Sunday, May 13, 2012

There Will Be Blogs

I have been negligent on my blogging... Sorry! A mix of school, work, alcohol, and my 2nd job.

Soon though, more blogs... expect to hear more about Champagne and (affordable) Burgundy... and Mondeuse!

Hope you have been well!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Hypocrisy rampant in the restaurant industry

Like Popeye said, "I've had all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"

So many of the new "farm-to-table" type restaurants boast seasonal menus, and food coming to your table, straight from the Farmer's Market. GREAT! But what is listed on their wine list? Freaking Orin Swift 'The Prisoner', or Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, or something else just as mass-produced and manipulated, full of oak, and 15% alcohol. Lots of restaurants going for the easy sell. If you are taking the time to find the finest, freshest ingredients in season, then why are you still serving industrial-produced, chemically-enhanced wines to your customers?

What's up with that?

Sorry for bringing Cartman into this, but that's just...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I love you Meletti Amaro!

This is The Shit (excuse my inappropriateness). I tried this last week when our awesome rep, Kevin came by. I wasn't expecting to like it tremendously, since I've had, and own, a bottle of Fernet Branca, which is also an Amaro, and sets the benchmark for all other Amaros (in my humble opinion, anyway).

How to describe the nose??? Well, ridiculous. As you inhale this, you smell some sarsaparilla, anise, saffron, cardamom, date, orange peel, and some eucalyptus. The little hairs at the back of your nostrils feel the heat as you inhale. I could spend all day just nosing this stuff. It is absolutely dazzling.
Drinking it... you essentially can taste the same elements as the aromas, which makes this such an awesome drink. There is the bitterness to it as well, from beginning to end; though not as pronounced as Fernet. Think of this as Fernet's good-looking, younger, sandy-haired brother. There is a bit of sweetness to the Meletti, too, on the nose and by taste. It is not an overpowering sweetness, it's just off over in a corner, waving and saying, "Hi!."

Amaro's purpose is to act as an apertif, aiding digestion. Whatever. It's freaking delicious.
We just got this today. I've been thinking of this ever since I tried it, and came in on my day off (I live a half-hour away) to buy a bottle.

Less than $20.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Classic Tiki Music

This beautiful Tiki music is called "Quiet Village," originally done by Les Baxter in 1951. So enchanting!
Martin Denny does an excellent job of this too. I'm pretty sure this was the background music for Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

Speaking of "Quiet Village" - that sums up January for us. The Christmas and New Year's rush has passed, and now we have time to clean up the cobwebs underneath the stacks and stacks of wine, with the job of inventory ahead, followed by replenishing with new wines. Oh those '09 Bordeauxs are on their way! Get ready!

Hope you had a great holiday season filled with friends, family and the lion's share of food and libations. Wishing you good times ahead in 2012!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Champagne: Why this is the BEST gift for your wine-guzzling friend

What to get your wine lover/wine snob/wino friend for Christmas?
I HEARTILY recommend Champagne. WHY, you ask? I'll tell you why:

Just about every wine-drinker (especially in California) who starts out buying and collecting wine, starts off with Napa Cabernet, or Bordeaux. We cut our teeth on it. Then, our palate changes, and we try different wines, different regions. We start discovering Barolo, Riesling, Riojas, and eventually our palate will evolve, so we start drinking new and different wines. (Meanwhile, our cabs, Bordeaux sit in a pile somewhere). Though some people will stay with Cab/Bordeaux and that is fine. But many wine drinkers branch out. Think of wine as food. Would you like hamburger for every meal?

And then there is Champagne.

So very different from any other wine. Uplifting, exuberant, minerally, graceful and makes you want to swoon. It's difficult not to love it. It possesses an inherent, special quality. As wine snobs will attest, a party with Champagne is always a great time. The only problem with Champagne, is... there never seems to be enough. I may have pricey bottles of Cab or Bordeaux in my cellar, but what is really precious to me are the bottles with the bubbles.

The writer Dorothy Parker said it best:
"Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient Champagne."

You said it, girlfriend!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Year in Retrospective - Best wines of 2011 - Trumpets, please!

This isn't Wine Spectator's Top 100 or whatever, it's MINE. Which matters the most... to me, that is. :)

Someone asked the question: What are your Top Wines of the Year? Here are my answers:

  • What was your favorite wine of the Year?
2010 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Spatlese - by the time I got to try this, it was already sold out from the distributor so I ran to one of our competitors and bought a case

  • What was your favorite red wine of the Year?
2002 Clos Roche Blanche - Gamay
Stunning, haunting, beautiful fruit and nuanced... it was all that, and under $30.

  • What was your favorite white wine of the Year?
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada #10
Sea-salty minerally goodness. Just supremely good!

  • What was your favorite effervescent wine of the Year?
Pierre Peters NV Brut Cuvee de Reserve Grand Cru. Also, a good friend brought a 1988 Billecart-Salmon Blancs de Blancs to a party which was outstanding. Also the 1996 Dom Perignon Oenotheque was very good.
(Pictured: Pierre Peters Champagne being chilled. Just kill me now)

(Dom Perignon Oenotheque 1996, rarely seen in the states. Beautiful wine!)

  • What was your biggest new producer discovery of the year?
Patrick Piuze!

Chablis winemaker, Patrick Piuze. Yes, he's adorable, but he makes great wine! Start buying his wines now, before they get too expensive in the future!

  • What was your favorite tasting of the year?
Tie: The Rudi Wiest German trade tasting, and the Terry Theise Champagne tasting.
Pictured: Rudi Wiest - One of the coolest people in the wine biz.

  • What was region did you start getting into this year that was new for you?
Sicily/Mt. Etna - These are wines made at high altitudes in volcanic soil. Wines with breathtaking minerality and graceful fruit. Look out for the Occhipinti Frappato, and other Mt. Etna wines such as Tenuta Terre Nere.

  • What wine disappointed you this year?
I had the Pierre Peters 02 Chetillons recently and I usually love that wine, but was disappointed. Maybe it's going through a dumb phase, or I am!

  • What was your favorite QPR this year?
2010 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina ($17) and killer.

Those are my picks. What are yours???

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bringing out the Big Guns

Sometimes, you gotta go balls out!

Such was the case when our friend, Phil came back from Iraq, after flying Blackhawk helicopters after one of his several tours of duty for the Army. Phil is a supremely awesome guy... so a bunch of us winos got together (some coming from Seattle, Texas and NYC... gotta love that) to celebrate Phil's safe return.

Everyone brought some very special bottles to give a proper hero's welcome. Along with some Flannery steaks and spot prawns we drank:

1988 Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blanc - my first aged Champagne, and such an excellent year for Champagne. Astounding... amazing, mind-blowing wine.

1996 Dom Perignon Oenotheque - used to be, that we couldn't even get Oenotheque in the States. That has changed, though. Beautiful wine. Rounded fruit, fresh, citrusy. Delicious.

2002 Serveaux Fils Champagne Brut

Jadot Richebourg - They only make ONE BARREL of this a year. A lovely, graceful expression of Pinot Noir. Was lucky to drink it.

1995 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau - The nose on this... Man! Now this is barnyard! Dark red fruits, earth and more barnyard and herbal notes. Very good.

2001 Chateau Pavie - Everything a winemaker could do to manipulate this wine, they did. Ugh! Tasted like an over-extracted/overdone California or Aussie cab. Nothing elegant about it. Severely disappointing, bordering on undrinkable.

Chave Hermitage - Beautiful red fruits, gorgeous as always.

Lignier Clos du Roche

This list will be continued... the blogger needs to get some sleep!