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Showing posts from 2008

Last Minute Stocking Stuffer idea!

Fashion, Style, Shopping for last minute stocking stuffers?

Well the big day is almost here and maybe you have not filled the stockings hanging over the fireplace as of yet or you think why did I get them that?? Well for all my wine loving friends, I have an idea which is not terribly creative but it is definitely a great read for the wine lover on your list:
Red, White and Drunk all Over!

A Wine-soaked Journey from grape to glass........

Natalie MacLean
This a great book I just finished this the other day, hard to put down! An easy read at just a little over 300 pages. The journey Natalie takes through Burgundy is compelling, and really you never want it to end. The people she meets from all corners of the wine world will inspire you and challenge your palate to want to leap outside the box of wine you may now know and love.. she takes on the critics in classic fashion. She ponders the necessity of stemware for each type of wine and wraps up the conclusions nicely. Her trip to California…

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

It's that time of the year and some of you may being going to gift exchanging events or simply want to give some of your wine loving friends a gift that shows your bon vivant taste as well your prowess in choosing quality wines and its accompaniments without breaking the bank.

Last year when my wife and I were in this predicament, while wanting to give a interesting gift that also involved a little more personalization then the simple choice between basket A or B at Costco. We saw many gift baskets, which included a couple wine choices pre-packaged with assorted items which did not necessarily pair with the wine. We thought why would we give someone a "pre-made" gift basket with wines with which we had know experience. So we embarked on making our own gift baskets. We purchased all are items Cost Plus World Market who had everything with which to create our personalized gift baskets. The had little cheeses, chocolates, wine, baskets and if you want to be Eco, then I sugge…

Seleccion Especial

The AbadiaRetuerta, Estate Grown in Rioja, Sardon De Duero 2003, 14% alc. In the glass a thin violet colored rim that segued to an opaque velvet curtain core. This wonderful wine is a blend expressing Tempranillo’s richness at 75%, Merlot’s roundness at 5% and Cabernet Sauvignon’s aromatic elegance coming in at 20%. Which for my palate made like a visit to a tobacco store humidor, breathing in all the wonderful aromas deeply and a lithe compote of dark fruits and well worn saddle leather, followed my a long palate coating finish. In a word yum!

Mr. Parker rated this wine 88 Pt's. I would say it requires a least hedonistic 91 Pt's. This is huge wine for the price. It is selling for $19.99 @ Bevmo and was a wine I tasted in my wine class @ ISG. This could be a everyday drinker and just happened to pair ever so nicely with some smoked beef sausage one of my classmates most graciously provided. My recommendation is purchase a six pack if you can and if storage is not an issue or bu…

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Suggestions!

I thought this would be a creative way to introduce my recommended wine for the traditional holiday meal of turkey and the usual supects side dishes. Also with the wine library video it would present some other ideas for your holiday feast. The wine I am about to introduce here should pair nicely with all parts of your meal, from appetizers to dessert. Enjoy!

Zilliken Riesling Butterfly, (Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken) a well balanced and delicate wine from the Mosel region, deftly combines peach flavors with a hint of floral notes on the nose; dances on the palate, with enough acidity to refresh your worked over palate. Cheers everyone and have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!!

Paso Robles, a tale of two cities! Part 4 "Rhone Rangers"

As promised here is my fourth blog about my Paso wine experience. Often times you leave many of the best for the last and in my ever not so humble opinion that is what I have done. It is another hot day in Paso, although a hard rain came through overnight and left the beautiful Paso skies full of gentle puffy whites. The harvest heat picked right back up from where it left off the previous day. Our first stop of the day is L'Adventure, which I will let Robert Parker give you a quick blurb about the going's on at this gem in Western Paso.

Parker describes it this way; "transplanted Frenchman, Stephan Asseo (from St.-Emilion), has found a home as well as some great terroirs in the limestone soils of Paso Robles (all his vineyards are situated on the western side of Highway 101). Asseo continues to go from strength to strength, producing a fabulous portfolio of wines that makes L-Aventure one of the bright, shining reference points for the region. This is one of the Californi…

What's is the Justification?

Justin Justification 2006
Bordeaux Red Blends
Central Coast, California

(this vintage is sold out) Their Price: $41.99 @
But it can still be purchased for 36.00 from the winery, if you join the Wine Society or 43.99 without the club. If you purchase six bottles and live in California, here's a gift no shipping charges! Enjoy this one gang!

Again if your in the area, by all means stop by for a visit. Just don't go on Saturday afternoon, unless you want to drown in a sea of imbibers.. so I would recommend booking an early midweek tour and tasting. I would love to hear back about your adventures with this wine. Until then Cheers!

Yum factor of 4 Stars - 11/14/2008 I would buy this wine again Some times you wonder how any wine can be so good and for a reasonable price. This wine hits both notes in stride and takes it to the house! If you love wine and the NFL, well you will definitely understand when I say, this wine could go...... all... the wayyyyy!! This wine danced on our p…

Top Pet Peeves about wine service

Paso Robles, a tale of two cities! Part 3

So day two (which again was very hot) of our winery road trip in Paso Robles, we headed to the West side. The locals call Justin and most of the wineries located here the "farside". In October the hills of Paso are like giant stacks of pale yellow hay dotted with solitary oak trees. But before we head out I filled our large ice chest with some ice, to avoid (inside temp reached about a 98 degrees) cooking all the wine, we anticipated purchasing. Upon arriving at the vineyard you could definitely see the soil type differences between the East and West. The calcareous soil, white soil containing calcium and magnesium, similar to that of the Rhone Valley jutting up above the surface, like icebergs floating on a ocean of soil. There in lies the contrast in East vs. West wine styles.
We had scheduled a tour @ Justin first thing in the morning. Our tour guide Jim Gerakaris, who is part of the tour and tasting room team gave us a grand tour of the facilities. Since we were there i…

Paso Robles, a tale of two cities! Part 2

So you maybe wondering where does the the tie in from Charles Dickens book, "A tale of two cities" come from? Simply, I get it from one of the books major themes, which is duality.

Thus my premise here is twofold. You have a dividing line which is the 101 and a controversy about dividing up these two areas, East and West into different appellations. You also have the media attention ascribed to the Westside and some shunning of the Eastside. Then from my practical experience in the area tasting just two weeks ago and putting all politics and opinions aside I voted with my wife and I's palate. Let the wine do the talking, as it has much to say about it's own terroir!
That said you can find a interesting article posted online about the subject of this duality and continuing controversy @
To be fair and objective, I would give the Eastside an opportunity and so on the first day, we visited Tobin …

Paso Robles, a tale of two cities! Part 1

Well it was a vacation, anniversary celebration and wine tasting week all rolled into one. The place, Paso Robles. Our trip took us up the five, (the passage through LA, terrible) through the grape vine and crossed over on the 46 heading west. Initially you pass my many vineyards but alas those grapes have a different destination other than wine (or at least we hope). As you continue down the 46 W you see Pistachio (ever feel like stopping to pick some?) tree groves and a reminder about, "where there is water there is food."
One thing unexpected thing is a sea of oil wells (about 1/2 still pumping) on the two-lane stretch from Paso Robles to Cholame which was once known as "Blood Alley" where James Dean lost his life. The 46 W is a place where you don't want to be distracted, with many drivers wanted to pass slower moving traffic and times at the peril of themselves and others.

In all about 5 1/2 hour journey from San Diego to downtown Paso. We had a nice lunch @…

Fine Tuning @ Domaine Faiveley

Well the premiere of this new films series from Wilson Daniels, Fine Tuning at DomaineFaiveleyhas come and gone and I was asked to review the short film and also one of their wines. I had the opportunity to taste the DomaineFaiveleyMontagny, Cote Chalonnaise, a Burgundian white wine (a Chardonnay 2006). Price: 28.00, Alc. 12.8% Appearance: the clarity was bright Color: pale yellow @ the rim and the core was light straw Nose: Aromas of a thinly sliced granny smith apple Palate: Tepid sweetness, crisp acidity, with stony fruit on the palate, a somewhat thin body, but the finish is where you can lightly taste some of the restrained girth of the fruit. Drink now or hold through 2012 Typically not the type of Chardonnay I enjoy as it spent 14 months in stainless steel. Drink within 5 minutes after refrigeration for maximum enjoyment.
Regarding the movie, for me it was a rewarding experience. Often when you think of French wines and the French in general, the first phrase which comes to my mind …

Paso Robles, a tale of two cities!

Hey everyone,
Just got back from my trip to Paso a couple of days ago. What a great place! The town is not too big, but it does have a lot going on. Especially if dining is on your mind, great menus and good service are the norm. Wine, the sky is the limit! No metered parking and the traffic is non-existent. The folks here are down to earth and very friendly.
I call this a tale of two cities because of the east/west dividing line of the vineyards. I will be writing about my adventures in Paso over the next few weeks. There is so much to talk about! A series entitled, "Paso Robles East vs. West, a tale of two cities" I will also be including a huge photo album of the Paso wine experience. I am in the process of editing and articulating my thoughts. (No it will not be as stuffy, as I just made it sound) it was another fun adventure in wine country. I will give you the good, the bad and the ugly! Not too much of latter two, though! But there were a few.
In regards the wine experie…

A sense of place!

I've been contacted by the film maker to review this Film's premiere online October 2, 2008. Which is a series that will capture the essence of family owned wine estates through short films.

Having already watched the trailer myself, I am eager to share it with you here. The only thing missing from the conversation is your voice. I would love to hear any input you may have regarding what you see in the trailer. When I saw the trailer it made me think of a word many use in the wine world, more specifically in the old world vineyards which is Terroir.

A quick look up online will reveal that loosely translated it means: " A " terroir " is a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making savoir-faire, which contribute to give its specific personality to the wine. "

To me this short film series say's it much b…

Hello Merlot: 2002 Joseph Phelps Merlot

"If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!' 'Don't ask questions like that up in wine country. They'll think you're some kind of neophyte." Miles [Sideways]

Remember this now famous or infamous [depends on your prospective I assume] quote from the character; Miles in the movie Sideways and how his long cherished bottle he was waiting to drink actually contained Merlot. Slurping down a bottle Merlot last night, reminded me of Miles aversion to Merlot and subsequent revelation that he would not be drinking any Merlot that night and how he threatened to leave if someone actually had the temerity to order it. 

Thinking about that scene a moment; it stands out as a good reminder of how foolish some folks can be, to be bullied by into not doing something [like not drinking Merlot], by a scene from a movie. Personally I don't have anything against Merlot, in fact I actually like it quite a bit, but I prefer its right-bank …

Birthday Wine and Dine!

“I like stepping into the future. Therefore, I look for doorknobs.”~ Unknown

Well another Birthday has come and gone, half of ninety and still able to knock out three to four, six plus mile runs a week, not to bad. The wife and I headed over to Flemming's(wine bar & steak restaurant) for dinner to celebrate my getting older.

While it is a chain restaurant and they only have one Sommelier, who coordinates the wine list and the selection of the 100 wines by the glass or bottle, the service is very good and the wine choices seem to favor pairing with their menu. While the wine list is very good, the price points are far above what you would pay for the bottle retail, by as much as 400% in some cases [ouch], so I would suggest taking advantage of their BYOB policy and just paying the corkage.

We started our meal with Gloria FerrerBlancdeNoirs. The creamy palate and rosy hue melded on our palates ever so delicately with a clear fruit expression. Wow, this a very good sparkling w…

Sideways Road Trip Revisited

A few years back I took a road trip and got "Sideways in the SBC, I tasted my first CambriaPinot. It was the 667 Clone from the Santa Maria Valley. I remember the dance between the wine’s rich, earthy berries and the rich mushroom risotto. It was a distinct wine experience for me and I realize now, knowing more than I did then, why Denise Shurtleff (winemaker) embraces the philosophy behind the wine making at Cambria. Which is "that the function of wine is to complement and extend the pleasure of a meal.” Mission accomplished!
I was reminded of this philosophy and reminiscing about the "Sideways" road trip when rummaging around for a bottle to open the other night. I came across the 2003 CambriaPinotNoir # 667, Santa Maria Valley with 15.7% ALC. Price: $38 Score: 91 This was a superb PN! It has only aged a few years but it paid off in spades. I barely even noticed the 15.7% alc. as it sailed on my palate like a tall ship on a smooth sea. Each swirl, sniff and sip w…

Another good reason to drink Red Wine!

Have you every experienced food poisoning? Well I have on more than one occasion, you feel like you wanna die. But science has come to our rescue once more with some more good news about red wine. We all know about the cardiovascular benefits of drinking red wine, but now there is another good reason to drink red wine, especially Cabernet. Like I needed another reason to drink wine, hell my nick name is already purpleteeth, geez whats next purple liver?? But I digress here is the good news and I will just put the quote from the researcher here.

"Researchers Azlin Mustapha, associate professor of food science, and Atreyee Das, a doctoral student in the food science program, have found that red wine appears to act as a natural anti-microbial in our intestinal tract while leaving untouched the helpful probiotic bacteria needed for digestion. The wines that exhibit those properties most strongly: Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot.(Some of my favorite varietals)

Red grape juice (yeah but I…

2005 Epicuro Aglianico Beneventano

I picked up this wine @ TJ's and was scratching my head again. What the heck is this varietal? But hey for $4.99 each, I decided to give it a whirl. Wines produced from Aglianico tend to be full bodied, firm tannins and high acidity Which could mean this wine has aging potential. In my opinion this wines rich flavors means it will be a nice accompaniment to many Italian food dishes without over powering.
On first blush I thought it was a Grenache, but upon searching the website, I found out it is actually made from Aglianico, a rarely grown varietal which originated in Greece. It had all the classic aromas of bright cherries and smoke, framed by subtle spice box similar to a Grenache. The mouth feel of this wine is pleasantly fruity and light. Just a hint of oak. For the price you just can't beat it as an everyday wine. I gave this wine 84 Pt's. Cheers~Enjoy!

"Clos Pegase" 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine I drank just last night comes from the Cabernet Sauvignon Class 2004 Napa, many of the 04's are very good. I've tasted many 04 Cab's from Napa and my conclusion is, this was a very "good year" in Napa for Cab...

That said, last night I tasted for the first time a wine a friend @MS recommended. She was high on the PN, but in seeing the Cab @ Costco @ 30% off the single bottle price through the winery I purchased one. Personally I like to let the bottle relax in my cellar (a big wine fridge) before I drink it, to minimize what I call "bottle shock". I typically tend to drink wine with dinner, and so I decided to pair this Bordeaux styled wine with a fat Porter House, which had been marinating all day, damn fine! Now about this wine, which on the initial taste offers fruitiness (very subtle) and accessibility at an early age. Because they use the old technique of extended maceration, which creates softer tannins. Indeed this wine was as smooth as …

2008 California State Fair "Best Pinot Noir" Gold, 95 Points???

My wife and I and some other friends got together the other day for semi-regular wine pairing dinners and one of guest brought this little gem, with its accolades completely unbeknownst to us. This was the first bottle opened and we decanted it for about a 1/2 hour. It was very pale in color, almost like a rosé, with just a hint of cinnamon and light cherry flavors rolling over the palate.

The finish was thin, but it was fruit forward and while we thought this a pretty tasty juice for the price, we could not elevate this wine to this level of sophistication and quality, which 95 points would bring. See the chart below and you'll get a better idea of what I am saying. I'd give it at the most 87 points.

Over 3,000 California wines and 600 wineries were in the running, and this gem from Mendocino took the coveted top prize for the red wine category. Castle Rock 2006 Mendocino County PinotNoir, Reg $9.99 2008 California State Fair "Best PinotNoir" and received the "…

"Strange Decanters of the Weird Kind"

Many folks will agree to disagree over whether or not decanters can improve the taste of wine. While decantings value is controversial amongst some wine expertshowever debating the aesthetic value of presenting wine in an elegantly designed vessel is another story all together.

While I will see it as a point of amusment others will see these decanters as the intersection of where form meets function. Check out these decanters, I am sure you'll be rushing out to get one for yourself. It looks as though the decanter has legs, and could run off any time. Hey come back with my wine!
Some are mean't to look like the roots of the grape vine and still others your hearts circulatory system. I am sure they would make and excellent conversation piece. They can be found at Affordable Modern Furniture

Testarossa Wine Dinner

At the invitation of Diana Jensen of Testarossa Vineyards, my wife and I and another couple headed to Thee Bungalow, for the Testarossa Wine Dinner back on June 18th. We all had a great time and Diana Jensen proved herself again a wonderful host. Thanks!

If you ever wondered if hobbies can turn into a new line of work, well check this abbreviated story about a hobby that got out of control. In a snapshot about Testarossa Vineyards. It all began with the husband and wife team of Rob and Diana Jensen in their garage. Since then the vineyard has grown from a production of 25 cases to the 16,000 cases it now produces at the Novitiate Winery, the Bay Area's oldest continuing winery. If in the area I highly recommend a visit. There wines are consistently of good quality and I heartily recommend them to you.

Back to the dinner, this was my first time at the Thee Bungalow, and I'm not sure how I've not run across this little gem before. We were warmly greeted upon our arrival and g…

2005 Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon wine review

2005 Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine sells for about $20.00
I'm not really sure if this is an unusual pairing or this wine is a superior food friendly wine. Either way I cannot speak more highly of this wine, which paired ever so nicely with the Island Girl Ribs. My wife and I brought dinner to a friend who had a bicycle accident (and is on the mend with a separated shoulder) and she had this marvelous bottle of wine open and waiting as we walked in. The wine had beautiful extraction, deep hues of blueberry and crimson at the edges. The bouquet spoke eloquently of the coming attraction. This wine rolled over by palate with a sea of long lasting flavors. See the wine makers notes below, which aptly describe this wines flavor profile.

Back to the dinner: Okay, yes I was the cook and I thought wow this is good. I will throw out my recipe and you can decide for yourself. Here is the menu:

-Island Girl Pork Ribs

-Fried rice, and sautéed Vermicelli

-Spinach Salad, bacon, eggs, grap…