mind all five at one sitting.  Their labels speak for themselves and my God they are at the top of their regions.  Good for you Wino Lee, and thank you for letting me live vicariously through your dinner.  Next time you go down under, I will send along a doggie bag for you to sneak me back a taste, your host most be a very wealthy man with a palate for the Best.


October 24, 2003

I knew it was coming for the past five weeks.  When you have been through these things before, you recognize the signals, the changes that foretell the future.  You know how it goes, the comfort and feel of the time you are together just do not feel right.  There is this chill in the air and this lingering silence that used to be euphoric, but now seems like pure rejection.  Last night the confirmation hit me like a ton of grapes.  As I pulled into the driveway, I saw my cot leaning against the dumpster.  Damn it, I’m out, alone again with nowhere to sleep on those nights when driving is not an option. 

Five weeks ago, I had dinner at Bacchus and was told by one of the waiters in confidence that the Frodellos sold.  What the f&%$.  Sold, sold what?  Sold their two restaurants.  Sold the Wine and Chop Shop that I came to call my second home.  Sold the one stable thing that was in my life.  As I walked into the place last night, one of the few long timers left greeted me at the door, with a portly gentleman in tow.  John immediately extended his hand, turned to the gentleman and introduced me to Tony.  I will leave out the exact words he used since this is a family web site, but John was nice enough to call me a regular and a VISF (very important stick figure).  Tony chatted a bit, and then walked over to the podium to seat some diners that walked in behind me.

Tony. Tony.  Is he a new GM in training?  Is John leaving?  Shit, he’s the new owner.  Mike, get me a bottle of red and don’t stop until I cry "Uncle".  So now it’s down to Ryan, Mike, Jimmy, John and Tony C. as the old guard.  But more importantly, as I ate my NY strip and drank away the feeling of separation anxiety, I started to look hard at where my future at Bacchus will go.  Would I be able to get the special table and the VISF treatment my ego came to enjoy?  Would the occasional after dinner port fall off the back of the bar and into my hands?  Would I be able to get my red T-Back Briefs I kept in the wine room as a change of clothes when I slept over? 

John stopped by when I was finishing dinner and had many nice things to say about his new boss.  He told me the future looks bright and these two businessmen who purchased the two restaurants had the money behind them to be innovative and get Bacchus and Bruscetta to the next level.  Wow, what background does the dynamic-duo have in creating the dining experience of a lifetime?  Where did their money come from?  What successes have they had in previous restaurant endeavors?   John leaned over the bar and said, “Wino Bob, Tony has tons of money,  He’s a podiatrist.”  A what?  A podiatrist?  Do you mean he touches people’s feet for a living?  Immediately, I brought my hand to my face and smelled the hand Tony shook of mine.  Jesus, a guy that touches fungus-infected feet is now shaking my hands and serving up food and wine.  That is too weird even for me.  As a kid, I had to drive my Grandmother to the podiatrist for her bunions, yikes.  Say it ain’t so, Babe. 

Will I now put up with the $8.50 a glass for Paso Robles cabernet from a foot doctor, or should I stand tall and walk, start a new life, walk out and don’t look over my shoulder, or do I start wearing sandals and see if I get free drinks?

Life sucks, and I don’t have my therapist at UnBacchus to cry on her ample…shoulders.  Hey, quit whining, there are more important things in the world then a guy who fixes hammertoe and now owns two great restaurants.  Maybe I’ll tell him, “I’m Gellin” next time I go in… 


October 20, 2003

Boy, oh boy, I need to get more everyday drinking wine.  In the aftermath of the write up I did for Big Bob’s event, my lawyer has been on the phone for hours.  Wanting to drown the day in cheap wine, I headed to the rack and stood frozen with the fact that I have consumed all my 'get drunk' stuff.  For one hour, I picked up and put back one bottle after the next, weighing the balance between slander and libel and an expensive bottle.  Everything’s fun and games until someone puts an eye out.  Let me stop right here.  It wasn’t Big Bob.  He completely enjoyed the Wanaque Police escort I received out of town.  But I guess I finally found the line to step over. 

So I stand here today, red bottomed from the paddling, without the sexual gratification.  It’s OK, I’m a big stick figure and I can take the negative criticism.  It’s the fact that I had to drink a 1994 California Cabernet. 1994!  This was not a cheap year. No, this was purchased in the bull rush of the tech market, when money flowed from the faucet.  But to replace it now that the flow has been a negligible drip hurt more than the verbal tongue-lashing.  The pain cuts deep when I walk through a wine store and touch and caress those great years, then meekly place them back on the shelf and walk to the Argentina selection to look for a keeper.

Last night, with the Yankee game on in the background and the heady buzz of my sorrow wine, I flipped through the issue of Wine Spectator that arrived recently and was still under the pile of clothing and Capt Crunch cereal box.  Look at the highly recommended wines.  The one on the right, where’s it from?  Priorat?  Yeah, Priorat, my gem in the Spanish wine section whose inky bold liquid taints my teeth for days, is now going to start flying off the shelves and driving the price through the already elevated tin ceiling.   Can’t I catch a break?  Priorat, that’s mine, now those living and dying off the ratings world will be seen in every wine shop around with the torn page from the Spectator pointing to the word Priorat since they do not even know what section to look in.  Then cases will be wheeled out to their M5 and ML320 SUVs as they head back to their palatial estates in the secluded driveways of Essex Fells.  I will be left with the Onyx on the shelves of Kings instead of the gems and jewels of this hot region.

1994 Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County $$   This is why I like blends.  The cabernet, Malbec, merlot, petit verdot, and cabernet franc play well together and offer up mouth-watering dark cherry, cassis, and mint flavors with a seductive finish.  A treat, though too good to be a 'drowning your sorrows' wine.  Save this one for a special occasion.


October 18, 2003

Time waits for no man.  Time is of the essence.  A stitch in time saves nine.  If I could save time in a bottle.  Like sand through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives.  OK, the last one sucks but it is the only other saying I could think of at this hour of the morning.  As Wino Rocker paced the floorboards of my living room, mumbling under his breath and speaking some half English, half Rocker lingo anxious to head out, I called Wino Paul to find out where the hell he was.  He then mumbled some half English, half scientific lingo about the vectors on Mapquest didn’t match to the magnetic north compass bearings for the fall season, making him head south instead of north and up a back road instead of the highway, blah, blah, blah.

Be that as it may, the five of us finally piled into the Wino Bob mobile and head into the deep, dark countryside of rural NJ to locate this hidden jewel of a restaurant that Big Bob promised would be chock full of wine and food.  Finally arriving an hour and a half past the opening bell, we were 2 courses and three tables behind the crowd.  But the wait was worth it.  The lovely Mrs. Big Bob handed us our packets at the door, which contained our venue map, gps, knife, fork, canteen and the precious tasting glass.  Our troops deployed and found our way immediately to the room we spent the most time in, the one with the 150 different samplings of the fruit from the vine.  There was a large crowd, but I managed to squeeze my frail frame passed the tasters and line up at table number one to make up for the lost time.  I must say that Winette Alice was most methodical in her approach, identifying the continent, country, state, region, appellation, village, and vineyard she wanted to start with, then worked her way counter clockwise across the globe.  Wino Rocker on the other hand had the pin-the-tail on the donkey approach.  He basically closed his eyes, spun around three times and stuck his glass out in front of the first person closest to him and said, “Filler Up.”

The five of us ready to attack the 150 wines at Chateau Berta

Serving up the Drouhin collection at table number one was Big Bob himself.  After my third lap around the place, I was able to officially meet Mrs. Big Bob and, as it turns out, we grew up in the same town.  As Sue shook my hand and Big Bob introduced me as Wino Bob, she greeted me with the comment; “Its great to finally meet you, I’ve heard and read a lot about you.  I must say you look different then I pictured.”  With bravado swelling in my chest and the eternal pause allowing me to conger up the next sentence, she then added, “You look... well..., normal.”  Normal?  Normal?  "Normal" replaced the empty area in my ego as the bravado drained down my pant leg and onto the floor.  But hey, a compliment is a compliment and if earlier tonight I looked normal I will put that on the plus side for the evening.


As you can see here, Big Bob had yet to read my entry about France being OK since they ratified the latest UN resolution.  His 'devil look' tried to burn the glass out of my hand, thinking I was on my way over to protest in front of his table.  The gentleman in the center of the picture with the bottle in his hand is my new friend Wino Rich.  Wino Rich, a distant relative of the host, takes his wine tasting seriously.  As you can see here, he opted not to use the glass provided, but rather swigged from each bottle at the table, slammed the bottle down afterwards and yelled out, “Yahoo-I’m a Paper Lion Too.”  I guess he appreciated Plimpton as much as I.

The 14 tables presented wines too numerous to list individually but the highlights included offerings from:

  • Maison Joseph Drouhin & DDO

  • Dopff & Irion

  • Chateau Los Boldos

  • Quinta de la Rosa

  • Nederburg

  • Durbanville Hills

  • Fleur Du Cap

  • Rancho Zabaco

  • Andretti- I tried the Merlot since Flavia raved about it

  • Frei Brothers

  • Black Swan

  • Castello D’Alboa

  • Fattoria dei Barbi

  • Clos du Bois

  • Rosemount

  • Beringer

  • Columbia Crest

  • Robert Mondavi

  • Kenwood

  • BV

  • Moet & Chandon

  • Kendall Jackson

  • La Crème

  • Fetzer

  • Roederer

  • Blue Nun

  • Hawk Crest


  Unfortunately Wino John could not attend, but his connection could.  Yes, his French connection. 

The gentleman on the right appears to be from Sutter Home (a winery not represented).  I saw him taking sips from the red and white wine in his hands, swishing them in his mouth and calling the winemaker back at the vineyard describing what their blush wine next month should be made from. Brian Badlowski, center, had a laundry list of recent Wino John purchases.  If you look at the left side of the table, you can see the booklet, single spaced in 6 point New Times Roman.  I’m still waiting for the invite to Wino John’s home to help him drink some of that stash. 

Big Bob introduced me to Michael Berkoff, the Mr. Big of Bev Max - The Wine and Liquor Superstore with over 56 locations in the tri state area.  I promised Mr. Berkoff that I would drink my way up to Stamford, through each of his locations.

From the size and look of the crowd, I’d say the evening was a success for the community and the scholarship fund.  There is nothing better than drinking yourself silly to assist a young mind in their college dreams so one day they can grow up, get a great job, and drink themselves silly to perpetuate the dream to support the next generation.  It is a vicious cycle of drinking and educating, but I feel more and more that it is my calling in life.  As you can see here, Wino Paul has rounded third at number 136 and is heading into home.

His arms look normal to me in this picture; I guess he just buys special pants that have extra deep pockets.

Sincerely, I send out a special thanks to Big Bob for his hospitality.  And without being able to go into details, he treated me to two gems that were not on the list. It was like the hidden tracks on your favorite CD.  The Maison Joseph Drouhin Montrachet was deliciously flavored with a weight, body and finish of a high school cheerleader.  The Bordeaux from a very sought after collectible producer, of which I cannot legally mention, but rhymes with Chateau Betrus, was the highlight of my night. Call me a puss for drinking White Burgundy and Merlot, but these two are in a different category in the wine world.  The most amazing thing came to me several minutes ago, as I stood in my bathroom.  Tonight, my urine was worth bout $189.69 an ounce.  Cheers, Big Bob.  I hope your fund raising efforts surpassed expectations.  Our enjoyment sure did.


October 16, 2003

Thank God the Germans and French voted to support the recent resolution in the UN.  The vote for assistance from the world community has been ratified 15-0.  Why am I so excited you ask?  This is the olive branch that I have been waiting for to get back on the French wine-drinking wagon.  And it comes at a critical moment in the Wino Bob social schedule.  Now I can go to Big Bob’s Wine extravaganza with a clear conscience.  Since the French are now working with us, I am now going to be drinking Big Bob’s French offerings. At the end of the evening, he will have wished I was only drinking his SA, NZ and IT offerings.  But now, the floodgates are opened and I am ready to bathe in Bordeaux.  There should be at least 100 of the 150 wines from his French portfolio.  Yes, the crowd is growing.  Pipe cleaner boy will be there with Winos and Winettes in tow, all dressed in swank black, prepared to swallow as much of the tasting as humanly possible.  I’ll have the digital camera but need to get the blessings of Big Bob.  If ok, I’ll post up what I capture on camera before I drink myself blind.  (Editor's note:  I'm sure that BigBob wasn't counting on WinoBob's consumption capacity.  I see this fund-raiser turning into a fund-loser...)

October 13, 2003

Holy Crap Marie, I have to sober up.  The haze of red wine sediment has sent me into some kind of bizzaro world.  It seems that the world I woke up to this week is 181 degrees out of phase.  Life in winoland has the most liberal and free spirited region of landmass getting rid of a liberal and free ruler.  And in the rock-ribbed conservative nether regions of winoland the Iconoclast of the straight and near is late night partying with opiates and little blue pills.  (Editor's note: WHAT???)  Yes, the inmates are running the asylum.  As I live and breathe, I would never in my pathetic, loner life believed the headlines of the land of fruits, flakes and nuts.  The people spoke; kicking out a tax and spend tree hugger for the likes of a foreign born, cigar smoking, woman loving, full blooded movie mogul who has coined a new way of pronouncing the state he will govern, just right of center. Conversely, never in this millennium would I have believed that the poster boy for conservative thought and mouth piece to the silent majority who rails against dope smoking, flea infested hippie-styles, be outed for copping more scrips than Elvis.  “Rush Limbaugh, stay clear of late night visits to the bathrooms and chicken fried steak with biscuit gravy.”   The King.

What’s next, a white grape that has the power of a red grape?  Or worse, wine in a can?  Crap Marie, this all exists in the 2003 the year of our Lord.  My friend, Flavia, is off with her husband to drink their way through Tuscany and I opened a bottle of Vidal Blanc from 4Sisters Winery in NJ. 

You’re right, Wino Bob, the world is upside down.  Say it ain’t so.  You drank a white wine from NJ?  Yes, with the economy still down and no palatial estate for me to have wineries ship cult classics to like Wino Wally; I have begun investigating the exciting vineyards in New Jersey.  I have set my sights on drinking my way through the state and last evening I started the process.  My first bit of education came from acquainting myself with grapes other than the Big Ten.  More to come.

2002 4 Sisters Winery Vidal Blanc $ (8.99)   Not my style but this is a real fun summer wine for the women.  Chill well and the hint of sweetness and the crisp finish will delight the crowd on a hot, hazy August afternoon. 


October 8, 2003

For those old enough to remember, this week is the anniversary of Black Monday, the day the stock market burped and investors shuttered.  During the past two years, that day looks like a noontime swing of profit taking.  No, today is Black Monday for me for a different reason.  For those of you who normally beep as you pass me by as I sit on the corner in my lawn chair, you will notice I have black on.  It’s not my usual hip, Manhattanesque black, but the somber, sullen black associated with a tragic event.  Yesterday evening, by chance, I popped into UnBacchus for a tall cold one, red wine that is. My friend, confidante, therapist, nee bartender told me it was her last day working there.  What the *%^#?  Last day?  You can’t be serious. 

I know Wino John has a difficult time deciphering my drunken ranting, but my therapist deals with me live.  Yes, she has been the recipient of endless slurred synapse miscues that started as a brilliant point in my wine-soaked gray matter and ended as an incoherent, mumbled non-sequetor the likes of which the “I luv you man” has yet to see.  Slumped half off the bar stool, bestowing Wino Bobisms about life and love and world politics, my therapist/bartender and affable friend consoled, counseled and politely laughed her way into my heart.  However, her life of late night, smoky barrooms, dealing with drunken assholes like me has gotten the better of her and she is out to set the world ablaze with her smile, warm personality and social grace.  I wish her all the best in life and send out this warning.  Essex County, I am in search of the next UnBacchus, a friendly place that I can enjoy the latest cheap wine by the glass, filled to the rim and alive with the local fun and flair of everyday people.  I was granted the gift of a bar stool in tow so I come complete, glass, stool and drunken lean.  I just need a place to park for several hours, enjoy some food from time to time and not get thrown out on my ass when it’s 2AM and I am trying to form a sentence.  Also, to my friends in the WO police force, thank you.  I will miss your friendship.

1998 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Sommelongue  $ (8.99)   It was interesting the see restaurants inching back to serving French wine by the glass.  This Grenache/syrah blend didn’t bring a lot to the table.  Thin and light on the fruit.


October 3, 2003

Amazingly this year is flying by and the cold snap warns me that it will be another bad winter in NJ.  The small office I use for my geek work has some kind of seasonal control on their boiler.  Right now, I am shivering the stick off my figure and my bone fingers are challenged to peck at the keys.  Needing to warm my frail existence, I headed to the local deli/wine shop on Roseland Ave and poured out a hot one.  As I glanced around the shop, a sign caught me eye, and am I ever glad that it did.  Yes, Winos and Winettes, for those emailing me hunting high and low for this rare find, I am pleased to announce there is stock available for the taking.  Now, hold the rush, since I did see a limited two per customer note on the offer.  Hold your seats because I have just stumbled upon the local stash of Aussie Wine in a Can.  Yes, the famous can-o-wine that Wino John spoke about in one of his breaking news entries, has come to Caldwell, NJ.  My disappointment was in the fact that they are only stocking the Sweet White and the Chardonnay in their cooler, but if I pressure the proprietor, I’m sure I can get the Aussie Red.  The can is about the size of a Red Bull and looks like the can-o-wine eight pack will be a weekend treat.  Now Wino John has presented the new age cooking style of beer in the can of a chicken, but the thought of wine in the can is a concept that just will not sit well with me.  The bottle is so much more convenient…

So for those looking for the six pack feel for your next tailgate party or fishing trip, please stop by the Shoppers Express on Roseland Ave and load up your cooler with a bag of ice and the can-o-wine special.


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