This page contains Winings from the 1st Quarter of the year 2001.
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March 31, 2001
AMENDMENT- With a bit more digging into the research shelf in my dimly-lit working office/hole-in-the-wall, I came across a book I have from Kevin Zraly’s handouts that is called, “Wines of Italy”. What better place to look, Wino Bob. I was able to answer my question from my earlier entry about the Italian wine I enjoyed with a business associate at Nino’s in Paterson, NJ. Did I tell you there is a statue of Abbott and Costello in the Lou Costello Park? If you watch The Sopranos, you have seen both the falls and the monument in the second season of the show. Hey, just an aside about The Sopranos for any of you from NJ, last week Tony drove right past Bacchus, yes, the Bacchus I love. Tony was heading Southbound on Passaic Ave. and Bacchus was seen out his window as he was driving with his wife. As you know, Tony loves his wine. I wonder if he reads Winostuff?
Salentino is found in the region of Apulia (puglia) located in the heel of the
Italian peninsula. This land mass
is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea to the North and the Ionian Sea to the South.
The primary grapes grown in this region are Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera.
The Ca’ntele family has been producing wine since the 70’s.
March 31, 2001
I, too, have just returned from a real job business trip. Though mine was confined to the Eastern Seaboard, no exotic foods, drink, scenery or entertainment like Wino John experienced. As this was a planned out meeting, a non-drinker made the wine selection. As red wines go, the choice at each dinner was a Pinot Noir or a Cabernet. I am not much of a Pinot drinker, as you can see from my reviews, but this one was a wine I will not be buying for the house. The Cabernet was better, but only available for one dinner. I guess this resort is famous for it’s golf and tennis clinics and athletes in training drink carrot juice and grapefruit with a spritz. However, when you gather 75 salesmen for 4 nights, they should copter in a larger choice of wine for us to enjoy.
After leaving Tampa with a not-so-great wine experience, I found myself back in New Jersey yesterday enjoying lunch with a customer in a small Italian restaurant in downtown Paterson, NJ. Yes, Paterson, the Home of the Paterson Falls, silk fabric and Lou Costello of the famed Abbott and Costello. The customer I was with is a wine enthusiast and a frequenter of this establishment. For lunch, he asked the waiter to bring a glass of his usual for us. This Italian red wine was the best glass of wine I enjoyed all week. As Italian wines go, I haven’t found that many in the under $100.00 price range that I enjoy, but this one was great. I managed to jot down the name on the label, but have not been able to find out much about the region it comes from, grape, or style. So, fellow winos and winettes, if any of you are Italian red wine aficionados, please email me details.
Wente Reliz Creek Reserve Pinot Noir ?
The months in French oak overpowered the delicate raspberry fruit of this wine.
The tannins were strong and did not play well with the fruit in this
wine. Harsh, smoky flavors
dominated this biting beverage.
Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon ?
Pleasant, and balanced, this wine had a playful level of tannin to back up the
dark cherry flavors and made this wine stand up well with the red snapper and
filet mignon main course. A good
wine to drink on a weekend with friends.
Ca’ntele Salice Salentino Riserva $ (12.00
Owner/Chef Nino at Nino’s in Paterson found a great inexpensive wine to
compliment his beautifully prepared Italian fare.
The acid-fruit balance supported the Capellini seafood in Pink Sauce.
This is a wine for the table, to drink with friends, enjoy mozzarella and
roasted peppers, and play a game of cards on checked tablecloths.
Smooth, fruity, and a bargain at retail pricing fewer than ten dollars.
and Winettes, I present to you the Wine Ambassador for Conflict-Resolution, Wino
Bob. (Applause, applause) Thank you, thank you. My fellow winos, I stand here today as a proud WAC-R, but I
am faced with a troubling message. As
I am heading to the negotiation table, I previewed the bottle of wine I was to
sit down with regarding this latest conflict I was called upon to resolve.
But negotiations will be more difficult because of the wine I have
selected. When the wine does not
live up to expectations, it can damage this sensitive period of resolution.
I relied on the promises of the label and tasted a much different
product. So, for the safety of our nation’s position, I am
withdrawing my presence at this meeting today to locate a bottle of wine that
will ease the tenor of today’s discussions.
I cannot sit in a room and praise the opulence of this wine when I found
it non-opulent, or therefore lacking in the opulent character that is described
on the label. The lesson learned is
to drink an entire bottle of the wine before putting it on the table of
negotiation. Drink responsibly; the
future of our nation depends on it. If
there are any wines that you have successfully used as a lubricant for social
intercourse, please contact me at the Department of WAC-R, Wino Bob A.B.S.
Sebastiani Sonoma Cask Cabernet Sauvignon $
This wine is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc and aged in West
Virginian oak for 17 months.
The harsh tannins mute the opulent, jammy fruit.
This has a harshness that lessens the spirit of this wine.
and elegance can describe the wine I enjoyed tonight. Having a business dinner with an associate whom I had some
disagreement with was made easier by the selection of a great wine.
Starting off in disagreement over a current business situation in my real
job, we had come to dig our heels in a bit, defending our positions.
The public setting quelled the possibility of raising our voices to shout
down the other’s point of view. Plugging
my ears and singing the La-la-la song was out of the question since I wanted to
enjoy dinner at this establishment in the future.
So, before things went too far, the wine steward brought the wine I
selected and poured us each a glass. As
the pure beauty of this finely crafted beverage raced through my now boiling
bloodstream, a soothing feeling emerged. The
tension was broken by the delight we both took in this wine.
As our glasses filled for the second time, we steered our comments to the
rich, red liquid in our glasses. Wine
talk found our common ground and, as the alcohol level increased, so did our
efforts in resolving the differences we started the night with.
a peace accord was struck that night and though we did not change the world, we
did find a solution to the issue. So
I was thinking of contacting President Bush and ask him to appoint me Wine
Ambassador for Conflict-Resolution. Yes,
I would proudly serve as the WAC-R for the Bush Administration.
As I have been told by many, I would be a fine WAC-R.
Couldn’t you see me flying to a foreign country, deplaning Air force
One, and being greeted by chants from the crowd, "WAC-R, WAC-R, Here Comes
any of you out there are politically connected, please feel free to approach the
Bush Administration with my name and newly sought position.
Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry $$$(70.00 restaurant)
Smooth, powerful, velvety, full in body and flavor.
Rich textured and complex made from 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot,
4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
This is an example of why I prefer blends to cepages.
Depth, cherry and blackberry and vanilla and currant mix and mingle to
the delight of your palate.
Special occasions are befitting of this beauty.
and food, that’s what life is all about. Sensing a routine that is building
with salmon on Sunday, I went to Bacchus tonight and ordered wild game.
OK, deer is no longer wild game since I see it strolling across
Bloomfield Ave at 6AM when I’m heading out for work.
But Fois Gau stuffed venison just sounds gamey.
The salmon I enjoyed was just in a white wine sauce so I had to drink the
bottle of white wine. Not finding
the appropriate French Colombard, I dug out a bottle that has been sitting in
the cellar for a while. The name
intimidated me from opening it sooner. But
being a white wine, I did not want to let it go far beyond this year.
After drinking this one, I know why I’m a red wine lover.
For fun tonight I wanted a South African wine with my big game, but they
could not locate the bottle I selected. Under
pressure and wanting a big red wine, I picked a Chilean Cabernet from 1997.
This wine was a solid Cab with all the right smells of an oak aged red.
Les Domaines Barons de Rothchild (Lafite) Reserve Bordeaux Blanc
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon cepages, balanced for a clean, crisp,
fresh white wine.
Not much of an aroma from this glass and a pleasant, but short finish.
Serve chilled and with mild foods.
Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvee Alexandre
Cabernet aromas rocket from the surface of this wine with depth from the 11
months in oak (92% in French oak, 8% in American oak-50% new barrels, 40% 1 year
old and 10% 2 years old).
This wine has great fruit and tannins that will allow this to sit in the
bottle for years to come.
Blackberry and coffee dominate this wine.
For those looking for wines under $20.00 that have guts, this is a big,
bold red wine lover’s style.
is a dangerous thing. My
good friend, Wino John, reads Wine Spectator to uncover all the facts and
technical aspects of the fruit of the vine. I choose participant
observation as my method of education. Wino
John is intrigued with the fact that California’s second largest white
varietal grape is Colombard (French Colombard).
First what I did was find the grape.
Carmenet Colombard-Old Vines- Napa about 12.00 per bottle and the 1997
Livingston Cellars French Colombard of California, which pulls down a whopping 5
dollars a bottle. All the notes I
found encourage me to drink this one young, less than 4 years and chilled.
So I will set off on a journey to taste a cheap white wine so I can
continue my wine education. I understand there are a few Pennsylvania Wineries making
damn good French Colombard.
St. Patty’s Day. Does anyone
really know what time it is, does anyone really care?
Sometime I ask questions in my entries and to date, Wino Dan was the only
one to email me the answer to the question I asked months ago.
What is the Mistral? He knew
it was the strong wind that roars down the Rhone Valley, which may affect the
grape growing. So today I will post
a rhetorical question. What is a
Porron? This word appeared in the Spanish drinking song, but can you
tell me what it is? OK, so you
know, but you are too scared to email me the answer.
No, you know, but don’t care. No,
is anyone out there?
for the benefit of Wino John and Wino Wally, I will tell you what a Porron is.
A Porron is a glass container that resembles a bong. Well, it’s
not like I really know what a bong looks like, but I never had the opportunity
to use it in a sentence prior to this. Let
me show you what a Porron is.
This is a very basic looking Porron, there are much more ornate,
Maybe it’s an Erlenmeyer flask with a mouthpiece.
This device is a kind of cross between a decanter and a wine sack.
Having a deep-rooted tradition in Catalonia, examples of Porrons date
back to the 1400’s.
The Spanish dictionary describes it as a wide-bottomed glass container
frequently used in some Spanish provinces, mostly Catalan region, to drink wine,
which spurts in a jet from the spout rising at an angle from the base.
about this Mr. Technogeek, a Porron full of Red Spanish wine jetting towards
you. Calculate the trajectory and
speed at which the wine will splatter over your White Oxford shirt. Starting and stopping the flow is an art.
The masters begin inches from the mouth and move to arms length.
The Porron was the sanitary method for sharing your wine with friends as
you laugh and drink and sing wine songs. The
connoisseurs claim that the jetting of this wine through the air enriches the
wine and increases the sensation of freshness.
you for your time and attention to this matter.
let it be said that Wino Bob won’t admit when he’s wrong. (Aren’t those words
every woman wants to hear?)
On this eve of St. Patrick’s Day I wish all my Irish readers a Kiss on
their Blarney Stones. Though, I’m sure the Killian’s web site is where
they’re all hanging out right now. As
this fine holiday conjures up images of friends drunk and laughing and singing
drinking songs (there is that beer hall drinking thing again), I dodged the
green spattered sidewalk in town and made my way into the library. Some wild guy I am. This
tie between drinking with friends and singing off-key songs at the top of our
lungs with that, “I love you man,” look on our slung-jawed faces set me
searching for the right wine song.
hours of research I found an article in a publication that disproved my earlier
notion that there are no good wine drinking songs. So I state it loud and clear, I was wrong.
There is a spirited region in Spain that carries a tradition of songs
connected with wine that are sung in those “I love you, man,” drunken
states. The article did not list
the title of these songs, so my homework assignment must be marked incomplete at
this moment. Sorry, Mrs. Prindle.
disappointing to me is that not one of our Spanish readers volunteered to
correct me after I wrote about there being no good drinking songs for wine
lovers. Are there no Spaniards
amongst us? Are there no readers of
the only phrase I could find in this article from a wine drinking song is the
refrain from the Spanish wine ditty that goes: “Asuncion, Asuncion, pour half
a measure of wine into the porron.”
bad Napster is having their fight in court these days or I would download this
song and post a wave file in my column so we can all learn the words and sing it
the next time we are at Bacchus.
March 11, 2001
is what it’s all about. I totally
left my comfort zone during dinner last night at Bacchus.
As we waited for our table, I ordered a white wine.
The place was packed and the euphoria of the crowd out for a Saturday
night got me in the mood to throw caution to the wind.
My lifeline for wine selection, Joe the Wine Guy, was off on a Rock
Climbing Competition so I was flying solo.
Remain calm, find a producer you are acquainted with and give it a try.
for dinner and the Headwaiter presents the meat platter to describe the choices
of meat for the evening. Off the
cliff now and soaring in a new direction, I ordered the Buffalo Rib Eye.
This 16 oz. of lean Buffalo is braised with a spicy coating cooked to
medium rare perfection with a taste of the gamy open plains of the 1800’s
wafting in the smokey texture.
Red Wine and being with Italian wine lovers, I picked a grape I had no history
with. One of my guests said she
liked the wine style so we were into a Barbara D’Alba from Piedmont.
white wine was enjoyable, the Buffalo was delicious, the red wine is where I
crashed and burned. But they all
cannot be winners. The wine was not
undrinkable, but it was not a gem either. Oh
sure, I could have ordered from the Rhone section of the wine list.
Joe the Wine Guy is bolstering that section very nicely.
However, I needed to stretch beyond the limits in which I am
comfortable…that’s what I love most about wine and dinner.
Enjoying conversation, trying new things and being open to what ever
results come of it.
Trimbach Pinot Blanc $ (9.00)
A lean, crisp, clean wine, this can be enjoyed as an aperitif.
Not much aroma.
Mild citrus fruit.
This would be an excellent wine to accompany shellfish.
Vigna Majang Barbara D’Alba $$ (28.00
I try to think of the
aroma wheel when I try new wines, but the only thing that came to mind when I
smelled this wine was the odor of a muddy field as the sun begins to heat the
standing water. That and blue cheese.
Neither appear as descriptive terms.
As the wine opened, a berry fruit flavor came through, but it was a short
finish and drying tannins.
do the Oprah show, Imus in the Morning and Wino Bob
have in common? No, only Imus wears
a cowboy hat. No, to my knowledge,
Oprah never had a drinking problem. Think
show content... That’s right, we
all recommend books to our millions of viewers.
OK, I am just starting a new series of books that I recommend for Winos
to read. OK, I don’t have
millions of viewers. And yes, I do
not carry the weight of Imus or Oprah, especially Oprah.
But for those of you winos interested in adding to your vast knowledge
base, there are books out there that are worth keeping on hand and referring
back to from time to time. I submit
to you my first recommended book to begin your library with.
World Encyclopedia of Wine
off, anything entitled, “The World…” is a book I must own.
This way I never miss out on something that might be happening in a
region that would not be included in a book entitled, “The Northern
Hemisphere...” or “East of the Time Meridian…” or “Countries Beginning
with the Letter F…”. Now I have
everything in the world known to man at my fingertips.
Secondly, this hard cover book makes a beautiful coffee table display. Not being one to own a coffee table or to know what to do with a coffee table if I did own one, this book is perfect for the idea Kramer put forth of having a coffee table book that is large enough to be a coffee table.
the serious side, this book is a great foundation for the noble grapes, the
regions they are produced in and an understanding of wine.
I submit to you the first in my series of wine books to build your library with that also help you stock your wine cellar.
promises. Last summer, I met some
people who were into making their own wine.
They brought a bottle they crafted to this party and it gave me something
to do at this otherwise, shall I say, boorish party.
The people were kind and friendly and loved wine.
By the end of the evening, we were trading wine stories and they promised
to drop by with a bottle of their wine the next time they were in the hood.
the conversation, they did tell me about a wine club called Garden State Wine
Club. That’s in NJ, for those of
you in Rio Linda. So, the other day I was on the web, go figure, and I punched
in Garden State Wine Club in my favorite search portal, www.dogpile.com. Through several emails, I signed up. I now can officially say, I am a member of a club.
Thank you Groucho. This club offers several different programs to suit your
taste. I signed up for the Premium
Reds. This will deliver to my
doorstep 2 bottles of red wine, one in the 20-25 dollar range and one in the
10-15 dollar range. Today I
received my first shipment. As I
tore open the package, I pulled out a bottle of California Cabernet, which I
will tell you about in a moment. My
Premium bottle unveiled itself to be, Vinson Richards 1998 Chardonnay Reserve. Yes, that’s right, my high-end red wine is a bottle of
Chardonnay from Uruguay. As I
opened the packing slip, it clearly stated I would be receiving for my Premium
Red, Greg Norman Estates Shiraz. Well,
I called up the Garden State Wine Club and told them they had sent me a
Chardonnay. They asked if I was
aware that Chardonnay's not a red wine so, since I am signed up for the Premium
Red Wine package, I could not have received a Chardonnay.
Then I was asked if I knew the difference between a Chardonnay and a
Shiraz. Immediately, I told them I
was Wino Bob, damn it, and have corrupted my liver on Shiraz and it was no
phone calls later, I was promised that my Greg Norman would be included in my
next shipment and if I wanted to I could use the Chardonnay for cooking.
I again told the person on the other end of the line, "I’m Wino
Bob, damn it. Why would I waste any wine in the frying pan until I have at
least consumed half the bottle?" So one night, with a fish dinner, I will try this Chardonnay
from Uruguay, it may be a sleeper.
I picked this under ten-dollar California Cabernet to accompany the take-out
Penne Napoli which I enjoyed in its aluminum-shipping container. The wine description came with a recipe suggestion, Pepper
Steak with Port-Wine Mushroom Sauce, but I had pasta from a tin that I carried
home in a brown paper bag.
Sea Ridge Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon $ (9.99)
Though not intense or bold, this wine is drinkable now with rich berry flavors
and mild tannins.
Medium-bodied, there is a bouquet of vanilla from the toasted oak barrel.
There will be some bottle aging enhancements but it's not worth hiding
this one away.
And remember, next time you are having Pepper Steak with Port Wine
Mushroom Sauce, think Sea Ridge Coastal.
I personally think this wine will not hold up to a really peppery steak.
March 4, 2001
apologize, I promised to not bring up the religion theme for my entries.
As today is Sunday and the first Day of the Lenten Season, I was drawn to
a wine at my friend Mr. Kim’s store. The
label was most fitting for the day so I had to buy it.
The wine is called, The Holy Trinity.
Now how could I let my cousin, The Brother, down and pass up trying a
wine with this name. After reading
the label, the wine maker clearly identifies the reasons behind the name, none
of which are religious. He starts
by telling us this is a union of three important grapes to the Barossa Valley.
This wine is 39% Grenache, 31% Shiraz and 30% Mourvedre.
The other reason I had to try this wine is due to the fact that these
grapes live in my Rhone wines. The
other reason behind the name has to do with the land, the grapes and the family
that produces this wine. This
triumvirate comes together in a harmony of great wine and successful commerce.
The reason I think they called this wine The Holy Trinity is because this
wine is a truly enlightening experience. For wine lovers of Big Reds, please do
not purchase all of this wine so I may find a few bottles on the shelf that I
can tuck away in my cellar for the nights I want my wine drinking to be a
religious experience. Let me know
if you cannot find this in your local wine shop, I know Mr. Kim is sitting on
1997 Grant Burge Barossa The Holy Trinity $$ (29.99) Complex, bold, deep hue, rich, powerful, all describe this wine. Peppers and cherries are the first of many aromas from this wine, followed by eucalyptus, dark cherry, like opening a drawer in your cherry furniture. A bouquet of vanilla and wood come from the maturation in French oak Hogsheads. A hint of acid and tannin tell me this will only benefit from a nap in the cellar. A wine that can be impressive now or held onto for years of pleasure.
Coppo Barbera D’Asti Camp du Rouss $ 14.99
This wine gives a lot of alcohol and little fruit in the nose.
High acid and a harsh after taste greet you with the first taste. The acid mellows to reveal a mild fruit flavor.
Not very much to describe. Buy
this one for pizza with people with whom you are only casually acquainted.
March 3, 2001
know that my entries move from the serious to the ridiculous and, since I have
not been serious in awhile, I offer the following wine information.
this for serious? The BATF (U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms)
recently fined 2 wineries for mislabeling their product.
C. Mondavi & Sons (not Robert Mondavi Wineries) was fined $300,000 for using the
"Napa Valley" designate on their
labels when the grapes came from a variety of other regions.
Also, Bronco Wineries was fined $750,000 for their Forest Glen, Napa
Creek, and Rutherford Vintner’s Blend because their labels falsely indicated
coming from Napa and Sonoma grapes.
you know who William M. Gaines was? Yes,
he is no longer with us. I will see
if anyone can identify for what he is famous.
E-mail me or post your answers on the guest book.
I will tell you he was a collector of fine wines and several lots of his
recently auctioned off. Several bottles included 1866 and 1889 Tokaji Essencia,
the much sought after Hungarian sweet wine, and Burgundies from Romanee-Conti and
Misigny. The fruits of his labor
are still enjoyed by many today.
you name the top 5 wine producing countries according to France’s Official
International de la Vigne et du Vin?