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I havenít commented about The Spec in a while.  Itís just too darned difficult to read them when youíre sitting at a sporting event.  Anyhow, with a brief lapse between the British Open and PGA, I figured I should sit down and wade through the pile and see if there were any good tidbits.  The following are important for our readers to review and see if they want to subscribe to The Spec:

The Bigger the Better (July 31, 2004)

With a title like this, you might think that Wino Bob was the guest writer for this article.  Anyhow, the article is a great read on big bottles of wine.  For the average wino, we donít care about big bottles of wine.  They cost too much money and weíre not going to waste our money by having to pour wine down the drain when we donít finish the bottle (note:  Wino Bob has never met a bottle that he couldnít finish).  However, in talking to some collectors of big bottles, The Spec claims that due to the bottle thickness and larger quantity of wine, the wine can age for decades longer than its 750 ml counterpart.  One collector was quoted as saying that for every pre-1982 Imperial, he lets the wine breathe for half an hour for every year of its age (22 years times 30 minutes would be 11 hours minimum, Bob).  Just to refresh our readers on the designations of the big bottles, they are:

Magnum                       1.5 liters  (thatís normally two bottles, WB!)

Double Magnum            3.0 liters (Bordeaux and Port)

Jeroboam                     3.0 liters (Burgundy and Champagne)

Rehoboam                    4.5 liters (Champagne)

Imperial                        6.0 liters (Bordeaux)

Methuselah                   6.0 liters (Burgundy and Champagne)

Salmanazar                   9.0 liters (Champagne)

Balthazar                      12.0 liters (Champagne)

Nebuchadnezzar           15.0 liters (Champagne)

If you memorize this list, you would know that any size beyond Imperial is not a Bordeaux.  So when Bobby tells you that he and his neighbors consumed a Balthazar of first growth Bordeaux, you can say ďHey, Bob, that must have been a big bottle of sparkling Ripple that you chugged!Ē.

Grand Award Winners Ė 2004 Restaurant Awards (August 31, 2004)

If you can still find this issue, buy it.  I use it as a reference every time I travel out of town (work or pleasure, it doesnít matter, I just want to find a place with a great wine list).  I believe this is the best single source for finding a restaurant with a decent wine list.  However, that doesnít mean there arenít restaurants with decent wine lists that have been left off the list.  I look at the ones listed for Maryland, most of which Iíve visited, and note several restaurants with great lists and great food who arenít on the list, and others who are on the list and donít exactly provide notable food to go with the wine (you know who you are!).  Thereís only one Grand Award Winner in New Jersey (The Park and Orchard) and there are none in Maryland and only one in Virginia (The Inn at Little Washington).  However, rip out this issue and put it in your briefcase in case you need a quick pick for the client/boss when youíre out of town.

Wino Wally
Baltimore, MD
August 5, 2004


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