This page contains
Winings from the 1st
Quarter of the year 2012.
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March 30, 2012
figured out how to lessen the number of bottles of wine consumed at Gourmet
Cafť. Most times we go through four to five bottles. Not last night. Just two
bottles of wine were consumed. He solution you ask? Simply invite only one
other person. The two of us only had two bottles. Unlike when the four of us
get together, four bottles are just way too much. We enjoyed a Frescobaldi
Nipozzano Chianti Riserva 2007 as the warm up. Matt had a soft shell crab
special which I requested he surprise me with the style. He did. A light
tomato base with basil and garlicÖkiller. The second was a 2007 California
Cabernet. Since it is under consideration for the presentation I am doing next
season for the ECWS, letís just say, we enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately for
WJ, he is in a hellhole of gastronomy, eating ground shark head stew or
something. I wonder what type of wine he had? It is fish head so Iím thinking
a white wine. I donít know how much Big Ass California Cabernet makes it to a
part of the world that lives on 3 dollars a month.
March 29, 2012
Wow, last night
I had the pleasure of watching the blockbuster movie,
from the comfort of my home. Yes, nothing better than reclining in my comfy
chair, eating a grilled chicken and bacon panini while sipping a
Cabernet. Albeit, a crappy Cabernet but for a Wednesday it was fine. Then I
got up to go to the refrigerator and suddenly realized I was not at home.
To my surprise,
the process of going to a movie has been turned up a notch by the Theater in
Essex Green. The ticket price was 12 dollars, which I can live with. The seats
are large, puff and recline. The menu has a little bit of everything, though
not the healthiest of foods but a step up from snowcaps and twizzlers. There is
a full bar service, not top shelf but drinking and watching works. The only
negative was that we were in the second row from the screen. Without giving
away the plot, I was bothered by the shaky, whipping camera technique of the
movie. I know it was done to emote this panic feeling, but from where we were
it was detraction.
I will be
honest, I haven't read the books. Unlike many people leaving the theater, I
couldn't say the books were so much better. The movie was entertaining. I have
a take away, if I make a movie I will have it come out first, then write the
book years later. This way the murmur after the show will only deal with the
merits of the movie.
As for the
wine, I really didn't care what Cabernet it was or that it cost 8 dollars for a
short pour. The fact that my living room now has a movie-sized screen, I might
just have to move in. Now, if the bathroom were closer to the theater room, it
would be heaven. Kudos to the concept, I hope it lasts. I would have loved to
be at that meeting. What can we do to boost sales you ask?How's this, most
people go for dinner before a movie. Check this out, we let them eat in the
theater. Dinner and a movie at the same seat... Brilliant! Give that man
a cheroot. I wonder if I can be their wine consultant.
March 22, 2012*
Is it wrong to think that a threesome with Mika Brzezinski
and Monica Crowley would be the craziest night of
my your life? The
tension alone would be off the hook, but think about the one upmanship they
would bring to the party. The fight for which ideology is more of a, you know,
friendly position, wowzers. I actually think that Monica is one crazy
conservative, and I mean that in a good way. Mika looks a bit put off by
certain things. If I were a software genius, I would develop a program like
Madden Football where you can play a theoretical game. It would make it like a
steel cage death match, winner-take-all.
Sorry, I am off the range here because technology has me
pissed. It seems that now a day when you upgrade one simple thing there is a
snowball effect on all other devices and software. My crappy little personal
(not work) cell phone had to be upgraded and I made the plunge into the android
world. Forget the learning curve, it wants to hook up with my computer except I
need a newer version of a plug in and it only hooks up if you talk nice to it
and bring it flowers. I havenít figured out a way to put stuff in folders so
now I have four screens of programs I need to hunt through to find what I am
looking for. This is supposed to make my life easier? And donít get me started
on email set up. I am a pop3 mail guy, I donít have a Gmail account, and itís
not all the automated nirvana they claim. And their version of talk to the
phone to get things done is giving me a speech complex.
I was so frustrated last night I drank beer. Yes, good old
Cricket Hill IPA from Fairfield, NJ. I was afraid to drink wine last night.
The elevated acid in my stomach would have churned out vinegar. Once I get this
set, back to the bottle and more exciting news. For now how do I load my music
from iTunes to android? Like Mika and Monica I sense they are at different ends
of the spectrum.
March 18, 2012*
A belated Happy St. Patrickís Day. For the first time
ever, I went to an Irish Pub yesterday on the drunkest of celebratory events. I
cringed on the drive over as a Saturday opens the bars to a larger group than
normal. The first surprise came as I found a parking spot in the lot right
across the street from the pub. I walked in and the second surprise of the
night was a seat at the bar, no vomit on the floor and most every patron
upright. With fear of an attempt to alter any wine to the color green, I went
with the crowd and ordered a Guinness or two. The beer was smooth, the music
was Irish, the step dancers were talented and the corned beef was lean. The
final surprise of the night was the subtleness of the Jameson Irish Whiskey. I
found it funny that everything was served in plastic cups. The beer I
understand, no one wants a drunken brawl to break out with thick glass mugs
being tossed about. But the small plastic shot cups were crappy to drink from.
The ride home was uneventful. I donít know if New York City was packed but 13
miles west, the Irish pub in South Orange was less than jumping.
I trust you had a safe and happy celebration. By the way,
what is it that St Patrick did that causes bagel shops and bars to food dye
their products and uncomfortable color of green? Thank God they donít do this
for St. Maryís Day. Erin has no bra!
March 15, 2012
Oh Boy, the Ides of March. Iím not really sure what an "Ide"
is but it was not good if I recall. I am writing this, not quite sure if I
should be laughing about it or crying about it. Wino John and I had dinner at
Gourmet Cafť last night, with a semi-reserved, casual wine associate. For lack
or originality, letís just call him Dave. In the course of three and a half
hours, we broke the poor man from his reserved demeanor to a tried-and-true,
bust-out wino. I donít know if I laughed more at the conversation or the
transformation but for what itís worth, we converted one to the dark side. It
always starts out so simple and mellow, but I guess the fourth bottle of wine
and the shot of black Sambuca flipped the switch. I am talking around it right
now in fear that a hungover Wino Dave may wake up today and either not remember
the night or intentionally want to erase the memory of the night. I will say
the old boy came into his own and soon had us partaking in the birthday cake
from the celebration of the table next to ours. Well played, my man.
As for the wines, we warmed up with a 2007 Franciscan
Merlot just to lubricate the pipes. We eased into a 2008 Ruffino Modus
touting 50% Sangiovese, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot. A delight with
pasta and the mussels marinara. Switching gears and with dinner plates
emptying, we hit our stride with a 2007 Juslyn Cabernet Sauvignon. For
those of you that keep score, that one got a 95 from RP. For an 07, it was
approachable with lush, dark fruit and a mocha flavor on the backend. As the
frequency of exchanges between tables increased, we knew we were staying a bit
longer so WJ broke out a 2008 Oreno Toscana (Sette
Ponti) that hails with a 96 from WA and WS. This was heavenly with a
nice fruit acid balance, red berries and mint with a spice on the finish.
At that point, the volume in Mattís restaurant could have
gotten us a ticket for disturbing the peace, but fortunately for us, Matt
decided to pull up a chair and enjoy some wine and hope that things didnít get
too out of hand.
I shall never look at Wino Dave in the same way as I did on
the walk into dinner last night. Unfortunately for him, heís one of us now.
February 24, 2012*
I enjoyed an excellent dinner last night, with Wino John
and the other Bob. We ate at the usual place. I went with my usual dinner. But
unfortunately the wine I brought was tainted. Thank God there were 2 other wines
on the table. I know wino John brought about Barolo. It was delicious. It went
well with Mike Cavatelli with shrimp and scallops. I was disappointed that my
Cabernet was tainted especially since I have 5 more bottles of wine. But the hit
of the night had to be the 1997 Hess collection Cabernet Sauvignon that the
other Bob brought. The wine was at its apex. The tannins were silky smooth, the
fruit was luscious and soft, and the mocha finish satisfied my need for dessert.
As we have entered the Lenten season, it looks like my
commitment will be to have dinner with the poor, the downtrodden, the weary at
gourmet Cafť every Wednesday evening till Easter. Iím glad wino John selected
Wednesday nights instead of Friday nights in case I choose to have chicken or
veal instead of the same old pasta every Wednesday.
I learned that over dinner, that wino John is testing
Dragon dictation to see how it handles my drunken ramblings. As he places *
marks by the entries that come directly from Dragon he is testing the technology
of handling me after 3 bottles of wine. Dragon doesnít like that and may one day
decide to write its own message to wino John. For some reason, Dragon does not
like the word wino. Sometimes it types out the words why no. One time I saw the
words line note. I canít tell if itís my jersey accent or my wino accent that
confuses Dragon. I am sure over time Dragon will learn my pronunciations to
fluently translate my entries after a night of debauchery. Once that happens
Dragon may wind up writing its own messages to wino John. I paid extra for the
curse like a sailor module in Dragon so F*!# You. For some reason Dragon just
crashed. Maybe the curse like a sailor module is not fully functional. Enough
for now, Seacrest out.
February 23, 2012
For those Bordeaux lovers out there, I wanted you to be
aware of an upcoming event. I received this invitation regarding a barrel
tasting trip to Bordeaux. I have never tasted Bordeaux wines from the barrel
but I understand the 2009 wines will be fantastic. The trip also offers dinner
at a winery, golf, and drinking. Yes, lots of drinking! If you know
someone that would be interested please pass along the information. Iíll have to
check my busy schedule to see if I will be able to join this trip and drink some
of the worldís classiest, boldest, big-ass Cabernet-based wines produced by the
February 20, 2012*
I have to give big props to the Tobacco Road shop in
Barnegat New Jersey. I was down for a visit and wanted to have a relaxing moment
by the Bay. Barnegat has a small downtown area, quaint, with some antique
stores, restaurants, and my new assigned a great little cigar shop. What I like
most about this place is their selection of Arturo Fuente cigars. The only thing
that would make this shop nicer is a wine bar. Unlike cigar shops in northern
New Jersey this place leads there opus X cigars in the case allowing you to
select as many as you would like. Selected a few cigars, drove to the bay and
blazed up an enjoyable stogie. It is hard for me to understand how a shop like
this can stay in business with the current anti-smoking climate. I will become a
steady customer of the small business to help him keep his doors open while
enjoying those beautiful Dominican cigars. My only disappointment is that they
are an hour 45 min. from my home. Otherwise I probably would be there once a
week. As for wine, I have not found a great wine store in Barnegat as of yet. If
I were to find both and not get arrested enjoying them while sitting by the day
life would be grand. If anyone knows of a great wine store in the Barnegat area
please let me know. I am sure if I find one it might actually become my new
February 18, 2012*
It has taken me a while to get this new software going. But
I am learning to use dictation instead of typing. My entries now will be spoken,
not typed out. I hope this software can deal with my drunken slurring. Last
night, we went to a friendís house for dinner. We didnít enjoy wine because the
host served Mojitos. That was the 1st Mojito Iíve had. I must tell
you the dark rum he used was quite tasty. But I did wake up this morning with a
pretty bad headache.
I have been on the hunt for 2007 California Cabernet
Sauvignons. It will take a while for me to collect what I need for the tasting I
am running. I am looking forward to drinking a lot of great wine in the process.
I am relying heavily on Robert Parkerís scorers to ensure I find wines that the
Essex County wine society members will enjoy. Iím very happy with several Iíve
tasted so far. Knowing that several members read this blog, and I will be doing
the tasting blind, I will not be entering the names of the wines at this
particular time. Trust me, these will be very
bold, big, chewy, heavy wines.
I have to say this new software is great. It beats typing.
The only thing I cannot add easily yet are pictures and icons. More tomorrow. I
must read the book. I donít know why the font is changed. If I were Larry King I
could use this to dictate my column. You have to change your speech pattern for
the software to recognize it. To my head this sounds like Larry Kingís column
reads. When my picking on Larry King today? I am looking forward to becoming
proficient at dictation it will save me a great deal of time. It did take me a
while to learn the commands, and I still have not learned how to dictate
e-mails. Thank God I got the jersey speak version of this software. The only
problem I do see is having to pronounce the names on French wine bottles, German
wine bottles, and Italian wine bottles. Other than that this should be fun.
(Editor's note: * The asterisk indicates that this entry was not proofed or edited in
any way. In fact, I may not make any edits going forward. I want to
see what kind of random, whacky things this speech-to-text software may serve
February 14, 2012
The Staff at WinoStuff.com wishes our friend, Steven Kampmann, the best of luck
with the release of his latest movie, Buzzkill.
Q and A with Steven Kampmann
Q : Was directing
War Horse a challenge?
SK: I didnít
direct War Horse. Thatís Steven Spielberg
Q: I meant
Steven Soderbergh. This ďStevenĒ (meaning me) directed BuzzKill.
Q: Sorry. My brain is
a bit fuzzy today. What exactly is a ďBuzzkill?Ē
much whatís happening in this interview.
Q: What inspired you
to make BuzzKill?
always wanted to co-write and direct a film that would take seven years to make
Ė as a practicing Buddhist, itís all part of working on my patience. May I
is being released on Valentineís Day. Is it a love story?
Letís just say I will love you if you watch it and leave it at that.
Go to secondcitysbuzzkill.com
- there are two links at the top of the page: one to rent the film through
Netflix and one to buy it through Amazon. The film will also be available as a
VOD with many local cable companies.
Q: Itís feels weird
to admit but as I watched BuzzKill, I actually lost some weight, looked
years younger, and my sex drive went through the roof. Is that a common
Absolutely. Watching BuzzKill is a powerful health supplement.
And it can make you smarter too. In previews, students consistently scored
higher on their SATs after watching the film.
Q: Should people who
see BuzzKill keep it a secret like they are in al-Qaeda or something?
SK: That would
be both incredibly odd and stupid. Believe it or not, films are supposed to be
seen by as many people as possible.
Q: Really? Thatís so
interesting. I didnít know that. Of course I barely go to the movies anymore
what with DVDs and ďstreamingĒ (whatever that is). What should people do after
reading this interview?
something to recover, preferably strong, and then forward this email to all
their friends telling them to rent or buy BuzzKill. They can also text,
Facebook, and tweet.
What is a tweet?
SK: No one
knows. But when I drink martinis, I tweet a lot.
Q: Whoís your target
SK: Fans of
Second City and SNL and all my former students and colleagues at Blair Academy Ė
the best boarding school in America.
Q: Okay, so what
should people who know nothing about BuzzKill do? Should they quit their
jobs or get divorced or give up all together? Iím lost here.
SK: I can see
that. All they need to do is check out the trailer, read a couple of short
reviews, and watch the Black Santa video (below on this page) Theyíll be hooked.
Q: What is next for
SK: Make more
movies or maybe just get some dinner.
Q: Thank you for your
time, Steven. I just want to say I have enjoyed all your action films like
Under Siege and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Itís wonderful you are
ďspreading your wingsĒ into comedy with BuzzKill. Best of luck.
Steven Segal. But thank you anyway.
Happy Valentineís Day -
CHECK OUT BUZZKILL
Digital Hippos review
Reespace blog review
Black Santa video
February 12, 2012
Before I start with my comments about wine, I wanted to
take a moment with two non-sequiturs. The first is simple and might eventually
become related to this blog. As time seems more fleeting then ever, I decided
to order Dragon software so now I can simply dictate my blog to the genius
software and let it type for me. I had to pay extra for the slurred, drunken
descrambling module. The software should be here in a few days and of course
there will be weeks of trial and error before I read the manual and figure out
how to use it properly. If it works, it should be three times faster than
typing, so they claim. It simply means twice as many drunken ramblings.
Drunken math has a different denominator when calculating an equation. Call it
the Wino Bob constant.
The second has nothing to do with wine, but mostly to do
with my personal entertainment. I watched the movie "The Way" last night. If
you havenít seen it, you should. Itís touching and transformational and
beautiful, just the opposite of what I write. Without spoiling it for you, I
just have one comment. I was all in until my epiphany during the scene at St.
Jamesís statue. Then I got this creepy, goose-bumpy feeling and I heard Anthony
Michael Hallís voice reading the letter at the end of the movie Breakfast Club.
If you have seen it, let me know your thoughts.
The last thing I wanted to share was the fun that has
become a small part of my dreaded life. On occasion, I get to ďlunchĒ with an
important member of the ECWS to discussÖ business. A few days back, one such
lunch took place in a quaint little eatery in Madison. Lunching in a quaint
eatery in Madison is in itself a treat. But as a wino, getting to enjoy a
bottle of 2004 Pride Mountain Sangiovese is heaven. The only downside to the
experience is that it only comes in a 500 ml bottle. I know it was lunch and I
am supposed to be classy at this eatery but the wine was too good to not want
more. As the person I dined with has over 4000 bottles in his personal cellar,
I look forward to needing a ďbusinessĒ lunch real soon.
February 3, 2012
Last night was the ECWS meeting and if I dare say, had a
dashingly handsome, bright, clean, articulate, well dressed, captivating young
guest speaker. No, it wasnít President Obama (although I think he is a wine
guy). Besides, we were doing South African wines and, you know, he wants
to keep the American thing going until after November. It seem the presenter
took the safe, dear I say "chicken shit" route to present the SA wines by
selecting the most recognized, highly rated region of Stellenbosch. To curry
favor with those who braved the non-French wine tasting and showed up, he
claimed that the wines would be Bordeaux blends. So, yadda, yadda, yadda... he
showed some slides to lessen his need to speak and lazily played a movie to let
someone else do most of the work. Then it was tasting time.
2008 Simonsig Pinotage
2008 Spier Private Collection Pinotage
Hey, douchie-douch, you said Bordeaux blends. I ainít
seeing any Cabernet in my pinotage. Fool me once, shame on me. Though I did
enjoy the Spier hands down to the Simonsig. I guess sometimes wood matters.
2007 Rustenberg John X Merriman
2007 Miles Mossop Max
They were ok, but nothing exciting here.
2006 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound
2006 Ernie Els Signature
2005 Kanonkop Paul Sauer
2006 Vergelegen Mill Race Red
A 2005 in the mix? I picked that one out just because it
was slightly different than the other three but I couldnít figure out why. I
actually liked the lesser expensive Mill Race red over the Ernie Els at almost
three times the cost.
2003 Vergelegen V Red
2003 Grangehurst Pinotage
That sneaky bastard put a pinotage in next to one of the
top reds from the area. My honest opinion, the Grangehurst wasnít bad at all.
Then I found out the Vergelegen was $150 and the Grangehurst was $28. It
made me appreciate the Grangehurst five times as much. I do see the elegance of
the Vergelegen and why it is always written up as a premier wine from this
To wrap this up, what did I learn last night?
Never trust what the
presenter says about the wines.
Always be prepared for a
Never judge a pinotage by
But most of all, I learned that I enjoyed researching these
wines for the presentation and better yet, I appreciated those who attended. I
drove home last night reflecting on the very kind words from everyone
afterwards. The best comment was, ďthat was better than I thought it was going
to be.Ē Thanks, mom.
I just have to wait a month to see if I am still a member
when the invites come out for the next tasting. If I get charged the guest
price, I know where I stand.
January 13, 2012
Thank God I am not a Knight of the Templar. Letís
just say Friday the 13th wasnít very kind to them. Fortunately, I am
a member of the ECWS. Last night, we enjoyed the presentation of Priorat wines
by the lovely and talented ECWS member, Nuris. Though she is fighting tooth and
nail to not be named a Wino Babe, I trust in time we might see her featured on
the front page of this stupid web site. For now, I will honor her decline of
being the upcoming WBOTM, but we can all dream.
Priorat is a region I enjoy because of the styles of wines
they produce. Their lush fruit, jammy texture and silky finish delight my
palate. Note to wine society: it was nice having a fresh face of the female
persuasion presenting. I have to say some of my tablemates paid much
closer attention than normal. It also was clear that the presenter had
professional training in the craft of wine education, making her style
confidently relaxed. Unfortunately, I will be presenting next month and...
well, letís just say I hope to not have my membership revoked afterwards. I
kinda like the society these days. On to the wine, face it, thatís what you are
2004 Cesca Vicent Lo Piot
2008 Mas Igneus Mas Barranc
2007 Closa Batllet
For me, the Closa Batllet was the biggest and boldest of
the three but these were not my favorites of the night.
2000 Mas díen Gil Clos Fonta
2004 Merum Ardiles
2005 Vinyes Mas Romani La Bassetta
A step up from the first flight. The 2004 Merum Ardiles
was tops in the flight and turned out to be one of my top three for the night.
2006 Mas Doix Salanques
2007 Mas Doix Costers
2005 Marco Abella Mas Malloia
2006 Vall Llach Idus
The final flight evaluation was tainted at our table. Many
of us had a bottle of the Marco Abella that had an off nose. It smelled like a
band-aid and didnít evaluate well. My personal first choice was the Vall Llach
followed by the Mas Doix Costers. It turns out that the room voted the number
8, 10 and 5 wines as the top three of the night. Last night, I concurred.
Does that mean I have lost my individuality? Nah... Clearly the room is
coming around to my way of thinking.
Pray for me next week, the rabbit is entering the lionís
January 1, 2012
As tradition has it, it is my
duty obligation to
start the year with the naming of the Grape of the Year. We ended 2001 in style
with a CdP that WJ brought to our last supper dinner. As you know, the
process starts months in advance. Voting takes place over three balloting
periods. The accounting firm Deloitte and Touchť verifies the voting and keeps
the results under seal until the stroke of midnight whereupon a long black
stretch limo pulls up to our server farm and the VP of IT unsheathes the
resultant ballot to officially post the winner.
This year was quite different. The voters during this
process had to show photo ID to prove they are who they say they are. The SEIU
protested the voting change and it got really ugly. After several fracases and
an overnight in jail, the whole process had to be scrapped leaving a truncated
vote and an unhappy voting block.
At this point I had little choice but to take things into
my own hands, vigorously work out the ďdetailsĒ, nap, and then figure this whole
thing out myself. With a compressed time-space continuum, I had to think
quickly. My first thought was, who do I know that would have a great wine
cellar that I can extract from? Of course, all the long-term friends at the
ECWS. One problem there, nobody has extended an invitation to drink any of
their wine... Damn it, Cartman! Fall back plan, what does Wino John have
in his cellar? Brilliant!
Without further ado, this yearís genius selection for the
Grape Blend of the Year is:
Yes, folks, this year we celebrate the highly praised
Italian wines that break all the rules, kinda like Snookie. And the very
first super Tuscan I enjoyed was a bottle of Sassicaia. Just to be clear, I
went to the source and wanted to quote this definition of a super Tuscan.
ďSuper Tuscans are an unofficial
category of Tuscan wines, not recognized within the Italian wine classification
system. The origin of Super Tuscans is rooted in the restrictive DOC practices
of the Chianti zone prior to the 1990s. During this time, Chianti could be
composed of no more than 70% Sangiovese and had to include at least 10% of one
of the local white wine grapes. Producers who deviated from these regulations
could not use the Chianti name on their wine labels and would be classified as
vino da tavola- Italys' lowest wine designation. The Marchese Piero
Antinori was one of the first to create a "Chianti-style" wine that ignored the
DOC regulations, releasing a 1971 Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend known as
Tignanello in 1978.Ē Wikipedia, for what itís
So hereís to í12 and the rule-breakers from Tuscany who
dared to deviate from the norm. We will enjoy the toils of their labor and
their desire to craft world class wines. I say all Italians should have a
little something else in them as evidenced by Snookieís behavior at the Jersey
Shore. I look forward to Wino John opening the doors to his wine cellar and
us me to the finest of Italian wines God has created
and man has crafted.
Bobís scale combining cost and
$- under 20
$$- 20-50 dollars
$$$$-75 to 100
$$$$$-100+ ( not
in the budget)
I will use an icon, ,
to rate my wines. The more icons, the better I liked it and would love
to share this bottle with some good food and my rat friends. WinoBob
Editor's Note: A while back, Bob went off on a
tangent and changed his icon to .
He does this just to make me crazy!!!.