February 10, 2010 (Really!)
Wow. That was refreshing.
What a great hiatus… One of my best abeyances ever! I’m feeling much better now.
In case you haven’t been
paying attention, I haven’t updated this page in… let’s see… what is the date
of my last update… ? Wait! It was today! (God, I love that java applet…)
So you may have been asking
yourself, “I wonder where WinoJohn is…? We haven’t seen an update in
weeks months years. I hope he’s OK…”. (If you’re not saying that to yourself, you
should be. What’s the matter with you?) Well, this is where I start making
excuses before jumping into something perhaps a little more wine related…
Here are some of the possible reasons
why I have yet again abandoned you, my adopted cyber family:
Possible Reason #1
My real family was starting to think I might
have another family, possibly living in mainland China, with whom I choose to
spend large amounts of time. Worse yet , my other family in
mainland China was beginning to suspect that I
have a family in the US! Understandably, this was causing all sorts of familial thrash.
life of international intrigue has become extremely hard to manage, thus…, wait for it…, leaving
me with little or no time to write random shit for this stupid web site! (See
how I cleverly closed that circle? That was masterful!)
Possible Reason #2
I traveled more than 150,000 miles last year in the
performance of my dweeb day job. I actually had to focus on issues that
affected my income rather than issues related to this web page which has absolutely no bearing
on my financial situation. (Hey, I don’t see any of you sending me cash to
support my red wine addiction. The guy who’s signing my paycheck gets my
attention. Let that be a lesson to you…, you… you LURKERS!)
Possible Reason #3
One of my little princesses took control of my uber-computer and left me with no access to my WinoStuff files. I wanted
to update this page but I didn’t have access. To my computer. To update this
page. (Are you buying any of this?) I couldn’t really complain, however. My
daughter was a senior in high school last year and she needed the enormous
computing power of the WinoStuff supercomputer to apply online to a plethora of
prestigious and unaffordable ivy league schools. And who was I to dissuade her
from pursuing her dream of seeing her father crumble under the burden of
crippling college debt? (I still hold out hope that the pursuit of that
could eventually lead her to a career which would afford her the resources to
support her wine-afflicted father and his cirrhotic liver well into his golden
years…) I am happy to report that this little girl was admitted to
one of the
prestigious ivy league schools and that prestigious institution immediately
attached an enormous siphon to my bank account to help keep them afloat.
Apparently, their multi-billion dollar endowment fund wasn’t growing at the
expected rate and they needed an immediate infusion of cash from the
now-depleted WinoJohn account.
Possible Reason #4
Lingerie Football League. Yeah, Lingerie Football
League. Are you listening? LINGERIE FOOTBALL!!! There is a distinct possibility that I could have been traveling with
one of the Lingerie Football League teams, acting as their trainer, coach,
mentor, spokesperson and Chief Leching Officer. And if I wasn’t actually doing
all those things, I was surely wishing that I was. Seriously, people, have you
seen this stuff? Lingerie and football together. What could be more
entertaining (other than maybe porn and football which, as we all know, is a
deadly combination. The porn-football consolidation is widely thought to have
caused the downfall of the Roman empire…)? If you are not familiar with the
Lingerie Football League, you need to check out these links…
So, as you can see, it is very believable that I
could actually have ignored this lame web site in order to spend more time with
these fine athletes… In fact, I’m thinking about starting a fantasy football league based on Lingerie Football. WinoBob, call Starkist!
Possible Reason #5 (I should probably save some of
these excuses for next time…)
And this is the real reason why I
haven’t updated this stupid site in eons… George W. Bush! Yeah, that’s right,
George W. Bush. When he left office, he left this web site in such bad shape
that it’s taken me this long to actually dig myself out from under the mess he
created. Damn that George W. Bush!!!
maybe I shouldn’t have played the Bush card. It’s just that I keep hearing
people blame everything on the former president. Get this… I actually heard
Howard Dean, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, blame
George W. Bush for the Democrat’s recent loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in
Massachusetts. Apparently, Goerge W. Bush caused a traditionally Democratic state to
vote… Republican… WTF???? It was comical. But I digress…)
Speaking of elections, and I
don’t mean to get all political here (that’s why we have WinoBob’s alter ego,
PoliticoBob), but the election of Barry Obama had nothing to do with hope or
change. It was all about… you guessed it… George Bush. Anyone or anything
that wasn’t actually George W. Bush could have won the election. In
fact, there was a Halloween pumpkin on my front stoop during the ’08 election
that got a significant number of votes simply because it wasn’t George W. Bush.
But I digress. Again.
So, WTF has been going on in
the WJ wine world since the last time we cyber-spoke? Let’s see… (you’d think that
after several years, I ‘d actually have something to report. Apparently not…)
Hey, here’s something
Italy! Yeah, that’s right, Italy. You remember Italy. It’s that big,
boot-shaped country that juts out into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It
was founded by a bunch of Italians… C’mon, you remember. It was in all the
papers back in the 1940s… Think! Their offspring eventually made their way to
the US and on to the show Jersey Shore only to embarrass countless
generations of proud Italians before them? Yeah. Those Italians…
Where was I? Oh yeah.
Italy. I wasn’t actually in Italy. I was just talking
about Italy. And why I
haven’t updated this site in decades. (No, it wasn’t the Italians’ fault. It
was George W. Bush’s fault. Try to stay with me here…) Anyway, a year or two
ago, WinoBob, in his infinite wisdom, named Sangiovese as the Grape of the
Year. As a result, I was obligated to do tons of research on this grape.
That’s what I do. Research. If you remember, I’m the Research Department. And the Legal
Department. And the Bail-Bob-Out-of-Jail Department. But mostly I’m the
Research Department. And in the performance of my duties as the research
department, I was obligated to research Sangiovese. And I’m happy to report
that, according to my extensive research, Sangiovese is good. Very good. So
good, in fact, that I’m considering becoming Italian myself. That’s how good
Sangiovese is. (I’m not, however, considering moving to the Jersey Shore but I
may be inclined to vacation there sometime in the near future…).
As a result of my extensive
research, and by “research” I mean “drinking copious quantities of Sangiovese”,
I have become an Italiophile, or, as WinoBob likes to call me, a “Boothead”. I
admit it. I’m a Boothead. I love this wine. I drink it whenever I can. I now
find myself opening a nice Chianti, not to enjoy with my friend’s liver and some
beans, but with whatever The Wife is whipping up for dinner. It doesn’t matter,
Chianti goes with everything. Spaghetti? Of course. Pizza? You betcha. That
goes without saying. But how about chili? No problem. Chinese takeout? A
perfect match. Delicate petit fours? Ehhh… probably not. You’d be better off
with an equally delicate Pinot Noir. But for everything else, it’s Chianti!
Wow, that’s a pretty bold
statement, WinoJohn. That’s a real game changer. A paradigm shift, if you
will. Who are you to change the whole wine-food pairing discussion? After
all, you haven’t written a single thing since the Bush administration. To
that, I can only respond that the New WinoJohn Wine/Food Discombobulation
Theorem simplifies the whole wine-food pairing conundrum leaving you with more
available brain cycles to focus on more important things. Like writing checks.
To the WinoStuff Research Labs Slush Fund. (PO Box 64, Caldwell, NJ )
Now, don’t get me wrong.
While Sangiovese is my new heartthrob, I still love cabernet. I still consume
my 8 or 10 bottles of cabernet per week but in between cabernets, I try to sneak
in a few sangioveses. I’m pretty open minded like that…
So, as part of this latest
“update”, I thought about doing some actual real research on
Sangiovese especially as it pertains to Italy. I even considered reading a
book! I have this huge book called The World Atlas of Wine which
appeared to be a fairly good reference book on all things wine. Then I noticed
that it was written by bloated Limey Dork Hugh Johnson and I decided that it was
time for a good, old-fashioned book burning. Now, left without an available wine
atlas book, I knew that I would have to do this old school. I decided to do
some traditional, roll-up-your-sleeves type research. (No, I’m not going to
the library. That would be silly. I’m just going to plagiarize stuff off the
So, a little internet
research reveals the following: (with special thanks to whomever invented “cut and
(san-jo-veh-zeh) is a red, traditionally Italian wine grape variety whose
name is derived from the Latin sanguis Jovis, which means "the
blood of Jove" (Although the wine rarely contains any actual blood). Jovis, as
you may recall, refers to Bon Jovis, medieval ancestor of Bon Jovi, another
famous Italian-American from, you guessed it…, the Jersey shore.
In Italy, Sangiovese is the most widely planted red grape
variety. Despite the ubiquitous availability of this grape in Italy, Sangiovese is perhaps best known
as WinoStuff.com’s Grape of the Year in 2009. (OK, maybe I made that part up…)
It accounts for approximately 10% of all vineyard plantings in Italy with more
than 100,000 hectares planted to one of the many clonal variations of the grape.
To put this in perspective, 100,000 hectares is approximately 15% of the
size of the palatial WinoWally estate in suburban Baltimore, so roughly the size of Utah.
are probably aware, Sangiovese is the main grape variety in the wines of Tuscany
including Chianti. Despite what pop culture would lead you to believe, Chianti
is not a good accompaniment to a meal of liver and faaava
beans… especially if the liver once belonged to your close friend. (I can only
imagine what it would be like to dine on WinoBob’s liver… First, his liver is
the size of small SUV with a molecular density close to that of Californium.
Texture-wise, it would have the tenderness of a steel-belted
radial. And if you were to actually sauté and ultimately dine on WinoBob’s
liver, you would need a at least a Brunello Riserva to wash it down.)
those of you who don’t eat liver, here are a few Chianti fun facts …
- Since 1996, the allowable blend
for Chianti and Chianti Classico has been 75-100% Sangiovese, up to 10% Canaiolo
and up to 20% of any other approved red grape variety such as Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.
- Since 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia and Trebbiano have been prohibited in Chianti Classico.
- Chianti Classico must have a minimum alcohol level of at least 12% and must spend a
minimum of 7 months aging in oak, while Chianti Classicos labeled as “Riserva”
must be aged at least 27 months at the winery, with a minimum alcohol level of
at least 12.5%.
- The aging for basic Chianti DOCG is much less stringent with
these wines allowed to be released to the market on March 1st following the
Brunello di Montalcino is
another classic Italian wine (and WinoJohn’s newest favorite wine) made from
100% Sangiovese in the Montalcino region. Traditionally, the wines are aged 3
years or more in large oak casks although the law only stipulates that they be
aged for two years in oak and 4 months in bottle. Most producers will separate
their production between a normal bottling and a riserva
bottling. The non-riservas are usually released into the market 50
months after harvest and the riservas are released a year later.
Winemakers who intentionally violate the aging rules and regulations can be
charged with "commercial fraud" which is punishable by a prison sentence of
up to six years. When convicted Italian wine fraudsters are ultimately released from
prison, they usually move to France.
Rosso di Montalcino is another
100% Sangiovese wine grown in Montalcino. However, the Rosso wines are required
to spend only six months aging in oak and 1 year total aging before release.
This allows Brunello producers to make an earlier-release wine that can generate
cash flow while their Brunello wines age for their complete duration. In less
than ideal vintages, some producers will relegate all their grapes to Rosso di
Montalcino production and not make a Brunello. Wineries can also declassify
their Brunello that has already been aging 2–3 years and release it as Rosso di
Montalcino if the wine is not developing to their expectations (due primarily to
George W. Bush). As a result,
you can often find some really good Rossos at a fraction of the price of
Now this is all extremely valuable and
timely information that I'm passing along to all you chowderheads.
Why is it timely? Well because 2004 and 2006 were phenomenal vintages for
sangiovese in Tuscany. And becuase the 2004 Brunellos and 2006 Chianti
Riservas are just hitting the market now. That's right. You
accidentally stopped by this stupid site and got some timely and valuable
information. That's gotta be worth a couple of bucks toward the WinoStuff
Research fund, eh? (PO Box 64, Caldwell, NJ)!
You know, this update would have
been much more timely if I had actually written it during the Year of
Sangiovese. But you know, I just couldn’t get it done. Because of George W. Bush.
But still, this is some valuable information that you can put to good use. You
can certainly use this newfound info to pick up women at the Jersey Shore. Or
to impress your drunken idiot
web site partner friends. Or you can annoy your
entire family during dinner when you quip, “this Rosso di Montalcino represents
a tremendous value during these tough economic times” or that, “Chianti Classico
is the perfect complement to this Hamburger Helper”. And you didn’t even have
to go out and do the research yourself. We did it for you! Damn!!! You gotta
love this stupid site. No wonder we are the world’s most important web site!
Who would have thought you could
get quality information on an important topic like Sangiovese on a lame web site like this? Just don’t
expect frequent updates to this information because, you know, George W. Bush…
And now ladies and
gentlemen, it is the distinct pleasure of the management to present to
you, the evening's star attraction. Here they are, back after their
exclusive three year tour of Europe, Scandinavia and the sub continent.
Won't you welcome from Calumet City, Illinois, the show band of Joliet
Jake and Elwood Blues, The Blues Brothers!
That’s what I feel like.
I haven’t been here in a while. I’m not exactly sure where I’ve been. I’ve
been busy. I don’t know whether I have been touring the sub continent or
spending time in Joliet State Prison. Whatever the reason, I haven’t been
here. But now, I’m back. Enjoy it while it lasts…
Hey, while I was gone, I
figured out how to keep this column fresh going forward. No, I’m not going
to update it more frequently. That would be like work. But I did figure
out how to get the date at the top of this column to always reflect today’s
date. It’s a cool little Java applet. So, I got that going for me, you
know, which is nice…
I must thank most of you
winos for your patience. Very few of you have actually prodded me to update
this stupid page. Only the Bob-sey twins (WinoBob and BigBob) took the time
to annoy me. I guess for most of you, the threat of seeing yourself
Photoshopped into some embarrassing pose and posted on the internet is just
too much of a deterrent. Only the Bobs felt it necessary to insinuate that
I am not keeping up my end of the bargain. Damn the Bobs!!! I thought
about Photoshopping them together in some kind of homo-erotic gastronomical
orgy but the mental image made me nauseous. Even I have limits.
For today’s update, I
thought about doing some kind of social commentary. Maybe something on the
role of wine in society as it pertains to vice and the decay of our moral
fiber. (Because, you know, we are all about vice! And decay of moral
fiber!) If you recall, back in the 50’s, there were three major accepted
vices in the US: Wine, Women and Song (which, by the way, are three of my
favorite vices today). In the 70’s, these vices were somehow renamed Sex,
Drugs and Rock and Roll. Today, the three staples of vice have morphed into
“Friends With Benefits, Appletinis, and Hip Hop.” Personally, I don’t even
understand today’s vices. WinoBob is my friend and (fortunately) there are
no benefits. Appletini is just one of a huge variety of tinis. Tinis are
simply a clever method that men invented to get women to consume mass
quantities of vodka. I hardly see anything wrong with that. And, other
than the Hip Hop / Gangsta Rap / Cristal connection, I’m not sure today’s
vice has a lot to do with wine. And wine is why you stopped by to visit
this stupid column, isn’t it? Besides, compared to today’s vices, wine is
the thread that holds together our moral fiber.
So then I thought maybe I
would write a long-winded discourse on the impact of global warming vis a
vis wine growing regions, climatic change and terroir. (I’m not really sure
what vis a vis means but it just sounded so damn intellectual
in that sentence!) First, Al Gore got us all riled up with his documentary,
An Inconvenient Truth. Then I found out that Al spends like
10 million dollars a year heating and cooling his enormous estate. But
that’s OK because he buys some kind of “green earth coupons”. That means
that he donates money to some organization that plants trees in order to
offset his huge carbon footprint. So, the moral of that story is that if
you have enough cash, you can warm the earth all you want as long as you
plant a few trees. If that were the case, WinoWally could afford to turn
the global thermostat up to eleven. (That’s one warmer than ten!)
So while I was pondering
the whole global warming thing, thinking about what to write, I came to the
realization that global warming doesn’t really affect me. (I have central
Speaking of WinoWally, did
I mention that WW saved my life recently? Yeah, it’s true. A couple months
ago, I did something that I swore that I would never do again. I agreed to
spend 12 hours in a car, driving to Virginia so that my youngest daughter
could play in "a big soccer tournament." Now, at this point in my parenting
career, I have been to hundreds of “big soccer tournaments”, my daughter has
played in thousands of games, and I have driven close to a light-year to
keep everyone happy. (For you non-dweeb types, a light-year is a
really long distance...) I swore I would never do it again. No mas.
I'm done. Finito. I figured that I had driven to my last tournament. But
somehow I got suckered into it again…
So check this out… I had
it all planned out. I was going to take the day off from my dweeb day job,
pick up my aspiring Mia Hamm early from school, and get on the highway by
11:00 am. That would put me in Baltimore by 2:30 and on the south side of
DC by 3:30. I could cruise into the hotel by 5, feeling relaxed and ready
for a nice weekend with The Girl. But it wasn’t going to be that easy. No,
it wasn’t going to be easy at all. The highway gods were angry on this day,
my friends, and I was destined to be collateral damage…
Things were moving along
well. For a while. Despite the wet weather, we blew through Philly with
nary a slow down. We got through the ugly 495/295/I-95 merge in Delaware
without a hitch. Even the tolls were no match for our EZ Pass. (EZ Pass is
possibly the most important invention in the history of travel soccer. More
important even than the collapsible chair-in-a-bag. More important than the
coach/trainer with a foreign accent! But I digress…)
So, there I am, cruising
down I-95, minding my own business, about 15 miles north of Baltimore, when
what do I see but a big flashing sign that says something to the effect of
past exit 67. All lanes closed. Use exit 77 or 74 to Highway 40 West. You
I noticed this sign just as I was passing exit 77.
That meant that I, along with hundreds of thousands of other motorists (many
of them were also crazed soccer parents) would have to exit the highway, in
single file, at Exit 74. And, just at that moment, all lanes of traffic
came to a complete stop. I thought about trying to back up to exit 77 but
within a few milliseconds, there were tens of thousands of stopped cars
behind me. This trip was going downhill fast…
Two hours and 3 miles
later, life on Highway 40 West was starting to take its toll on my nerves.
I could feel that I was starting to crack. I knew I had a corkscrew
somewhere in my luggage and I was thrashing about desperately to find it.
No, I was not planning to open any one of the three nice bottles that I
brought along for the tournament. No, I was searching for the corkscrew
because it was the sharpest tool in my possession at the time and I needed
to hurt someone. I didn’t know whether it would be me or some other
frazzled motorist but someone had to die. Where was that damn corkscrew?
(Don’t worry about my driving. We were moving along at a brisk 0.2 MPH at
this point so rifling through my luggage while driving was the least of my
After several more hours
of this torture, I could no longer take it. I had to do something. I
turned down a side street, blew through a few stop signs and got myself
completely lost. At this point, I had nothing to lose so I thought, what
the hell? I may as well call The Wife. Lucky for me, she answered on the
first ring! I explained my unfortunate dilemma and asked her to Google Map
the area and find me an escape route. She said that she would be happy to
help if I would simply explain to her how to use Google Maps. WHERE IS THAT
Well, after what seemed
like a few days, I managed to get back on the highway somewhere south of
whatever caused the closure and I was on my way. As dusk began to fall, I
made my way through Baltimore and suddenly realized that I would be hitting
DC at rush hour… on a Friday. I started to shake. My blood pressure was
well up into the 200’s. I didn’t think I could make it. Then, like an
oasis in the desert, I saw the light. No, this was not the light at the end
of the tunnel, this was… The Light… The Saving Light. The
Beacon of Light… from the Palatial Wally Estate. I made the call and Wally
was there. And my nightmare was about to end.
I called Wally and told
him where I was. I told him about the accident. I told him about the
traffic and the god damn missing corkscrew. I told him about my blood
pressure. And Wally was there. He said, “WinoJohn, you’re only about 10
miles from the easternmost reaches of the Wally Estate. Go through the
south gate and drive over to the heliport. From there, it’s only 15 minutes
to the main house by helicopter!” I was saved! I didn’t care if we made
it to the tournament. I was going to the Wally Estate.
When I arrived at the main
house, Wally had a nice ’97 Mondavi Cab waiting for me. And Wino Sharon was
just putting out the boiled shrimp. (It doesn’t matter what time of day or
night that you stop by the palatial Wally Estate, Sharon is always putting
out some gourmet snacks…) This was pure heaven. I laughed at those other
crazed motorists, still white-knuckled, inching along through DC, as I
sipped a nice cab and scarfed down a few more shrimp. Ha ha ha, you poor
bastards, I’m a guest at the Estate!
Later that night, I
departed the Estate and traveled down to Virginia long after the traffic had
died down and without a care in the world. WinoWally did indeed save my
life. He probably saved several other motorists from a hideous and painful
death-by-corkscrew. Who knows? So anyway, if you ever find yourself in an
imminent road-rage situation on I-95 thru Baltimore, simply look to the sky
for the beacon. The Wally House for Wayward Winos in Baltimore, MD is there
Hey, here’s something sort
of wine-related… In the last few months, the French people gained some
intelligence. The collective IQ of an entire nation went up by double
digits. No, I’m not talking about those whacky CRAV dudes. They are just
loony. I’m talking about the election of a new French president who is US
friendly. What’s up with that??? French people sympathizing with the US?
My theory is that France
finally noticed two things going on around them:
They have a whole boatload of excess
wine and wine-producing capacity in France, and
The US is rapidly becoming the largest
wine consuming nation in the world.
The French voters simply
put one and one together and… well…, frankly, they surrendered. Maybe they
realized that the remnants of the WinoStuff-led boycott of French wine
continue to be economically devastating. While they don’t necessarily
want to be nice to the US, they NEED to be nice to
the US. So, let’s give this new guy, Sarkozy, a chance and see what he’s
all about. If everything is positive, maybe we’ll start a WinoStuff
campaign to embrace French wines this year? We’ll see…
But that’s not why you
stopped by this page. You don’t care about French politics or their latest
surrender. You came here to get a glimpse into my tremendous insight into
wine. Or you were hoping I’d post some pictures of Britney’s ‘bald spot’.
Well, kids, this edition of What’s New! is completely Britney-free.
(Ooops, there goes half the readership…) Instead, I’m going to ramble
incoherently about another topic that is sure to interest you. Old age.
No, not my old age (although I am feeling every bit of my fortysomething
years.) No, not The Wife’s old age (although that tale would fill volumes
and would probably get me John Bobbitt-ed in the middle of the night…). No,
friends, in keeping with the supposed theme of this web site, I’m going to
talk about old age as it pertains to wine. Specifically, as it pertains to
the rapidly aging wine in my wine cellar. It’s not a good story.
Over the past 15 years, I
have collected a variety of wines in my cellar. OK, “variety” may be
somewhat of an exaggeration. My cellar is 99 44/100%
California Cabernet ranging from simple everyday wines like BV Rutherford
and Mondavi Napa Valley to some more high end selections like Silver Oak,
Stag’s Leap and BV Georges Latour. I had always planned to crack these
treasures open at any number of future CabFests or while entertaining my
wine-loving brothers and brother-in-law. These wines were sure to carry me through my golden
years. But there is a problem. I’m still in my silver years, maybe even my
bronze years, and my cellar is mature. It’s ready. In some cases,
it’s past it’s peak. Damn! What am I gonna do???
Well, you know what I’m
gonna do. I’m gonna do some serious cellar cleanin’. I’m gonna be drinking
Cinq Cepages with Peanut Butter and Jelly. I’m gonna have Opus One on a
Tuesday night with Mac and Cheese. Shit, I’m gonna put Cask 23 on my
Cheerios. I am NOT going to let this wine go down without a fight!!!
So far, this is what I
have discovered. Most of the more affordable wines that are older than say
1996, are on the down hill slide. Stuff like Raymond Reserve, Mondavi Napa,
BV Rutherford. In most cases, they are still drinkable but you better drink
them now. Any of these wines older than about 1992 will have lost most of
their fruit. So, if you got ‘em, smoke ‘em.
The higher end stuff is
holding up a bit better. I’ve cracked open some Hess Collection back to
1994 without much problem. Older than that and it’s hit or miss. The
early-to-mid 90s Stag’s Leap Napa Valleys are holding up but are ready to
drink. (I haven’t opened any older than 1992.) I need to open some of the
FAY and SLV. (Maybe at the upcoming Cab/Pinot/BobFest at WinoBob’s?) The
Jordans are holding up well, at least as far back as ’92. Groths older than
1994 are starting to slide. The 1993 Georges de Latour is starting to head
south but is still a nice wine. All in all, it’s not a disaster. But the
next few months should be interesting as I try to stay ahead of the curse of
On the bright side, some
of this wine is drinking brilliantly now. Whitehall Lane Reserve from the
mid 90s is wonderful. 95 Mondavi Reserve, excellent. 94 Silver Oak,
timeless. In fact, I would say that most of the 1997 Cali Cabs that are
stashed away are ready. I know you have some ‘97s stashed away…
So here’s my new rule. 10
years for Cali Cab. Maybe 12 for the high end stuff. No more. Some of these wines may do well
beyond that time frame but I’m not taking any chances. I’m going to start
paying attention, people. These wines peak at a certain age and I want to
be there when they do. I would suggest that you do likewise.
That’s it. That’s the
message that you waited 9 months for. (Maybe longer if my Java applet is
working!) Drink your mid-90s Cali cabs now. Period. Don’t wait. If you can’t get
to them soon, you’d better send them to me. It’s only right. Send them to:
Save Drink the Cali
PO Box 64
Caldwell, NJ 07006
So, if for some strange
reason my Java applet doesn’t keep this page updated and you feel that I am
once again missing in action, don’t send me annoying little hints to update
this site. I am probably just down in my cellar visiting some “old”
friends. I’ll be back. Until then, relax, enjoy, and drink your 10+ year
old California Cabs. Before it’s too late.
WinoJohn (July 4, 2007)
September 14, 2006
What's New, you ask? Here's something
(Actually, YouTube isn't all that new. It's been around for like a
year and a half. If it's new to you, then you've bee living under a
rock or in some dank, dark third-floor office...) If you're not
familiar with YouTube, it's a site
where people can upload video clips for easy viewing by the rest of the world.
It can be pretty random. I somehow stumbled onto this site and quickly
realized that WinoBob is not the wackiest creature on the planet.
There are some real loonies out there and many of them post videos on YouTube.
As a dweeb, I have a major problem with YouTube. It used to be that you had to be a
techno-geek to post stuff
on the internet. Now, any drunken idiot with a movie camera and a PC can post stuff.
"Who are all these people posting videos on the internet?", you ask.
As far as I can tell, it's mostly
teenage girls posting clips of themselves dancing around in their bedrooms.
(Which probably explains the immense popularity of YouTube!)
Hold on one second... (HEY, HON, GO UPSTAIRS AND
CHECK ON THE GIRLS!)
Sorry. I'm back.
In addition to the teenage girls,
there are dudes posting guitar licks, there's a bunch of clips from the TV
show Big Brother, and more. Lots more. Some of it is total
randomness. There are chick fights,
sports highlights, comedy sketches, cartoons, anime, etc. But mostly
it's teenage girls dancing in their bedrooms. At least that's what I
could determine from my "brief" visits to the site...
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, "OK. WinoJohn, we get it. You haven't
updated this stupid site in 4 months because you have been voyeuristically
watching teenage girls dancing around in their bedrooms. Dude, get a
life. You're starting to act like WinoBob. Get a grip!"
I know, I've heard it all before. But it's not what it looks like.
I was just doing some research for this stupid site.
Really! It's friggin' research! Do you think I enjoy
ogling lithe, sinewy young bodies, gyrating rhythmically, sweating, often
scantily clad... to some primordial jungle beat... Huh?
Well, actually, I uhhhh... IT'S STILL
RESEARCH, DAMN IT!!! Geez, give me a break!
For example, if you go to YouTube.com and search on the
word "wine", look what you get:
Strangely, you also get teenage girls
dancing around in their bedrooms... ???
(Damn, some of these girls' fathers should just install
a pole in the house now. You know it's inevitable...)
Perhaps the most disturbing clip on
all of YouTube is this one depicting an obviously inebriated individual
attempting to saber a champagne bottle while dressed in a batter's helmet,
goggles, welder's gloves and a catcher's chest protector. Our
children should be protected from this kind of blatant alcohol abuse...
Check it out:
Now that's just uncalled for.
So what is it that prompts otherwise normal people to
videotape themselves doing whatever and post it on the internet? And
what is it about teenage girls that makes them dance around in their
bedrooms and call it "wine"? The answer to these and other probing
questions is the reason why you visit WinoStuff.com. So stop
criticizing me and listen up. I don't have time to repeat this.
Here we go:
Question: Why do seemingly normal people post
videos on the internet?
Simple Answer: People are idiots.
Well-Researched Detailed Answer: People are idiots and YouTube is
Question: Why do teenage girls dance
around in their bedrooms and call it "wine"?
Simple Answer: Because they can. And if they do, they can
videotape it, post it on the internet and pathetic, middle-aged men will
Well-Researched Detailed Answer: As far as I can tell, there is
an urban dance craze called "Dutty Wine" which is making the rounds.
It appears to be an offshoot of a Jamaican dance song by the same name,
popularized by Jamaican DJ, Tony Matterhorn. Apparently, the song
causes young women to uncontrollably shake their booty and swing their heads
around. If my memory serves me, I seem to recall that uncontrollable
booty-shaking attracts the attention of young men so Dutty Wine is sort of a
mating ritual performed by young teenage girls to attract young teenage
Hold on one more second... (HON! I HEAR
MUSIC PLAYING UPSTAIRS!! GO SEE WHAT THE GIRLS ARE UP TO!!!)
Sorry again. I'm a father of two teenage girls
and I gotta keep tabs on them. If I should somehow stumble upon one of
my little princesses shaking her booty on YouTube, my head would explode.
So anyway, all this leads to one more important
Important Question: What the hell is "dutty" wine?
Important Answer: As far as I can tell, "dutty wine" is
Jamaican for "dirty wine" and, as far as I can tell, it has nothing to do
with wine. (Hey, I'm a middle-aged white dude. What do I know
about contemporary Jamaican dance music?) If any of you Rastafarian
winos knows more about "dutty wine", drop us a line and explain it. We
can use the help.
OK, so now we know You Tube. So What? Good
question. Let's beat this wine-video-on-the-internet dead horse some
more. Guess what happens if you search for "wine" on the Yahoo video
clips site? Do you know what you get? Nothing exciting really.
You get a few video clips of random individuals talking about wine.
You get a few clips of music videos that have the word "wine" in the title.
It's really pretty boring. There's nothing even worth linking to from
this lame site so you know it's pretty boring. (Unless
you turn off the parental controls and search on the words "girl hiding wine
bottle". Then you get... ummm... something quite disturbing.
But why would anyone search on those words, BOB???!!!)
Google now has a beta version of their video sharing
site. It resembles YouTube in some respects but it doesn't seem to
have the same whacko factor. I'm sure that we (you) just need to give
them time. Coincidentally, our hero and Honorary Wino, Limey Dork Hugh
Johnson, has a clip or two on the Google site. You sure won't want to
miss those videos!
Here, check this one out...
Huh? What? Oh, I'm sorry. The
Dorkmeister was speaking. I don't have a clue what he was talking
about. Oh well, you judge for yourself... (yawn...)
OK, what else? While we're on the subject of useless
wine-related information, check this out:
The largest wine cellar in the world (not
counting the palatial WinoWally uber-cellar) is located in Paarl, South
Africa. It has an area of 54 acres and can hold 27 million gallons of
wine. It is owned by some wine co-operative, the
Wijnbouwers Vereniging (KWV). Imagine how many teenage girls could
dance in that place! Sorry, I'm a little off track.
OK, back to one last bit of real wine stuff...
After my last rant on the rip-off
that is Las Vegas, I have to give props to one place that I visited in Sin
City that served up some good food and wine at a reasonable price.
Yes, the place was called Il Fornaio and it was in the New York, New York
Hotel and Casino. Check it out the next time you are in Vegas.
In fact, it's a chain of restaurants so you can check it out next time you
are... well... pretty much anywhere. Tell 'em WinoJohn
Until next time, relax, enjoy, keep an eye on your
teenage daughters, and drink more wine!
April 23, 2006
I did it! They said it couldn’t be done! They laughed
at me back at the University, but I did it! That will teach them. Now,
see, now I have a real claim to fame. What did I do? Just
this… I outlasted WinoWally in the race to see who could shirk all
responsibility and go the longest between WinoStuff updates. I think I now
hold the record and I have proven that I have the intestinal fortitude to go
the last mile, to give 110%, to do whatever it takes to reach a goal. Thank
you, thank you…
So, what have I been up to? In reality, who cares what
I’ve been up to? Oh, wait… There seems to be a whole bunch of people with
less of a life than me and who want to know what I’ve been up to. Well,
maybe they don’t really care what I’ve been up to but, for some unknown
reason, they feel compelled to send me email. I have had email from angry
Frogs, cursing me for the now-defunct boycott of France. (They are really
pretty funny…) I have had angry wine critics email me to complain (in the
most polite and articulate manner) that I am an idiot for siding with Robert
Parker (The Second Most Influential Wine Critic Named Bob) over Limey Dork
Hugh Johnson. I’ve had random kids send me random pictures in the random
hope that I’ll post them on the Random Stuff page. I’ve gotten loads of
emails from winery owners/operators/ managers (or their marketing agents)
requesting that we provide a link to their website from the world’s most
important website. (Eventually, I get around to posting links to these
wineries. I’m happy to help anyone who is trying to eek out a living by
making wine. When will they realize, however, that a gift of wine
might move the process along a little more quickly??)
OK, to satisfy the masses and those who have a need to
know, I have been to Vegas three times in three months. I’m going back
again tomorrow, too. Vegas is a fun town but I’m actually getting tired of
it. Overpriced restaurants, overpriced wine, overpriced hotels, etc. Rumor
has it that the women are overpriced, too, but I have no first hand
knowledge of such things. And my wife reads this stupid page…
One of the worst experiences from one of my recent
Vegas jaunts was at the Nobhill restaurant in the MGM Grand Hotel and
Casino. This place is purported to be an upscale steak house in the
tradition of the great San Francisco steak houses. In reality, the
food was just OK, the service was just adequate and the obscenely-overpriced
wine sucked. Hosting a dinner for 10 of my fellow techno-dweebs, including
Wino Eric of Santa Clara CA and WinoRandy, I ordered a 1997
Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany all the red meat. When the wine
arrived, I tasted it and it wasn’t corked nor was it cooked but it wasn't
exactly good. I accepted it with the hope that it would “open up” after a
few minutes. An hour later, there was still nothing to it. Nothing.
Zilch. Nada. Goose. No fruit, no complexity, no nuthin’. Now, I have had
Mayacamas many times from many different vintages and they have always been
big, well-structured cabs with a healthy dose of mountain fruit. I fully
expected a ’97 Mayacamas to be one of the best. But NOOOoooo… I’m
thinking of filing suit against the hotel, the restaurant, the 17 year-old
wine steward, the city of Las Vegas, the Mayacamas winery, and the State of
California. All of these groups played a part in my dismal wine-dinner
experience. (If I can’t make any money on this website, I’m going to sue my
way to riches. Read on...) Even if I don’t sue the whole lot of them,
I’m certainly going to write a letter. That’ll teach ‘em!!! (Yeah, just
like the idiots that send me emails "teach" me…)
So now that I got that off my chest, let’s get on to
business… Let’s talk about the real reason for my extended cyber absence.
The truth of the matter is that I have made no postings because I’ve been
working on the lawsuit involving my manuscript. What? You didn’t know that
I have a manuscript? Sure. I started writing it back in the 80s when I was
just a novice wino-journalist-techno dweeb. I have remained quiet over the
past few months under the direction of my legal counsel, waiting for the
outcome of the Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh lawsuit against Random
House over the whole Da Vinci Code issue. (Baigent and Leigh sued Random
House claiming that their book, Holy Blood Holy Grail, was
plagiarized by Dan Brown in his book, The Da Vinci Code.) The
truth of the matter is that The Da Vinci Code plot was actually my
idea and is the basis for my manuscript. My lawsuit will be
filed as soon as the Da Vinci Code movie comes out so that I can maximize my
claim for damages. I’m thinking $500 trillion dollars should do it. Damn!
Then I could give up my dweeb day job, buy the wine.com domain name, get on
the Screaming Eagle mailing list, etc. All the things I always wanted will
be within my reach… A new 12 cylinder Ferrari…, a new PC to host
WinoStuff.com (The World’s Most Important Web Site!). Even with $500
trillion, I won’t be in WinoWally’s socioeconomic strata but it’s a start…
So, I know what you’re thinking… You’re thinking,
“WinoJohn, YOU thought up the Da Vinci Code? Yeah, right. You’ve been
hitting the breakfast sauce again, haven’t you?” Well, my friends, I have
been hitting the breakfast sauce AND I did think up a plot that was so
similar to The Da Vinci Code that Dan Brown had to have stolen it from me.
Here’s a quick look at my manuscript. (If you haven’t read The Da Vinci
Code, you won’t understand the sheer brilliance of the following piece.
Read on at your own risk…)
The DaVino Code
© Sometime in the 1980s
In Wino Wally’s wine cellar, hidden
somewhere outside of Baltimore, MD., a physically-imposing wine importer
named Big Bob Ferdon from the firm Opus One Dei,
apprehends WinoWally, and demands to know where the Holy Grail is.
After Wally tells him, Big Bob Ferdon shoots him and leaves him to die.
However, Wally has lied to Big Bob Ferdon about the Grail’s location.
Realizing that he has only a few minutes to live and that he must pass
on his important secret, Wally paints a pentacle on his stomach with his
own blood, draws a circle on the floor of the wine cellar with red wine,
and drags himself into the center of the circle, re-creating the
position of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous drawing,
He also leaves a code, a line of numbers, and two lines of text on the
ground in invisible ink. (Wally keeps a lot of invisible ink around
the palatial estate just for this purpose…)
Da Vinci's famous drawing, Vitruvian Bob
A police detective
discovers Wally’s body and calls Dr. Robert Winobob, the story’s
protagonist and a professor of viticulture at Harvard College. The
policeman asks Dr. Winobob to come to Wally’s cellar to try to interpret
the scene. Dr. Winobob does not yet realize that he himself is
suspected of the murder.
After murdering Wally,
Big Bob Ferdon calls a strange guy called the “Teacher” and tells him
that, according to Wally, the keystone is in the restaurant Chateau
Berta in New Jersey. The Teacher sends Big Bob Ferdon there. Big
Bob Ferdon follows Wally’s clues to the keystone’s location and
discovers that he has been tricked. In a fit of rage, he kills a young
woman named WinoAlice, the restaurant's secretary and a sentry for the
Priory of Sion. In Wally’s cellar, Dr. Winobob meets a few other random
police types and realizes that the police suspect him of the murder.
an extremely attractive agent of the Baltimore Police department of
cryptology, arrives at the crime scene and tells Dr. Winobob that he
must call the embassy. When Dr. Winobob calls the number that Veronique
gave him, he reaches Veronique's answering machine. The message warns
Dr. Winobob that he is in danger and that he should meet Veronique in
the bathroom at the palatial Wally estate. (Veronique is really into
In the bathroom,
Veronique shows Dr. Winobob that the police are monitoring his movements
with a tracking device. She throws the device out the window onto a
passing cash delivery truck, tricking the police into thinking that Dr.
Winobob has escaped from the Wally estate. (Where else would you
find a cash delivery truck other than at the palatial Wally Estate?)
Veronique also tells Dr. Winobob that the
last line in the secret message, “P.S. Find Dr. Winobob,” was Wally’s
way of alerting her. ("P.S." are the initials of Wally’s nickname
Dr. Winobob thinks that P.S. might stand for Priory of Sion, an ancient
brotherhood devoted to the preservation of the Sacred Vineyards, and to
the maintenance of the secret that Wally died protecting.
Dr. Winobob decodes the second and third
lines in Wally’s message: “Leonardo Da Vinci! The
Veronique Googles “Mona Bob” to look for another clue. The police have
returned to the Wally estate as well, and they arrest Dr. Winobob.
Veronique finds a clue to the secret and, by using a bottle of Wally’s
1961 Chateau Mouton Rothschild as a hostage, she manages to disarm the
police officer and get herself and Dr. Winobob out of the palatial Wally
Main House. Meanwhile, Wally's wife, Sharon, cleans up the
whole bloody Wally mess with WinoStuff's Miracle Red Wine Stain Removing
Da Vinci's famous painting, Mona Bob
As Veronique and Dr. Winobob drive toward a
wine shop that Veronique identified online, Dr. Winobob explains the
history of the Priory of Sion and their armed force, the Knights
Templar. He reveals that the Priory protects secret documents known as
or the Holy Grail. Dr. Winobob is an expert on this very subject.
When Veronique and Dr.
Winobob enter the wine shop, an unnamed security guard realizes that
they are fugitives and calls the police, but Brian Badlowski, the wine
shop’s manager, recognizes Veronique and helps her and Dr. Winobob
escape. Veronique and Dr. Winobob figure out that the number left near
Wally’s body must be the number on the combination lock that will open
the vault at the wine shop. When they open the vault they find a
cryptex, a message delivery device designed by none other than Leo Da
Vinci and hand-crafted by WinoWally. The cryptex can only be opened
with a password.
smuggles Veronique and Dr. Winobob past the police in the back of a wine
delivery truck. Badlowski then turns on them, but they manage to get
away with the cryptex, which Dr. Winobob realizes is actually the Priory
keystone - that is, the key to all of the secrets the Priory holds about
the location of the Holy Grail.
Dr. Winobob and Veronique go to the
Baltimore house of Sir Robert Parker, a wine critic of some notoriety,
to ask for his help opening the box. Sir Robert Parker tells them the
legend of the Grail, starting with the historical evidence that Cabernet
Sauvignon didn’t come from the French but was a gift straight from God.
(He also cites evidence that Pinot Noir was determined to be a chick
wine by a vote at Nicaea, and that WinoJohn was married to Andrea Immer,
who was of royal blood, and had children by her. But that’s not
important right now.) Sir Robert Parker shows them the hidden symbols
in Da Vinci’s
and the painted representation of the Apostle Bob. He tells them that
the Holy Grail is actually a secretive, hidden vineyard which
consistently produces 100 point cabernets. He says he thinks Wally and
the others may have been killed because the winery suspected that the
Priory was about to unveil this secret.
Da Vinci's The Last Supper showing the Apostle Bob
As Dr. Winobob is
showing off the cryptex, Big Bob Ferdon appears and hits him over the
head. Big Bob Ferdon holds Veronique and Sir Robert Parker at gunpoint
and demands the keystone, but Sir Robert Parker attacks Big Bob Ferdon,
hitting him on the thigh where his money belt is located, and Veronique
finishes him off by kicking him in the bollocks. They tie Big Bob Ferdon
up. It takes a lot of rope…
The police arrive at the Sir Robert
Parker’s Baltimore castle, but Veronique, Dr. Winobob, the tied-up Big
Bob Ferdon, Sir Robert Parker, and his servant, Rémy Martin, escape and
board Sir Robert Parker’s private plane to England. Veronique realizes
that the writing on the cryptex is decipherable if viewed in a mirror.
They come to understand the poem, which refers to “a winery praised by
Templars” and the “Atbash cipher,” which will help them arrive at the
password. Dr. Winobob remembers that the Knights Templar supposedly
worshipped the god Bacchus, who is sometimes represented as living in a
winery. The word, unscrambled by the Atbash Cipher, is
When they open the cryptex, however, they find only another cryptex,
this one with a clue about a tomb where a knight was buried by a Limey
The Baltimore police
captain realizes that Sir Robert Parker and the rest of them are in the
jet. He calls the British police and asks them to surround the airfield,
but Sir Robert Parker tricks the British police into believing that
there is nobody inside the plane but himself. Then he goes with
Veronique, Dr. Winobob, Rémy Martin, and Big Bob Ferdon to the Abbey
Road Wine Store in London, the burial site of knights that the Limey
Dork Hugh Johnson had killed.
Rémy frees Big Bob
Ferdon and reveals that he, too, follows the Teacher. Big Bob Ferdon
goes to the wine store to get the keystone, but when he tries to force
Dr. Winobob to give it up, Dr. Winobob threatens to break it. Rémy
intervenes, taking Sir Robert Parker hostage and thus forcing Dr.
Winobob to give up the cryptex.
Meanwhile, the police
look through Sir Robert Parker’s house and become suspicious when they
find that he has been secretly monitoring WinoWally's activities. Over
the phone, the Teacher instructs Big Bob Ferdon to let Rémy deliver the
cryptex. The Teacher meets Rémy in the park and kills him. The Teacher
calls the police and turns Big Bob Ferdon in to the authorities. As Big
Bob Ferdon tries to escape, he is shot, and he accidentally shoots his
idol, Bishop Christian Moueix.
Big Bob Ferdon takes
Bishop Moueix to the hospital and then staggers into a park, where he
dies. In the hospital the next day, Moueix bitterly reflects that Sir
Robert Parker tricked him into helping with his murderous plan by
claiming that if the Bishop delivered the Grail to him, he would help
Opus One Dei regain favor with the Wine Spectator.
Veronique’s and Dr.
Winobob’s research leads them to the discovery that Sir Robert Mondavi
is the knight they are looking for, the one buried by Limey Dork Hugh
Johnson. They go to Napa Valley, where Mondavi is buried. There, the
Teacher lures them to a garden with a note saying he has Sir Robert
Parker. They go there only to discover that Sir Robert Parker himself is
the Teacher. Sir Robert Parker suspected that Wally had decided not to
release the secret of the Priory of Sion, because the Wine Spectator
threatened to kill Veronique if the secret was released. Wanting the
secret to be public knowledge, he had decided to find the Grail himself.
Sir Robert Parker gives Dr. Winobob the
cryptex and asks Dr. Winobob and Veronique to help him open it. Dr.
Winobob figures out that the password is
He opens the cryptex and secretly takes
out the papyrus. Then he throws the empty cryptex in the air, causing
Sir Robert Parker to drop his pistol as he attempts to catch it and
prevent the map inside from being destroyed. Suddenly, the police burst
into the room and arrest Sir Robert Parker.
The papyrus inside the
second cryptex directs Veronique and Dr. Winobob to Oregon where
Veronique finds her brother and her grandmother. Veronique and Dr.
Winobob part, promising to meet in Burgundy in a month. Back in
Caldwell, Dr. Winobob comprehends the poem, which leads him to the small
pyramid built into the ground in the Wally estate, where he is sure the
directions to the Grail must be hidden. The End.
That’s it. See any similarities to the book by the
plagiarist, Dan Brown? I rest my case…
Damn, I can’t wait until that $500 tril gets here. I
have a lot of things that need to get done around here. And, my wino
friends, trillionaires have people to do those things. Maybe I can
hire someone to update this dopey column...
Until next time, relax, enjoy the movie, and drink more
October 30, 2005
It's late at night, 3:30 am Eastern Standard Time, and I'm wide awake. The
house is quiet and the rest of my family is asleep. In fact, the entire east
coast is asleep and yet I sit here at this stupid computer, typing away.
What's wrong with me? Oh yeah, I got back from China 3 days ago and my
body is still on China time. In fact, in China, it's the middle of the afternoon...
(Hmmm..., I guess I can start drinking soon... That's cool!)
Don't expect a big update on the wine scene in China. As I reported last
time, China is devoid of
wine. Oh, they have some juice bottled up to look like wine. They
even call it wine, but it's not. I don't know what it is but it's not
wine. Great Wall and Dynasty are two brands of red juice
that portray themselves to be wine but, after careful analysis, I believe that
just slightly-fortified Kool Aid®.
I went into a wine store in Beijing and there were only three wines on the
shelf: Great Wall, Dynasty and a 'Bordeaux' knock-off.
In fact, this 'Bordeaux' wine was in a bottle that looked suspiciously similar to
the Great Wall bottle... And "Bordeaux" was spelled wrong...
I'm guessing that Bordoaux is some vineyard outside of Beijing where they
make Chateau Latore, Chateau Lafeet, and Petris. Just a guess...
Critics would argue, "So what if China is devoid of wine? You learn to make do."
That may be true. They have
like 700 million varieties of tea and the beer is not half bad.
And, as we all know, the cuisine of China is... well... "unique".
Check out the following summary of my various culinary experiences. Is it any wonder that I sit
awake at night?
Beijing is famous for duck, "Peking Duck" specifically, although they call it
"Beijing Duck". If you visit Beijing, the place to get duck is the Qianmen Quanjude
Roast Duck Restaurant. It's world famous. On the street outside the
restaurant, they have pictures of all the famous celebrities and world leaders
who have eaten in the establishment. Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and a
variety of movie stars all enjoyed some tasty duck in the Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant.
I was looking forward to dining in this historic establishment although reports of the Asian Bird Flu
pandemic loomed prominently in my mind. (I can't tell you how bad it would
be if I was the one to bring the pandemic back to the US. That would
suck.) My Chinese host and I tried to get
a table at the Qianmen Quanjude on a Sunday night without a reservation and they wouldn't even take our
names. The wait was expected to be three or more hours. No problem.
We made reservations for Monday and returned the next evening.
Now, if you have never had Beijing Duck, it's truly a memorable experience.
First, the duck is specially prepared by sealing off all of it's orifices and
inflating the carcass. I'm not kidding. They inflate the duck.
The duck actually resembles a long, naked, greasy balloon as it goes into the giant
oven, hanging by it's neck. Very appetizing... All of this
preparation is going on behind the scenes while you enjoy some "appetizers"
at your table.
It is crucial to the entire dining experience that you don't ask what the
appetizers are. Trust me, you don't want to know...
When the duck comes out of the oven, it's a beautiful golden color. They
ceremoniously bring the duck to your table where the "knife man" proceeds to slice
the duck for you. First, he slices off a nice plate full of skin. Mmmmm...
Then he slices off some meat. (Thank God. Something I can eat...)
Then, in one last act of culinary high sanctimony, the knife man whacks off the
bird's head, splits it down the middle, and presents it to the diners on a
special plate. (At that point, I was ready to "give back" the appetizers,
if you know what I mean...) Apparently, the brain and especially the
tongue, are delicacies that the typical Chinese diner will eagerly scarf down.
Now, to actually eat the duck, you pick up the pieces that you want (Meat, skin,
brain, whatever...) and you roll them up in a flour tortilla with some lettuce, celery or other bits of edible flora. It's actually pretty good (as
long as you don't get much brain.) It's kind of like Chinese fajitas.
Throw in some chips and salsa and you've got yourself a real Chexican feast!
As I sat there, gnawing down duck tacos, I imagined that a nice white Burgundy would be the perfect complement to
this cuisine. Unfortunately, I may never know.
The Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant keeps track of the number of ducks
that they have served since 1864. My duck was number 115,141,703. I
think they barcode the ducks when they are very young and then just scan the
inflated carcass before delivering it to your table. Those Chinese...
What will they think of next? If
you go to Beijing, you really have to experience it.
Next on the culinary hit parade is the ever-popular Hot Pot meal. In my case,
we went to the world famous something something something Muslim something restaurant.
(The name of the restaurant was in Chinese but the word "Muslim" was in
English.) At this particular hot pot restaurant, lamb was the
specialty of the house. If you have never enjoyed hot pot, this is
how it works. They set a big pot of boiling water on the table in front of
you. There are charcoals burning in an inner bowl to keep the water hot.
Every table in the entire restaurant has one of these little burning infernos
right there in front of the guests. No consideration is given to the
massive amount of carbon monoxide which is emanating from each
pot and filling the room with poisonous gas. It's all part of the
Once the pot is at full boil and you are beginning to feel woozy from the fumes,
the waitress brings out a plate of thinly sliced pieces of what are
purported to be lamb. It could have been lamb… It could have been dog or goat or
just about any other mammal. Who knows? It was RAW! You pick up a piece of
this raw meat with some specially lubricated chopsticks
and you drop the meat into the boiling water. After a few seconds, you try to
retrieve the now-cooked meat with the greasy chopsticks while simultaneously
trying not to spill boiling water all over yourself or your business
partner. Every once in a while, the waitress brings more stuff to the
table which you are expected to pick up with the greasy chopsticks and toss into
the cauldron of boiling meat-soup. A successful meal is one in which you
manage to ingest sufficient quantities of cooked meat while avoiding a trip to
the burn center. One word of advice, eating partially cooked lamb can
quickly result in a little Montezuma's Revenge, if you know what I mean...
Now if these dining experiences are not enough to pique your culinary curiosity,
you'll certainly want to stroll through the Donghuamen Night Market. This
market is like a street fair with dozens of vendors lining one side of the road
with food booths. The theme seems to be the same in all the booths: barbequed anything on a stick. If you can poke a stick through it,
they will barbeque it in the hope that some unsuspecting tourist will eat it.
The list of possible kabobs includes snake, scorpion, grasshopper, cricket,
beetle, snake skin, frog, various internal organs,
squid, sparrow, quail, lamb, starfish, sea horse and more.
Some tasty scorpions-on-a-stick
While the food was... uhhhh... "interesting", it was not the
highlight of my most recent trip to China. There are two other things that
you really must experience on your next trip to China. The second most
interesting site is The Great Wall of China. This thing is just awesome.
This wall is like 3000 years old, stretches like 4000 miles and was built by
hand. OK, lots and lots of hands but they didn't have any front-end
loaders or diesel-powered cranes or other heavy equipment. Just boatloads
of little Chinese hands. It's amazing.
Oh, I forgot to mention. While I was there, I closed the marketing deal of
the millennium. Get this, while in China, I successfully negotiated the
naming rights to the Great Wall! That's right, from this day forward, the
wall formerly known as The Great Wall of China is now officially named The
WinoStuff Great Wall of China®!!!
From now on,
all references to the Great Wall must include the WinoStuff name. It's a
law. You don't want to break a Chinese law! They're communists, damn
it!!! As you can imagine, this deal cost us an enormous sum of money.
I can't disclose the actual amount that we paid but suffice it to say that it is
greater than the Gross National Product of most Asian countries. We paid
more than Exxon-Mobil grosses in a year. We paid more than the market cap
of Walmart, Microsoft and Cisco combined! Fortunately,
WinoWally had enough in his checking account to cover the tab...
Tourists enjoy the grandeur of TheWinoStuff Great Wall of China®
OK, so I saw the Great Wall. I saw the Forbidden City. So what? (Get this...
There is a Starbucks inside the Forbidden City. I'm sorry but that
is just wrong. The Forbidden City is a 600 year old palace complex which
has been turned into a national archive/museum. It is rich in history and
culture and tourists from around the world visit the Forbidden City to see how
the emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties lived. Now, there's a
Starbucks inside. I was appalled. Not so appalled that I couldn't
enjoy a Forbidden Latte, but appalled nonetheless...) I saw all the
typical tourist sites and I ate at the famous restaurants. But these were
not the highlights of my visit. No, winos, the highlight of my trip to this
ancient country was right there in my hotel. You can imagine my sheer
delight when I walked into the bathroom of my hotel room and saw the... commode.
Yes, that's right, the crapper. Now, this was no ordinary toilet, people. No, this porcelain bowl was equipped
with some kind of high-tech, NASA-designed, electronically-controlled TOILET
SEAT!!! Yes, that's right, a toilet seat with wires and hoses and an
electronic control panel.!!! This thing was friggin' INCREDIBLE!!!
The controls were all in Chinese so I couldn't tell exactly what the thing is
called. I'm assuming that the Chinese gave it a catchy name, something
unique like... Crap-o-Matic 2000®
or BungBuddy XLR8®. I'm
going with Crap-o-Matic.
Presenting for the first time to the American pooping public...
The Crap-o-Matic 2000®
Yes, the Crap-o-Matic 2000® is
the latest in defecation technology. The Crap-o-Matic 2000®.
Tired after a long day touring the WinoStuff Great Wall of China? Now you
can return to your hotel room and relax in the comfort of your bathroom.
Busy executives will appreciate all the benefits of a tastefully appointed
restroom complete with a telephone, high speed internet connection and a Crap-o-Matic 2000®.
Just look what this new innovation has to offer...
The control panel of the Crap-o-Matic 2000®
puts comfort at your fingertips...
The blue button turns on the Hot Seat® feature of the
Crap-o-Matic 2000®. One
touch and the seat begins to heat up. Use the UP and DOWN arrows to
control the temperature. Now
you can enjoy cozy warmth while you take care of your "personal
business". But you must be careful, set it too high and... well,
let's just say that Uranus will develop another ring…!
The green button causes the Crap-o-Matic 2000®
to spray a gentle stream of warm water into your holiest of holey
places for that all-over clean feeling...
And the red button..., well, I was afraid to push the red button. The
red button has a picture of a woman with a smile on her face. Whatever is making her smile would probably just hurt me…
My wife, however, has demanded that I install a Crap-o-Matic 2000®
at home. What's up with that?
WARNING: The Crap-o-Matic 2000® has
braided steel hoses such as those found under the hood of NASCAR race cars.
This indicates to me that this thing
is capable of operating at high temperatures and pressures, two conditions I
try to keep away from my tender nether regions.
OK, enough of this inane Chino-babble. This is a wine site, damn it!
I should be discussing wine!!! Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, China
is completely devoid of wine. (This is not completely accurate. I had the opportunity
to pay $75 for a $15 bottle of Chianti at the CJW restaurant in Shanghai but my
were looking at me like, “Is this crazy American really going to spend $75 on one
bottle of wine? That could feed an entire family for a year! What’s he going
I couldn't do it.)
While there was no wine in China, there was wine on the airplane! After
surviving 10 days without any vino, I settled into my seat on the plane for the
return flight home,
anxiously awaiting takeoff and the refreshment service that would soon follow.
I was starting to shake in anticipation. Ten minutes into the flight, a cute little Asian
flight attendant knelt down next to my seat and, in her best English, said, "My
name is Happily. If there is anything I can do for you,
please just ask..."
OK, wine wasn't the only thing I had not had in 10 days and now... well...
you can imagine what was racing through my mind... I managed to stutter
out something like, "Hi Happily. Could you happily go up there and pop open
three bottles of Cabernet? That would make me very happily." I knew
this was going to be a long flight...
Like a crackhead who finally gets out of the slammer
and back on
the street in search of his next fix, Crackhead WinoJohn was on the loose.
The airline had a decent selection of wines (for an airline) and I decided to
jump right in. All the way in... The wines on the flight included… (Hey, it was a 16 hour
Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley 2001- Just what the doctor
ordered after 10 days of abstinence. Light fruit, medium body, decent
balance. And most of all, it's CABERNET!!! Thank God!
Charles Heidsick Brut reserve Mis en Cave 2000 –
Dry, Dry, Dry.
The way champagne should be. Crisp and clean. Very nice.
Domaine Bourillon Dorleans Vouvray La Coulee D’Argent Vieilles
Vignes Sec 2003 – A bit austere. You might enjoy this one after pushing the
"woman button" on the Crap-o-matic 2000®…
Fairhall Downs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 – fruit on the
nose, grassy on the finish.
Domaine Pierre Fil La Cuvee Des Elysices 2001 –
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. Spicey, oaky vanilla.
Burdon Dry Fino Sherry – Its sherry. Who cares?
Graham’s LBV Port 1997 –
Sweet. Too sweet.
7 glasses of wine in 16 hours. Not so bad.
(Well, actually, it may have been a tad more than 7 glasses. Happily was
just too happy to provide free refills...)
On a final note, it should be pointed out that I went
wineless for 10 days while working my fingers to the bone in
performance of my dweeb day job. At the same time, my pals and business
associates, Wino Eric of Santa Clara CA and WinoRandy, went to Bordeaux
for a "business meeting". What’s wrong with this picture?
We're in the same friggin' business!!! I'm eating tongue and brain while
they are sipping First Growths and eating gourmet cheeses. This is just so
wrong. I’m sure they enjoyed
copious quantities of good frog wine while I had copious quantities of green
tea. Damn, I gotta get a new job... My Feng-shui is in great shape but my liver
is atrophying. I'm totally in touch with my inner zen but my outer
wino is suffering. (Then again, my buttocks area has never felt more clean
and refreshed. Thanks, Crap-o-Matic!)
That's it for now. Until next time, relax, enjoy,
keep your fingers off the red button, and drink more wine!
following update has been modified from its original version.
It has been edited for content and formatted to fit in the allotted time.
It’s been awhile. What
have you winos been up to? If
our web logs and my email are any indication, you’ve been stopping by this
inane page looking for something new. Some
of you have actually been disappointed to find that the last update was
months ago. (You people need to
get a life!) Unfortunately, I
can’t reveal my actual whereabouts for the last three months.
Top secret, company-confidential, need-to-know-only kind of stuff.
However, recognizing that some of you lifeless wine-consumers won’t
be able to sleep until you get some kind of closure with regard to my
extended absence, WinoStuff presents “You Make The Call!”
That’s right, I have prepared a list of possible explanations for
my recent cyber-disappearance. You,
the news-savvy wino, can take your pick and believe whatever makes you feel
good. You make the call!
just some of the possible reasons for my recent hiatus:
I was abducted by a band
of French midgets who forced me to watch old Jerry Lewis movies, eat
foie gras and drink chick wine.
I have been traveling the
world as part of my dweeb day job as well as for personal rest,
relaxation and holistic healing.
I have begun a new health
regimen which involves a reduction in wine consumption, daily exercise
(resulting in less “free” time for this dopey column) and a healthy
I have retained a
personal psychic who warned me of the negative effects on my personal
well being which can result from associating with people named Bob.
All of the above
None of the above
Both E) and F)
If one of
these excuses floats your boat, go with it.
Otherwise, you can always use my favorite fallback, “It’s The
Wife’s fault”. Whatever
works for you…
me get a little general housekeeping out of the way.
Some of you “What’s New update prodders” have turned into
This is totally unacceptable. You
guys know who you are… If you
don’t know who you are, let me remind you.
what happens when you badger me. I
didn’t want to do this. I had
Wino Eric of Santa Clara, CA performs nightly in his re-creation
of the classic John Travolta
role in Saturday Night Fever.
be enough warning to the Bobs. You
don’t want to suffer this same indignation!!!
OK, back to
on which of the above excuses you may have chosen to believe, I may or may
several things to report. This may all be hypothetical so pay
attention. Some of these factoids may not fit in with your "You
Make The Call" conclusion, so feel free to ignore this section...
have visited Las Vegas a few months ago and I may have had the pleasure of
dining at a restaurant called Aureole in the Mandalay Bay Resort and
Casino. This restaurant features modern American cuisine, a killer
wine list (which is accessed via a cool, high tech, wireless digital device)
and WINE ANGELS. That's right, Wine Angels. Wine Angels are
these hot female wine stewards that strap themselves into a harness and get
hoisted up and down the 4-story temperature-controlled wine tower,
retrieving the patrons' wine selections. Very over-the-top. Some
might even call this erotic. Wine, women, harnesses... uhhh...
never mind. Unfortunately, these Wine Angels must get paid Wallyesque
sums because the wine is way, way expensive. My first car
cost less than our evening's wine bill. My monthly mortgage
is less than the evening's wine bill. WinoBob's weekly wine tab
is less than the... No, that's not right. Sorry. I got
There is an
outside chance that I might have spent a few weeks in China since my last
update. I was nearly killed by excessive ingestion of Chinese
food. Two weeks of eating nothing but beak and tongue and foot of a
variety of different beasts left me dazed and confused. Thank God for
McDonalds. Just when I was feeling faint and my gastrointestinal
system was about to shut down, voila! A couple of McBurgers and I was
a new man.
wine scene leaves much to be desired. I had a couple decent bottles
while I was there but they were all imports. I brought back a bottle of
Great Wall Cabernet Sauvignon which is purported to be the best selling wine
in China. The best thing I can say about this wine is that it's
red. No fruit, no structure, no complexity, no nothin'. Just
red. I tasted it side by side with a Two Buck Chuck Merlot and the Two
Buck Chuck was clearly the winner. You can strike the Great Wall from
your "Must Taste" list.
are rumors circulating that I vacationed in Aruba last month. I can
neither confirm nor deny these rumors. However, had I
visited Aruba, I certainly would have dined at The Flying Fishbone
Restaurant. Tables on the beach (some actually in the
water), romantic setting, excellent food and a decent wine list all made for
a wonderful evening. I also dined at an Argentinean grill (the name
escapes me) where I was informed that 2001 Stag's Leap Napa Valley Syrah
is exactly the same thing as 2001 Stags' Leap Napa Valley Petite Sirah.
Exactly the same! When I disagreed with the waiter over this subtle
point, he called the wine steward over who politely informed me that I was
an idiot (not in so many words...) and that yes, the bottle of 2001
Stag's Leap Napa Valley Syrah that they brought to my table is exactly
the same thing as the 2001 Stags' Leap Napa Valley Petite Sirah that
appeared on the wine list. No difference! You can imagine my embarrassment...
(Actually, you can imagine my family's embarrassment when I informed them
that I am, indeed, WinoJohn of WinoStuff.com fame and that I was pretty sure
that I knew more about Napa Valley wines than all the waiters, waitresses
and wine stewards in their godforsaken restaurant put together!) Other
than that one Argentinean wine debacle, Aruba is a fabulous place. The
people are friendly, the service is excellent and the beach is
awesome. I would definitely go back again (if I had been there to
that hypothetical, "what have I been up to for the last three
months" nonsense is not important. It's not the reason why you
stop by this site. (Most people actually come to this site by
accident. In fact, a significant number of our visitors are, in fact,
searching Google for "Juliet Huddy naked" and for some reason,
they are directed here. Perhaps the Google spider picks up the words Juliet
Huddy naked and assumes that we actually have pictures of Juliet Huddy
naked. Which we don't. But the spiders don't know that.
They just detect the words "Juliet Huddy naked" and start sending
people here. If you fall into that category, you can leave now because
we don't have any pictures of Juliet Huddy naked.) (Note
to WinoBob: Wait until you see next month's web traffic report!)
episode of What’s New!, we'll examine the complex interrelationship between
two subjects which are near and dear to my heart, wine and women.
Throw in rock-and-roll and chocolate and you have the WinoJohn Grand
Slam. Add to that some golf, beach and gourmet food and you have
WinoWally’s life. (On a slow
day.) Damn that WinoWally!
we’re here to talk about wine and women.
And I’m not just talking about our bikini-clad WinoBabes.
(Although, you have to admit, some of these serious female wine
professionals never looked better!)
I'm not talking about Wine Angels. I'm not even talking about Juliet Huddy
naked. I'm talking about the women who make wine.
And the women who drink wine. And
the wine that women drink. And
did I mention the WinoBabes? Ooops.
Where do we
begin to explore the complex symbiosis between wine and women?
There are countless websites dedicated to wine, albeit none quite
“colorful” as WinoStuff.com. There
are also countless websites dedicated to women, some of them featuring women
with their clothes on! There
are even websites that are dedicated to wine and women but if I
provide a link to those sites, you won’t hang around this lame site and
click our Google ads. And we can't
allow that. So, sit
back, relax and enjoy the ultimate exposé on wine and women.
In order to
appear as if we have some semblance of journalistic integrity for this piece, I had hoped
to actually interview the women of wine. All
of them. However, as I started churning out this update, I realized
that there are a lot of women in the wine world.
Unfortunately, I was only able to interview… uhhh, let’s see… well,
I didn’t actually get to interview any women on this subject.
I’ve been pretty busy. (Hey!
Remember, the midgets? The
abduction? Gimme a break!)
So, I have had to scale back the scope of this definitive exposé just
a bit. In order to get
something out in a “timely” fashion, I’ve been forced to focus just on
the wine itself. So, I’ll
call this piece “Chick Wine”. (I
know I’ll pay far that…) Consider
this to be Part One of The
Ultimate Exposé on Wine and Women…
Definitive Guide to Chick Wine
this out… According to
published reports, women buy more than 80% of all wine sold in the US.
Did you hear that? 80%
!!! I know that’s hard
to believe given that WinoBob consumes 80% of all the wine sold in
the US but that’s what published reports say.
I don’t make this stuff up. OK,
I make some of this stuff up, but not this time.
Apparently, women do buy more than 80% of all
wine sold in the US. Fortunately,
these wine-buying women share some of the wine with us wine-consuming men.
Statistics indicate that women only consume like 60% of all wine sold
in the US. So we have that
going for us, which is nice…
these statistics mean to us? Well,
it could mean that one of several disturbing dynamics is taking place:
WinoBob has a cult of
women buying wine for him. (I
don’t think so…)
Women are stockpiling
wine somewhere, awaiting the great gender war that will soon erupt.
(Hey, it could happen…)
Women are constantly
plotting to get men drunk in order to steal their credit cards and go to
the mall to buy shoes. (I know
Chicks dig buying wine
for their man. Ouch!!!
(Note to self:
Stop writing these silly articles when The Wife is looking over
your shoulder…) or
are an important market demographic that has been, until now, mostly
overlooked by the macho, points-driven, male-dominated wine industry.
It could be
that any or all of these possible scenarios are playing out but I’m
guessing that #5 is the predominant force behind the statistics.
So you had to figure that it would only be a matter of time before
alert winemakers started tailoring their wine to meet the tastes of women. Well, my friends, that time has come. And, no, I’m not talking about Pinot Noir or Merlot.
I’m not even talking about White Zin… (I'm certainly
not talking about Juliet Huddy naked...)
If you read
the wine news (and I know you do, otherwise why would you be reading this
lame diatribe?), several winemakers have recently announced their version of
the next big thing on the wine scene: Chick
Wine. In this case, Chick Wine is defined as wine that is made and
marketed to meet the specific needs and wants of women.
However, the target audience may be the only thing these wines have
On the one
hand, mega wine producer, Beringer Blass Wine Estates, recently
announced the launch of a new white wine called White
Lie Early Season Chardonnay.
This wine is reported to be a “low-calorie, low-alcohol white
wine” and will be targeted directly at “the American female wine
drinker.” In fact, this
wine was developed by an all-female team of American female wine-drinking
female women. That’s
pretty feminine! The Beringer Blass team claims that
“the wine is a reward for
hard-working women who worry about their appearance," citing 80% of women as dissatisfied with their appearance and 45% on a
diet at any given day.”
It sounds to me like Beringer just called the average American female
wine drinker “overweight”, “tired” and “dumpy”…
I could be wrong but that might not sell well…
According to their press release, Beringer’s winemaker, Jane
Robichaud, who is herself an American female wine-drinking woman, harvested
the grapes earlier than usual in order to lower calorie, sugar and alcohol
content in the final wine. This
sounds to me like she picked grapes that were not quite ripe.
That should make for an “interesting” wine…
other end of the Chick Wine style spectrum, Napa Valley’s family-owned Obrien
Cellars has released their version of chick wine, a Bordeaux-style blend
called Seduction. Owner
Bart O’Brien decided to make Seduction after talking with his wife and
many of her female friends and acquaintances.
According to Obrien, “Today’s female wine consumer is a
well-educated (hot), middle-to-high income earning (hot), independent (hot)
woman. She is not interested in
wine scores or in the technical details of grape sourcing, winemaking or
collecting. She wants a wine that is high-quality, beautifully packaged and
pairs well with foods.” (I’m sure that Bart also realizes that today’s male
wine consumer, on the other hand, is mostly interested in the hot female
wine consumer.) But I
middle are a host of newcomers with trendy names like Mad Housewife or Rosé
the Riveter. Who knows what
message they are trying to convey? I’m
afraid to ask.
honest, I haven’t tasted the Beringer offering yet.
I’m still trying to get up the nerve to ask for it at the Bottle
King. (What self-respecting
wino is going to go into his favorite wine shop and buy a bottle of diet
Chardonnay?) On the other hand,
I could easily see myself buying a bottle of a Napa Bordeaux-style blend.
I do it all the time.
didn’t have to go searching for the Seduction.
The Obriens had the incredible foresight to send me a bottle!
During one of our very important WinoStuff business dinners, I had
the distinct pleasure of opening a bottle of the 2002 Seduction.
As I tasted it, I tried to imagine what The Wife would think.
(She’s “not invited” to these very important tasting functions
or, as she puts it, “I’m not going out with you and your drunken idiot
friends…”) I found the
Seduction to be a nice soft red wine with lots of up-front cherry and
vanilla flavors and no tannin. None. Zero. Zilch.
It was 100% tannin-free. Or
maybe my tannin detectors are just too calloused from drinking big Cali
Cabs. I don’t know.
But what I do know is this, The Wife doesn’t like tannin and she
does like fruit. I think the
Seduction will be a hit. At the
very least, it should get her off the chardonnay.
The Wife (and I have already said way too much in this edition), she enjoys
a good white Burgundy. She enjoys a well-made Cab.
For budgetary reasons, she buys inexpensive California
chards. So, she must have some
kind of wine appreciation. Why
then, if we are out at a party, will she drink white zin?
What's up with that??? It’s embarrassing! She
doesn’t realize it but this is a direct reflection on me. And it is all about me! We need to have a talk…
So here are
a few questions that, if I had more time, I could have explored.
What do famous female winemaker women like Ann Colgin, Heidi Barrett and
Delia Viader have to say? What
do they look for in a good wine?
What wines do they drink? Why
won’t they return my calls? These
are all important questions that need to be answered in any definitive essay
on chick wine and I won’t rest until we get some answers!
until next time, relax, enjoy some chick wine with your favorite chick, and
drink more wine!
April 2, 2005
I did it! I managed to go two
whole months without an update! Whew! That was tough.
Despite all the whining and complaining from people that I don't know, I managed to keep my thoughts to
myself during the very important February/March mental health / mental
relaxation time period. Other than the occasional Breaking News!
article (which I can pretty successfully plagiarize from real news
sources), I haven't really done squat. It's been great! Even
BigBob hasn't bothered me.
However, one of
my friends has felt the need to remind me that I haven't done
squat. That's right, there is one wine-loving techno-dweeb that just
couldn't let it go. One of my dweeb day job co-workers is apparently a
What's New! junkie and he just had to sling little reminder barbs my
way! This guy (to protect his anonymity, I'll just call him Wino Eric of Santa Clara, CA) and I have a great deal in common. We both
hail from Pennsylvania, we're both dweebs (although I'm much dweebier than
he) and we both enjoy big reds. WinoEric and I have traded stories of
the pick, the crush, and the mutant grape bees. We've dined together
and shared a few bottles together. You'd think the guy would cut me
some slack. Then, out of the blue, he sends me a scathing email that
looks something like this:
To: Wino John
Fr: Eric of Santa Clara, CA
Date: March 28, 2005
You know you haven't updated
What's New since January 30.
Can you believe this guy?
What did I do to deserve this kind of malicious verbal attack? Geez,
you think you know a guy...
Yes, winos, you know what happens
when somebody prods me during a mental health hiatus. That's right,
he/she invokes the Wrath of Photoshop! Let this be a warning to all
you potential prodders. I'm a dweeb with a twisted imagination and
hair-trigger on Photoshop. I'm sorry to have to do this, but...
Here we see wino-dweeb extraordinaire, Wino Eric,
relaxing on the beach...
I'm going to be spending some time
with WinoEric at an upcoming dweebfest in Las Vegas. I'm sure that
we'll be able to work this out...
OK, now that I got that out of my
system, let's see what's new...
arrested again for being Drunk and Disorderly after our dinner with Christian
González of Torres. Nothing new there. Hmmm.... What
else? Oh yeah, I almost forgot! WinoWally was abducted by
aliens! He hasn't written anything for this lame site for like three
years, he must have been abducted. He denies it but that's the first sign of having been
abducted. The aliens force you to deny it or else they will abduct you
again. Wally also claims no memory of the abduction. Duhhh!!!
They give you the rectal probe / memory eraser just before they let you
go!! Nobody ever remembers it! All the signs are pointing to a
classic abduction. Besides, we have pictures...
WinoWally is abducted from the local mall by aliens...
Wally, I think
the only way for you to recover your memory of the abduction is for me to
come down to Baltimore and work with you. Through extensive
wine-therapy we will reconnect those alien-altered memory cells. I
don't care if we have to spend months down in your wine cellar, the truth is
out there and we will drink it!! Uuhhhh..., I mean..., find it!
What else is
going on in the wine world. Well, there's news out of the Michael
Jackson trial that Whacko Jacko really is a wino whacko!
We all heard about the Jesus Juice in the Diet Coke can. That's old
news. But how about this? At Michael Jackson's Neverland Valley
ranch, wine and liquor are hidden in a basement room, down a set of stairs
concealed by a jukebox in the large video-game arcade. The
Whackmeister also has quite the porn collection. Let's see, who does
this remind us of? Except for the molested little boys, this
could be our own WinoBob!
My 12 year-old daughter provided this artist's
rendition of the WinoBob underground wine vault/arcade.
Hey, the Supreme
Court is due to rule very soon on the whole interstate transportation
issue. The court heard arguments back in December over the right of
states to restrict the shipment of wine to residents from out-of-state
wineries. The wine wholesalers are obviously lobbying to keep these
archaic laws in place. The Supreme Court could put an end to this
whole issue. Keep your fingers crossed. If you want your voice
to be heard, visit FreeTheGrapes.org.
And on a final
note, the French are at it again. (This page wouldn't be complete
without a little "French update".) It appears that a bunch
of radical winos are upset with the French government. This
group which calls themselves CRAV (Comité Régional d’Action Viticoles),
which in English means something like "Crazy French Winos With
have been out blowing things up. Fortunately, thus far, no one has
been injured. However, one French policeman was "knocked off his
scooter" on March 9. Upon seeing this, the CRAV reportedly set
the scooter on fire and "ran away." I'm not making
this up. More recently, these angry wine producers have raised the
stakes in their struggle with the French government, using dynamite in
attacks against official buildings in the cities of Montpellier, Carcassonne
and Nimes. Damage has been minimal as it seems that these Franco
terrorists are content to just set the dynamite off outside the doors of the
government buildings. There were also reports of several explosions at
small wineries in the south of France. It's not clear whether these
wineries were targeted by the CRAV or if the CRAV just accidentally blew
The CRAV are
protesting against the measley €70 million ($93.7 million) package of
measures announced by the French Minister of Agriculture to help the local
wine industry out of the worldwide wine glut. You know, there's a
worldwide glut of wine-related web sites, too, but you don't see us out there
blowing things up! Especially our own facilities. Then again, no
one is giving us €70 million to go out and by dynamite. I'll have to
think about this one...
On a sad note,
while I was penning this little update, it was announced that Pope John Paul
II has passed away. He had been gravely ill for a few days. He
was a great man and the world is a better place for all his efforts. I
actually feel bad now about announcing my candidacy for (and subsequent
withdrawal from) the papacy. What was I thinking (drinking)?
May he rest in
January 30, 2005
Holy shit! Check this
out... just 20 days between What's New updates. What's wrong
with this picture??? Somebody pick BigBob up off the floor...
Anyway, I received an interesting
email recently. I receive a lot of email, mostly from irate feminists
complaining about the WinoBabe of the Month or from irate Frogs complaining about
my continuing criticism of all things French. I can easily ignore
all those idiots. This recent email, however, caught my attention...
I received an email from some
unknown-to-me woman from Australia. In my mind, I envision the author
to be some WinoStuff-addicted, lovelorn reader like Nicole Kidman or Elle
Macpherson. Or even the slightly-not-from-Australia-
but-really-from-New-Zealand, Rachel Hunter. I recognize that this is purely my fantasy and not just a
fabricated reason for me to post more bikini-clad babes. (That's just
a side benefit.)
Longtime fans of WinoStuff, Nicole, Elle, and Rachel
So anyway, I get this email from
Nicole (or Elle or Rachel) and she informs me of some survey that purports
to pair wine with "personalities, prospective dates, and favorite
occasions of single men and women nationwide." I figured
this is exactly the type of whacky shit that WinoStuff readers enjoy. I could be wrong...
As it turns out, this survey was
sponsored by The Australian Wine Bureau and Match.com so I
expected the results of the survey to indicate something like "Pathetic
single Australian computer geeks meet similarly afflicted Australian women
through Match.com and ply them out of their Aussie undergarments with
copious quantities of Aussie Shiraz..." or something like that.
While I was close in my pre-assessment, I was not entirely correct.
The actual findings of the survey reveal that (and I quote), "the
Characteristics of Australian Wines Match What Single Americans Want in a
Romantic Partner". Damn!!! All along, I thought Single
Americans wanted something more along the lines of our bikini-clad
WinoBabes. I may have to rethink my whole bikini-clad strategy...
Reprtedly, Match.com questioned
thousands of single men and women across the US and found that 62 percent
believe that their date's choice of beverage provides "insight into
their lifestyle", and 52 percent felt that it is "indicative of
their personality". Here are some of the specific findings of the
Ordering a wine from Australia
conveys the message that a person is adventurous (62 percent) and fun
A person that drinks French
wine is viewed as "pretentious" (76 percent) and high-maintenance (65
"Sexy" (40 percent) and
(37 percent) were personality traits used to describe a person who
orders a wine from Italy.
The type of drink someone
orders has the potential to pique the interest of their prospective
partners. When asked which person they would be the most interested in
meeting, respondents overwhelmingly chose someone who orders wine from
Australia (53 percent) over someone who orders a vodka from Russia (18
percent), a beer from Belgium (15 percent) or a Port from Portugal (14
Eighty-three percent of singles
agree that a glass of wine can make an already special moment even more
Ordering a glass of wine for
that special occasion does not have to be expensive. Fifty-nine percent
of women and 47 percent of men are not willing to spend more than $25 on
a bottle of wine on a first date.
Overall, men were more likely
than women to indicate that they have a great knowledge of wine.
Now, you know us. We at
'Stuff could not sit idly by and let the findings of this survey go
unchallenged. So we assembled a team of top Psychologists,
Psychiatrists, Psychopaths, Psychophobes, Psychos, Sycophants, Psychics, and
Physicists (we had to have some real scientists in the mix) and we
analyzed the same data. Our findings (not surprisingly) are quite
different. Here's what we found:
Ordering a wine from Australia
conveys the message that a person is Australian (29 percent) and horny
A person that drinks French
wine is viewed as " pretentious" (76 percent) and high-maintenance (65
percent). (Hmmm... That's exactly what the other team of
data analysts determined... That's strange...)
"Pasta" (40 percent) and
(37 percent) were personality traits used to describe a person who
orders a wine from Italy. (These are more like food traits
but the 'Stuff data analysts got hungry while we were analyzing the
The type of drink someone
orders has no bearing on the interest of their prospective partners,
it's how much they drink that matters. When asked which person they would be the most interested in
meeting, respondents overwhelmingly chose someone who orders wine by the
case (84 percent) over someone who orders tea by the cup (14
Eighty-three percent of singles
agree that a glass of wine can make an already special moment even more
romantic. Ninety-seven percent of singles agree that two bottles
of a high-alcohol Zinfandel can "close the deal".
Ordering a glass of wine for
that special occasion does not have to be expensive..., but it helps. Fifty-nine percent
of women are more inclined to "show their gratitude" if 47 percent of men
were willing to spend more than $25 on
a bottle of wine on a first date.
Overall, men were more likely
than women to indicate that they have a great knowledge of wine.
That's because, overall, men were more likely than women to read WinoStuff.
Hey, those are the
findings. You can't argue with our crack team of experts!
(Notice how I color-coded the aforementioned findings... Winostuff
findings in green and Aussie Wine Bureau
findings in red. That's for your benefit!)
You know, all this talk of wine
pairings reminds me of my award-winning expose on the whole wine/food and
wine/company pairing issue. Alert winos will remember that article
from July of 2001. Not-so-alert winos will click
Let's see, what else have we
Oh, yeah... I recently
made a trip to the west coast to tend to some dweeb business for my day
job. I had the opportunity to enjoy a nice dinner with the entire west
coast dweeb team. They really are a great bunch of dweebs. I
really enjoy working with them. However... (you knew there had to be a
'however'), we went out to a gala dweeb dinner and someone suggested that I,
WinoJohn, select the appropriate wine for dinner. People!
What are you thinking? I know you read this site! You think that
because I have a wine-related website, I am uniquely qualified to pick a
dinner wine? Now if you were paying attention, you would know that I
am going to pick something big and red and which will probably NOT pair well
(in some people's opinion) with the food that you are going to order!
But, you know what? I don't care! I like 'em big and red!!!
So, I did what any self-sacrificing
wino would do, I ordered some white. And some red. And all the
wino-dweebs at the table looked at me like I was Charlie Manson.
"Teacher, what should we drink? The white? Or the
red?" (Note to self: If WinoStuff has
this kind of mind-numbing power over otherwise normal-seeming people, I need
to start promoting the "New Wing for WinoJohn's House Fund".
Cha-ching!!!) Anyway, kids, it was a lot of
fun. Let's do it again soon. And next time, bring your
Well that's it. I won't feel
obligated to update this goofy page for another 6 months so don't get your
hopes up. I'm pretty busy. I have a few more trips to the
west coast coming up. I have to manage the "New Wing"
construction. I have to get all those Psycho-whatevers out of the
WinoStuff corporate offices. They can be a real pain in the ass.
So relax, enjoy (some red and some
white, my disciples...) and drink more wine!
January 10, 2005
a break! That was one serious hiatus. Whew!!! It's been a
few months since my last stroll down What's New Boulevard. I don't
know what happened. I guess I just needed a break. After two
months off, you would think that I would feel much more rested than I
do. Why do I still feel so tired? Oh, that's right, I'm still
working my fingers to the bone!!!
I? Oh yeah...
New? How about this... It took BigBob nearly two months to start
ragging on me to update this page. Now,
that's something new!!! This time, see... this time I was busy!
And preoccupied. And engrossed. And otherwise indisposed.
And besides, you were starting to get used to a monthly update. We all
knew that couldn't possibly continue. I had to revert back to my old
habits, back into my comfort zone. Anyway, let's go back to October...
Back in October,
my Dad was hospitalized for what should have been a short time. It
started out as a routine hip replacement operation and it turned into a
battle with low blood pressure, a difficult rehabilitation, several "falls", a broken femur, and
worst of all, an extended period of sobriety. Yes, that's right, sobriety.
(My dad, you idiots, not me!)
Let me tell you
a little about my dad. My dad is now 87 years old and he worked at the
steel mill for 40+ years. Every night at 5:20, he would return home
from the mill and mix up a pitcher of Manhattans. That's right, a pitcher!
Of Manhattans!!! Ouch! If that didn't quite get the job done, he
would mix up an extra little "smidgeon". He retired about 20
years ago which meant that he could start his little Manhattan ritual at
like 4:30. Ahhh, the joys of retirement... Anyway, over the
course of his career, my dad did some serious drinking and I never really
saw him drunk. What an amazing liver. If I get half the mileage
out of my liver, I'll be drinking a bottle of red per night until I'm
105! If WinoBob got half that mileage out of his liver(s)...
well... he could go a few more months before his next liver
extended hospital stays forced my dad to abstain from drinking. That
must have been pure hell. So they cut him open, sawed off the top of
his leg, and implanted some titanium rods. So what? No big deal.
Not drinking, however, that must be PAINFUL!!! And if that wasn't bad
enough, my dad's sudden sobriety had a pronounced trickle down effect in the spirits
industry. I was actually contacted by industry analysts to explain the
sudden drop in sales of Seagrams 7. It was a difficult period.
After many visitation trips to the hospital and a weekend spent installing
handrails at my dad's house, the situation seems to be improving. Keep
your fingers crossed...
what else has transpired since we last spoke? Oh, yeah. There
was that whole presidential election thing but the right guy won and the
world is a safer place. We'll just leave it at that. I also had
to withdraw my bid for the papacy. While I definitely would have made
a pretty cool Pope, it was starting to look like a lot of work. All
that praying and blessing and good-deed-doing would start to bother
me. And the papal clothes, well, they just aren't too cool. So I
guess I will remain a wine-drinking techno-dweeb for the rest of my
life. I guess it could be worse...
Since my last
update, we also observed another Thanksgiving and you know what that means...
Yes, once again, I had the distinct pleasure of joining WinoWally and our
mutual in-laws for the annual in-law family combination
Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner bash, eat-a-thon, and gift exchange at the
palatial Wally Estate.. If you recall, this is our (Wally and mine) annual
opportunity to laugh at our in-laws and their perverse obsession with
food. Conversely, we allow our in-laws the opportunity to laugh at our
(Wally and mine) perverse obsession with wine. While Wally and I may
spend way too much time discussing wine, our obsession is merely a passing
fancy in comparison with our in-law's food obsession. The thousands of
man hours that we have put into this goofy site over the last four years
pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of man-hours that our in-laws
spend each week discussing food. If they are not actually eating food,
they are shopping for food, planning a future meal or reminiscing about a memorable meal in the
past. I have received actual Christmas cards from my in-laws which
describe in great detail, not the memorable milestones
achieved by members of the family, but rather memorable meals consumed
by members of the family. It seems a bit unusual but, then again, I
spend countless hours droning on about wine-related nonsense so I can't
Recognizing that I will have to see these people at many more family
gatherings, I will leave you with this one final tidbit. While Wally
took hundreds of pictures of all the family members at the gathering, the
photo that most family members have requested copies of is shown
below. Note the informative little sign describing the contents of the
platter (as if you couldn't tell by looking at it that it was steamed
shrimp). I don't expect to see these cute little signs next
year. One of my in-laws didn't realize that the signs were not
actually edible and, well..., enough said.
Now this is a holiday memory!
While I was
chatting with Wally (in between courses), Wally mentioned that he had been
invited to the George W. Bush Presidential Inaugural Ball. Wow, I
thought, that's pretty cool! I wonder who you have to know to
get that ticket! We here at 'Stuff have been outspoken supporters of "W"
and I haven't yet received my invite. What's up with that??? (An obvious oversight on the
part of some low-level staffer.) Then Wally told me that he was actually too busy
to go to the ball. Damn! Too busy to go to the ball! Too busy to visit with the prez...
Damn! I want to be Wally when I grow up! Did I mention that I got invited to the Jefferson Elementary School Annual
Holiday Chorale Spectacular? Pretty impressive, huh?
Unfortunately, I was too busy to go. Damn!
You may recall a
mention in one of WinoBob's recent columns that we had a little winter
get-together with the Bob's (BigBob and WinoBob) at Casa de Bob. It
was a grand affair. Actually, it was a pretty casual affair with some
grand wines. Caymus, Silver Oak, Monte Bello... Not a bad way to
celebrate the season... Those Google ads are really paying off!!!
Bob failed to
mention one of the highlights of the get-together. Long-time friend of
'Stuff, Winette Tia, graced us with her presence. We hadn't seen Tia
in a while and it was good to catch up with her. The important news
from this meeting is that Tia got some ink. Yeah, baby, Tia got a
tattoo... Unfortunately, Tia would not actually show me her
tattoo. That just means that I will have to let my imagination (and
Photoshop) run wild...
visual confirmation, I imagine that Tia's tat looks something like this...
or maybe like
That's just my
"artist's rendition". I could be wrong... (Side note:
Check this out. Over the last few months, I have ingeniously
managed to add bikini-clad babes to this site without any complaints from
The Wife. It may be some sort of new-age understanding between us or
it may be that she doesn't actually read this stupid page. It doesn't
really matter because we now have bikini-clad babes on this
Did I mention
that I took a few days off over the Christmas/New Years holiday period? I had actually planned to pen a brief
What's New update during that
period but, unfortunately, I suffered a catastrophic computer failure.
It was bad. Very bad. My computer motherboard crapped out.
It shit the bed. Bit the bullet. Went deep six. My mobo
had no mojo. I was seriously depressed. After a frantic call to
Directron.com, I got a replacement board and I was able to rebuild
her. (Note to all wine-drinking techno-dweebs: Red wine and SATA
hard drives don't mix. Trust me.) But I lost valuable
time. During the Xmas break, I had also planned to convert all my home
movies (which consist mostly of hundreds of hours of a 13 year old gymnast
doing very scary stunts) to DVD. That didn't get done either.
Now I'm really behind in my business. To top it all off, I just
returned from a very... uhhh..., difficult..., strenuous..., uhhh... business
trip. To the Consumer Electronics Show. In Las Vegas. No,
really, it was a tough trip. All that technology! And
glitter. And gambling. Did I mention the technology? It
was a tough trip! The highlight of the trip (Not counting the
technology and glitter and gambling) was the 2000 Joseph Phelps Insignia
compliments of one of my company's valued vendors. (If they weren't
valued vendors before, they are now!) A great wine in an
otherwise-mediocre vintage. (Note to those who
would like to be future WinoStuff valued vendors: Insignia,
OK, how about a
little wine info. I know you don't check into this update for
information on my dad's health or Tia's ink. (Yeah, baby...)
Two nice wines
that I enjoyed recently include Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2004
and Da Vinci Chianti Riserva 2001. I highly recommend both of these wines.
In celebration of
the 2004 Grape of the Year, Sauvignon Blanc, I purchased a couple bottles of
the Kim Crawford and let me tell you, this was a great little SB.
Herby nose and mineraly/citrusy/grassy/apple-pear flavors and a sub-$15
price tag made this the white of the month for me. (Yes, I do drink
The Da Vinci is a nice, smooth, medium-bodied Chianti with
pleasant berry flavors and less acidity than most Chiantis in this price
range (~ $20). My newfound penchant for Da Vinci has nothing to do
with the Da Vinci Code that I wrote about last
quarter year. (Damn, it has been a long
time...) The Da Vinci is imported by Ernie and Julie Gallo. You
remember Ernie and Julie. Yes, E&J Gallo, the mega-huge winopoly
headquartered in California. World-famous wine guy and honorary wino,
Robin Garr, passed on this little tidbit about Gallo. Gallo's annual
wine production exceeds that of all but 9 countries. COUNTRIES!
These are the stats on the top 10 wine producers:
France - 5.6
Italy - 5.3 billion liters
Spain - 3.5 billion liters
United States - 2.2 billion liters
Argentina - 1.4 billion liters
Germany - 1 billion liters
South Africa - 770 million liters
Australia - 750 million liters
China - 690 million liters
GALLO - 675 million liters
Portugal - 611 million liters
Well, that's it
for another episode of What's New. That's all you're going to get for
another month or two. Deal with it. Stop sending me little
"hints" to update this page. You are all starting to bother
me. And when I get bothered, I post pictures of WinoHunks rather than
bikini-clad WinoBabes! We certainly don't want a repeat of that
So, all of you,
chill out, relax, enjoy, and if you are blessed enough to still have your
Dad in your life, give him a hug. And drink more wine!
As I sit here in
my familiar computer chair, updating this dopey site, I pause for a moment
to ponder why the staff of 'Stuff are not yet multi-billionaires, what with
world's most important website" as our sounding board and all. As
the reality of the situation sinks in to my wine-soaked brain, I am tempted
to pick up one of those business re-engineering, business re-organizing,
self help books. If there is a secret sauce to success, I need to know
recipe. We've been hacking away at this lame site for four years now
and we have barely made enough money to pay for WinoBob's last liver
biopsy. There must be some kind of trick to this success thing.
Hell, look at wine.com. They are literally dumping truckloads of cash
into a huge
bonfire and yet there is a line of venture capitalists waiting to throw more
dollars at them. I don't get it.
Don't get me
wrong, WinoStuff has brought me a great deal of pleasure in the last four
years. In fact, I
crack myself up every time I sit down at the keyboard. Updating
WinoBob's frequent postings can be entertainment unto itself!
Sometimes, I don't really
care what the readers think, I'm having a good time.
I have also had
the distinct pleasure of meeting some very interesting people and enjoying
some excellent wine as a result of this website. Take for example, our recent dinner with the big
guy himself, Big Bob Ferdon of Dreyfus Ashby fame. Big Bob knows my penchant for big reds
and, recognizing that my budget for such wines has been dramatically
depleted since The Boy decided to matriculate at that prestigious Ivy League
school (Damn The Boy!), BigBob decided to treat us to a real gem. After
suggesting that I order a big hunk of red meat, Bob pulled from his wine
travel bag (more like his wine travel suitcase) a bottle of 1994 Peju
Province HB Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Wow. Double
Wow. I was
speechless. This wine was exquisite. The nose was
incredible. If I could bottle the nose of this wine, I wouldn't need
this lame site. And the legs. Oh, the legs. And the finish. This wine was ten
years old but I'm sure that it could last another 25. I was privileged
just to be invited to this meal. (Thanks again, BB!)
Then, during the drive home, the depression hit.
I'm guessing that big time wine importers and others "in the business"
kind of wine all the time. I know for a fact that Big Bob pours better
wine than this over his Cheerios in the morning. Damn that Big Bob!!!
So, if I am ever
going to be able to afford to drink wines like Peju every day, the
management of 'Stuff is going
to have to make some changes around here. I've come to the
realization that our only hope for success may be to copy the business model of other successful
entrepreneurs. This realization got me thinking... As I
was watching Fox and Friends recently, the lovely (hot) Fox host, Juliet
Huddy, was interviewing some political pundit from some think tank
organization on the merits of something George Bush said or did. It
doesn't really matter what they were talking about. Juliet could have been
reciting the Periodic Table of the Elements, it didn't matter. I
was glued to the set. (Ooohhh, wait....
I just thought of something... Can you imagine Kiran Chetry talking
about Quantum Physics? Oh, yeah. I find that disturbingly
Where was I? Oh yeah, it doesn't matter what they
were talking about. There were two important takeaways from this
little learning experience.
1) Sex sells. It doesn't matter what
they were talking about. Juliet is hot and I'm tuning in. Since I
can't legally sell sex, I tried the next best thing and
half-naked pictures of WinoBabes on our home page. And man, have the dollars
been pouring in... Yeah, right... (I just hope we don't
get sued!) So... I am forced to
focus on takeaway #2 which is:
2) The guy with Juliet was from a
"think tank" and people listened to him. Now that's a brilliant idea. A
"think tank", as if you have to be somebody special to think. Just think about it... ... ... See?
You're thinking! You, too, could be part of a think tank! But
you're not. And why not? Because you haven't declared yourself
to be part of one. It's just that easy!!! Damn it,
a think tank. Or better yet, a drink tank! If you have a think tank,
people are naturally impressed with you and they probably send you money in
exchange for your thoughts. Just imagine what people will send you if you
are part of a drink tank!
Brillaint Business Idea
#1 - Announcing The Official
WinoStuff Political DrinkTank®, dedicated to drinking
(and thinking) about the issues that are important to the greater wino
community and coming up with recommendations which we will make available to anyone
who sends us money or something more to drink. As I see it, this is a
can't-miss business idea.
Have you seen
all these yellow rubber bracelets that the kids are so crazy about these
They are imprinted with the word LIVE
STRONG and they have something to do with Lance Armstrong and
his cancer charity. You remember Lance, he's the American guy who
likes to wear tight shorts and a bright yellow shirt and ride his bike around France while the hot
confused) Sheryl Crow follows him around in a bus. All the while, the French
people line up
in the street to see Lance ride and every once in a while, they shake up a
big bottle of Champagne and pop the cork, spraying bubbly all over
Lance. It's good to be Lance. And now, Lance has people all over
the world sending him like $10 for some cheap yellow rubber bracelets.
The man is a genius. So, to copy his success formula, check this out...
Brillaint Business Idea # 2 -
Announcing LIVER STRONG®
bracelets! For just $5 American (Hey, Lance has a head start. We
have to compete on price!), we will send you a nice Burgundy-colored LIVER STRONG®
bracelet. All proceeds will go to the New Liver for Bob Fund (except
for those proceeds that get skimmed off for the More Cab for John Fund). This idea can't miss either. Damn, I'm on a roll...
How about this
"can't miss" business idea... You know how the ingenious
cyber criminals are making a killing by stealing people's identities and
using their credit cards to buy all kinds of stuff? Well, we
could... No, that might not be such a good idea after all. I don't
think the wine list in the state penitentiary is quite up to my liking...
Ok, how about
this one... (Admittedly, this one might not be quite as "sure
fire" as the others...)
out... I'm thinking about running for Pope. Now I know it sounds a
little crazy but bear with me... If I was elected Pope, I could order
all Catholics to visit WinoStuff to receive special grace or absolution for
their sins or some other compelling virtue. I figure that there's like
a billion or two Catholics in this world. If 50% of them visit this
site, we're suddenly more than just 'the world's most important web site',
we're the world's most visited web site! Then, see, THEN we
could get some real advertising on this site. I'm not talking Google
Ads, here. I'm talking about major media kinds of advertising!
With major media kinds of dollars! That's what I'm talkin' about!!!
I know what
you're thinking. You're thinking, "WinoJohn, being Pope is a big
job. What makes you think you're Pope material?" Well,
here's the thing. I've recently read The Da Vinci
Code by Dan Brown and I have just begun Angels and Demons
also by Dan Brown. (Actually, I'm listening to these books on
CD. Reading just takes way too much effort.) Anyway, I'm listening
to these books which paint a pretty gruesome picture of Christianity in
general and Catholicism in particular. With the Knights Templar and
the Illuminati running around, plotting revenge against the Church for
centuries of oppression, I'm thinking that the church needs a more
"modern thinking", open-minded Pope. Perhaps one who is a bit of a
scientific dweeb? One who could bring all of the world's people
together (except maybe the French and those idiots in Hollywood) in a
community of peace and brotherhood. Just ask yourself, who fits that bill better than me?
Just listen to
what I would enjoy as Pope:
dollars. or Lira. or Euros. Whatever the currency, there's
lots of it.
wine. Do you think the Pope drinks the cheap stuff? I'm
nice house in the middle of Rome, just a few short miles (or kilo meters
or hecto acres, who really understands the metric system?) from Tuscany!
Oh, yeah, the power. I, Pope WinoJohn 1, would be making the
But it's not
just about me. Just listen to what I would bring to the Papacy:
Birth control? Whatever you want.
marriage? (Ewww!) Only if you are the Governor of New
hunger? A thing of the past. (How would I pay for that, you
ask? I would rent out most of the church's assets. All those
Michaelangelo paintings and sculptures? For a price, they too
could be hanging in your living room. Want to spend the night in
the Sistine Chapel? It's available! Need an armored golf
cart for an outing with some corporate executive or world leader?
Rent the Pope-mobile!!!)
We're talking a whole new mindset
here, people! We're talking Renaissance 2, The Renaissance
Reloaded. I'm not sure, but I think that, as Pope, I would have
enough clout to change the interstate
wine shipping laws. Do I have your vote? Who do we have
to talk to in order to get my name on the ballot? Join with me
people! We're going to CHANGE THE WORLD!!!
to self: Pick up more chocolate at Shop Rite. We're out.)
I was, enjoying a massive California Cab, basking in the glory that is
northern California... (For the record, the cab was a 1997 Gallo of
Sonoma Barrelli Creek Vineyard. Wow.) There are three important
reasons why I enjoy this cab. 1) It's big. Very big. In
fact, it's an over-extracted, unfiltered, kick in the head. 2) It's
chewy. (Lots of sediment) and, 3) The Wife doesn't like sediment
so that leaves more wine for me!
...so there I was, enjoying this massive unfiltered Cali Cab, when I
looked down into my glass and noticed all the muck in the bottom.
Immediately, I thought of Big Bob. I thought of the big guy not
because he reminds me of the muck in the bottom of the glass (He doesn't).
I thought of Big Bob not because he's massive. (He's not.
Well... yes, he is, but that's not why.) I thought of Big Bob
because he constantly
pesters reminds challenges me
to update this page and now, with muck in the bottom of my glass, I once
again have something to write about. So, Bob, this muck's for you...
As I ponder
my muck, I am reminded that many people are put off by sediment in wine.
They don't know what it is and they are afraid that something has started to
precipitate out of their beverage. (Precipitate: It’s a
scientific term meaning “to clump together and form into muck…”)
To those uneducated, sediment-averse individuals I say, "You're
right. There is something wrong with your wine.
You'd better just send it to me for proper 'disposal', if you know what I
the sediment is made up of all kinds of naturally
occurring and unsurprising stuff. Think
about it. When you squeeze grapes, you get grape juice and a whole lot
of squishy, pulpy stuff along with grape skins and the occasional mutant
grape bee. (See my diatribe
on “The Crush”.)
In many cases, the winemaker removes all the non-juice stuff and just
bottles the fermented liquid. I
contend that there are important “taste enhancers” and "massifiers"
in the stuff that gets removed and I don’t mind if the winemaker leaves it
in. But that’s just me…
important question to you, the alert wino, is ‘How do they remove the
muck?’ This, my friends, is
perhaps more than you want to know. Proceed at your own risk.
As I was
doing my research fort this article, (yes I do research.
Unlike some unnamed wine importers, I don't just sit around in my jammies
all day, tasting my latest French or Spanish import, and writing smart-ass
messages into the 'Stuff guestbook!) As I was saying, while I was doing
my research fort this article, I uncovered some of the methods by which
wines are clarified or, as we like to say here,
three common ways that a winemaker removes some of the undesirable solids in
wine. The first process is
called “racking” which is the method by which the winemaker removes the
big, meaty pieces of muck otherwise known as lees.
The winemaker really doesn’t have to do much other than let the
solids in the wine settle to the bottom of the barrel and siphon off the
relatively muck-free juice from the top (leaving the lees behind).
Another process that is used to remove muck is "filtering".
Just as you would imagine, this involves running the wine through a filter
to remove all particles above a certain size.
These two processes are pretty straightforward and should not alarm
anyone. However, the third
method of removing muck is potentially quite disturbing.
It is called fining and it involves the addition of special,
non-wine chemical substances into the wine.
These substances, called fining agents, adhere to some of the
smaller solid particles in wine, causing them to clump together and sink to
the bottom. The clear wine can
then again be siphoned off the top.
disturbing about that, you say? Well,
its just this… the stuff that
they use as fining agents is… well… not what you might expect.
Common fining agents include egg whites (OK, no big deal), gelatin
(kind of like Jell-O), bentonite (some kind of volcanic dirt), milk, fish
bladders (Ewww…), and the ever-popular polyvinyl
polypyrrolidone (Mmmm, doesn’t that sound delicious?).
Now granted, most of this stuff is removed before the wine makes it
into your cellar but it’s still a little disconcerting if you think about
it. So my advice is don't think about it. I'm now sorry that I
brought this whole thing up. You can blame BigBob.
we’re on the subject of stuff that doesn’t belong in wine, you should
also be aware that winemakers may also add sulfites (preservatives), flavor
enhancers including acids (no Bob, not LSD), copper, oak chips, color
enhancers, and more. I even
found an article that notifies us that Argentina's National Institute of
Viticulture (INV) has recently banned the use of hemoglobin (cow
blood) to clarify wines. Ooops, I'm
sorry. Did I say cow blood? I meant to say COW BLOOD!!!
That's just wrong! (Apparently, this practice was common in
Europe long ago.) It’s
interesting to note that this new law was enacted not because it’s totally
disgusting. Rather, the INV
simply wanted to prevent the spread of Mad Cow Disease via wine consumption.
I’m starting to feel queasy…
I would now take this opportunity to rag on BigBob about terroir and
varietal labeling and all that. In the
past, I would have made some smart alecky comment about how the French get
that "essence of barnyard" in some of their wines. I would
have speculated about the fining agents that the French use to impart that
quintessential l'odeur de merde and I would have insisted that
the ingredients appear on the label. But after writing this
article, I’m no longer sure that I want to know what’s in the bottle!
info on what might be in your favorite wine bottle, check out this
interesting article from Dan Berger of the SF Chronicle…
if you still have the stomach for it, relax, enjoy your muck, and drink more
shocking news! This column is being updated in less than 30 days from
the last posting!!! Relax. Take a few deep breaths. This
probably won't happen again...
interesting things have taken place since my last update:
First, the Olympic
games have thus far gone off without a hitch (and without many
spectators). That's a good thing, sort of. Its good in that
there have been no incidents (other than the usual doping scandals) but its
bad in that many sports fans around the world were too intimidated by the
threat of some act of terror to actually go to the games. Score one
for the terrorists.
The Americans are
winning their normal (un)fair share of medals albeit not necessarily the ones
we would have expected. The US men's basketball team was soundly
defeated by Puerto Rico which, the last time I checked, is PART OF THE
US!!! I guess you could say that we were just playing with
ourselves. And losing...
Oh yeah, there
was an interesting announcement from the NJ state capitol a few weeks ago. Apparently, the governor of New Jersey is
a twice-married gay man who tried to set up his Israeli gay lover as the
completely-unqualified Director of Homeland Security for the State of New
Jersey!!! So we've got that going for us, you know, which is
Seriously, what the f*@&
is up with that??? Faced with
his gay lover's threatened sexual harassment lawsuit, Jimmy McGreevey came
clean. Thanks, Jimbo. Your father must be very proud. In retrospect, it's nice to know that the
Gov was willing to put all the residents of the State of New Jersey at risk
in order to "fill a void" in his life, if you know what I
mean... Oh yeah, and we were afforded the luxury of paying the salary of the Gov's
boy-toy. Wouldn't it be nice if all the residents of NJ could get a
What's all this
got to do with wine? Hmmm, let me think... How do I tie this all
back to wine...? OK, this is a stretch but here goes... 1) The
Olympics started in Greece and the Greeks have been making wine for
gazillions of years, and 2) The Star Ledger reported that the Gov spilled the
beans to one of his close (non-gay) advisors over a nice bottle of Bordeaux.
There! That closes the loop! (Sorry, BigBob. I didn't mean
to drag the French into our little domestic problem.)
But none of this
is important to you. All of the
preceding gibberish is just journalistic fluff designed to titillate you,
the loyal 'Stuff reader. (I like to use the word
"titillate" whenever possible.) The topic that I really want
to discuss today is
Eco-friendly Farming or Radical Terroirism?
First of all, this
is not another terroir rant. I did that and I'm over it. I've
moved on. However, while doing my
extensive research, looking for goofy wine-related news for this column, I came across a disturbing article on Biodynamics. I had always
thought that Biodynamics was simply a form of "extreme eco-awareness"
with horses, cows and chickens pooping throughout the vineyard to provide
natural fertilizers while munching on the various grasses and weeds that
grow amongst the vines. I had imagined that Biodynamicists were like a
bunch of dope-smoking hippies from the 60's and 70's who have now decided to
farm their land and grow their grapes in the most environmentally-friendly
manner possible. I had envisioned them as concerned citizens, much like myself,
who had discovered science and
who, unlike myself, were committed to living a totally healthy
lifestyle. Boy, was I wrong (except maybe about the dope-smoking).
an article entitled Biodynamics:
The Ultimate Template for Terroir
which appeared in Wine Business Online, we find out that...
is the most extremely ideological form of farming. Instead of relying on
chemical intervention, vineyards are treated with holistic forms of
preparations and composts designed to rebuild the stamina of the soil, and
forms of energy created by the rhythms of the earth, sun, moon and solar
system that help energize the plant to grow."
beginning to think that these guys are NOT scientists. The
article goes on to report that...
and lunar cycles play important roles that impact the plants. For
instance, Vernal Equinox supposedly not only marks the beginning of
spring, but the start of the strong gravitational pull on the vines
upwards. Autumn Equinox is believed to do the reverse, as gravity begins
in the Biodynamic world, gravity sometimes pulls in directions other than downward!??
Seems a bit like the Bizarro world to me. But wait, there's more...
types of energies result from the passage of the moon through different
constellations. "Leaf days" are favorable for field spraying
when leaves are more receptive as the moon passes Cancer, Scorpio and
Pisces; "root days" are favorable for planting due to downward
gravitational pull influenced by the moon and signs Taurus, Capricorn and
Virgo; "flower days" are influenced by air and light, helping to
provide the vine with substance, color and the best days for the aroma of
wines to be showcased, and coincide with Gemini, Libra and Aquarius; and
"fruit days" are influenced by heat and favorable for
cultivating vines or grape picking with signs Aries, Sagittarius and
guess you need to know the astrological sign of your vines in order to do
Biodynamics correctly. This is my favorite aspect of true biodynamic
winter, horn manure (BD500) is prepared by stuffing a mixture of
dung inside the horn of a female cow and buried for six months. In spring,
the mixture is sprinkled in the vineyard to rejuvenate the roots. In
summer, horns containing silica (ground quartz crystals, BD501) are
buried, then dug out around harvest and applied to strengthen the vine for
These guys are out there. They have even applied scientific-sounding names to their
I'm sorry but this all seems a little "strange" to me. But
what do I know? Well, I do know this. These guys need to be watched.
And not by the gay, love child, former head of NJ's Department of Homeland
Security! We need real professionals to monitor this radical group.
(See how I tied this all together? I even impressed myself with that
BD's (Biodynamicists) are touting biodynamics as the truest form of terroir.
(Again, this is not a terroir rant.) My concern now is what would happen
if these Biodynamicists turn out to be yet another radical fundamentalist
group? We all know what can happen. First, they will send out
sleeper cells into all the major wine-producing countries of the
world. Next, they will begin trying to impose their radical views on
the unsuspecting modern winemaker. You'll see biodynamic operatives sneaking
into the wine industry's most holy places (First Growth vineyards, Napa
Valley Bed-and-Breakfasts, WinoStuff headquarters, etc.) to impose their brand of
radical thought. (Come to think of it..., BigBob has
been spending a lot of time trying to brainwash WinoBob... Note
to self: Keep an eye on that BigBob guy...) Even more disconcerting, what would happen if one of
these BD-radicals was to release some of this BD500 cow-dung-horn stuff in
the NY subway system? The resulting pandemonium would be...
well... pandemonious! I don't know what that means but it can't
What does this all mean to
you, the simple, wine-loving, generally-sympathetic-about-the-environment
wino? Frankly, I don't have a clue. On the one hand, we hear
stories of legitimate wineries going "biodynamic". (Domaine
Leflaive, Maison Chapoutier, and Chateau La Tour Figeac in
France and Araujo Estate, Robert Sinskey and Benziger
in the US are among a long list of wineries that are BD). On the other
hand, we read articles such as the one that triggered this rant and we think
the whole wine world has gone nuts. I argue that you can make great
wine using modern, scientific techniques while still being mindful of the
environment. "Modern" and "scientific" don't
necessarily mean eco-damaging. There is a balance, people. There
is a balance!
I guess the bottom line is
that as long as winemakers are permitted to farm their land in whatever way
they see fit (without any intervention by some unqualified, gay political
appointee), as long as they produce good wine, as long as they put the
FRIGGIN' GRAPE VARIETAL ON THE LABEL, and as long as they don't mess with
the gravitational pull of the earth, they can pretty much do whatever they
want. It's up to you, the now well-informed wino, to make an educated
decision about what you drink. Do you want the best wine that science
(and centuries of enological study) can produce? Or do you want the
best wine that the mystic forces of the universe (combined with some pixie
dust and magic beans) can produce? It's your call. I'm sticking
you are contemplating this complex cosmic issue, I would suggest that you
relax, enjoy and, if you are so inclined, bury a cow horn full of dung in
you garden. (It might help with your tomatoes.) Oh, and drink
you are interested, you can read the entire Biodynamic article at Wine
Business Online by clicking
July 24, 2004
OK, OK, OK!!!
Enough already! I've been pressured/shamed/guilted into actually putting pen to paper and
updating this inane page. (I guess "pen to paper" is an outdated
term. I really just put "fingers to keyboard" and out popped
this diatribe.) Heck, even WinoWally posted an update earlier this
week. Between his ramblings and this mindless posting, you should have
plenty of useless info to scratch you WinoStuff itch. (To be honest,
Wally didn't actually write anything. He just tore a few
pages out of Donald Trump's diary and sent them in. That doesn't
really count as an update but it is entertaining.)
I was tempted to
post a diary-type entry a la Wally. Unfortunately, every day of my
life goes something like this...
Tuesday, July 20
5:30am - Get
out of bed
Drink pot of coffee
Exercise (a half dozen sit-ups and maybe a push-up or two, just to
maintain this lean, youthful physique)
Check email (This can take an hour or more. Every day, I
receive an unintelligible update from WinoBob, some sarcastic jab from
BigBob, a dozen miscellaneous wine news service updates, and a random
compliment or complaint from 'Stuff readers. On the bright side,
our new spam filter
now removes all Viagra/penis enlargement/porn solicitations.)
Translate and post the daily Bob update.
Clean up my act.
7:00pm - Bang my head against the wall at my dweeb day job.
Stop in to one of my local wine stores and pick out an inexpensive cab
and a couple of Chards for this evening's consumption. (Damn The
Wife for insisting that I spend my hard-earned Cab money on Chardonnay!)
8:30pm - Dine on whatever The Wife could whip up.
9:30pm - Pick up one or more of my offspring from
10:30pm - Finish off the inexpensive cab while waiting for kids to get
off my computer.
11:00pm - Clean up the red wine which spilled all over the couch when I
fell asleep while waiting for the computer (I always use WinoStuff's
Magical Red Wine Stain Removing Elixir®
to treat those tough stains!)
Back to bed, without having updated this goofy site...
That's my routine. That's my life. Pretty pathetic, don't you
think? I'm not traveling the world like the two Bobs or Wally.
Wally seems to slip in and out of championship sporting events like he's Roone Arledge.
He plays golf on courses that only allow CEO's and celebs. You have to
know a secret handshake to get past the gate. The last time I saw
Wally, I swear he mumbled something about getting in a round with "TW"
BigBob also travels around like he's some kind of rap
star. He has a whole entourage that travels with him on his little
"wine expeditions". I think he should rename himself some
cool rap name like Notorious B.I.G. Bob. WinoBob, who envies Notorious
B.I.G. Bob's wino-rapper lifestyle, would join the B.I.G. posse and become
something like P-Dantic B-Diddy BobDawg. These two hip-hop winos
would be free to travel the world, drinking Cristal with their home-boys and
bitches, flashing their bling-bling, while I'm left back here in the 'hood
trying to maintain this dopey web site. Damn! I'm starting to
depress myself again. Hold on while I open a bottle of red and a pack of
back. I feel a little better now...
get me wrong. I would love to travel the world. Really. I just
can't afford it. Remember, The Boy is ready to head off to that
prestigious, 500 friggin' dollars per night Ivy League school. In
addition, I still have two other kids that are draining my bank
account with gymnastics and soccer expenses. (You remember how
expensive soccer is, don't you? No? Check out my June 20, 2002
here...) All these expenses don't leave much in the checkbook for world
travel. Now, if The Wife was to contribute a little
some-some...??? Uh-oh, I better not go there...
I did take a couple of vacations this year. One was a little
"Anniversary Getaway" with The Wife, the only real getaway we have
taken in twenty years. The second was a family trip to The Outer Banks
in North Carolina. On this particular adventure, we shared a beach
house with The Wife's brother and his family. The Wife's brother is
some kind of world-renowned brain surgeon. And he's a
professional vacationer. Seriously, I am awed by his ability to
vacation. By the time the WinoJohn clan pulled in to the beach house
community, Dr. Vacation had already secured a spot on the beach, erected a
tent/cabana/canopy thing (slightly larger than the old Astrodome) and had
transported a 50-gallon cooler full of ice, beer, wine, soda, water, food,
and emergency supplies down to the beach. He had dug a hole in the
sand, 10 ft x 20 ft, which I believe was supposed to become the wine
cellar. I told him that I had only brought one case of wine and that
it fit rather nicely in the fridge back at the house... No
problem. He flooded the hole and it became an aquatic recreational
area and wildlife preserve. The good
doctor is not a wino, preferring micro-brews over the fruit of the
vine. That's OK. We still had a great time. The doc's
wife, my sis-in-law, has good "wino potential", however. She
seemed to enjoy every big red wine that I brought with us for the week's
vacation. Give me a month
with her and soon they will be adding a wine storage wing to their Pittsburgh
During the course of our week together,
Dr. Vacation expounded on his plans for next
year's vacation. As I recall, there were plans for a 150 yard long
power cord connecting to a beach refrigerator and a plasma TV in the cabana.
Maybe a satellite dish, I don't remember. I am
truly humbled to vacation in his presence.
enough about me and my lack of wealth. You didn't stop by this site
for a slide show on "What I Did On My Summer Vacation". (If
you did visit this site for my vacation update, you are more pathetic than
stopped by here because you wanted real thought-provoking, up-to-the-minute
wine news! (Or your search engine indexed the word "porn" in
my diary entry and you thought you would get lucky...) And so, let's
get back to wine...
I want to talk about the French and terroir. No, I don't mean Jacques
Chirac and his penchant for partying with terror-mongers. I'm talking
about terroir, the French word meaning "Your wine will never
be as good as ours because our wine comes from France". It's also the reason that the French don't list
what grape varietal(s) are in the bottle. They only mention the place
that the grapes were grown, the terroir. The French
believe that if they only list the place that the wine is made, foreign wine
companies will never be able to make the same wine. (I guess Ernie and
Julio Gallo proved that theory wrong with their once-popular Hearty
Burgundy.) I believe (and I may be going out on a limb here), I
believe that terroir is the reason that the once-dominant French wine
industry has fallen behind rogue upstarts like Australia and the United
States. (It could also be that terroir sometimes tastes like
shit...) Let's take a closer look...
you search around the Internet, you may stumble upon two
other (less) popular wine-related web sites that give their own definitions of
world famous wine guy and honorary wino, Robin Garr (www.wineloverspage.com),
we get the following definitions:
Terroir - (Tehr-wahr)
"soil" in French, a term widely used by wine hobbyists
(sometimes as gout de terroir) in reference to the flavors and aromas that
soil and geography impart to a wine.
Technical French term describing the characteristic aromas and flavors of
wine from grapes grown in a particular vineyard or region, incorporating
the contributions of both soil and climate to the wine's unique style or
and King of the Spectators, Marvin L. Shanken (www.winespectator.com),
gives us this definition:
Terroir: The over
all environment within which a given varietal grows. Derived from the
French word for Earth, "Terre."
whole 'terroir' thing is more than just some alcohol-induced Frog wine
philosophy. It's Frog law. About 70 years ago,
just before the French surrendered to the Germans (again), they set up a
system to control the quality of their wines. They created a plan
called the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) which was intended to
protect both the French winemakers and the wine drinking public from the fraudulent
wine-blending practices of the shady French wine broker consortium.
French AOC regulations defined specific grape growing geographic regions and
imposed strict guidelines which limit the allowable grape varietals, growing
techniques, crop yield, alcohol content, and other winemaking
practices. I guess they figured that with this system, if you go
anywhere in the world and order a bottle of Burgundy (for example), you'll
know that you will get a thin, light girlie wine. (Whoa! Calm
down, B.I.G. Bob...) What you won't know is that you are getting Pinot
Noir. My point is, why the hell don't they just tell you that you are
getting PINOT NOIR??? I'd be much more inclined to buy Bordeaux if I
knew whether it was primarily Cabernet or primarily Merlot! Hell, I
don't even know what Languedoc is but I'm pretty sure that I don't want to
don't get me wrong. The French make some pretty fantastic wines.
I love white Burgundy. But white Burgundy is Chardonnay, people, it's
CHARDONNAY!!! It's probably the best CHARDONNAY in the world but it's
still CHARDONNAY!!! I would like to see CHARDONNAY on the label. I like CHARDONNAY
from the Russian River Valley. I like CHARDONNAY from Carneros.
I like CHARDONNAY from Australia. I also like to know where my
CHARDONNAY comes from!! Conversely, if I pick up a bottle of wine from
Napa Valley, I like to know what's in the bottle! I don't want to be
surprised!!! Mostly, I don't want PINOT NOIR!!!
this. You're in a nice restaurant. You are trying to impress
your date. You call over the sommelier...
me, my good man. The lady and I are having the mozzarella and tomato
appetizer with extra virgin and balsamic. For our entrees, we are having
the lamb chops in a red wine reduction. What wine would you
monsieur, an excellent question. May I suggest a nice Bayonne or
perhaps a vintage Hoboken?"
I would RUN out
of that restaurant and yet, we put up with that same treatment from the
my friends, THIS is why French wine sales are falling behind Australia, the
US, and Italy. (Well, Italy has similar, obtuse appellation control
and labeling regulations called DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e
Garantita) but at least Italian wineries can grow other grapes if they
want. They just can't call a wine by its DOCG designation if it
doesn't comply with all the rules.
second third most famous wine guy named Bob,
Robert Parker, has spoken out on the subject. At the recent VinExpo
Americas in Chicago, Robert Parker said, "For the average consumer, the
Appellation d'Origine Controllee doesn't mean a thing. At the
supermarket level, American consumers buy by grape varietals." "To
truly compete with US and the mass market, French wines should be clearly
marked according to the strain of grape they were made from - Pinot Noir,
Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon..." No shit, Bob. I've been
saying this same thing for years. But who listens to me???
now, there seems to be a crack in the French AOC veneer. Recent
articles in many wine-related publications describe the fight within
France's wine cognoscenti. The business side of the argument wants to
allow varietal labeling and innovative winemaking techniques. The
arrogant side of the aisle argues that France has the greatest terroir in
the world and damn those Yankee bastards! I say "drink what you
like but know what you're drinking". But who listens to me?
more articles on the subject of the changing attitudes in Frogville, check
out these articles...
On a final note,
I have a confession to make. Recently, I tasted (and enjoyed) the
ultimate chick wine. This wine was thick and syrupy and sickeningly
sweet. And yet, it was an amazing wine, like none I have ever tried
before. The wine was the 2002 Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine Oak Aged.
Wow, was this good. There was fruit and sugar and nectar and honey and all
kinds of other chick flavors. I think I am now fully in touch with my
feminine side. In fact, I may be gay, I'm not sure. This wine
was spectacular. If you can find it, try it. Just don't let your
friends see you.
WinoJohn (right) enjoys a nice Ice Wine with his new 'friend'...
I think that's just about enough for this installment of What's New!!!
Stay tuned for more breaking wine news (if you can stomach it!)
You know, I
finally figured out why this page gets updated so infrequently. It suddenly
became clear to me that I have
too damn many kids! (And, of course, that's my wife's fault.) If
I'm not hauling kids to soccer, or to gymnastics, or to school events, or to
etc., I'm waiting for them to finish their homework so that I can get onto my
computer! And if they are not doing homework on my computer, they
are Instant Messaging each other. My kids can "do their
homework" while having 17 IM windows open
simultaneously. Every time a new message comes through, there is this
annoying sound effect to alert the kid. Whenever one of their
"Buddies" comes (or leaves) the on-line community, there is a
door-opening (or closing) sound. All that IM noise gives me a
If I even
suggest that my darling child should allow me a few minutes on MY computer,
I get a response like, "Dad! I'm doing my homework! Do you
want me to flunk? Is that what you want? Do you want me to
flunk???" Then a new window will pop up, some kind of electronic
sound chirps out, and my kid will start flailing away on the keyboard.
If you have ever watched kids IM each other, they communicate in some kind of secret,
kids-only IM language which seems to be all
acronyms. For example "G2G" means "got to
go". LOL means "laughing out loud" (although I rarely
hear any actual laughing). And LYLAS means "love you like a
sister". I'm not sure but I think GTGBMIFW2UCA means "gotta
go because my idiot father wants to use the computer
again!"... I get no respect.
So, you see,
once again, IT'S NOT MY FAULT!!! Given the rather extended nature of
my most recent hiatus, WinoBob has been firing little barbs over at
me. "Why don't you change the name of your page to anything other
than 'What's New'?" "Why don't you just change the
date to something from this calendar year?" "Why don't you
spend less time drinking and more time updating your page?" To
make things even worse, BigBob recently jumped on the "Rag on WinoJohn"
bandwagon. He sent me an email asking for some technical
assistance. He reported that his browser must be malfunctioning because he keeps hitting
the REFRESH button and the What's New page never updates. Very funny.
Everyone's a comedian. Remember, BigBob, nobody likes a smart-ass wine importer. Even if his wife looks like
world famous wine-babe, Andrea Immer. (That's a whole different
The abuse from
my wineloving "friends" was getting
to the point that I was ready to declare a boycott against all things
"Bob". Just imagine what it would be like to be Bob-free... No
WinoBob. No BigBob. No shishkabob.
That's right, no shishkabob! It might be difficult, but drastic
situations require drastic action. Oh, there's
more... No bobsledding, no bobcats, no fishing with
bobbers. I was prepared to draw a line in the sand and make a
point. No more thingamabobs. That's right, you heard me, no thingamabobs.
That would be serious. Thank God, it didn't come to that. WinoBob
pre-empted my Boycott of All Things Bob with a boycott of public
television. It may not be as exciting as a Bob Boycott but at least it
scratches my boycott itch. We'll see how it goes...
Let's see, where
did we last leave off? Wow. March 6 was the last What's New
update. Maybe the Bobs were right. I'll never admit that to
them, however. Let me bring you up to speed...
Clan spent a very nice Easter weekend at the palatial Wally Estate down in
Baltimore, MD. Wally and I got in a round of golf on Saturday at the
beautiful Baltimore CC. If you have never played BCC, you definitely
need to play with someone with "local knowledge". There are
a few holes that lie in some kind of gravitational warp. You only
realize this after you line up what appears to be a short, straight putt and
the ball ends up breaking uphill and rolls 15 feet past the
cup. Seriously! It happens at BCC! And I wasn't even drinking before the match! (OK, I
drinking before the match but not enough to misread gravity...)
After the golf,
back at the luxurious Wally compound, we enjoyed a few bottles of red before and with
dinner. The wines included:
Vintner's Reserve California Zinfandel - Like many other wines from the 2001 vintage,
this was a very nice little quaffer. Good value, too.
Napa Cabernet - Corked - Damn, I'm an avowed Mondavi Napa fan.
Phelps Innisfree Cabernet - I had never heard of this wine before. Wally
explained that Phelps produces this wine only in exceptional
vintages. Easy drinking with ample fruit. I'd give it a few
1994 BV Georges
de Latour Cabernet - Oh yeah. This George is drinking well. If
you got 'm, smoke 'em.
probably more wines but that was months ago and my memory isn't what it
used to be...
celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary back in April. Yes, 15 of the
best years of my life... (I'll pay for that!) The
Wife and I ran off to The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas to celebrate the monumental
accomplishment. Knowing very little about this resort, I had no real
expectations beyond those you might expect with a $500 PER NIGHT
ROOM!!! 500 friggin' dollars a night! Ouch!!! I think that
for $500 per night, I had a right to expect..., well, a lot! Now, don't
get me wrong, it's a beautiful resort. Impeccable service, delicious
food, spectacular vistas. But I do have a few... uhhh... gripes.
1) This resort was
full of kids. Not that I don't like kids, I do. Mine, mostly. Not
everyone else's. And when I'm flying off to the islands to get away
from the kids that I do like, I don't want to hang out with a bunch of kids
that I don't like. But that's just me. The pool area had
a designated "Stroller Parking" area and there was an overflow
2) The bar by
the pool doesn't open until 11 am. What's up with that??? Envision
this: I'm a sun worshipper (albeit a pasty white one) and I'm down at the
pool by 8 am. By 9, I'm looking for a cold beer or, better yet, a
nice piña colada! (I remind you that I was on vacation and that
there are important vitamins and nutrients in a good piña colada.)
I flag down one of the many poolside service attendants and order a
drink. It's fairly easy to flag down a poolside attendant because of
the impeccable service (and because I am the only pasty white body at the
pool at 9 am). The attendant informs me (in some kind of island
English variant) that " 'da bar don't open 'til eleben, mon."
Huh? I'm spending 500 friggin' bucks a night and I can't get a lousy
piña colada for 2 more hours???? Ooooh, that just bothers me...
3) The bar by
the pool closes at 6 pm. Now, that's just wrong. By 6 pm, I'm
pretty toasted (sunburned, not intoxicated) and I need something to put
out the fire. But, Nooooo. "Da management wants you in 'da
casino, mon". As if my 500 friggin' bucks a night isn't
enough. Now, in order to get another drink, I have to go to the
4) After a
successful day worshipping the sun and a semi-successful day feeding my
alcohol jones, I was looking forward to a nice dinner. I had heard
that there were many fine restaurants in the Atlantis complex and that the
food was delicious. That may be the case but many people will never
know. Every night, half of the restaurants were closed!
CLOSED!!! As in NOT OPEN!!! As a result, the restaurants that
were open, were packed! With families, with screaming kids, with
parents who couldn't get a drink by the pool after 6!!! For 500
friggin' bucks... blah, blah, blah... you know the routine.
5) If you did
manage to get a seat in one of the better restaurants, the food really was
wonderful. The wine list, however, was another story. (I know,
you were wondering what all of this had to do with wine. Here it
is...) While there were some impressive bottles on the very short
list, the prices were just stupid. I mean REALLY stupid. As I
perused the list, I got very annoyed. Take, for example, the Opus
One. 2000 vintage, $535 bucks. OK, I don't buy $535 bottles of
wine and I wasn't planning to while on this vacation. I just want to
point out that this wine was on the list at ~ 4X the retail price.
Shocking, but not stupid. On the other hand, the Mondavi Napa Cab,
which I can buy at retail for less than $20, was listed at $150.
$150 friggin' bucks for a $20 wine. Now, that's stupid. I
opted for a Ruffino Chianti Riserva for $68 (it was an Italian restaurant)
but I was too perturbed to enjoy it.
I don't mean to
make it sound all bad. There is an 800 gazillion gallon aquarium with
millions of huge tropical fish, sharks, rays, eels, and other cool
stuff. I strolled through the aquarium complex three or four times
during our stay. Really impressive. On several occasions, I imagined
throwing one of the whiney little kids into the tank just to watch the
feeding frenzy... Now that would be worth 500 friggin' bucks a night!
While we were at
the Atlantis, the resort celebrated their 10th anniversary. The owner
of the resort threw a big party for a bunch of his friends and dignitaries
and announced the start of another phase of construction. Apparently,
they are building another tower (or towers) with like 1500 more rooms.
(Let's see... 1500 x 500 friggin' dollars x 365 days per year...
Wow!) The party was only open to invited guests, not the bourgeois
that was paying 500 friggin' bucks per night. There was a very
impressive fireworks show that evening. I attempted to convince The
Wife that I had actually arranged for the fireworks in celebration of our
twentieth anniversary. She didn't buy any of it. I must be
losing my touch...
So, all said, we
had a wonderful, relaxing anniversary vacation. I drank my weight in
piña coladas everyday between 11am and 6 pm. My pasty-white body is now
slightly off-white, which is nice. And, for 5 days, I didn't even
think about my dweeb day job. Most importantly, The Wife and I got to
escape the daily routine of tending to the kids' every need (which, you will
recall, is the reason that I can't get anything written for this dopey site)
and spend some quality time together. That alone was worth 500 friggin' bucks a
Now, we (mostly
the Wife) are hard at work preparing to celebrate The Boy's graduation from
high school. I imagine we will spend every remaining cent we have on the gala
picnic in honor of his many accomplishments. The Boy is graduating as
the Valedictorian of his class and will be attending a very prestigious, Ivy
League school next near. We are obviously very proud of him. Coincidentally, his tuition, room, and board
at the prestigious Ivy league school will cost me approximately 500 friggin' bucks a night.
On the bright side, I'm sure the
bar at college stays open past 6 pm.
One last point,
back in March, I suggested that the 2001 Ravenswood California Cab should be
on your "Must Buy" list. Subsequently, I opened that same
bottle with unusual results. The bottle was kind of... "off". It wasn't corked. It wasn't cooked.
Having personally consumed over 1.21 giga-bottles of wine, I know 'cooked' and
'corked'. No, this bottle was just "off". Really tart,
very nearly undrinkable. I will have to do more research into the
tart, off-bottle phenomenon.
So there you
have it. Check back in a few
months to get more up-to-the-minute wine news. In the mean time, RE
and DMW! (Ask your kids what that means.)
I'm going to
change WinoBob's name to "WhinoBob". All I ever hear is,
"When are you going to update What's New?" or "When are you
going to name a new Winery of the Month" or "When are you going to
review some wines?" Meanwhile, he is off partying it up at
the Superbowl, or partying it up in Hollywood, or partying it up with wine
industry giants. Every day, he sends me little email updates to remind
me how much more exciting his life is than mine. (And don't think I
didn't notice that new little Jaguar that you were driving, WhinoBoy...)
I'm still here at the keyboard, posting his incoherent ramblings and
doctoring up photos... uhhhhh... I mean... cleaning up
photos... you know, to post them.
entry into the "My Life is Better Than WinoJohn's" contest comes
from my pal WinoLarry. WinoLarry is a big time wine retailer who
travels the world to visit wineries, taste the new releases, and generally
hob-nob with the wine gentry. Larry recently sent me an email telling
of his trip to the Superbowl where he was forced to endure the
social stigma of third row seats. His picture appeared in
Sports Illustrated and he got to hang out with all kinds of
celebrities. (By contrast, I didn't even get third row seats in my own
house for the Superbowl and I only got to hang out with my riff-raff friends
that had nowhere else to go that day.) Larry also recounted a recent
industry dinner that he attended. Among other wines, he was treated to
all five first growths from the 1982 vintage... Among other
wines? (I, on the other hand, recently enjoyed five Bud
Lights with a born-on date from the 1982 bottling... Mmmmm!) At
this moment, Larry is out on the west coast, tasting the latest California
Cabernets. Damn! At least WinoWally hasn't checked in recently
to rub more salt into the wound. Wally always has stories of
diplomatic dinners, travels to far-away places, front row NCAA
tickets... I don't think I can take much more...
What else is
new? Well, we were recently honored by one of the most popular
women-oriented web sites on the internet. Yes, the wine brains over at
were able to overlook our political incorrectness, our sometimes
could-be-construed-as-sexist ramblings, and our sophomoric guy-humor, not to
mention the disgusting imagery of WinoBob in a thong, to recognize our
efforts in delivering the latest in wine news, reviews and humor.
(Ordinarily, I would take this opportunity to post the picture of Bob in his
WinoStuff thong but, in this post-Janet era of decency and morality, I have
chosen to take the high road. ... Who am I kidding? click
here to view the ThongBoy...)
That is disgusting... I'm sure BellaOnline is already
regretting their decision and we are only 6 days into the month!
So you want some
real wine news, do ya? Ok, check this out...
The Wine Spectator reports
that a rogue division of the aluminum company, Alcoa, has invented a re-sealable
glass closure that they are calling Vino-Lok. Basically,
it's glass stopper or plug with some kind of plastic sealing surface and is
designed to provide an airtight seal. Because there is no tree bark
involved, there is no risk of TCA or "cork taint". There are
several wineries in Germany that are testing the Vino-Lok on on their better
wines. One of those wineries, Weingut P.J. Valckenberg, has used the
new stopper on 2,800 bottles of it's 2003 Riesling Spätlese Trocken
Rheinhessen Wormser Liebfrauenstift- Kirchenstück. (I can just
imagine the press release on that bottling... "Git
yer 2003 Riesling Spätlese Trocken Rheinhessen Wormser
Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück mit dem Weino-Löchen thingen...")
The closure requires a specially designed bottle so it may be a few years
before your favorite wine is available with a Vino-Lok system.
While this application of
technology to solve an enormous industry-wide problem is admirable, it does
raise several important questions. For example:
Why is an aluminum
company monkeying around with glass to solve a cork
problem? Who do they think they are, Arbor Mist?
Why is a product that has
been developed by the ALuminum COmpany
of America, being tested in Germany?
the best they could come up with? Vino-Lok? How about
something a little more colorful like WinoStuff's Miracle Red Wine
Taint Eliminating Stopper? or, Glork©?
(let's just see how much better the name "Glork©"
sounds when used in describing this product...)
What happens if you sit
down to a nice dinner with your girlfriend and you can't get the Glork©
out? (Yes, I think "Glork©" has a certain je ne sais quoi!)
And most importantly, why
was WinoStuff not consulted on this very high profile project?
Hey, Alcoa, have you not read our many critically-acclaimed articles on
cork and taint? Don't you know that we are not just winos, we are
techno-geeks? Do you realize that we are BellaOnline's Wine Site
of the Month???
Again, no respect...
Hey, here's a few more 2001
California Cabs to add to your "must buy" list...
Pine Ridge Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon - Mmmmm... Smooth, ripe,
Ravenswood California Cabernet Sauvignon - for like $9 US, you can't
Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Consistently one of
the best Cal Cabs on the market. (Joseph Phelps' CEO, Tom Shelton,
tried to blacklist us after the WinoBob fiasco, but Bottle King came
through for me!!!)
So now, you can go back about
your business. Pick up a few Cal Cabs before I single-handedly deplete
the entire US inventory. Oh, and Alcoa, I'll be expecting the royalty
checks for the use of Glork©.
needs to be changed to “Where the Hell is
Many of you,
WinoBob included, believe that I am not holding up my end of the bargain
when I let months lapse between What’s New!!! updates. Once again, I have to blame… The Wife. And the Kids. And
the Job. And this time, Wino
Friggin’ Bob!!! Yeah,
that’s right, WinoBob. Here’s
my last update, way back in November, I came down with some kind of
bronchial/nasal/sinus funk. With SARS-like complications.
The anti-biotic which my doctor prescribed just made the funk mad.
The bug moved into my gastrointestinal/colorectal subsystem and
forced open ‘the colonic valve’, if you know what I mean…
It wasn’t pretty. My
crack team of managed health care physicians informed me that they could not
give me another anti-biotic until the valve closed, so to speak.
They assured me that I should return to normal, in terms of digestive
function, in… oh… two or three weeks.
Two or three WEEKS!!! Two
or three weeks of racing to the nearest men’s room every twenty or thirty
minutes. Do the math.
Talk about your callused sphincter!
this have to do with WinoBob? Nothing
really, except that my only pleasure during those painful (and disgusting)
three weeks was knowing that WinoBob was having a really bizarre computer
problem that was preventing him from opening an Internet browser.
He asked me for some help and I gave him a few suggestions but to no
avail. He subsequently spent
like $2700 in software upgrades to try to get his system running.
Man, that still cracks me up!!!
So, how did
WinoBob’s misfortune affect my ability to update this silly page?
Well, after my funk subsided, I joined WinoBob and the lovely Mrs.
Bob for the annual WinoStuff Holiday Party.
We had a wonderful meal and toasted the New Grape Year with a little
Sauvignon Blanc. It was truly
an enjoyable evening. Until I
got home. When I returned to the humble WinoJohn abode and fired up the
screamin’ AMD 850, I quickly discovered that I could not open Internet
Explorer. I was aghast.
Wino Friggin’ Bob gave me a virus.
I don’t know how he did it, but he infected my computer.
So there I
was, having heckled and chastized Bob for his obvious lack of technical
skills, and now I had the same problem.
I tried everything. Anti-virus
programs, trojan horse removers, etc. I
went into the registry and removed everything that looked suspect.
I went back to an old version of Internet Explorer.
I upgraded to a newer version of Internet Explorer.
Nothing worked. Shit.
I couldn’t tell Bob. I
wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I
eventually had to upgrade my entire Operating System.
Nothing else worked. I
felt so… so… Bob-like. But
THAT’S why I have been negligent in my duties to this site.
One reason anyway. (Two,
if you count my funk, but who’s counting?)
You see, it WAS Bob’s fault.
care. He's in Houston right now, getting ready to go to the
SUPERBOWL!!! That double bastard!)
“What’s New?”, you ask. Damn,
a whole lot has happened in the last two months.
Where do I begin?
something… Our old pal, Brian
Badlowski left the Hackettstown A&P Warehouse Liquors for the greener
grass of the Ledgewood A&P Warehouse Liquors.
You remember Brian. I
wrote about him very early on in WinoStuff’s evolution.
For a quick review of that blurb, click here…
Brian has transformed the Ledgewood store into a wino’s
destination. What once was a
mish-mash of wines standing upright and scattered throughout the store is
now well stocked, well organized and properly racked.
Brian seems to be doing all the right things.
If you are in the area, stop in and see him.
The store is in the shopping center on the corner of Route 46 and
been a few celebrities in the wine news recently.
Michael Jackson, or as we like to call him, WinoWhacko, made the wine
headlines this week. Apparently,
the Whacko is a bit of a wino. News
reports reveal that Michael likes to drink wine.
Out of a Coke can. OK,
he wants to be discreet. I can
understand that. News reports
also tell of Michael’s code words for wine.
When he wants white wine, he tells his aides to bring him some
“Jesus juice”. When he
wants some red wine, he requests “Jesus blood”.
(When he wants a little boy, he asks for … never mind…)
The allegations came to light when Whacko was accused of giving Jesus juice
to little boys, a no-no in most states. I’m sorry, the dude is out there!!!
is not the only wine lover to have made the headlines.
Check out these mug shots of other celebrities who had a little too much to
Originator of "Jesus Juice"
...with that shirt, I'm guessing Sangria!
The Godfather of Soul
or the Godson of Mogen David?
flashes his Happy Face
Or should we say "Wino-na"?
One of 147 mug shots on file
with the Essex County PD
me started with the whole Hollywood bashing thing...
that should excite all of the wino faithful…
the 2001 Cali Cabs are coming!!!
Yes, wine fans, the 2001 California Cabernets are starting to hit the
shelves. A fantastic vintage
coming on the heels of a wine glut! This
is wino euphoria! I’m
clearing space in the cellar right now.
Here are a
few of the 2001’s that I have tasted in the past few weeks.
All of these exhibit generous amounts of fruit and can be had for $20
or less (after discount):
Estancia Paso Robles –
Proprietor Grown - $12.99
?? Smooth, integrated
tannins, moderate fruit, drinking well now.
If you are
a Cali Cab fan (and who isn’t?), do yourself a favor and start stocking
up. The quality should rival
’97 but the yield was much lower.
for now. I’ll be watching the
Superbowl tomorrow, as will many of you.
If you see a scuffle in the stands and watch as the code red Security
detail drags out a drunken
stick figure, that will have been WinoBob.
Maybe I should just ask for donations now for the Bail Out WinoBob
Fund. Those Houston Police can
be tough on drunken Yankees.
New!!! Well, today is Thanksgiving! Not that Thanksgiving
is new. No, Thanksgiving has been around for hundreds of years.
You remember, the Pilgrims were all grateful to the Almighty for helping
them to escape religious persecution back in England and for helping them to
survive during that difficult first year in the new land. So they all
got together after the first harvest season, they went over to one of those
Indian reservations and did a little gambling. Naturally, they lost
all their hard-earned money so they went down to the local soup kitchen for
a free meal. As everyone knows, all soup kitchens serve turkey on
Thanksgiving, so the Pilgrims enjoyed a nice turkey dinner. And that's
how the tradition began! Or so I'm told...
One other tidbit
that's new... If you live on the planet Earth, you have probably
received 50,000 emails with links and information on how to download the
ubiquitous Paris Hilton sex video. Well it has recently come to
my attention that another shocking new video tape is now being circulated on
the internet. This time, however, the unwitting victim involved in the
video is none-other than our own WinoBob. I have managed to download a
copy of the video and it is now available here at WinoStuff without all
those annoying pop-up messages displaying naked women and asking for your
credit card number. WARNING, the video contains graphic violence
and may not be suitable for children and sober adults. To see the
shocking video of the WinoBob "Champagne Saber Incident", click
Where did that video come from? How much did someone get paid to
smuggle it out of the top-secret WinoStuff test labs? Who is the
untrustworthy culprit? I'm sure WinoWally has a crack team of covert
agents investigating as we speak. However, we may never know the
answers to these and many other questions. I'm sure that I, WinoJohn,
am among the many suspects...
So, what wine
are we all serving with our bird this evening? The WinoJohn family is
starting with a little 2003
George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau with some appetizers (steamed shrimp,
veggies and dip, and the usual variety of cheeses). Coincidentally,
this is the very same wine that WinoBob described in one of his recent Winings.
I have found Duboeuf's Nouveau to be a consistent crowd pleaser at this time
of year. After the Nouveau, it's up in the air. I may just let
my brother, WinoDave, wander down to the cellar and pick out a couple of his
favorites. Then again, maybe I haven't really lost my mind!
I'll probably just play it by ear, making the big decision at the last
minute after judging the tastes of the invited guests. OK, who am I
fooling? I'll pull out some kind of a big Cali Cab. Who cares
what everyone else wants? I want a big Cab! It's my house, damn
it, and I want a big friggin' Cab! So there!
that. I get a little testy during the holidays, especially when the
Wife has me doing all these chores "in preparation for MY
family"!!! You know the routine...
thanks for all that the Lord has given you. Give thanks that WinoBob
is healing nicely from the incident. Give thanks for all the 'Stuff in
your life. Relax, enjoy your bird, and drink more wine!
What's New, What's New...?
First and foremost, my middle daughter turned 13 yesterday. Wow.
Thirteen! I'm feeling old. If you are reading this, Kristen,
Happy B-Day! Wait a minute... If you are reading this, TURN OFF
THE COMPUTER AND FINISH YOUR HOMEWORK!!! This whole parenting thing is
really interfering with my internet celebrity!
didn't click over here to read about my family situation. You want
wine info! You want to find out what is going on in the WINE
world! Well, here it is...
WinoWally, heeding a call greater than that of "Governor of
California", withdrew from the election and threw his support and
enormous following behind Arnold. We all know how that turned
out! (Wally, I want a seat near Maria at the Inauguration!)
Wally then selflessly went out and took on the task of international detente.
And the result has been nothing less than the warming of Franco-American
relations. The French have softened their stance on America's
involvement in Iraq and now seem more willing to work, through the UN, to
help rebuild the region. Wally, as usual, remains behind the scenes,
secure in the knowledge that his efforts are resulting in a better world for
his children. These are the makings of a Nobel Peace Prize winner...
I know what you
are thinking. You're thinking, "So, Wino John, so what?
That's great. Wally is a friggin' diplomatic genius. What's that
got to do with wine?" Well, I'll tell you. This is what it
has to do with wine...
declares THE BOYCOTT OF FRANCE IS
Yes, the boycott
of France is over. Kaput. Nyet. Done. Finis.
That's it. No mas. Fuhgetaboutit. At least for now...
At an emergency
meeting of the management of WinoStuff, the decision was made to
lift the boycott. By the narrowest of margins, all of WinoStuff's key
management groups (the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, The
Compensation Committee, The Committee on Foreign Relations, and The
EuroAmerican Subcommittee on Global Diplomatic Policy) voted to lift the
boycott on French wine. (The group emphatically supports the
continuation of the boycott of Hollywood. Actors really are idiots!)
WinoBob thinks he lifted the French boycott last week but he certainly does not have
that level of authority.
WinoBob, in an
impassioned speech to the shareholders, cited "the enormous strides
that have been made in French/American relations." He reminded us
of "the plight of the small grape grower", "the politics of
global intervention", and "the quality of the 2000 Bordeaux
harvest". He wept as he reminded us that he has not "tasted
the Rhone" in 8 months!!! He seemed almost sincere when he cried,
"and what about the WOMEN??? The WOMEN, for God's sake!
What about ze French WOMEN??? We can't forget about ze hot French
WOMEN !!! "
As usual, we
attributed Bob's rant to the excesses of alcohol and Oxycontin and, as
usual, we ignored him. Bob, for some reason, insisted that we wait a
few days before making this announcement. On a related note, wine
stores in the Caldwell and Essex Fells areas of North Jersey are reporting a
run on Rhone wines...
When the news of
the end of the boycott was revealed, we contacted our close friend and noted
French wine importer, Bob Ferdon of Dreyfus, Ashby, and Co. for
comment. Bob had this to say, "If you guys don't leave me alone,
I swear to God I'm calling the police..." Bob obviously had
us confused with some other web site idiots.
So what does
this mean to you, the average wino on the street? Well, if you are
like WinoBob, it means a return to your roots, an opportunity to reacquaint
yourself with an old love, a pleasant stroll down memory lane...
(Actually, if you are like WinoBob, it probably means another trip to the
"Liver Transplant Ward" at Mountainside Hospital.) For the
rest of us, it means that we can go back to the wine store and pick up
something French. (I got slapped the last time I tried to pick up
something French!) Try one of those 2000 Bordeaux, pick up a 1998 or
2000 Rhone. Hell, go white if you want! White Burgundy!
Yeah, Baby, WHITE BURGUNDY!!! Bring on the WHITE BURGUNDY!!!!!
that. I get a little carried away when I think of the great French whites...
So, let's take
this thing slowly. Let's not go crazy. We'll see how this
'warming of relations' evolves. Here's your assignment: Go out
and pick up a nice Rhone or maybe a cab-based Bordeaux. If you are new
to wine, you may want to visit the right bank and get a Merlot from St.
Emilion or Pomerol. If you are a chick or if you are gay (not that
there's anything wrong with that!), pick up a red Burgundy. Give it a
taste. See what you have been missing. It's OK to open up a
little, to try new things. Now, don't forget about your friends from
Australia, Italy, Chile and South Africa. They were there for you when
the French turned their backs. But, for now, it's OK to visit with
your old friends.
I been out of it, or what? Where the hell have I been? Where the
hell has Wally been? The only one who has been keeping this site alive
is WinoBob! Or at least that's what he would have you believe.
You forget who edits and posts his mindless discourse...
So what have we
been up to this summer? Lots! Where do I begin?
finished his role as Special Economic and Political Advisor on Mid-East Policies
for the Rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan. He will next tackle that
whole Korean situation which apparently is spinning out of control. It
should take him but a few weeks to resolve that world crisis. At that
point, he will announce his candidacy for the governor of California at
which time he'll hit the campaign trail. I'm sure the 'campaign trail'
will take him through Napa and Sonoma right at harvest time. Wally
really knows how to work the system.
WinoBob has been
checking in regularly. If you have been following his saga, he's
preparing to get into the film business and he's dragging me along with him.
Apparently, some kind folks
at Fulton Street Films have befriended the lonely stick figure. In a move
that would make Charles Manson proud, Bob somehow seems to have taken control of
their minds. They are completely under his evil power. You read
recently that Winette Tia and Wino Rocker spent half the night in Bob's
mind-altering 'Wine Room', no doubt chanting his mantra and drinking his
'special tea'. I was lucky to get out before the subliminal
mind-control activities began. We'll have to see where this whole
drama leads us...
To Bob's credit,
he has been prodding me to update the Breaking News! column. I
keep telling him to write up some news event and I'll post
it. Here is an actual email that he sent me with his Breaking News! contribution...
new to report? Did you see spectator this month, the bald wall
street guy is promoting syrah as the next big grape...
it. That's the whole story. Now, that's some breaking
news!!! You can see why we are on the cutting edge of wine news
reporting... Those darn Pulitzer people just won't leave us alone.
What have I been
up to since June 10, the date of my last update? To be honest, I have
been unable to update this page. For one thing, I was
kidnapped by a band of French midgets back in June. If you know
anything about midgets, especially French midgets, you know that they are
nasty little buggers. They were upset
about our staunch anti-France position and they decided to take matters into
their own tiny little hands. They gave me two choices; either a) end the
boycott or, b) spend the entire summer working my dweeb butt off.
Well, as you can imagine, my dweeb butt is much smaller now,
thank you very much. I have not seen any sign of intelligence coming
out of France so the boycott continues. I'm sure we haven't seen the
last of those little Frogs. Unlike full grown Frenchmen, French
midgets don't give up!
My dweeb day job
took me to California three times in the past 5 weeks. During that
time, I also spent a week at the beach with the WinoWally clan.
Security is obviously very tight when you are in the presence of the
Ambassador, so you can imagine why I haven't posted anything in awhile.
That's my story. Period. Leave me alone.
The highlight of
my most recent California excursion was another visit with WinoHondo and The
Rev. You hardcore winos will recall last year's entry entitled "John
and Dave’s Excellent Adventure"
in which I got to pick some grapes with Hondo and the Rev. (If
you missed it, click
here.) Anyway, I hooked up with Hondo for an evening of
wine, food and poker. What a pleasant evening. We enjoyed some
of The Rev's famous 'Sausage on the Grill with Extra Crispy Buns'
along with a wonderful assortment of wine from WinoHondo's cellar which, for
some unexplained reason, is located at The Rev's house... In addition
to The Rev, the guest list included Hondo, myself, Eddie the Winemaker, and
two of The Rev's business associates. Beautiful weather, good food,
good wine and some kind of chocolate cake/pie thing for dessert. Damn,
I could retire and hang out there permanently...
entertainment for the evening was provided by The Rev's kids, NumbNuts and
his sister. (Rather than reveal her real name, we'll just call her
NumbTwat.) The interaction of these two kids with their father boggles
one's mind. It's like a California-yuppie version of 'The Osbournes'.
The Rev introduced Hondo and I to his lovely daughter by saying, "You
know these two F***wads." For the rest of the evening, she
referred to us as "F***wad" and "the Other F***wad".
Very nice. The Rev's wife, "The War Department", had the
good sense to stay in the house for most of the evening.
most generous in providing the wine for the evening. The list of wines
My head hurts
just looking at that list. The Fieldstone was excellent. I've
been buying the 1999 Fieldstone recently and this was my first taste of
another vintage. The '92 Terra Nova was a blast from the past.
We used to buy this little bargain for like $7 back in the mid-90's.
The Plumpjack, the Pezzi, and the Chimney Rock Cab were all drinking very
well also. In fact, there wasn't a bad bottle in the bunch although
Sterling Mourvedre was all fruit and no structure.
I guess that's what you
would expect from a Mourvedre. The 2002 Ferrera/Hondo Cab is still in
the barrel and should remain there for another 6 months. I didn't get a
taste of the Chimney Rock Fume Blanc, it being white and all
Rev was kind enough to document the evening's damage with a photograph.
If the picture
looks a little blurry, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the Rev's
condition at the time the photo was taken. It was probably just
"windy". Or perhaps it was one of those pesky little
earthquakes that they get out there periodically. That cash in the
poker chip holder is the money that The Rev took from me by drawing to an
inside straight. The bastard...
So there ya have
it. How I Spent My Summer Vacation. If my kids were to submit
this to their respective teachers as the new school year begins, I would be
dragged in front of the school board. Let's hope that doesn't
thanks for a wonderful evening.
June 10, 2003
new? Don't ask. Once again, it's been too long since I updated
this page. But this time, see, this time I have a good
excuse! A few weeks ago, I got rear-ended on Route 80. And I
don't mean in a good way! (Hmmm... what did I mean by that...?)
There I am, minding my own business, driving to work in my little 2 seater.
Beautiful day. "Clear, dry, no obstructions..."
(Insurance company lingo...) Traffic in my lane comes to a
stop. No problem. I stop. BAM!!! The idiot
behind me in his big SUV is simultaneously picking his nose and talking on
his cell phone, and BAM!!!... he smashes into my mint little
Z3. Damn! His friggin' big-ass SUV bumper was just inches from
my cranium. Damn! It was a bad day. Just in case
his lawyer frequents this site, "I'm still in great pain".
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. In fact, I'm "still
recovering." If anyone has seen me doing anything even remotely
athletic in the last few weeks, "it's therapeutic". It helps
me to "deal with the trauma." I'm trying to "live
a normal life." (Shit, if I was even remotely litigious, I could
be driving a new Ferrari by now...)
So what's new in
the wine world, you ask? (What, you don't want to hear
my personal injury testimony? Very nice...) I think all the hype
about a world wine glut is true. Some of my favorite wines which had
previously seen rapid price increases, are now appearing on the shelves at
much more modest prices. Take Raymond Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, for
instance. After some high praise by the Spec, prices jumped from $17
to $37 in about two years. Recently, I saw the 1999 vintage offered at
retail for $22. You gotta love a good wine glut.
I tasted several
wines recently (again, "therapeutic"). The lovely and
astute, WinoNancy donated a bottle of Cabernet to the WinoJohn
Rehabilitation cause. In this
case, it was a bottle of Barefoot Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon California
NV. This was an excellent little quafer! Lot's of
fruit. Very smooth. And it sells in the $6
neighborhood! Nice find, Nancy! (The label indicates that
Barefoot Cab would pair well with pasta with a red sauce but I wouldn't go there.
Try it with some lighter fare.)
My other new
wine find is an unusual little blend from Bogle Vineyards. This tasty
delight is a blend of old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and old vine
Mourvedre. Bogle Vineyards Phantom 2000. This wine offers
a big, bold mouthful of spice and dark berries. And it's hot. Oh
yeah, Jerry, it's hot! The bottle says 14.8%, the web site says
15%. Let it air out for about a half hour and then enjoy
yourself. If you like big reds, this one's for you. And it's
like $14 American. This is no girlie wine...
I did receive a
nice email recently. WinoRob wrote in to let us know that he enjoyed
the little Breaking News! write-up on Arbor Mist Creamy Blender
drinks. The article was particularly endearing to Rob given that he is
the genius behind the Arbor Mist family of miracle-products. Until
recently, Rob was employed by the Canandaigua Wine Company and was the Marketing
brain behind the Creamy Blender thing as
well as the 375ml single-serving bottles and some of the other Arbor Mist
breakthrough products. But sadly, the Arbor Mist New Product
Development roadmap became a bit too convoluted for even WinoRob.
(Maybe it was the plans for Arbor Mist Airlines. Maybe it was the
Arbor Mist Fertilizer. We'll never know...)
Now, WinoRob has ventured out on his own
and has joined the ranks of the technodweeb. Welcome to the club,
Rob. WinoRob has developed some kind of new optical photonic flow
metering sensing control gizmo and he is marketing this thing on the
internet. Check out his site, www.flowtonics.com.
You wanna know what kind of Marketing genius Rob is? I don't even know
what the damn device is and I bought three of them! Now that's
Marketing!!! So, if you're shopping for a photonic industrial fluid
analysis thingy or if you are designing a hands-free automated servo/solenoid valve
who isn't these days?), then drop by Rob's new site.
That's it for
now. Just for the record, my whiplash is starting to act up and my
lower back lumbar area is cramping. Wine is my only effective
medication. Do I smell a tax write-off? Furthermore, that damn rear-end collision is
limiting my ability to spend long periods of time in front of my
computer. Which, I guess, sort of affects all of you... Can you
say "class action"...?
What's New? Ohhh.... not too much. Let's see... what has
happened in the last 5 or 6 weeks? Oh yeah, the Coalition Forces invaded
Iraq, deposed a sadistic dictator, liberated the Iraqi people, and made the
world a little bit safer for all of us. That was cool. Other
than that, not much has happened in the last 6 weeks! Here is a brief
update on the staff here at 'Stuff:
returned from his semi-annual hiatus. Wally disappears periodically,
only to resurface later with some kind of new job or house or gadget or tale
of world travel. This time, Wally took a few months off to
get in touch with his inner politico. Now, with his
recent graduate-level training in National Security and the Socio-Political
machine, combined with his financial
expertise, passion for golf, and taste for the finer things in life, I see Wally in line for a diplomatic appointment. Maybe as
the Ambassador to the Bahamas. Who knows? I can't wait for
Thanksgiving dinner in the American Embassy on some island paradise...
Wally, who do we have to
bribe contact to make this happen?
WinoBob has been
quite busy lately. He was recently elected President of the
Liver-of-the-Month Club. (He's not just the president, he's also a
member!) Quite a prestigious honor! We are proud
to have him here at WinoStuff. "The Bob" has also been
networking with some of his loyal fans to spread the word about WinoStuff
and grow his lunatic, thong-wearing fan club. (Isn't that how "The Adolf"
got started?) Bob has also been making great progress in his
ongoing campaign to make me crazy. Now, Bob sends me all his "Winings"
in some kind of file format that is only compatible with DOS 2.0 running on
a Commodore 64. When I try to open these files on my PC, things start
to 'lock up'. (Not the PC, my brain!) WinoBob has also been spending quite a bit of time in
the WinoStuff Product Development Laboratory. He is trying to develop new and ingenious products to improve the
lifestyle and the standard of living of winos around the world. He is a
true humanitarian. We'll have news on some new WinoStuff products in
the near future. Stay tuned...
see... I posted a dopey Boycott Hollywood (and France) page which now
accounts for roughly half of all internet traffic. Hundreds of
billions of you loyal winos have visited the site and are now boycotting the
Hollywood movie industry resulting in steep drops in the stock value of Sony
Pictures and AOL Time Warner. Janeane Garofalo is reportedly so despondent
that she is considering leaving the country (a move that could only be
regarded as a national 'sphincterectomy'). Our Boycott Hollywood (and
France) page is also single-handedly responsible for a 15% decline in US
sales of French wines. French wineries are begging us to take down the
page and end the boycott. They have even written a letter to the King
Weasel, Jacques Chirac, asking him to do something to end the
boycott. We stand firm, however. It's cool having all this power, even if
it's all in my
How about some wine
news? After all, this is WinoStuff.com, not
BoycottStuff.com! Here's an interesting tidbit...
convenience store mega-chain operator, 7-Eleven is
(again) launching it's own brand of wine, this time under the "Regions"
name! (Alert winos will recall a Breaking
News article back in
August of 2001 in which we reported that 7-Eleven was launching its own brand of
wine under the "Taillan" name. I have never
seen Taillan in a 7-Eleven so I guess that brand didn't pan
out...???) If you missed that blurb, see the side bar below...
has partnered with WineryExchange, the self-proclaimed "leading
global supplier of quality Private Label wine brands for global wine
(Is there another "global supplier of quality Private Label wine brands
for global wine retailers"?) WineryExchange created
the Regions brand and decided to package the product in 375 ml
bottles with natural cork stoppers. Nothing but the best for 7-Eleven.
The first two Regions wines are reported to be an Australian
Chardonnay and an Italian Pinot Grigio and will retail for $4.99 per
bottle. That should round out 7-Eleven's wine list
considerably. A quick visit to the 7-Eleven
products page reveals the breadth and depth of their wine offerings:
Columbia Crest® Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Crest® Chardonnay
Gallo of Sonoma Chardonnay
Turning Leaf® Vineyards Merlot
Turning Leaf® Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Turning Leaf® Vineyards Chardonnay
Vendange® Wine Cellars Chardonnay
Meridian Vineyards® Chardonnay
That's 7 Chardonnays (not counting the Regions), 2 Cabs, a
(white) Zin, a Merlot, and a bubbly! Toss in the new Regions
line and you've got a potential Wine Spectator Grand Award winner! But
it's not just the breadth of the list that impresses. It is the
careful selection of wines that awes me. Take, for example, the
Beringer White Zin. This is what the 7-Eleven wine experts say:
wine from Beringer® is characterized by the flavors of strawberries, ripe
pears, honeysuckle and sweet citrus. A flexible wine, White Zinfandel is an
appropriate selection for any dish, from the best steak to spicy Asian,
Mexican or Southern dishes. Chill it at least a half an hour in the
refrigerator before serving.
Not to be outdone by
Walmart's recent entrée into the wine retail business, the brain
trust at 7-Eleven has determined that the American wine-consuming
public is just dazed enough to purchase wine bearing the ubiquitous
7-Eleven logo. Now, next to the familiar oldsmobuicks from
Mondavi, K-J, Beringer, etc., "the Sev" will market its own
house brand of wines under the Taillan name. No, I'm not making
this up. You can't make this stuff up. To answer everyone's first
question, the 7-Eleven logo is imprinted on the cork,
which means that this beverage is not sold in a box! However,
in keeping with the "Big Gulp" tradition of selling all
beverages in containers large enough to house the homeless, the
Taillan varietals are available only in double METHUSELAH's. (OK, I
made that up.)
"What wine do you
serve with beef jerky?" Or, "Hmmm… They have the
February vintage of Taillan. That was a very good month!" Or
here's one, "Taillan, the Wine that made Thailand famous!"
Go ahead. Just get them all out of your system. OK? Feel better
now? Well, don't get too comfy. It's just a matter of time before
Exxon-Mobil jumps into the wine game. They already have the
distribution network. Be prepared to hear, "Uhhh… just
give me ten bucks worth of the regular Merlot and check under the
August 15, 2001
that this flexible "classic" would go well with the best
steaks? It's this kind of keen insight that keeps me shopping at
7-Eleven! I always thought that a massive cab was the perfect accompaniment
to a big hunk of red meat. I guess I was wrong. I
apologize if I have mislead you.
Well, that's it for this week's edition of What's
New! Check back here again soon for more insight into the
wine world. (Who am I kidding? We can't compete with the brain
trust over at 7-Eleven... You might as well just click on over to
their site if you want real wine info... Why do we waste our
time? This site is doomed... WinoBob, we need to find a new
theme for this web site. Wait! I have it! Bob, we
can write about frozen slushy drinks! We can call it SlurpyStuff.com!
You can be SlurpyBob and I'll be... never mind. It'll never
(The Dweeb Formerly Known As Wino John)
April 26, 2003
New? How can you even ask that? Just take a look at the front
page of this dopey site. Well? There's your answer! Yes,
after months of high level negotiations, after countless hours of
give-and-take, after innumerable contract revisions, we finally closed the
Big Deal. Yes, WinoStuff is now in the cheap trinket business.
We're selling WinoStuff stuff and the stuff is flying off the shelves!
It's like we set up a 'souvenir shop' on our homepage. The cyber
tourists click on in, they browse through our inane wine ramblings, we hawk some eye-catching mementos, the visitors drop
a few bucks to "remember their visit", and everyone leaves
happy. (Especially the very needy beneficiary of the New Liver for Bob
Fund.) It's a beautiful thing.
the whole process of setting up the storefront only took about an hour but
WinoBob was on my back to update this page and I needed a plausible reason
for my cyber absence. So we'll just go with the "months of
negotiations" excuse. Geez, it's not like I've been doing nothing!
Who do you think produces all the professional quality graphics that appear
on this site? Who do you think peeps through Bob's window at night to
get those candid spy photos? Who do you think processes all the
paperwork every time there's a new restraining order? The dweeb behind
the scenes, that's who! Yeah, WinoBob pops a few corks every night,
drinks himself into near-nirvana, and scratches out wine reviews in some
unintelligible language. I have to
translate the whole mess from Boblish to English, correct the grammar, add
graphics and post it all promptly on Bob's friggin' page. Then, when
the hot French winemaker babe comes to dinner with us, who does she fall
for? Yeah, that's right. BOB!!! Argghhhh!!!! My
head is going to explode!!!!
about that. I feel better now. I just had a nice piece of
chocolate with a glass of red wine. Mmmmmm. That hit the
spot. A big, tannic California Cab and a bit of dark
chocolate... Ahhhhhhhhhh... It doesn't get much better than
that... Wine and chocolate combine to form a nearly erotic taste
sensation that is almost indescribable. I could eat chocolate with
wine every night. Wait, I do eat chocolate with wine nearly every
night. That would explain a few things... like my evolving XXL
wardrobe... Anyway, as the journalistic
and techno-dweebistic foundation behind this site, you know that I'm going
to give you my take on the whole wine and chocolate phenomenon. After all,
it's not like THE BOB is going to explain it to you !!! NO!!!
NOT MR. V.I.P. BIGSHOT WINOBOB!!! NOOOO!!! (Sorry...
.must have... more... chocolate...)
During my most recent hiatus, I took the opportunity to get
PhD's in both Molecular Biophysiology and Neuropharmacology
and a Masters Degree in Brain Funtionometry.
These advanced degrees give me all the credentials I need to explain the
basics of the wine/chocolate interaction and their combined effect on your
cerebral pleasure cortex. (If I get too technical here, just pause,
get yourself a glass of red and a piece of Godiva, take few deep breaths, and
continue reading. It will all make sense soon...) So, without
further ado, I herein present the findings of my definitive wine/chocolate
study, undertaken (unfortunately) without any government funding whatsoever.
Cumulative Effect of Wine and Chocolate Consumption on Human Brain
(Pretty impressive title, huh?)
we all know, the brain is essentially a mass of cells, or neurons, which are
capable of transmitting chemical signals to one another and propagating
electrical signals internally. A
typical neuron usually has many dendrites and one very long axon.
(WinoBob, too, has many dendrites but his axon is not so long. Or so
I'm told.) The axon and the dendrites are like microscopic transmitters and receivers
attached to the body of the neuron. The
dendrites contain receptors embedded in the membrane, which are proteins
that respond to chemical signals. The axon has a terminal at its end
that releases the chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, to the
One of the most
important facts in the electrochemical signal transmission in neurons is
that there is an actual physical space between one neuron's axon and the
next neuron's dendrites. This space is called the synapse and
is the communication site between cells. The neuron releasing the
neurotransmitter is called the pre-synaptic neuron and the one
accepting the neurotransmitter is called the post-synaptic neuron.
The pre-synaptic neuron will release its neurotransmitter into the synapse.
This chemical messenger will diffuse across the synapse and interact with
specific receptors on the post-synaptic membrane.
The interaction between the neurotransmitter and receptor will cause
changes in the post-synaptic neuron which will cause an electrical potential
(or signal) to be generated. This electrical signal will be driven
down the length of the axon until it reaches the terminal. When the
signal hits this part of the axon it will cause the terminal to release
neurotransmitter into the next synapse. These neurotransmitters will
cross the synapse and interact with the receptors on the next neuron, thus
continuing the process.
years, scientists have been identifying various brain chemicals that act as
neurotransmitters and their specific effects on bodily function.
We know that the
neurotransmitter serotonin plays a major role in emotions, judgement,
and sleep. Adrenalin
triggers the fight-or-flight reflex and Francelin triggers the
involuntary surrender reflex.
All this is nothing new. Here’s
where it gets interesting…
are morphine-like neurotransmitters that occur naturally in the body and can
cause a feeling of euphoria. My
new research into the chocolate/wine phenomenon reveals that certain
chemicals in wine, I’ll call them Bobzymes, react with certain sugars in
chocolate, called chocolytes, to produce powerful brain chemicals called
winotonins. These winotonins have actual microscopic bits of Velcro®
on their surface. When the
winotonins are released into the synapse by the pre-synaptic neuron, bits of
Velcro® cause the winotonins to adhere to both the pre-synaptic
neuron and the post-synaptic neuron resulting in a synaptic short circuit.
Brain circuits start to overheat, brain fuses get blown, and the
brain starts going into a brown-out condition.
At that point, the brain's endorphin producers go into maximum overdrive to
produce more of these morphine-like chemicals to try to anesthetize the
winotonins and get the bits of Velcro® to release their
grip on the neurons. Ultimately,
the endorphins win, the brain circuit overload is corrected and the
resulting euphoria produced by the massive amounts of endorphin causes the
brain to crave more wine and more chocolate.
It’s all very simple.
you. Thank you very much. I believe the Nobel people are pulling
into the driveway. Now,
of course, there is an outside chance that I plagiarized all the
aforementioned techno-babble and that I made up the rest.
But, we’ll never know without some government funding!!!
Or maybe some… corporate sponsorship!?!
call Robert Mondavi and the Hershey people.
I see some more scientific research in our future.
In fact, I’m willing to theorize that consuming Mondavi Reserve
Cabernet and Hershey Dark Chocolate can make you smarter, better looking,
and wealthier. Maybe taller and
thinner, too. Who knows?
Only a well-funded research project can provide the answers.
we wait for the check to arrive, feel free to relax, enjoy, and eat more
(with apologies to The Australian Academy of
Science, Macalester College, and the French Military Surrender Cooperative)
Get off my back. So I've been negligent in my duties to bring you news
and 'Stuff. So what? Sue me. Geez... I've been busy. And depressed.
Check out all
the stuff that's happened since my last idiotic diatribe...
2003. That's right, 2003! You know,
the new year. We watched another new year slither on in. This New Year's
celebration was kind of boring. No big celebrations, no
anticipation. We could have used another entertaining cyber-threat
to keep us interested in the new year. It seems
like just yesterday that we were talking about Y2K. I fondly recall loading
the .357, waiting anxiously for civilization to fall into socio-economic
computers around the world welcomed the new millennium with the ubiquitous
Y2K bug crash! Boy, was that a bust! I didn't even get to
shoot anything! I guess it was all a big joke orchestrated by the
world's computer dweebs. Sort of a "Revenge of the
Nerds". This year, we did get a taste of cloned humans and
alien-worship just before Christmas but that pretty much petered out by
New Year's day.