December 30, 2008
It has been four years in the making, actually it took two
months to make but three years, nine months, two weeks and six days to get a
distributor to package and sell the Epic Wine DVD; UNCORKED- A Slightly
Irreverent Look at Wine. Now you can purchase your very own copy of the
critically acclaimed (hey it won a Directorís Citation at the Black Maria Film
Festival) look at the NAPA Valley of Eastern USA- New Jersey.
Told as only the hosts of WINOSTUFF.COM could, we invite
you to visit
https://www.createspace.com/Store/ShowEStore.jsp?id=259224 to be the first
on your block to acquire this 30 minute epic. Too controversial to come in
anything but a plain black and white wrapper, this story will amaze (hopefully
amuse) you as hosts Bob and John visit the prime vineyards of the Garden State.
But wait, thereís more, if you completely hate the content,
no problem, the DVD, being white, is a perfect wine bottle coaster for any table
dťcor. As always, we are giving you more for your money.
Please be advised, this DVD is not suitable for serious
oenophiles, children under the age of twenty-one and people with no funny bone.
Also, we regret that Dr. Fisher has passed since our visit and Matty placed his
vineyard up for sale, No farm animals were harmed during the filming of this
December 29, 2009
The holiday season would not have been complete without a
WinoStuff.com year-end meeting. The culinary king and host par excellence, Wino
Odd Job, opened his palatial compound and cooked a small farm animal. Without
pen and paper I am relying on my hung-over memory to identify a few of the stars
last night. In no order, the heavy-hitters were:
2003 Chateau Lynch Bages
1987 BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon- yes a
beautifully matured 1987
1994 BV Georges de Latour
1997 Cinque Cepage- in all its glory
1992 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley-
it was marvelous
2005 Outpost Petite Sirah Howell Mountain- brilliant
2003 Tedeschi Amorone- power and grace
2005 Miguel Torres Salmos, Priorat- wonderfully silky
2005 Exlibris Cabernet Sauvignon- firm fruit and solid
Actually, a picture is worth a thousand Wino Bob ramblings,
so here was the wine line up for our fest. Iím sure you can read the labels
better than I can remember them.
The food, the great wine, and the laughs made this a
perfect way to bid ado to 2008 and begin anew for 2009. Cheers.
(Editor's note: I think I was there. I think I had a
great time. Note to self: No more absinthe at CabFests...)
December 27, 2008
Potluck, thatís what the message was from the organizer,
Wino Lou. It seems like a century (I would have said a millennium but that
would have been an exaggeration. I like to keep it real for my peeps.)
since we had a neighbor night. Wino Lou hosted a "bring leftovers and lets get
together for the holidays". We didnít have much in the leftover category so we
brought wine. Not leftover wine, new wine to go with the leftovers and a
pizza. No, the pizza was not leftover either, but we had to bring something.
I shopped that afternoon and purchased a bottle of
Rosenblum wine since Ken and I are personal friends since our Bottle King-hosted
dinner. Well at least I call him everyday, it seems like I have always just
missed him. I wonder where he steps out to all the time. I even vary my
calling times, like a bill collector, just to see if I might find him ďinĒ.
I cannot believe how much time has passed since the corner
neighbor drinking crew got together. All the kids are mini adults now, driving,
dating, college bound. Jesus, was I in a blackout that many years?
And I say Jesus in the figurative, not the literal sense.
I need to figure out how to be more neighborly, more social. We canít go
another century without getting together (I use century cause I wonít be alive
in a millennium). I went sans pen and pad so I didnít write down the wines we
drank. I do know Bruce brought a very nice Dolcetto. The food was eclectic
enough to match the different wines. There was ham and Cuban pork and plantains
and veggies and pizza. It was an enjoyable way to end the Christmas holiday
celebration. I think with the farmerís almanac predicting a rough winter, we
will be meeting a lot this winter in the confluence of the snow removal. Let
the snowfall, let the snow removal begin and let the society of the traveling
wine hold meetings all season.
2005 Rosenblum Kick Ranch Reserve Syrah
Come over to the dark side; this wine is plum and blueberry and dark
chocolate with a mocha and spice on the finish. Well-defined dark wine that is
available to bottle aging for the next 5 years.
December 26, 2008
I trust most people had a great Christmas holiday. The
weather quirkishly warmed. The upside was the icy driveway that nearly doomed
me Weds morning was thawed. The downside was that the whiteness of Christmas
diminished throughout the day. We went through a few DiBartolo Vat 1 Petite
Sirahs, an Adams Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner and finished with a few
Red Dust Shiraz. I need to add new names to the rack so I can write something
Since I have reviewed these wines already, I figure I would
enlighten you with a bit of exciting wine industry news. For all of you worried
about grape rot, fear no longer. Help is on its way.
A chemical-free treatment for
a fungus disease in wine grapes may be available to other industries in the
Plant pathologist Dean Metcalf
is mass-producing the native Tasmanian micro-organism, trychoderma, which
attacks botrytis when it's growing in grape flowers.
Mr. Metcalf says the method
controls the disease as well as any other, but it's chemical free.
He's hoping to extend his
research to other crops.
"Tomatoes suffer a lot from
botrytis, there's a massive strawberry industry problem, and stone fruit get
botrytis," he says.
"So there are many other
possible applications, and we're just going to have to see if this particular
race of trychoderma might be useful for them as well."
First, and most important, since Dean Metcalf is a
pathologist, I wonder if he is as hot as Natalia Boa Vista on CSI Miami?
Second, donít mess with the tomato botrytis, I prefer a nice tomato sauternes.
Third, could this micro-organism be the answer to the question; is there a
Tasmanian Devil? Fourth, I just read what I was supposed to and it appears that
Dean is a guy so I withdraw the question if heís a CSI hot pathologist type.
OK, so sometime in the future we might have botrytis free
vineyard, unless you want Noble Rot wines, then we will need to control the
Tasmanian Devil so it doesnít get loose in France and kill the Sauternes
industry. Then maybe the hot CSI Miami chicks in their pathology labs would
have to design something to treat the trychoderma so it doesnít ruin the rot in
those grapes that need the rot to make the honey-gold liquid heaven from Chateau
díYquem. Maybe we shouldnít be messing with Mother Nature, Mr. Metcalf.
Changing the natural order of rotting fruit might just lead to Global WarmingÖ..
December 25, 2008
A Happy Birthday to the Baby Jesus. Hereís hoping you all
have a safe, healthy and happy time with family and friends this Holiday
Season. I will admit, it was a tough one this year. Fortunately, when the
moment calls for something completely different, I can count on Wino Rocker.
Yes, this yearís Christmas Eve table had a very large void. Now, without
actually admitting this to him last night, it was great that the Wino Rocker
clan shared our traditional Christmas meal to change the dynamic. I did say
this to him several times on the ride home, itís a one-time deal, not a new
tradition. Hey, read that again WR. Next year all bets are off. Some things
changed, but the underpinnings of tradition live on. After our sharing of
blessed bread, we toasted the memory of my father the only way we knew how.
Polish Vodka, a chilled shot of Luksusowa potato distilled spirits. Smooth and
crisp, clean and warming, the vodka stood as a tribute to the empty place at the
head of the table.
The weather and length of drive prohibited me from
partaking too much in the spirits, but I did bring along a bottle of Veuve
Clicquot Rosť. The old lady knows her way
around champagne. As we ate our herring and crab cakes and shrimp and pierogis,
the rosť stood well with the meatless meal.
Since La Grande Dame is out of the budget this year, this simple rosť
champagne stood tall. After two glasses, I switched to sparkling water to
ensure the state troopers on the Garden State Parkway would remain on the side
of the road eating donuts.
It was nice to share the evening with family and good
friends this year. And still heady from the bubbles, I would extend the
invitation to the Rockers if they want to make this a new tradition for the
years to come.
Merry Christmas Tiny Tim, I think I was just visited by the
Ghost of Christmas futureÖ.
December 20, 2008
Merry Christmathe to me! Thatís right, I said
Christmathe and I donít have a lisp. Two days ago I stopped to buy vodka for
the upcoming Christmas Eve fest. How else should the Polish traditional foods
be honored? With the Wino Rocker clan joining us this year, I had to search out
the extra large size. For me, the vodka must be potato, not grain, and chilled
to a sluggishly viscose state. With the long drive, I only have one to toast to
family and tradition with this year an honor to the missing patriarch. While in
the store, I tooled about touching the bottles of wine I dearly want to find
under the tree this year since I myself cannot afford them. In the last row of
this particular store, they had their liquors and, while scanning the shelves, I
was caught by a stubby, apothecary-style bottle. Let me look at this baby.
Yes, it, oh my, itís the first US distilled brand of Absinthe. Knowing there
would not be a bottle of Beaucastle Chateauneuf du Pape or a Red Ryder BB gun
under the tree, I decided to treat myself to a bottle of St. George Absinthe.
Not yet an Absinthe expert but still chasing the dragon, I
lie in hope that the artistic aura of late nineteenth century Paris will be a
genie in the bottle. I know, if it was that easy, Staples would have designed an
absinthe bottle for their commercials.
Last night, after a grueling two and a half hours of wet
snow and ice shoveling, I came inside, filled the claw-footed tub with hot water
(some of us donít have Jacuzzis) and touched a green fairy while drinking an
Absinthe. Interesting, much different then the others I have tried; was my
first impression. I liked the color and the nose was not as harsh as the
others. But purists say this is not a true Absinthe. For one, St. George uses
a brandy base and basil and lemon balm in their herb cocktail. Interesting
word, cocktail. Sorry for the diversion, but I must look up the origin of the
work COCKTAIL, seems strange to use for a mixed drink.
As found at
www.straightdope.com (where else would one go):
Supposedly, bartenders used to drain the dregs off all the barrels and mix
them together, serving the resultant muddle at a reduced price. "Cock" was
another name for spigot, and "tailings" is the last bit of alcohol, so this
drink was called "cock-tailings," quickly shortened to "cocktail." A similar
theory claims that leftover liquors from drinks served were dumped into a
ceramic container shaped like a rooster, and you could get cheap drinks from
a tap set in the tail of the rooster; hence these drinks were called "cock's
popular story with mixologists is that in New Orleans, an apothecary named
Peychaud (of bitters fame) occasionally served his guests a mix of brandy,
sugar, water and bitters in an eggcup. The drink eventually acquired the
name of the eggcup--"cocquetier" in French--that his guests shortened to "cocktay"
and then "cocktail." The French word "Coquetel" may also have had something
to do with "cocktail"; it was the name of a mixed drink from Bordeaux served
to French officers during the American Revolution.
claim that doctors once would treat throat problems with a pleasant-tasting
medicine applied to the tip of a feather from a cock's tail; then when
people started to drink or gargle the medicine outright, the name "cock's
tail" was still used.
story alleges that a doctor in ancient Rome made a wine-based mixed drink
that he called "cockwine" that was our modern cocktail's predecessor.
Supposedly, Emperor Lucius Aurelius (180-192 A.D.) was quite fond of it.
simplest theory I found (though no more likely to be true for all that) is
that it referred to the fact that a potent drink will "cock your tail,"
i.e., get your spirits up.
possibility incorporates the fact that "cock-tail" was once a term for a
non-thoroughbred horse. Their tails were bobbed, or "cocked" to distinguish
them from their purebred brethren. It also meant a man who wished to appear
to be a gentleman but lacked the breeding to do so. Therefore, some assumed
that either these faux-gentlemen's drinks of choice over time acquired the
same name, or a clever chap noted that a non-thoroughbred horse is a mix of
breeds and "cocktail" is a mix of spirits and was inspired to give the
drinks that moniker.
So there you have it, isnít the Internet wonderful? Now
back to your regularly scheduled program.
The lemon balm gives the nose a citrus dominant aroma. The
taste is milder and cleaner then other Absinthes I have tried. It was pleasant
but not lip-numbing so I am not too sure how much wormwood is present. The
label clearly says wormwood. No crazy dreams, no inspiration, no invitation to
a swank party at Moulin Rouge, just the same shit, different day. Merry
December 19, 2008
Correction, correction, Alert.....
I misspoke, or miswrote, or mistyped. The Mollydooker
that Mike is warehousing is the top notch The Velvet Glove, not the Carnival of
Love. This is Mollydookerís signature Shiraz. I should have known that Mike
would only carry the best from this producer. Though I would have had much more
to write about a wine called Carnival of Love. It kind of reminds me of the
summer after high school...
Unfortunately, I did not drink anything as high quality or
enjoyable last night. I drank figuring I had no need to wake up early with the
ice and snow predicted for the morning rush. As of my third cup of coffee, the
roads are clean and dry. I selected this wine based on what it
represented, Clone 7 the version of the Concannon or Wente clone, and a
long-time workhorse of California Cabernet production. Clone 7 was sourced
originally from the La Fatta Vineyard south of St. Helena, and then taken by U.C.
Davis for treatment. Clone 7 was widely planted in the 1970s and 1980s. Austin
Goheen, retired professor at U.C. Davis, speculated that La Fatta obtained the
original cuttings from the de Latour nursery at Beaulieu.
The wine is Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon bottled by Clone 7
Winery, Alexander Valley. I will not be posting a rating on this one since I
didnít make it through the first glass. Save your money.
December 17, 2008
I see the new year just ahead, but there is plenty left for
this holiday season. Yesterday, I had a meeting at the High Pont Wine tasting
facility and am excited to report that Mike has added some special wines. There
is still time to order for the holidays. Most recent to his offerings are:
Kistler Vine Hill Chardonnay- a beautiful toffee
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon- he has a rack full of Jordan
Chalk Hill Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon- power and
Mollydooker Carnival of Love- in addition to the
quality of this Aussie collectible, the name alone is worth ordering. This
wonít last in the warehouse.
Ridge Monte Bella- need I say more
These truly are wines worth the price. Do yourself a favor
and check out the featured wines page on
http://www.highpointwines.com and give yourself a gift this year.
December 13, 2008
Amativo, a word that was very unfamiliar to me. I wasnít
sure if it was one of the 1000 grapes from Italy, a local village in Italy or a
brand. Mike had a customer at High Point Wines that was looking to purchase
some. Couple it with the fact that I originally spelled it incorrectly while
searching and I was befuddled, perplexed, and uninformed. I went to several
reference books and found nothing. Finally, I was lead to a link that
referenced another link that got me to the origins of the word.
The story goes like this:
The name Amativo
was coined by Mr. Cantele with the idea that if the wine was to be a blend
of the most historic grapes of Puglia, the name should be also a blend. The
result: "AMA" from Negroamaro and "TIVO" from Primitivo.
So now I know, itís a blend of words from a blend of
grapes. It further opens the door to the same blends not from Catele IGT that
uses the same grapes and are from Puglia. At least when Mr. Cantele came up
with the name it makes sense. Similar is the way merit and heritage were
combined, dissimilar is the way pinot noir and cinsault were combined. I get it
now and will be on the look out for this blend from Puglia. Hell, I might have
to review all the stuff I drank since 2000 and there might be a few that were
Isnít learning fun kids?
December 7, 2008
Wowzer, there is a nip in the air today. This nip is not
in a kamikaze plane, just a bracing wind. I have to stop watching Ramseyís
kitchen nightmares. Last night we went for a bite at Giannaís in North
Caldwell. For a Saturday night, it was empty. Then, as we drank our Calcu red,
we started talking like Gordon and making suggestions about the staff and style
of the place. Then we got the hot antipasti and it was greasy, the calamari was
chewy and tasteless. The clams were rubbery to the point we didnít finish it.
Then that lump sat in my stomach to the point I didnít want my pasta.
The bollixed the tortellini, it was mushy and bland. The
shrimp were frozen and, my God, oil was floating on the pink sauce. I was ready
to walk into the kitchen and yell at the chef owner. You f&$@ing twit!
Donít you realize you are the only game on Main and youíre blowing it? Bloody
hell! Youíre an Italian restaurant and you canít bloody cook pasta. On
top, the portions were large and we took enough food home for a second meal. As
Gordon would say, no need to go back for several days, you canít build a
restaurant with doggy bags.
I have to buy a chef jacket and keep it in my car so I can
Gordonize the local eateries. Or I should stop watching his show and just enjoy
what I get. Or maybe I should just bring a second bottle of wine and food be
damned. I liked this place the first time I ate there. The staff is excellent
but I am worried that on a Saturday night at 8pm, they had half the place
empty. The wine on the other hand was a Chilean I will be recommending for our
friends at High Point Wines to carry in their great value selections.
2005 Vina Maquis Calcu Red Wine Colchagua Valley
The blend is being called ďsuper ChileanĒ with 60% cabernet sauvignon,
20% cabernet franc and 20% carmenere delivering dark fruit and a structured
backbone to this value wine. Nice wine at a great price.
December 5, 2008
The holidays are quickly approaching and Wino Wally usually
has a review of the latest and greatest wine gizmos for the rich and famous.
For those of us on the other end of the economic scale, might I suggest this
stocking stuffer for your favorite Wino? The wine glass lanyard.
(Editor's note: Nice rack...)
This well designed wine glass holder handles many different
goblets and allows the wine taster hands free access to the snacks, buffet or a
second glass. Visit our friends at
http://www.highpointwines.com for ordering these great hangers for your next
secret Santa, Chanukah day seven, kwanza, or festivus celebration.
December 3, 2008
With the economy in the crapper, I canít find funny.
Drinking alone just doesnít lend itself to funny. The new administration does,
but the Obama administration has stifled my freedom of speech. I just canít
find myself cracking jokes about his promise for Washington change giving rise
to the new Clinton administration in different seats. I guess the change is
their titles, not their actual ideas, attitudes, and bau. Is Janet Napolitano
really the best we have to offer for Homeland Security? I guess compared to NJ
Gayvenor McGreevey's appointment of his gay lover, this is a step up. If I were
in a funny mood, I would write a paragraph on how President Elect Obama handles
press questions he isnít prepared for, but I will leave that up to Jon Stewart
and Bill Maher, the satirists of our times. (Insert cricket sounds here to
denote them steering clear from poking fun at BO). I guess I would have also
made several jokes about the person whose surge strategy failed and was asked to
But the issue that would have me rolling on the floor in
stitches is Chris Matthews not wanting to play hardball when reporters ask him
about running for the senate from PA. The man who prides himself at digging for
a story hates people digging for a story. That would make me laugh if funny was
allowed in the US political climate. No, there will be no funny for four years,
unless a Republican Congressman emails someone on his or her staff or if the MSM
can keep Sarah Palin in the news. Other than that, we have just entered the
term of serious issues only.
I need to find some drinking buddies who havenít had a
2007 Michel Torino Cuma Organic Malbec Argentina
This wine brings plum and cherry flavors with raisin, vanilla and herbs on the
finish. Nice wine with plenty to offer.
November 28, 2008
The times they are a changin'. That about sums up the new
structure for holidays since my dad passed. As the same as you try to keep
them, they will never be the same. Nothing big this year, small and simple and
mostly football on the tube. I did break out the Grapevine Decanter I purchased
from High Point Wines. It worked out well. Since I was the only one drinking
red, I went to Priorat for the main course. Hell, with sausage stuffing,
bourbon sweet potatoes, turkey, veg and mashed, I figure anything was fine.
Note to the NFL: Forget tradition, and schedule some
good games on T-Day. I hung in as long as possible, but with the blowouts of
yesterday, it was tough. Can we make Detroit an option based on two winning
back to back seasons before they host another thanksgiving day game?
Be that as it may, I think I dozed somewhere in the third
quarter of the Eagles game from the volume of turkey and potatoes. That is my
story and I am sticking to it. Hope you all had a great day with family and
friends and you had some cool wines. Hereís to next year.
2003 Mas Martinet
Viticultors Priorat Martinet Bru $ (19.99)
I like this region and I liked this wine. Maybe not the best pairing for
the plethora of flavors at the table but it was big and inky and jammy. It
could have been a side dish in and of itself.
November 23, 2008
So I headed down to the Cape May Film Festival to support
my buddies at
http://www.therisingtide.info and whom do I run into? Yes, the Wino Rocker
himself. I was planning on the long drive down and the long drive home
yesterday, but the wealthy WR had a hotel suite at a beachfront resort. I was
impressed when I walked into it as he offered up the couch for me to crash so I
didnít have to motor home late at night. Then I looked around a bit and was
talking to some of the folks and realized that the large two-room place is not
priced the same in December as it would be in July. The rich know how to work
all the angles. It was a freebie for me, a place to crash and have some
drinks. I found out that the two TVís in a Wino Rocker party fest must be tuned
to HGTV. If he needs to move from one room to the other, he wonít miss if the
landscaping added value and curbside appeal to the pimping your house show, or
something like that. Dude, itís Saturday night! HBO features fights!
I donít much care if someone put a wall unit next to a fireplace.
I did head out early with a pounding headache from the mass
consumption of wine. I didnít hear yet if our boys won anything at the film
festival as the ceremony wasnít until later today. Cape May seems like a really
great place, with some big ass homes that were closed up for the winter. It
must be nice to be the rich and beautiful. We had dinner at the Lobster House;
it looks like the only place to go year round. The place was huge and the food
was over priced but what the hell, you only go around once.
2004 Elderton Shiraz
$$ (27.00) Purple/black
with a brooding nose of smoke, tar, licorice, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur.
2004 Bleasdale Cabernet Sauvignon Langhorn Creek
A nice wine for the price. The dark
cherry and blueberry fruit are tinted with mint and eucalyptus notes that make
November 20, 2008
What is the legal and binding term for no backsies? Not on
my side, but on the offerís? Well itís been 48 hours and I havenít received a
phone call or email or legal letter so I am moving forward that the offer
stands. In what might have been the haze of super Tuscan euphoria, or the cloud
of a California cabernet, our good friend Wino Odd Job asked if I would help
with some reviews for his new venture. I accepted before it was fully out of
his mouth and he could call backsies, I immediately said no backsies. For those
in the crowd not understanding:
Originating in the game of tag,
no backsies is a maneuver in which a player that is "it" cannot be tagged
back immediately following the tagging of another player.
No backsies can further be extended into the real world,
where people use "no backsies" as a means to avoid doing a task.
To invoke the rule, one must simply say "no backsies"
before the item or action in question is returned to its original source.
Example 1: Alice, Bob, and Corey are playing tag, and Alice
is "it." Alice proceeds to tag Bob, making him "it." Bob turns around and tags
Alice right back. Alice neglected to say "no backsies," and is now "it" again.
Bob would not make the same mistake. As his hand touches Alice's shoulder, he
screams "no backsies." He then proceeds to punch her in the face for good
measure. Bob cannot be tagged "it" until Corey has been tagged. Which won't
happen. Alice is in the hospital.
Example 2: Alex and Daniel are arguing over whom has to put
away all the toys back into the chest. Their mother comes in to threaten them
that if a certain thing isn't put away within the next minute, they would both
get in trouble. Obeying the unwritten rule that the last one to touch something
must put it away, both proceed to argue over who actually touched it last.
Daniel picks it up and throws it at Alex, hitting him in the face, and calls out
"no backsies." Alex, now bruised from the padlock that their mother wanted put
away, now has no option but to return the heavy metal object back to the toy
I am calling it on him that he cannot now revoke the offer.
It seems legal and binding in any schoolyard or playground.
So from time to time I will be making recommendations,
writing reviews of wines he will be selling and generally annoying him with
stupid suggestions. My first accomplishment was to convince him to sell our
WinoStuff Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir. Look on the accessories
page. He was kind enough to keep his word.
One wine I will NOT be recommending him to carry is the one
I had last night. Unfortunately in these economic times, I can no longer afford
to spill this down the drain. I suffer the finishing of this wine. For more
enjoyable selections, check out
http://wineshop.highpointwines.com and look for me coming soon.
2005 La Cabotte Cote du Rhone
Disappointing to my Rhone-loving palate. Not the spice and fruit I was
hoping for. I am not going to be buying this one again.
November 18, 2008
I want to send a big, Good Luck, shout out the our close
friend Wino Odd Job on his recently published wine retail site. I ask all my
readers to check it out at
http://www.highpointwines.com. Come on Wino Rocker and Wino T-Rex (aka
Paul) support our good friend and make a purchase for your upcoming holiday
parties. Tell a friend, tell a neighbor, hell tell a coworker or the next
person you pass on the street. We hope much success and check out the Look What
We Found section for a special treat.
November 13, 2008
Dinner tonight was a meetup at the Ethernopian restaurant
(thanks, Cartman) in Montclair. No, Starvin' Marvin wasnít there, but we did
manage to end up with 16 wine drinkers. Clean hands are a must in communal
dining. Donít tell anyone but I think I saw Barry touching his nose before
grabbing the injera (bread). No, maybe it was Caroline, as usual, the quite
Here you can see Billís large bear paw reaching for the spicy beef.
The smaller dantier hand of Caroline reaching for the lamb, wow, Billís plate is
just served and she is almost finished. It looks like hand size doesnít matter.
Some of the wines were shared were:
2004 Stellar Winery The Sensory Collection Organic
2006 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound
De Toren Z
Goats in Village Shiraz/Pinotage
Goats do Roam
Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinno Pinotage Graham Beck
There were also several I didnít record.
I was delighted to see so many Pinotage wines and thrilled
that we had only one duplicate wine. Several newbies expressed the true nature
of the meetup dinner as they tried x-style wine for the first time. Brilliant!
We strive for the ah ha moment and several times during the night, I heard it.
Here we see members of the group having a smashing evening.
Great food, great fun, no forksÖ..
November 10, 2008
With the mass leaf dump at the house this past week, I
found myself moving what seemed like a ton of wet leaves. My body is aching in
places that I didnít think should or could ache. The leather gloves proved
useless, as the blisters on my thumbs will attest to. I was bruised and beaten
and needed relief. I told you my thumbs were blistered, so the relief I needed
was in the therapeutic sense. I wanted to head over to Cuadalie at Plaza Hotel
in NYC for a session of Vinotherapie. Yes gang; NYC has the first Vinotherapie
spa in the USA. You will remember the article we did on the therapeutic value
of wine in chic spas in Brazil and France. After my one and only spa experience
in New Mexico, I figured I wouldnít be doing that again. However, I didnít have
an extra $75.00 for the red wine bath. Maybe for Christmas.
So what does one do when you need a way to relax muscles
and stop the pain? For me it was a trip to the hot tub, Spa Wino Rocker for jet
powered, wine soaked treatment. Just two men, with wine, in a hot tub.
Just friends in a hot tub. Just two rough-and-tumble guys in a hot tubÖ.
OK, maybe I should have thought about it first. Look, the power jets did
marvels, but I had to come home and take stock. Actually I have to drown the
image of the way the foam clung to yeti-like Wino Rocker's fur. So I drove home
quickly and opened up a bottle of 2006 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. This
wine reigns from the Lodi area. I have to tell you, not much to this one.
Gnarly Head left me wondering what they were thinking about by calling this a
zin. This was the last time I will be buying this one.
November 9, 2008
I am a big fan of South African wine and the proverbial
eye-poking that the folks at Fairview winery constantly give the French. In a
panic buying frenzy of eclectic wines, I grabbed a bottle of the Bored Doe.
Thatís as French as I am feeling these days, though next year we all might be a
little more French. I know I usually put my review into the blurb with
different symbols and colors but I figured I would simple do the review as my
entry. I am not digging this one. I've had had far better Bordeaux style wines
from South Africa. This one has less of the robustness and finish the others
have shown. So I am not rating this one that highly though it is not an
expensive wine. The fruit is young, the finish is short and overall, I will be
sticking with the Rhone style wines from Fairview.
2005 Fairview Bored Doe Bordeaux Blend South Africa
November 8, 2008
My pledge for the upcoming 4 years is to not talk politics
with Big Bob and to drink more. Face it, from the way things are going,
drinking will be the only way to dull the pain. Besides, if I talk politics and
donít have a flaming liberal, America-hating, turn our power over to Russia,
socialistís added opinion, the fairness doctrine will shutdown the site. I
donít get free speech, liberal, abortion rights people telling me I need to give
equal time to someone who doesnít share my view. Hey, its America! Go on
Network Solutions and start your own liberal site. Wait a minute, would the
fairness doctrine now have the Daily Kos, or Countdown mandated to have a
conservative point of view? Imagine if Keith Olbermann actually had to have a
guest that didnít agree with him 100 per cent of the time. Look what happened
when Dana Milbank said one sentence in 5 years that didnít align with Kiethy.
He was exiled to Siberia. So much for free speech on Countdown. Maybe I
am seeing the light. I can call MSNBC right now and volunteer for the
equal time segment on Olbermann. Until that happens, I will suspend any comment
about the newly elected President. As we all saw, if you challenge him on an
actual position, his operatives look up your ass to get any dirt on you. I will
be first to admit, I got some things in my past that would be embarrassing to be
on the all Obama networks. First theyíd call me a racist because thatís the
easy way out of aq debate. Then theyíd find out about that thing from high
school. Look, I was only seventeen and confused...
Perhaps I should post up all my issues over the next 60
days so they are all out before January 20, 2009. If Don McLean were alive, I
would ask him to write a song entitled, The Day Free Speech Was Altered By The
Governing Body That Considers Any Definition of Marriage Even a Man and a
Chicken Acceptable. What rhymes with chicken?
So I bid farewell to my personal 401K, I bid farewell to my
vocal dissent, and I bid farewell to arms. Seems like a lot of restrictions for
someone called a liberal. As long as alcohol is not pulled from the shelves, I
have one last solace; fermented grape. Each night I will toast to the new
civilian security group and mandated youth camps. Each night I will toast to
the UN, as they become more of our protector. Each night I will toast to a
simpler time in America. And for the rest of the 48% of this country that
agrees, I urge you to take up drinking wine for the next four years.
November 6, 2008
Finally, I am attending the first tasting this year of the
ECWS. I was out of town last month and missed the Austrian wines night. Given
that one and tonight, Iíll take tonight. We went down under for the Aussie
grape and worked our way through the four major regions. It was good to be back
with the group and see some people I havenít seen since May. Tradition had me
grabbing a glass of white wine, as we always start with a white before heading
into the real stuff. Tonightís starter was a 2007 DíArenberg The Hermit Crab.
This one is a majority of Viognier. I would have popped wood if there were a
bottle of Dead Arm on the list, but it wasnít so.
We tasted three flights, ending the last flight in
Barossa. We started with the three wines below:
1997 Rosa Brook Margaret River
2004 Peter Howland Parsonís Vineyard Shiraz
2003 Wyndham Black Cluster Hunter Valley
The immediate problem is that the wines where from
different vintages, and they were far enough apart that it influenced the
opinions at the table.
Be that as it may, the Rosa Brook was ready willing and
able while the Wyndham was one to watch for the future. Room wide, the Peter
Howland didnít get a vote.
Flight two had the following.
1994 Mount Langhi Ghiran Langhi Shiraz
2006 Tatiarra Caravan of Dreams
Again that is a wide range of time for bottle changes but
the Tatiarra drank well for its young age.
The last flight had these.
2005 Hazy Blur Barrota Shiraz
2005 Hazy Blur Adelaide Shiraz
2002 J P Belie Terrior Shiraz
2005 Kay Brotherís Block 6 Shiraz
I have to say the Belie Terrior was one that caught my
attention and the Kay Brotherís was well crafted, well rounded and something I
could drink with a red meat dinner.
Next up we head back to Bordeaux, woo hoo!
October 28, 2008
I the interest of trying to break onto the crowded shelves
of lower priced Australian Shiraz, one genius-marketing group has decided to
launch Fetish Wines. The wines have been out for a while but I just saw
it on the Bottle King web site. When trying to separate yourself from the pack,
appeal to the basal instincts of loinology. Loinology - the study of stimuli on
the loin area of horny young men or recently divorced forty-somethings. The
offerings include Looker Shiraz, Playmates (an SGM) and Field
of Dreams Muscat.
This all seems bold in the concept but in the Wino Bob
world, those are lame fetishes. Might I suggest several names that would better
catch the eye of the buying market they are angling for?
And my personal favorite
Come on people, go big or go home. What the hell kind
of fetish is Field of Dreams??? I gotta get my own wine label.
Go ahead, check them out at
http://www.fetishwines.com. Iím going to ask Wino Larry which of his buyers
brought that one into the inventory.
October 27, 2008
I had to do it for the page. While at Kingís yesterday, I
grabbed a bottle of wine to give me something fresh to review. I really wanted
to be dry yesterday since morning came early for a day trip to Maryland. Hell,
the Giants made me drink. Hey, is there anyway the Giantís front
office can call FOX and ask them not to have Troy Aikman do their games? That
guy never sees anything good with the G-men. His years of rivalry taint
his objectivity. Fortunately, after three shaky quarters, the offense and the
defense found their inner Zen and put together a unique trifecta; the field
goal, the safety and the touchdown. Woo Hoo, the Cowboys next week.
I picked up a bottle of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from my
favorite region, Maipo. OK, I like it mostly cause it makes me laugh when I
tell people they are drinking a glass of Maipo. Maipo, Maipo, Maipo. Iím
seeing a South Park episode.
2004 Chono Cabernet Sauvignon
Reserve $ (14.99)
2 pleasant dark fruit, tannins and oak sit in the glass offering an
enjoyable experience. I like this one and it goes well with Sunday football and
grilled pork chops.
October 26, 2008
Yes, I know it is my fault that updates on my page have
been slow. Thereís been this weird cosmic energy that has kept me from posting
more regularly. Iím only happy when Iím regular, you know what Iím saying. I
have found myself in wine limbo, a fermented purgatory. The last several wine
shopping sprees have been less spree and more necessity. I purchased a case of
this here and a case of that there and ended up with a rack of little variety.
With the exception of a few bottles, most of what I have and drink during the
week has been something already written about. Shame on me, I need variety, as
they say, it is the spice of life. I donít know who 'they' are and for me,
parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are the spice of life. Itís three degrees
from the movie, The Graduate. I could drop the parsley, but the rest
We had the occasion to take an inaugural dip in the Wino
Rocker hot tub. I brought a bottle of Red Dust Shiraz, as you know I tasted it
at the Lauber event. I found it much to my liking for a casual wine so I bought
a case. Now my Thursday night wine flops on the couch will be less subject of
the column. You know I recommend this wine and find it well priced for this
economy. Getting back to the night in hot tub heaven. It didnít start well. I
had driven 5 hours back from Massachusetts and rolled up to the estate about
7:30pm, tired and a bit cranky. We rang the bell and a robe draped Wino Rocker
answered the door. (Editor's note: Ewwww...!)
The burly white-hooded robe and the pony-tailed WR and a grin left me hoping
there was something under that thing. (Editor's note: Ewwww...!)
The only image that is still burned into my mind is that of the Homo
Sapiens boiling a Neanderthal in a large vat. I donít know why he needed the
robe. By simply shaking his fur out, it fluffs back up and insulates him
down to -20. I must say, the tub was huge, it could have held another 4 and the
jet action back massage was ideal after a long drive. He has high jets and
low jets and cascading water falls and a light and a center volcanic erupter.
Wow, it really is a great way to unwind. The only thing that would have been
better is if it had been filled with champagne and I could have absorbed the
alcohol through the jet action. If only WinoStuff had some geek engineering
type that could calculate the volume of water in the hot tub so we can figure
out how many bottles of champagne it would take to fill the thing. I am sure
there is some sort of mathematical equation if only I know someone that had a
pocket protector and a slide rule belt holder. Gone are the good old daysÖ
In search of mixed cases of wine to bring interesting
commentary instead of a Wino Rocker in a Speedo updatesÖ.
(Editor's note: Ewwww...!)
October 16, 2008
I went to have my horse gelded last night and I ended up
drinking zinfandel. OK, I donít own a horse and itís not a euphemism for a
vasectomy. I was merely attempting to work in the fact that Wino John and I
had a great dinner with Dr. Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars. Generously,
our Bottle King connection landed us a fun night of food and wine with an
infomercial worthy of Ron Popeil. Though I take liberty in calling him Wino
Larry, I should have had cameras rolling for his pitch of our WinoStuff Magical
Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir, batteries sold separately.
An intimate group of 25 filled the wine cellar at Wyckoffís
famed restaurant, The Brick House. As we entered the room, we were
greeted by Wino Larry, handed a glass of Kathyís Cuvee Viognier and introduced
to Dr. Kent Rosenblum. I truly believe Kent wished he had been someplace else
because once I was formally introduced to him, I obnoxiously controlled his time
and energy. The food and wine flowed liberally and Dr. Kent was funny and
informative and most importantly passionate about the fruits of his labor.
We enjoyed two zinfandels with the appetizers, the Snows
Lake and the Monte Rosso. As it normally happens, I preferred the former while
WJ preferred the latter. In fact Wino John enjoyed the latter so much that in
the middle of Dr. Kís talk, WJ jumped up to help himself to a refill.
The main course was a mammoth sized porterhouse cooked
medium rare to accompany the Pickett Road Petite Sirah and the Reserve Kick
Syrah. Now we're talking! Beef and bold red wine is what I pray heaven will be
like. Or I am hoping what Hell will be like when I get there. The wait staffís
attention made this a tremendous evening. And if I may, please support the
Bottle King stores for your wine needs and be sure to grab a bottle of the
Magical Elixir as it now resides in all the BK stores.
The stars of the night were Dr. Kent and the affable,
We ended the dinner with the Black Muscat dessert wine that
was thick and syrupy and full of blueberry and black fruit. Personally, I
thought it would go great over some French vanilla ice cream.
The evening broke up about 9:45 for everyone, ah..., almost
everyone. The hosts were gone, the other guests headed home, but Wino John
insisted on making sure all the glasses were empty. There would be no need for
washing the stemware as he stayed, alone, and cleared the table unbeknownst to
the staff of the restaurant.
WinoJohn enjoys a nice meal with all his friends...
Now that is one happy WinoÖ
October 6, 2008
What does one bring to tailgate the thumping the Giants put
on the Seahawks? Well, if you are with Wino John, itís a GOTY. I found this
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Fattoria Del Cerro. Wow, just the
color alone impresses you. For $19.99 this is primarily Sangiovese and delivers
flavor and body that outweighs the goofy ruff-collared picture on the label.
Please, can you imagine wearing this pleated, round flair that just seems so
impractical to do anything but look down oneís nose. They say not to judge a
book by itís cover. I will judge that the guy on the label looks like a
puffster with that silly neckwear. Thank God I didnít live in the sixteenth
century. Besides having to wear such feminine apparel, I would be scribing
this with a bird feather. I have enough problems with current neckwear. I
think the tie has only one use, as a convenient cloth to clean my glasses. Hey,
if I have to hide the buttons on my shirt, make the shirt maker add a piece of
cloth over the buttons. Watching TV, it looks like people spend too much time
trying to make a statement with the stupid tie. There are power colors and you
need a guide book to know whatís in. What if I wear a striped tie to a solid
tie event? Is pink or purple the new red or yellow?
Regarding the wine; I recommend you locate the label, pick
up the bottle, turn the label so no one sees whatís on it, then enjoy this
wine. Very nicely crafted.
October 5, 2008
Itís official; our friends over at The Rising Tide
can call themselves award-winning documentarians. They took Honorable Mention
for Best Documentary at the Wildwood By The Sea Film Festival. They now have
three awards for the five festivals they have screened in thus far. This month,
they will be screened at the Orlando Hispanic Film Festival and the Trade & Row
Film Festival in LA.
Congratulations to the crew at
October 4, 2008
I had the pleasure of an invite to the Lauber October
tasting at the Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange, NJ. The industry event was
made by the picturesque view of the Manhattan skyline. I did my best to drink
through the 400+ wines but slowed near the end and skipped some of those
varietals that are not my sweet spot. I tasted some old friends, met some new
ones and found some I will never speak with again (figuratively speaking). I
will tell you this, the 2005 Paras Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon showed itself as
a wine pinned by oak to hide its flaws. The wood was too much for me and I wake
up with wood. It was abuse, an assault of my buds. As people tasted, I yelled
The other wine I didnít enjoy was the Layer Cake Malbec and
steer clear of the 2007 Dievole Pinocchio Sicily. Gag me.
I have a small list of wines I found to be very pleasant
and some offering a great price. In no order, just in the simple manner they
appeared in the booklet.
2005 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli
2004 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli (pricy)
2006 Graff Family Vineyards Consenus Syrah
2003 Zaca Mesa Syrah- very nice at a reasonable
2006 Red Dust Shiraz Barossa Valley- this one caught
my eye for the price/value if you see this wine, buy it.
2005 Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley- nice
quality for the price
2003 Los Vasco Les Dix de Los Vascos Colchaqua
2006 Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Kabinett- enjoyed
2005 Rudi Schultz Syrah
2007 Can Feixes Blanco Seleccio- yes itís a white
wine and yes I really liked this one.
2005 Guelbenzu Tinto Azul Ribera del Queiles
The tried and True
We drank several off book Ridge wines that were terrific
I enjoyed the event. It was nice seeing my friends from
Lauber, Roberto, Al, Scott and Pam as well as retailers Brian the Bad Man and
Joel. See you guys soon.
October 3, 2008
So, not all of my bargain buys are a winner. I had one the
other night and almost did not want to write it up. I figure I might as well
own up to the crap I drink too. Good thing I didnít serve this to friends.
This one I drank by myself and didnít finish. I canít write too much because I
drank it by myself on a non-descript night with an unexciting wine. This is the
wine I had and I am telling you to pass if you see it on the shelf.
2005 Chateau Prignac Medoc
Thatís all folks.
October 2, 2008
Last night there was a crazy two parter. No, not on Gordon
Ramseyís Kitchen Nightmares (boy, have they pussified this season- Gordon is
kind and caring). No, the big double header took place in Wanaque for the wine
meetup group. I only played in the later game. Opening innings were held at
Bertaís Chateau and the 30 plus people said they really enjoyed dinner. Part
duex was held at the Tree Tavern, ehh, tavern? I still donít know what Wino Odd
Job wants me to call it, but the gracious host opened the saloon and allowed the
wine meetup to share an educational wine and dessert tasting. The wine
education was provided by Big Bob and Pam, a Lauber Imports account manager.
The paired dessert offerings were the creations of Kate Matracia of Angelinaís
Pastries. Though I leaned heavily to the wine and less on the desserts, the
comments from all around were raves. I didnít sample all the desserts but I
will list them:
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut
Praline- I donít know what a praline is but this was a crowd favorite.
Chocolate Oblivion Tort with Whipped Cream and
Raspberries- this would have been Wino Johnís pick had he been there.
Almonds Tarte Tatin
Coconut Layer Cake- this was the Wino Bob winner
Assorted fruits, cheeses and cookies.
I ate while they poured to get that part out of the way so
I could concentrate on the drinking. We were greeted with a glass of Vietti
Moscato díAsti to cleanse the palate and tell the stomach we are going to be
putting things into it very shortly. Then the pouring began as Big Bob and Pam
described the dessert wines letting us know where they were from, the grapes
used but most importantly, the process in which the nectars were created. As
you can imagine, making a quality sauternes is painstaking in finding the
correctly rotted grapes over a long harvest.
The wines were:
Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere- personally I still have
the soft spot for Bonny Doonís offering.
Chateau Cosse Sauternes- think about this one for
Kracher Cuvee- the favorite of WOJ.
Dobogo Tokaj Aszu 6 Puttonyos- Big Bob gave us a math
lesson, which I promptly drank through but I did remember that nothing less
than 6 puttonyos for me in my tokaj or I will be branded an uneducated
Ferrari Carano El Dorado Noir- I think I bathed in this
by the end of the night.
Grahamís 20 year Tawny Port- something I end a nice
high-end meal with.
There were a few additions that Big Bob brought out of his
bag of tricks. Big Bob brought out a bottle of Torres Moscatel Oro (I think
since it was towards the end of the night. He proceeded to describe the
tradition of drinking from a porron (refer to my entry March 17, 2001)
Now you can imagine the 6 foot 5, Big Bob standing on a
chair and a volunteer from the crowd; actually Bill jumped up for the chance to
imbibe, leaning back. In a semi-stripper club, quasi menís room, fully wine
fueled moment, Big Bob poured wine into the mouth of Bill from about six feet
above him. If this wasnít a family friendly web site and if it wasnít for the
fact that I get along well with Bill, there are dozens of descriptive scenarios
I could place here, but I will try not to drag this nice event into the gutter.
Think about it, Big Bob standing on a chair, Bill with his head tilted back and
his mouth open and a 3 mm stream of amber-colored wine flowing several feet from
the tip of the porron (Bob used the bottle to replicate). Wowzer, I had
nightmares until dawn.
At that I will say it was a great night and if you need
dessert wines or desserts, contact Wino Odd Job. He now takes Visa,
MasterCard and AmEx. And if you are ever looking for an ice breaker for you next
corporate event, contact Big Bob and hire him to porron on yahÖ.