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This page contains Winings from the 4th Quarter of the year 2010.

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December 26, 2010

I trust that your Christmas celebrations were full of food, family, friends and fine wine.  Three out of four ainít bad.  Fine wine wasnít in the budget but an interesting comparison was stumbled upon unexpectedly.  It started Friday when I made a quick stop into Shop Rite Liquors for a small bottle of Polish Vodka.  My Christmas Eve celebration now has me sipping a chilled shooter of vodka to wash down my herring.  OK, there is no written document as to the significance of vodka at a traditional Polish Wigilia.  (Note to self:  Rewrite family tradition notebook reflecting the change.)  After grabbing a bottle of Luksusowa vodka, I saw a bottle of 2003 Austin Hope syrah.  Hey, Austin Hope, I like his grenache and his Troublemaker so why not trust his syrah?  I know, you are thinking..., "red wine and Wigilia, what up wit dat?"  I sipped the vodka until we started the fish courses.  The main fish was a red wine and ginger-soaked tuna steak.  Yes it was my responsibility to grill the main fish course so I marinated it in the red wine and ginger.  However, the 2003 Austin Hope syrah was over the hill.  It was fine for bathing the tuna.  Unfortunately, it was disappointing in the glass.  Not to worry, I managed to enjoy the pinnacle of the night, our yankee swap gift exchange, with a crisp, chilled tumbler of the Luksusowa.  Na Zdrowie, to your health.

As I rolled into Christmas Day, the main dish, besides me, is a dry seasoned filet mignon.  As for the main course wine, I grabbed a bottle of 2003 Chateau de Campuget Le Sommelier.  Frank-Lin, or Wino Opie as we love to call him,  was the guest of honor.  Actually his juice was.  And I will give this round to the French, the Le Sommelier held up well when compared to the Paso Robles syrah.  OK, Big Bob, I am giving you the win.  Itís a nice wine, not massive, but it's fruit still held my interest. 

I was a bit willy-nilly this year.  Not a big wine crowd for these two days of celebration so I donít go crazy.  I do tip my hat to the Campuget.

I know it was an unscientific test but it turned out that both syrahs were 2003, one from Rhone and one from California.  I am willing to do a much larger test so if Austin Hope and Chateau de Campuget would like to submit a larger sampling, I am open.

One of the many great gifts this year.  Now win, G-men.

December 21, 2010

I guess the older you get, the longer it takes to recover.  When I was younger, the fog would clear more quickly and the dull throb of a headache would not slow me one bit.  This one still leaves residual shakes.  No, not fest'ing.  I can handle that with a large dosing of H2O and some Tylenol.  This hangover is from the Giants.  Dudes, I donít have a strong enough heart any longer to meet with the disappointment.  To think, the stage was set.  We had just enjoyed a fest of massive red meat and a wine array fit for the upper two per cent of the tax-paying community.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let the bottle display on the home page speak for itself.  Go ahead, say your thousand things because I didnít write down the names of all the wines.  Let it be said that we partied like it was 1999, at least for me, when in 1999 I had money for nice wine.  Proudly, there was an array of offerings.  Even Wino Rocker made it past the register and picked up two nice bottles of wine.  The mix even had a 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape.  You all remember that this was the vintage for which Mr. Parker had to invent new words of praise after bottling as he out-praised the barrel samplings leaving him searching the thesaurus.  We had a Bordeaux and a Barolo and a Quintessa and a Mastery and a whole lot of fun.  Truth be told, it did take me three quarters of Saturday to shake off the fog.

Not to worry because Wino John and I, great friends but bitter football fan rivals, were poised to continue the party at the game of the season.  His team, quarterbacked by a dog murderer and coached by the father of the year, was playing my All American- quarterbacked, regimentally-coached Giants in the new Meadowlands stadium.  The stage was set.  A chill was in the air and the threat of snow hinted play-off football as the teams battled for sole possession of first place in the NFC east.  Needing to ensure our blood stayed ice free, we polished off a bottle of zinfandel and a charbono prior to the National Anthem.  For three plus quarters, the Summers Charbono kept me warm enough to taunt WJ with a 21 point lead and a team that looked like they deserved a trip to Dallas in February. 

Not so fast.  From that point forward, the collapse was on and my team turned into Big Blew.  Twenty-eight points brought the 32-year cycle front and center.  The Giants vs Eagles disaster in the Meadowlands Part Deux. Game-ending heroics from the birds took away my Christmas gift and deposited that dull aching hangover of a football fanatic. 

It was a wine soaked weekend with little to enjoy after Sundayís event.  As of Friday nightís event, I thinking I have become a Fest Fanatic and I am giving up rooting for any professional team.

With that, I hope your Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza or Winter Solstice celebration is filled with family, friends and wines.  Remember, wine was invented to handle the family and friends, so drink something good. 

Editor's Note:  Now, you see, I have a totally different perspective on this glorious weekend.  After a night of good wine, good food and good friends at the annual Holiday Fest, WinoBob and I decided to attend a classic American sporting event.  Before the kickoff, we enjoyed some traditional tailgating fare while enduring the antics of a huge throng of Giants jersey-wearing reprobates.   Once inside the stadium, we watched attentively as the brave warriors from Philadelphia fought heroically in hostile Giant territory.  For three quarters, our brave soldiers endured the bitter cold, the abysmal officiating, and the obnoxious taunts of tens of thousands of screaming idiots Giants fans.   But our heroes never gave up.  They persevered, demonstrating true courage in the face of adversity, ultimately defeating the evil Blue enemy to the joy of millions of fans throughout the world.  It was truly a great day in American sports history.  Once again, good prevailed over evil and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. 

That's how I saw it...


December 11, 2010

First nothing, then orange...   Confusing to you, too?  Thatís what I have been trying to figure out.  In less than one week, I have been in the company of wine and the proverbial Madame Marie.  I have been told, fueled by wine, the first being Epiphany, that one of the people can read auras.  So naturally I did my best Ted Kennedy and said, or, ah what?  I thought it was multiple choice.  The Epiphany was I had no aura, no energy.  It might have been, in my humble opinion, blocking my energy.  I choose to think I have so much energy that it collapses on itself and the light canít leave its force.  Yes, I am the black hole of auras.  Now if this was ten years ago, I would use that line as a segue into the Barbara Walterís People of the Year Special.  However, this is a different time and that joke will remain in my head for some time.  So the Epiphany wine yields no aura.

Take two, different day, different wine, different soothsayer.  Last night we had a holiday meetup at the Tree tavern and I had the privilege to pour the wines at one table.  It turned out to be the table with the 2005 Terlato Cardinalís Peak.  This homage to Margaux was the hit of the night.  Nice fruit, long finish and it will last on a rack for the next several years. More importantly, it brought everyone to my table.  One of those everyones turned out to be a self-proclaimed clairvoyant.  That personís specialtyÖauras!  So here I am, less then seven days later, and another auraist, auraite, auraean was standing before me reading my energy.  I claim it to be the glow of a well-satiated wino, they claimed it was my life force.  As it turns out this time, I was aglow.  In fact, the sampling of Terlato Rutherford cabernet sauvignon, Casa Silva carmenere reserva, Sonoma Cutrer chardonnay, and a touch of Rodney Strong had my energy solar flaring from my being.  Again, it turns out, at least last night, I am orange.  I prefer the deep garnet of a syrah but no, I was declared orange.  OK, I can play a party game.  I quickly took out my blackberry and Googled the aura color chart.  I give you my energy description:

ORANGE AURA COLOR: Relates to reproductive organs and emotions. The color of vitality, vigor, good health and excitement. Lots of energy and stamina, creative, productive, adventurous, courageous, outgoing social nature; currently experiencing stress related to appetites and addictions.

I think that says it all.  Sometimes I let my reproductive organs glow and sometimes I have so much relating to my reproductive organs and emotions that it becomes anti matter. 

It was a fun night and of the crowd that remained during the Madame Marie segment, I was the only orange.  Just a big, throbbing, irradiating ball of orange.

The disappointment was that the crimson checked Wino Rocker left the building by then.  I would have been interested in knowing what that boy glows.  By that time of the night, everyone I looked at had a bloodshot red aura to him or her, but thatís just from my perspective.

December 3, 2010

Last night at the Essex County Wine Society tasting, it was a wine near and dear to my heart.  Actually, it is near and dear to my olfactory sense.  We tasted wines from the region that truly brought me into a place where I wanted to learn more.  It was Chateauneuf du Pape night. And not just any CdP but the highly praised 2007.  Remembering last year when we tasted the 2006, the surprise wine turned out to be the Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel.  So I wondered, would there be a non-CdP this year?  If so, would it be preferred to the frog juice?  Man, am I overthinking this or what?

The tasting was blind (the bottles, not us).  We were told there were two ďringersĒ, one in each flight.  We were also told that Robert Parker declared the 2007 vintage above and beyond the greatest of great.  From barrel tasting to bottling he had to find more bombast than he first wrote about this vintage.  So stop talking and let us at this Bacchus pee. (I mean that in the good sense in deriving directly from the God of wine himself, not in the bodily function way)

The first flight of five wines sparked our table into a heated discussion.  We had a great mix of newbies and professionals.  Wait; when I refer to "pros", I was not referring to myself.  One of my tablemates went through a sommelier training, which far surpasses my home schooling. 

I found my number three wineís bouquet a bit off-putting and so uniquely different that I declared it the outlier.  I found the number one, four and five wines delightful and the number five wine the best of the flight.  I use the word "declare" boldly now but it was more suggestive or timid last night.  It turns out that the wines for the first flight were as follows.

  • Coudoulet de Beaucastel - at $25.00 I enjoyed this one but it was the ringer

  • Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

  • Le Vieux Donjon - disappointing nose

  • Domaine Charvin

  • Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee - elegant and powerful.

The party game continued and after voting, the ringer was kept until the end of the night to not influence the final vote.

Flight two was deeper and richer in style and finish.  The game was back on for flight two.  Right off the top, the bouquet of wine ten was sweet and smelled of mashed bananas.  Then I tasted.  Number six had an acerbic harshness on the finish that bothered my throat.  Could this be the ringer?  That sensation might have bolstered the silkiness of the finish in wine seven.  Whatever it was, seven was heaven.  Eight had a mocha finish.  Nine was mighty fine and ten, well ten was sweet and out of character with the rest.  So for me I went with nine as my favorite and ten as the ringer.  So, how did Kreskin do this time you ask?

  • Clos Saint Jean Vieilles Vignes - sorry I will pass on this one

  • Clos des Papes - at 155.00 I drank the entire glass

  • Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Cuvee de mon Aieul - interesting

  • Chateau de Beaucastel - my wine of the flight and night

  • Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel - ringer

So, I did better this time.  For me, the take away was that the 2006 Chateauneuf paled to the 2006 Tablas Creek but not so for the 2007s.  Not being clear minded at the end of the night, I think the Tablas only received three votes this year.  The crown went back to the rightful owner, Chateau de Beaucastel. 

It got me to thinking about the first bottle of Beaucastel I tried on the recommendation of Richie at JR Tobacco ten years ago.  Could it have been that momentary firing of a synapse that pushed me to voting for the Beaucastel last night or was I just blind drunk and thatís where my head hit the table?  Great night, fun table and the honor of drinking some classy wines.  How did I get so lucky?

November 27, 2010

Well the season has officially begun.  No, not the shopping / black Friday thing for me.  Iím more the ďhereís ten bucks in an envelop, donít open it until you get homeĒ shopper.  Itís the official start to the Grape of the Year research.  Itís official, I am ruling out the grape I had last night.  I just donít think Wino John will bring himself to participate.  I enjoyed the 2007 Kanonkop Pinotage for reasons other than GOTY consideration.  This pinotage fit well into my tasting wheelhouse but there just isnít a big selection in my area to have me name it.  The wine has blackberry, raspberry and plum fruits with an occasional hint of banana on the nose.  Full body in style and a medium finish, I like this Stellenbosch regional product.  So, unless I hear an outpouring of support for this grape, it will remain in the files but will not be seeing the Golden Grape statuette in 2011.  Yes, I said í11!  Itís one louder!!!!

November 26, 2010

If you are like me, you are sitting in your underwear this morning with a belly bloat fitting a Biafran. Only mine is full of residual food and his, letís just say, isnít.  National gorge yourself day is over officially beginning the over commercializing of the birth of baby Jesus.  There is a radio station in NYC a week into all holiday music all the time.  There are homes in the neighborhood sporting lights and blow up Santas.  People, we have gone too far.  I think we rush this to the point of dilution.  I am just wondering if anyone out there puts up a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  I saw that concept in a black and white movie once, oh and from my grand parents.  That is until they went big and purchased the aluminum tree with rotating colored spotlight.  Now that was a Christmas event to look forward to.  Unfortunately, it replaced the bubble light candles that generated enough heat to bubble the liquid in the candle.  Just perfect for a dead drying tree in an apartment. 

With yesterday the snow, damp cold Thanksgiving, I decided reds were necessary to warm the cockles.  Yes, I said cockle, being the wrinkles and puckers on my heart.  Not to be confused with cuckold.  That one you can look up for yourself.  I went a bit off template and served the 2005 BV Beauzeaux.  For scrabble players that are a find since it is pronounced bozo.  This wine comes from their maestro collection and is a blend, which changes from year to year.  The í05 consists of zinfandel, syrah, charbono, petite sirah, lagrein, valdiguie, grenache, and tempranillo.  Howís that for a combo to match the diverse Thanksgiving Day meal.  This isnít a sophisticated wine, just a nice blend of spice, nutmeg, dark cherry, raspberry, blueberry and a dash of vanilla.  The wine is painfully inexpensive yet attractively enjoyable.  I know it doesnít fit the bill for the norm, but hey, howís saying what is normal? I know I wonít win over a great deal of people with this wine, but it is a good value and in these tough times, we need more like this.

November 10, 2010

Who woulda thunk it?  It seems that the old time rocker / newbie wino has dove head first into the winemaking business.  Maybe more like the recreational wine making process.  The boy got serious real quick and decided to document the inaugural release of Wino Rocker Red.

Here we see the mix of grapes that WR will soon off his Harley boots and get in and stomp.  Looking forward to the bouquet of that.

Ok at least he decided to de-stem before he hopped into the barrel to crush.

Pressing the juice, run baby run!

Dude, thatís grape juice

Time to make the wine, whereís my yeast, letís get this party started.

So, in nine months, we will be birthing the first of the Wino Rocker bottlings.  I am looking forward to the success; it will save me a trip to the wine store.  I canít wait to see the label for this witchís brew. 

November 8, 2010

If you're looking for an example of why grenache/garnacha makes a nice blending grape, I strongly suggest the 2008 Evodia GarnachaFor ten dollars, you can smell and taste the grape characteristics.  However, donít expect this one to be a solid stand alone wine. In fact, I might buy another bottle of this wine and a bottle of syrah and drink from both glasses, swish the wine around in my mouth and create a sum better than the parts.  In fact, I recommend you do the same.  See what this grape has to offer in support of a syrah, become creative.  There is just not enough in this one to make you drink it and truly enjoy it. 

As a follow up to my last posting and as proof of my brush with fame, I offer the 1000 words below.

Wino Bob and Enzo from Big Brother talking game.

November 7, 2010

Unlike the Salahiís of the Real Housewives of DC, I did not sneak into the exclusive party.  I had a printed invitation.  It allowed me to circumvent the crowds and pass through security with minimal issue.  OK, there was the first gate check that I was detained a bit, but it all worked out.  Once passed the velvet ropes and ear-pieced muscle-heads, I was in.  And who did I have the pleasure of meeting?  None other than the pride of Bayonne.  (No, not Murphree Eger Vaughan (1898 - 1962) who was an American chemist, best known for his co-invention of the process of fluid catalytic cracking.)

This pride of every Bayonnean, Bayonnite, Bayonner is the energetic, humorist and mastermind of the infamous Brigade, Enzo Palumbo of Big Brother Season 12.  I knew it was an important evening when host, Wino Paul (aka T-Rex) actually had more than one bottle of the same wine.  Unlike his humidor that boasts a plethora of cigars gifted to him, the beverage cart was flowing with recently purchased product. 

I got to see first hand what fame is all about.  The small, intimate crowd fired Big Brother questions in rapid succession as Enzo graciously answered everyone, even WPís query if Hayden is a really neat guy?  But it was Winette Alice who beamed and giggled like a schoolgirl every time Enzo spoke.  I sensed a starry-glint in her gaze.  The most telling part of the evening showed in Enzoís patience as Wino Paul repeatedly asked to have his picture taken with him.  I believe that his Christmas cards this year will be decked with pictures of himself and Enzo in place of WA.

I ducked out early after consuming several glasses of 2007 337 Cabernet SauvignonThe wine brought black cherry, blackberry and coffee flavors making it an easy drinking red. 

I have to thank the hosts for including me in this limited access event and allowing me the opportunity to see what itís like to be up close and personnel with a reality show TV star.  One strongly believes that is a whole new career path awaiting Enzo because of his sense of humor and outgoing personality.

November 5, 2010

Kevin Zraly said, ďWhen it comes to zinfandel, stick with the RísĒ.  I mostly subscribed to that.  I enjoyed the dinner with Ken Rosenblum, I am a big fan of Rombauer and Ravenswood.  Last night at the ECWS, we hit the Ridge.  The nightís presenter warmed us up a vertical of Ridge Geyserville 1992, 2002, 2005 and 2008.  The discussion at our table was how enjoyably interesting the 1992 was and how bright and young the 2008 is.  The 2005 garnered agreement that it was closed, offered little.  The í92 and í02 churned out black fruits and blueberry with a cedar and hint of mint.  Conversely, the í08 was bright red fruit of cherry and raspberry with a simple nose. 

The second flight consisted of 2007 zins from around California.  The presenter stuck a Ridge í07 in just to see how well we could find it.  I used my best olfactory receptors to recognize commonality with a wine in the second flight and proceeded to bully the tablemates into agreeing which was the Ridge.  Iíll save the suspense, I wasnít close.  In fact I was so off, I picked a wine from Amador.  Who the frig makes robust zins in the Sierra Foothills?  It turns out it is Scott Harvey and the bottle was his Vineyard 1869.  Vines dating back 138 years ran about the property and Scott Harvey recognized potential when purchasing the land in 1984.  The flop of the night for our table was the Klinker Brick ďold VineĒ from Lodi.  One person described it as a thin mint cookie.  The nose had a sweet cookie and mint signature that made that cheese stand-alone. 

I like zinfandel and I think it is a great wine to have on the Thanksgiving Day table.  I enjoyed the 1992 Ridge and the Scott Harvey, go figure.  The only problem with a zin tasting is that most border on vodka in their alcohol content.  OK maybe they are closer to port, either way it makes for a cautious drive home.

Next up, the world of Chateauneuf du Pape!  Now thatís what Iím talking about.

November 3, 2010

So, help me with this...  I donít want to sound wine ignorant, but what do you call the second label of a third growth?  Last night was the sporting event of the year and I sat in front of the tube with a Bordeaux that was the second label of a third growth.  Does that sound douchy or what?  Is it too pedantic to put it that way?  Is it a third cousin once removed, kind of like my cousin Sally?  Is it like your cousin thatís only a cousin by marriage not really making them a cousin but allowing you to call them your cousin?

Whatever the term, it was a 1996 Marquis de Calon $ 34.95.  This is the second label of Calon Segur and I had high hopes that this was a find in a back bin at a wine shop unsure of what they had in their possession.  Unfortunately, the wine was over the hill.  Unlike its big brother that would have been coming into its own, the fruit on this one went, left, adios, see ya.  Damn, I was outfoxed by hope.  Nonetheless, the results of the night made this poor wine taste all the more sweet.  But last night was an historic event.  I promise a bottle of this wine without a night like last night would not be recommended. 

I had to rinse the taste out of my mouth from the astringent fruitless wine so I opened a 2007 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee, $$ (28.00) Now that's what Iím talkin' about!  This five cepages blend brings the cabernet sauvignon, the merlot, the Malbec, the cabernet franc and the petite verdot.  Nice fruit on the nose and a well-balanced beverage of dark fruit and tannins.  This one is definitely worth grabbing and holding for a few years.  It made me totally forget about the Marquis and had me thinking that today is just a great overall day.  With the ride we are in for over the next two years.  I recommend a bottle of this a month to keep you on an even keel.

November 1, 2010

I am looking forward to tomorrow when this crazy mid-term election is over.  I have steered clear of political talk for a long time and though I have a books worth of comments, I will have faith that the pendulum will be swinging back.  As it has been a crazy campaign season, and like baseball it seems the season gets longer each year, even crazier was my experience with chenin blanc wines yesterday.  In a pre-qualifying round, I had the pleasure of drinking eastward across the Loire with the trailblazing guidance of a knowledgeable veteran.  At this point I am not sure if I could truly pick a tasting fingerprint for this area as we had some very diverse examples of offerings.

The Domaine des Baumard 2005 was dessert wine sweet and I could see it as a complement to the pates.  The Chateau de La Roche aux Moines 2005 had a whiskey flair to it.  The Domaine du Close 2006 was elegant and flint-like with a lingering finish.  The other one I much enjoyed was the Domaine de Belliviere Coteaux du Loire 2007.  As a runner up, the Domaine Huet Clos du Bourg 2008 could be a wine I serve with a dinner. 

I have little knowledge of this region so I was excited to be included in this event.  I tend not to venture far off the red wine trail so I donít see myself becoming a chenin blanc expert.  I appreciate it for style and winemaking technique but see it as something I dabble with on occasion.

October 31, 2010

Last night, we enjoyed a wine dinner at the Tree Tavern with Eric Baist, featuring the Hope Family Wines.  Eric is the regional manager for the winery and he took time from his weekend to enlighten the crowd with an understanding of Austin Hopeís philosophy and the structures of the wines from Paso Robles.  The crowd warmed up with the 2008 Treana White, a blend of Viognier and Marsanne showing flavors of pear and apricot with a subtle hint of honey on the finish.  Dinner was a roasted pork loin and fall harvest veggies.  The two reds were Westside Red Troublemaker and the Candor Zinfandel.  To my surprise, the fruit forward zinfandel was the red of choice. The Troublemaker is a blend of syrah, grenache and mourvedre but showed a bit more tannins up front which I think had the crowd leaning towards the zinfandel.  These wines are a great value and, for under twenty dollars each, they illustrate that California has offerings that wonít break the bank. 

For those not familiar with the Hope Family Wines, Liberty School is their flagship brand.  Liberty School cabernet sauvignon was one of the first wines I was introduced to oh so long ago when Wino John took on the task of getting me to appreciate the reds over my usual Boddington Cream Ale at JRís.  You might say I cut my teeth on Liberty School and now Iím all growed up and enjoying a plethora of wines from all around the world.

It was a fun night and educational to boot.  If you havenít had the chance to try any of the Hope Family wines, I strongly suggest you do.  The zinfandel at $12.55 is a great value.

October 22, 2010

Do you have CYP2E1?  It seems that the science community has found 20% of you have this gene.  "So what?", you ask?  Thatís what I said at first, until they told me this gene is the anti-alcoholic gene.  I am thinking, thatís a good thing.  Reading on, I found out that having this gene makes you get drunk faster.  OK, might not be a bad thing.  Then again, if I got tipsy and pulled the lampshade out with only two glasses of wine in me, I might be kicked out of the Wine is Not For Wussies Society.  Many people see wine as a soft and simple beverage, thus getting drunk quickly on the juice would seem less than..., ah... manly.  Now we can point to the gene that causes this.

Drugs that enhance the effect of CYP2E1 could in the future be used to sensitize people to alcohol before an evening's drinking Ė or even sober them up when they have had one too many, said the researchers.  I am all for sobering up.  Now I am seeing some benefits.

As a side note, it appears that five per cent of the population does not have this gene at all and therefore have a very high tolerance to alcohol.  These individuals were identified in the study as Irish. 

More studies are being conducted on mice.  Why not, those little rodent bastards and I have a lot in common.  I like cheese.  I am a huge fan of Minnie Mouse.  I live in a dank, dark small space.  I will not comment on the tail thing, but I guess genetically I share a great deal with a white lab mouse. 

So drink up and let me know how many glasses of wine it takes to get you drunk and I will make up a nomogram to show you where you fit into the gene pool.  

October 8, 2010

This time next year, the Pony for some celebrating, you know what thatís about, enough said.  Hey, I openly admit, you can teach an old, middle aged slightly graying old dog new tricks.  Last night was the kick off for the 2010-2011 ECWS tasting season.  In a major f#&# up on my part, I came very close to being escorted to the door.  Honored with the request for me to be a pourer, I misunderstood the numbering for the tasting and proceeded to identify to the other pourers the incorrect sequence.  That would land a player with a first quarter benching and a possible fine in any other league.  Thank God the commissioner of the tasting society simply made me sit with a dunce cap in the corner of the room.  Let me just say there were some ruffled feathers from the tried and true old guard.

Now to the new trick, old Riojaís.  Stupidly, this old dog considered tempranillo not that age worthy. I stand before you, humbled.  We tasted the wines of Lopez de Heredia, two whites, a rose and six reds.

I donít drink a great deal of white, never mind Rioja white, never mind old Rioja white wine.  Light bulb moment, donít be closed-minded.  All the wines were Gran Reservas so I state it here:

  • 1987 Vina Tondonia White - a blend of Malvasia and Viura

  • 1981 Vina Tondonia White - same blend

The whites flared a discussion on maderized wines.  Second trick, go to Oz Clarkís book and look up definition.

Maderization (per Mr. Clark) - a form of oxidation in white wines caused by heating, usually over a period of time.  It takes its name from Madeira, which is the epitome of the style.  Unintentional maderization in a white wine is considered a fault.

Maderized or not, I found the 1981 interesting with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor on the initial palate.

We then proceeded to two flights of red from Lopezís two vineyards of the same years.  We started with Tondonia and then moved to Bosconia.  One would say we had horizontal and vertical exposure, or length and width, or height and girthÖ

Flight One

  • 1991 Vina Tondonia Red a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacho, Graciano and Mazuelo.

  • 1976 Vina Tondonia Red

  • 1973 Vina Tondonia Red

Flight Two

  • 1991 Vina Bosconia Red a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacho, Mazuelo and Graciano

  • 1976 Vina Bosconia Red

  • 1973 Vina Bosconia Red

First impression of the 1991 Tondonia was the cider, spice nose.  I learned that these wines age for 8 or 9 years in old barrels.  Lopezís wine making process has impressed me with the age worthiness of their wines.  The pedant in me thought the cabernets of Penedes or the Priorats were the only old wines worth tasting.  An old dog hit on the snout with newspaper no longer licks himself in public. 

My personal favorite was the 1973 Tondonia Red Gran Reserva.  I found the fruit deep and rich as black cherry and raspberry offered a smooth and balanced liquid.  Many in the crowd found the 1976 of both vineyards the complete package.  This, my friends, is why I need to stay in good standing.  I would never have had the opportunity, nor the thought to taste old Riojas.

Note to the Grand Taster, the trading deadline for pourers is October 20th.  I will understand if you relegate me to the 'meet and greet' squad for the betterment of the teamís chances to win the superbowl of wine tasting.  If Randy Moss could go three games into a season, so might I.

Next up, Ridge/ big ass zins from good ole California, US of A.

Bobís scale combining cost and taste: 


$- under 20 dollars
$$- 20-50 dollars
-50-75 dollars
-75 to 100 dollars
-100+ ( not in the budget)


I will use an icon, , to rate my wines.  The more icons, the better I liked it and would love to share this bottle with some good food and my rat friends.  WinoBob

Editor's Note: A while back, Bob went off on a tangent and changed his icon to .  He does this just to make me crazy!!!.  

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