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This page contains Winings from the 4th Quarter of the year 2011.

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December 29, 2011

We are rushing toward the end of 2011 and we decided to get in one more celebratory dinner.  TOB (the other Bob), WJ and I made our way to the Gourmet Cafť to enjoy the new menuís fare.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss with slight modifications, it was something similar to the original menu.  Nonetheless, we found our food comfort zones and used it as background noise for the wine. 

The primary reason we got together was to sample the bottle of wine sent to us for review.  Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Katie Hart of the Baddish Group asking if I would like to try a new sparkling wine.  My immediate thought was this must be a joke of Wino John.  So I replied that I would review a sample and several days later, a sample arrived.  It turns out that we toasted last night's dinner with a bottle of Yellow Tail bubbles Sparkling White Wine.  Katie described it as light, crisp and fruit-forward with notes of peach jam and lemon curd on the nose.  But the hook for me was their innovative closure, the ďzork,Ē a re-sealable cork, to keep the bubbly wine effervescent.  I am glad it came with instructions because the first time you open the zork, you need four people.  One must read the instructions, two must start to peel the ribboned plastic at the base of the zork (women I guarantee you will break a nail) and the forth person is there to cheer you on as to not give up. 

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I donít know the price of this one but I found the bubbles to be consistently small and streaming, the nose was peachy but I wouldnít say jammy with citrus notes and a crisp finish.  All comments were positive that the wine was interesting and would be considered for further investigation.  (Thatís WinoStuff-speak for "hey, send over a larger sample so we can delve deeper".) 

As we moved on in wine, I was remiss in working the details.  Wino John wanted to end the year with a beautifully crafted Chateauneuf du Pape.  TOB wanted us to have a more sobered look at a wine he brought to our last fest.  I must admit, I remember little of that night and we agreed we need a do-over.   The fest night turned weird, not in a Sandusky way, there was no horseplay or anything, just a blurred mass consumption of food and wine that left a lasting headache.  TOBís wine was from Puglia.  The Liveli Salice Salentino produced by Alfred Falvo.  I neglected to read the bottle but I believe it was 100% negroamaro grapes and offered a distinct minty, herb nose and a lush dark fruit flavor on the palate.  I brought along a 2000 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  I found the wine to be slightly over the hill.  TOB commented on the finish being disappointing.  I concur. 

I donít know what else to say but Chef-owner Matt of GC keeps letting us come back to his establishment.  He really shouldnít.  But I enjoy the comfort of the place, the friendship of the staff and the volume of amusement we always manage to have when dining there.  To Matt, Danielle, Joe and Armando, Happy New Year!  We will be seeing you a lot in 2012.

December 26, 2011

I donít know how he does it but for what has become the latest tradition, my younger brother provides gifts and entertainment for the crowd.  We have given up on the standard 'get me this and Iíll get you that' and we know what we will exchange.  For the past decade, he thoughtfully puts together bags with items specific to each family memberís likes and personality.  For me this year, the two items below were standouts.

Yes folks, itís 1950 white Bordeaux.  As you can tell by the color, itís most likely undrinkable, but I now am the proud owner of a 1950 unopened bottle of Bordeaux.

I know this is hard to read, but the front of the cigar box says, ďEspecially made for Ronald O. PerelmanĒ.  Yes, there are cigars in the box, they are dry but can be re-humidified.  But why smoke such a valuable gift.  Yes, the Ron Perelman (Google him if you donít know the name).

I hope you had as great a time as we did with a two and a half hour meal and a four-hour present exchange.  I enjoyed the Albarino better than the Riesling.  The fish was excellently prepared if I must say so myself.  But most of all, it was a special night for the family.  More to come, stay tunedÖ

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas.  As you know by now, tradition dictates a simple meatless meal tonight.  We will gather for the first time ever at our house, a table stretched for 12.  I will have the delight of loading the fireplace with all the downed limbs from the October storm and we will exchange gifts and laughs and stories.  We will toast tonight with a potato-based Polish vodka I have yet to try.  The brand is Vesica.  With dinner, I will have open a bottle of 2010 Burgans Albarino as it will be the base broth in my steamed clams.  The other will be the 2008 Marcel Deiss Riesling.  I am using it in the base broth for the poached salmon.  Tonight is simple.  Tomorrow, as the filet mignon roasts to medium rare perfection, red wine will flow like the swollen Passaic River. 

Enjoy the special time with friends and family and have a happy, safe celebration.  Thank you for another great year.  Your comments keep us wanting to get better each year. 

December 14, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye!  Start spreading the news, diamond in the rough alert!  Last night, I had dinner at a place not usually on my circuit.  Based on the request of a business associate, we ate at Don Pepe in Pine Brook.  Not knowing if I was paying or he was, I selected an inexpensive wine from their list.  It was the 2008 (the book said 2005 but when they brought the 08 I didnít send it back) Dow Vale do Bomfim Douro Reserva (Portugal).  On the wine list at $27.00, I am guessing itís a $9.99 retail wine.  At that price, please sir, may I have another.  The wine isnít the biggest and boldest but it brought plum, black pepper, and tea.  I found the wine to be balanced, good fruit and fit for my medium rare T-bone.  What more can you ask for at a restaurant?  I didnít feel overcharged.  I finished off the bottle and was happy with the stab in the dark.  Besides, I wasnít spending $160 for Silver Oak Alexander Valley.  The only thing I would have enjoyed better was bringing my own.  Hey, find this one.  I trust you will like it.

December 11, 2011

I understand the holiday season started weeks ago but Friday night was the official start of the season for me.  The reason for the season you ask?  We had the traditional holiday fest with the wino crew.  Actually, itís less of a crew and more of a shoebox full of Toys From Misfit Island.  The usual subjects were present, 14 bottles of red wines, two white wines and champagne for the 6 of us.  I do not have a cool modern cell phone so I didnít take a picture of the line up (the wine line up not the guest line up).  So I trust Wino John will insert one of the many pictures his 4G-uber camera took. 

The 2011 Holiday Fest Lineup

As it is two days later since I lost a day to recover (yes, I have officially become old and it took me all yesterday to right my ship), I do have several recollections.  There was a 1997 Stagís Leap Petite Sirah that was crazy good, a Chateau Beaucastel CdP that was killer and an Adamís Ridge cabernet sauvignon I think at one point I tried to make love to.  The other one I remember was a 2008 Quilcede Creek cabernet sauvignon.  I remember that one, as it was one of my entries. 

Sorry, I should have stated this first.  Mike put together a feast fit for Henry the VIII himself.  It was game night and we ate the wild game of Passaic County.  There was wild boar sausage, venison sausage, rabbit, venison loin, quail and pheasant.  Each marinated or sauced with a bold companion flavor meant to highlight their uniqueness.  An accompaniment of root veggies and acorn squash topped the plates and I did see some wild rice in morel mushrooms. 

Bob forgot to mention that he brought his Spotted Dick...

I was overwhelmed with food and wine.  It was a crazy fun night, a rough ride home in the morning and a must have midday nap.  So itís official, Merry Christmas, the reason for the season.  Here is wishing you and yours what I have, an old truck with 150,000 miles, a dank third floor room, a failed career and good wine friends that make those other things tolerable.  Be safe and remember, keep Christ in Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas. 

(Editor's note: Thanks again, Mike.  I don't know why you continue to let us make fools of ourselves in your bar/restaurant/home.  Unless this will all someday appear on Youtube...   WJ)

December 3, 2011

My personal jury is still out on pinot noir.  Yes, last night we tasted 2008 Oregon pinot noirs and I still need to get more ďin tuneĒ with the subtleties of this grape.  I will get right to it since I donít have much else to say right now.  Iím still learning.

Flight 1

  • Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve

  • RR Ridgecrest Vineyards

  • Elk Cove Pinot Noir

Frankly our table didnít think much of these three.  I think there was a slight lean towards the RR Ridgecrest.

Flight 2

  • Ken Wright Abbott Claim Vineyard

  • Lemelson Theaís Selection

  • Archery Summit Arcus

As this was blind, no one knew that number 6 was the Archery Summit.  It was panned by our table.  I thought it had a ďcat urineĒ smell on the nose that I had to fight through to even taste it.  For me, I enjoyed the Ken Wright as it had a clove and spice nose.  The table went for the Lemelson in this flight.

Flight 3

  • Domaine Serene Jerusalem Hill

  • St. Innocent Freedom Hill Vineyards

  • Ken Wright Carter Vineyard

  • Ken Wright Canary Hill Vineyard.

The two Ken Wrights had everyoneís attention.  I enjoyed the Carter Vineyard while overwhelmingly the room went for the Canary Hill.  All it means is I donít know much about pinot but we all canít be great at everything.  Next month is the luscious, power reds of Priorat.  I will have far more to say after that one.

December 2, 2011

Praise be to Steve Jobs.  Itís official, I no longer need the one hand-balancing act with a laptop.  The IPAD is so much easier to hold and balance.  This guy knew the pitfalls of holding a Macbook with one hand so he invented the AirMac, then the iPad, brilliant!  The screen is large enough, comes with a plastic screen protector, very light weight, and two cameras.  My love life thanks you. 

A quick dinner at GC the other night had WJ and me drinking an Italian Amarone.  No, stop, it wasnít a date, just two men having a quiet dinner together.  Seriously, just dinner.  I brought a South African that we started with.  I wrote about it before so I will pass on it.  The Amarone was the 2006 Le Salette Amorone della Valpolicella Classico La Marega.  The wine went well with the food and offered wild cherry flavors with hints of leather and violets.  We polished off both bottles and since there was a chocolate-chocolate brownie with chocolate, Wino John had a dessert, which lead me to have an espresso and sambuca.  Right, thatís where the headache comes in, that damn sambuca.  Oh yeah, and some 43.  I have to remember not to do the sugar-laden after dinner drinks.  The way to do that is bring another bottle of wine.  Just my version of a three-dog night, I guess.  On a side note, big menu change is coming today at Gourmet Cafť.  I wonder what we have to look forward to next week?

November 25, 2011

This year, I have many thanks to give.  Besides the usual great family, health, freedom from oppression, the right to party, drunk friends, sound liver, a generator, and nano technology (not to be confused with Nana-Technology which is my grandmother using an iPhone), I also have to give a major thanks to the counter guy at Wallington Plumbing.  In a simple expression of a throw away bit of advice, the dude came up big time and turned what I saw as a major plumbing bill back into a handyman project.  What has two thumbs and now knows the key to changing a single handle leaking Delta shower facet?  This guy!  (Iím pointing my two thumbs at myself right now but it makes it difficult to type).  The dude came up big with a plumberís secret to make the change easier as it had me stumped for two weeks.  The best part was he wasnít the guy helping me.  He overheard the conversation and offered a solution.  I hope he had a great Thanksgiving because his simple advice made my week.

Now to the nitty-gritty.  In a need to keep up with the Jones' (those damn Jones'!), I made a late Wednesday stop at the Livingston Bottle King just to have a nouveau Beaujolais on the table yesterday.  To my surprise, there was one brand, the festively-capsuled George Duboeuf.  The wine poured out dark and impressive.  But the taste was foxy and immature.  And when I say foxy, I donít mean in the Selma Hayek in the From Dusk Till Dawn foxy, I mean in the grape flavor of the uncomplex.  I finished the glass and passed right to the dinner wine.

For the main table, I cleansed the foxiness of the Georgie D out of my mouth with the 2006 Ridge East Bench Zinfandel.  I found the bramble fruit to fit well with the rusticness of the turkey, corn, and multiple potatoes.  The jammy wine was spicy with a slight sweet red fruit on the finish.  With the array of flavors for the table, I was happy with the pairing.  All in all, it was a great day of family, friends, food and wine.  Thanks, ah, white man?

November 19, 2011

It was one of those nights that I have to change the names to protect ..., well ..., all of us.  So this is a substitute wine writer, Bino Wob.  The others will remain nameless.  Hereís how the night started, one nameless guest showed up with a rare bottle of wine.

Yes folks, the rare bottle of 1984 Beringer White Zinfandel.  So what does a polite host do when a guest shows up with such an offering?  If you were here last night, you would have seen it in person.  OK, I will show you.

Itís a little hard to see but this picture shows the expansion of the distilling process.  On the right, our tried and true.  And on the left, the newest apparatus from a chem lab from an unnamed university.  As with John Henry, we tested gas versus electric, or man versus the locomotive.  Man won and promptly declared this the First Official Hooch-Off.  I was impressed with team Yís apparatus as seen here in the second distillation.

Truth be told, we enjoyed some nice wine with a wild turkey dinner.  Yes, one of the nameless is a hunter and bagged us some vittles.  The wild bird was not gamey as I first expected, but a delicious treat as we get ready for, oh yeah, Thanksgiving.

Wines consumed with no injury:

2009 Steele Chardonnay

2007 Simonsig Pinotage

2006 Lemelson Vineyards Theaís Selection Pinot Noir

Thanks to those I cannot name or identify for making the First Official Hooch-Off a spirited competition and an enjoyable night.  Now get the hell out!

November 17, 2011

Big thanks to Wino John for holding my sack.  I donít know if you have a friend that is nice enough to pick your sack up and hold it for you.  WJ is just that kind of guy. It seems that I was so out of it at the end of our last dinner at Gourmet Cafť that I left my sack (my wine sack) at the restaurant.  What else where you thinkÖ?  Oh, no, not that sack, my wine-carrying sack.  The evening always ends up with three empty bottles and a bunch of liqueur-fueled coffees.  This time was no different, at least I thought so.  Then I get home, pee in the bushes, trip over the dog and realize I am missing my sack.  Fortunately, the good folks at GC already emailed me saying they would hold my sack until I stopped in to pick it up.  It turns out that WJ left his sack there, too, and he picked up both our sacks the next day.  (I just donít tire of this one).  I could go one endlessly about how WJ grabbed my sack and stuff, but I guess that would be overkill.  (Editor's note: Remember who edits this idiotic rant, you sackless stick figure...)

What started me that night was a bottle of 2088 Estele Armando La Posta Bonarda from Argentina.  (Editor's note:  Really?  A 2088 Bonarda?  You sackless sack of $#!+ !!!)  $ (15.99)    I liked the fruit on this wine.  Red and black berry flavors with mint and pepper.  The thing I didnít like was the lack of finish.  As you know, bonarda is our charbono.  No, not chaz bono, charbono.  It was food-friendly, I think, if I remember correctly. 

As I donít have my notebook since I donít have my sack, I donít exactly know what the other two wines were.  I do remember Wino John brought a Super Tuscan, which sparked a mad google search.  Nothing like three nerds at a restaurant playing with their smart phones at the same time.  This wine did not contain any sangiovese.  It contained all non-Italian stuff, which had me question if it can be called a Super Tuscan. The sites we reached did not make it clear what the qualifications are that make it a Super Tuscan so we argued and both declared victory.

The Other Bob brought an Amarone that was the perfect way to end the meal, until the Sambuca and espresso came out.  Somewhere around there I lost track of my sack and when they asked us politely to leave, I was sackless and unaware.  

November 10, 2011

I struggled with a moral dilemma last night, wondering if I should write about this or not.  As readers, you know I have pretty low moral standards so this must have been a real issue.  Actually, I was going to write about it I just wasnít sure if I should say where it happened.  So here it is.  I was out to dinner the other night and wanted to have a glass of wine.  As usual, the red wine by the glass was limited and over priced, but what else does one expect when eating out.  So I bit the bullet and ordered a Simi cabernet sauvignon at $12.00 a glass.  No, thatís not the outrage yet.  We were having fun and enjoying the conversation so I ordered a second.  To my finely tuned palate, I knew the second glass was not the same wine.  OK, it was red.  So now I get to thinking, are they playing bait-and-switch with me?  Could I have ordered the $12.00 wine and they then try and slide a cheaper one in and figure I am just some average Joe asshole not wine knowledgeable enough to know the difference?  Do I have "SAP" stamped on my forehead?  At first, I figured it was just human error so I said to the table that I was going to complain.  As we didnít yet get our food, everyone told me to not say anything because, well you know what they do to the food of complainers.

Unfortunately, my human error angle lost out to the intentional devil on my shoulder and I summoned the waitress and let her know I knew and, therefore, they should know, donít try to pull that shit with me.  She was nice and apologized and brought back another wine.  She said the bartender mistakenly picked up the Simi Merlot instead of the cabernet.  I call bullshit twice.  I will tell you this, the second was not a Simi Merlot and probably the third was a different cabernet but at least it was a cabernet so I quelled my ire.

The dilemma I now have is do I name the restaurant or not?  I do want to go there again and I donít want all my dishes to end up tasting like sweaty man-ass as they flavor my entrťe.  Then I thought that if not put on notice, how many others might suffer this potential "mistake".  If the restaurant knows they are being watched, they should be more careful.  So really, I am doing this for them not just me.  So, at the risk of my ginger ahi tuna tasting like man-ass, I experienced this ďerrorĒ at McLooneís in West Orange.  I pray that it truly was an honest mistake, as I like the vibe of this place.  I float this out there to see if something similar has happened to you.  As for McLooneís, I will be sitting in the bar area the next time I eat there to see if the new staff is really clueless or if they might be trying to take advantage of the patrons.  There, I said it.  McLooneís.  See something, say something.  Itís the only way the terrorists donít win.  (Editor's note:  I'm never going to McLoone's with you...  Don't even ask.)

November 6, 2011

I had an interesting email sent to me today and it got me thinking.  A reader asked me if we would put together a Wino Babe calendar.  As you know, our wine makers are a bit reluctant, so the reader suggested a Wino Babe calendar from our readership base.  So I am asking for our female readers to send us a sensual, sexy, hot picture of you with wine, a wine glass, a wine bottle, grapes, or in a wine cellar that you would like us to consider for publishing in  a Wino Babe calendar.

We know we have the sexiest readers out there so email us your photo and lets rock the wine world with the best Wino Babes in the world.  Email winobob@winostuff.com.

November 5, 2011

Did you know that Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent are not the Pep Boys of Austria?  Thatís right, I said Austria.  Till now, I only knew Freud, Mozart and Schwarzenegger hailing from that region.  Admittedly, it was a palate-opening experience and I was glad to attend.  The ECWS had a guest speaker this month, Christian Zechmeister.  The Zechmeister (his real name) is the head of the Burgenland Wine Office.  Through power point and wine glasses, I realized that I do have an oral fixation for a deep rich dark fruit, slightly tannic, silky finished beverage.  Sorry, mom, after all these years I have to admit it.  And that was no Freudian slip.  I do fixate on well-crafted wine on my palate.  I know itís the low road but I couldnít name one Mozart hit and except for Twins, I am not a big Arnold fan. I promised to be adult today so I am exiting the Freudian joke book and heading to the wine world of Burgenland, the land of Burgen or the Hapsburgs.  The Master of the Zech (I am still trying to define what a zech is that he became the master of) started us off with a furmint.  This is the grape used to make the famous Tokaji wines.  This one was puttonyosless and simple in style, 2008 Heidi Schrock Furmint.

Flight 1

2007 Gernot Heinrich Zweigelt

2006 Hans Schwarz ďSchwarz RotĒ Zweigelt

Not my favorite flight of the night but I liked the Schwarz Rot in this flight.

Flight 2

2005 Juris St. Laurent Reserve

2006 Umathum St. Laurent Von Stein

I hope I got the order correct, there was some confusion when the list was handed out.  The Juris was one of my favorites of the night and had the Freudian qualities that gave me an oral fixation.

Flight 3

2007 Paul Achs Blaufrankisch Ungerberg

2007 Erwin Tinhof Blaufrankisch

2007 Moric Blaufrankisch Alte Reben Lutzmannsburg

Honestly, the Paul Achs did not compare to the other two.  It was ascorbic and weak.  I liked the dried fruit nose of the Erwin and the fruit and body of the Moric. Tough one to call.

Flight 4

1999 Prieler Blaufrankisch Goldberg

The cheese stands alone here, as it was so much older than the three previous Blaufrankisch wines.  I think this one ended up being the wine of the night.  I did not cast a vote for it.

Flight 5

2004 Nittnaus Comondor

2007 Geselimann Opus Eximium

These were blends, if a wine-soaked memory serves me correctly.  The first was a merlot, zweigelt, blaufrankisch blend and the second was a zweigelt, blaufrankisch, St. Laurent blend.  I knew the Nettnaus had a non- Austrian grape but to me it was cabernet sauvignon.  Not thinking that European merlot is more masculine than the California merlot.  Be that as it may, I liked the Austrian blend and used my precious second vote of the night for it.

I came, I drank, I learned with thanks to the Zechmeister, the Zechter, Zechman, the Zech-inator; Christian. 

And a special thanks to my tablemates, one of which I cannot name, as he is the Not-Wino.  It was fun and entertaining and should have been captured on film.

October 31, 2011

So here it is my second night without porn power and I am going through withdrawal.  Its Sunday, no TV and no church football.  The kick in the ass is that I bought a generator and for a few hours last night, I watched while the neighborhood was dark.  Actually, I think they were all out eating and having a good time.  Even my neighbor whose tree fell in my driveway was able to leave his house.  The town did come and cut me out and I shoveled.  My snow blower is so old that I canít pull start is so I use the electric starter.  For that, you need electricity so it was two backbreaking hours of shoveling. 

It was interesting last night; the quiet and the snap of branches were all that I could hear.  I managed to drive over to Wino Rockers to bathe soak in the hot tub.  It was nice sitting there with a glass of Portuguese red wine, a cigar, massaging jets and... Crap!  It was Wino Rocker in there with me.  Thereís my life.  My only hot tub experience where I am chilling with a nice cigar and a glass of red wine included the uber-hairy, Chubaka-like Yeti Wino Rocker.  Man, God must really be pissed off at me. 

October 30, 2011

A strange night indeed.  No power, which means no porn on the Internet.  I have three old hurricane lamps for just this occasion and for some odd reason, only one works properly.  I am not sure if itís the wick or the wick mechanism that is creating the problem.  To top it off, I felt my way through the dark basement and brought up the second bottle of AVV syrah.  Wow, what a losing streak I am on.  So I type by the dim light of one lamp in hopes that the battery on the laptop holds.  The night is hauntingly still except for the occasional crack of a branch and the ensuing contact with ground or house.  I donít believe I have seen it this bad in the 17 years I have lived in this town.  My only saving grace is that I live near a school so they will have to clear the street tomorrow lest the next generation will be one day void of building a better tomorrow.  Sorry, AVV, I am dealing with you tonight since I can't take another dark walk downstairs but I will tell you this, you were very little comfort on this stormy night.  I am not looking forward to the cleanup in the morning.  No, I can deal with the snow.  Itís the crappy stomach from the AVV syrah.

October 29, 2011

Check your calendars, folks, mine says October 29th.  Mine also happens to be getting covered in snow.  I promise no Al Gore jokes.  Facts only this time; ITíS SNOWING!!!!!!!! 

Actually I wanted to post a quick note.  Last night I was refused service at a restaurant.  No, Matt didnít throw me out of Gourmet Cafť.  We were looking for a bite to eat so I suggested a new place that just opened.  Itís not in my neck of the woods but itís a new location for a place I have been to before.  So we parked and walked into a mob.  No, I know its Jersey but not that kind of mob.  It was more like a packed house.  I went to the hostess station and she told me she couldnít seat me.  It was 7:15 on a Friday night in a recession.  She said it was over a three and a half hour wait for a table so she wouldnít take my name.  Three and a half hour wait begs the question, where the hell did all these people eat before this place opened?  And it wasnít a small place, this was a very nice looking place, but I really didnít see much more than the bar area.  Well, it looks like a winner and I am not sure if I will be getting in there very soon, but the newest addition to the McLoone restaurant empire in West Orange will be a huge success.  I enjoy their Asbury Park location as a great spot to eat before a night at the Stone Pony.  This one seems to beat a Saturday night in July in Asbury. 

I did sign up for my McLooneís Premium card as they offer 50% off a bottle of wine Monday and Tuesday nights.  Oh, did I mention itís snowing?

October 27, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye!  New wine to report on, new wine to report on!  I will admit, when I ran out to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner, I made an impulse buy.  I was cruising around the store and saw a label that caught my eye.  This California zinfandel seemed OK, but it was the Monty Pythonesque picture under the name Plunger Head that had me bring it to the register.  A 2009 Plunger Head Zinfandel seemed a fitting wine for us two chowder heads.  Wino John went more serious with a 2004 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino

I enjoyed the Plunger Head and was surprised when the label stated 14.9 per cent alcohol.  The wine wasnít hot like many of the zins.  The plum and black fruit was approachable with mushroom and spice.  This one came in at $14.99 and is worth the price of admission.

When looking at the label I am waiting for a giant foot to come down and squash this guy.  Or he will drop the sign and start hitting himself with bricks.  The other interesting thing about this bottle is the closure.  No corkscrew needed, it was a Zork.  (www.zork.com.au) So the guy looks like a Monty Python ensemble character and they use a Zork, Iím sensing a subtext of British humor here. 

On a more serious note, the Tenuta Vitanzaís label boasts a crown and is 100% sangiovese.  It is aged 3 Years in France tonneaux for 30% and 70% in large Slavonian barrels, with 6 months of bottle refinement.  Wowzer!  It also weighs in at $49.99.  A sophisticated, refined wine.  What the hell were we doing drinking something so classy?  This was a wine that was made for a fine Italian meal. 

Fun night, we made it through one more time without getting banned despite WJís unruly behavior and inappropriate bothering of the other guests at the restaurant.  Thanks, Matt.

October 24, 2011

Is 50% good enough?  Last night, I had a guest in town so we went to a local BYOB and I brought two bottles of red.  I enjoyed one, but wasnít as happy with the other.  My guest was complimentary of both wines but the second bottle was better received by me, several people at the next table we were sharing with and the chef.  The other people shared some of their homemade Baileyís Irish Cream style liqueur so I felt obligated to reciprocate.  Sparing the tedious details of dinner and the conversation that lead to the alcohol swap, I will say that the 2007 Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah was less than I was expecting.  I am a big AVV fan, especially their Cyrus, but the syrah was weak.  I was hoping at $12.99 this would be a nice wine to keep on hand for casual nights.  I will not be putting any more of this in the rack.

The wine I did enjoy and so did several people at the next table we shared with is the 2006 Agua de Piedra Gran Reserva Malbec.  Also coming in at $12.99, this wine showed nice plum and blackberry flavors with an earthy finish.  A rugged red that goes well with hearty foods like grilled NY strip, I declare this one a find for the price.  I will get more of this one to enjoy with a cigar or a steak, right now they cost about the same.

October 16, 2011

When did Rutgers University hit the big time?  I had a bit of a shock yesterday when attending the Rutgers Ė Navy football game.  I have my daughter at Rutgers and a nephew at Navy so what better way to make a family event.  When I went to get a ticket, a $55.00 price tag jumped to my credit card.  How, when did this turn into pro football pricing?  Either way, it was a perfect day, great weather and a nice family outing.  I marvel at walking with my nephew and his roommate and having random people come up and ask to take a picture with them.  Itís heart warming to see young people embracing men in uniform, well, chicks anyway.  Best news, Rutgers won a close game, RU rah, rah. 

Which brings me to my second revelation of the weekend.  Heading out to a Giants, game my buddy wanted some beer.  When did a six pack turn into a ten dollar bill?  Jesus, it must be a long time since I purchased beer.  Say what you will about Mr. Moneypants Chablis drinker, beer is becoming an equal.  The true shock was the cost of a beer at the stadium.  $9.75 for a bottle of Bud Lite.  Thatís Chilean cabernet sauvignon pricing my friend.  A plastic bottle with no cap at almost ten dollars. 

The game outcomes were the best, Rutgers beating Navy and the Giants squeaking past the Bills.  It wasnít a wine night but it was filled with fun and family and friends and sometimes that is all we need. 

The real point of this is that I need to drink wine, different wine that I can start writing about.  Bud Lite is not going to make a post.  It was more about the shock of college football tickets and bottled beer pricing.  Sorry.  I just wanted to get this off my chest.  Now find me a liter of fruit of the vine.

October 9, 2011

And the purpose of an Uber-PC that crashes from cruising porn is?  Exactly.  Say what you will about Mr. Jobís (God rest his soul) invention but it donít crash even on a three day porn bender!  (Or so Iíve heard...)  Enough said.  To the real news, Wino John came out from the high security mountainside bunker to join the people.  No, he isnít protesting the Wall Street.  Sorry, can someone explain the message there?  I saw a "stop the war" sign, a "bankers are Hitler" sign, an "I need a job sign" and a "Chris Mathews is the modern day Red Peters" sign.  OK, I made the last one up, but I often do watch Chris to see what he is exercised about and if you ever heard a Red Petersí song, you get the reference.  Maybe a future entry will deal with Chrisí constantly changing message as he cold reads the teleprompter.  To more important things...

In breaking with his normal routine at this time of year of storing his nuts for a long cold winter, Wino John joined my ECWS colleagues and me for an evening of white Burgundy.  White Burgundy holds two places in my wine education.  The first being the embarrassment served up by the waiter at Cellars in the Sky and the second being the education WJ imparted on me in my formative years of wine drinking.  This tasting looked at 2009 Mersaults.  Props to Howard the presenter for bringing out the largest crowd for a white wine tasting at the society to my knowledge.  We were graced with having Woody at our table.  Footnote, Woody refused to allow me to dub him Wino Woody and who am I to go against his wishes?  Heís worth like a 190 billion dollars and I am hoping to get an invite to his house to drink some really expensive wines from his cellar.  Pathetically, he extended an invitation to WJ for a vertical tasting of Insignia of which I was not invited.  What is that about?

Flight 1

  • Fichet Meursault Les Chevalieres

  • Fichet Meursault Le Tesson

  • Faiveley Meursault 1er Cru Blagny

Like Snow White when sleeping with the dwarfs, the first one was impish and the third one was too much wood.  That made the Tesson just right.  Please, I know, it was the little mermaid not Snow White.

Flight 2

  • Thierry & Pascal Matrot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes

  • Boyer-Martenot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes

I went Boyer over Pascal though I do like his law of fluid dynamics and I do agree there is an equal force exerted on other point, I just didnít like his wine as much.

Flight 3

  • Boyer- Martenot Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres

  • Girardin Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres

For those playing at home are you getting it yet?  Again, I sided with The Boyer and actually cast one of my two votes for the night for this one.

Flight 4

  • Girardin Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres

  • Grivault Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Perrieres

  • 2003 Grivault Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Perrieres

This was simple.  The number 9 wine was my top of the night.  The 2003 was interesting but maderized.  I am not saying that 2003 is not worth looking into if you can find it; I am saying this one was not worth looking into especially at 126 dollars a bottle.

We continue an off the beaten path journey next month with Austrian reds.  No, I did not misspell Australia.  And no, I am not talking about Austrian reds in a political sense.  I am talking wine. 

October 2, 2011

With a technical glitch on the server farm, things have been quiet in Winoville.  Quick!  Call Zynga, I now own the trademark on Winoville!  Does anyone have a destemmer I can borrow?  My vines need watering.  Technically, I am not sure if that is pure.  I know Zynga produced Farmville and people on Facebook are always asking me to give them farm tools or crap.  Wino John, I say we contact Zynga and cash in on Winovile. (Winoville is a registered trademark of Wine Ventures LLC 2011). 

Just to be straight, itís not like I have been drinking.  Itís just that I havenít been drinking anything different.  I guess the down side of owning a case of certain wines is drinking the case in a short period of time.  Two notes, when life hands you rotting, spoiled grapes, make wine.  Last weekend we had a sober gathering for a sad event and by the end of the weekend, we were sitting around with bottles of wine and the wine essence kit playing ďcan you guess this scent.Ē  The wines were Chateau La Chance, Epiphany and The Guilty, all stuff I have written about before.  The kitchen table antics lightened the mood and softened the pain.  Well not all the pain, little sleep and a lot of wine did offer a lingering headache. 

This weekend, I did something different; I stayed at a B&B in NJ.  We received a gift of an overnight at a B&B in Lambertville, NJ.  Nice place, an old 1820ís farm with modern amenities.  On Friday night, we went into town and enjoyed a very nice dinner at the Inn at Lambertville Station.  I enjoyed the venison special over a creamy risotto.  The thing I enjoyed most was the manner in which one could order wine.  A wide variety of the wine list offered a price per glass, a 375 carafe, a bottle and/or a take out case.  I think this is a brilliant strategy.  As I am a bottle-to-myself consumer, I backed down to the carafe, which gave me a bit more than two glasses at a slightly reduced price of the two glasses if ordered individually.  With my venison, I ordered the 2009 Val de Vie ďBaristaĒ Pinotage.  I enjoyed the dark cherry and plum with a finish of coffee.  It mated well with the caramelized onion in red wine reduction for the hearty deer meat. 

This week, I have a wine tasting in the city and our first ECWS meeting.  Looks like it will be a great week and I look forward to finding some new things to write about.  The wine society tasting is white Burgundy, I trust it will be a fun night.

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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