This page contains Winings
from the 3rd Quarter of the year 2003.
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believe I left out something of relevance in the George Plimpton eulogy.
As he headed out the door in the only seersucker suit I have been up
close and personal with, he picked up a straw hat and placed it squarely on
his head and walked out into the summer’s wind.
I managed to see a small logo on the band, the hat was made by the
world famous Susquehanna Hat Company. Slowly,
I turned, step-by-step, inch by inch… Sorry; I just can’t get that
Lou Costello thing out of my head.
thunderstorms running through NJ again, I took the time to flop in front of
the TV and stumbled on the HBO showing of a movie called The Rat Pack.
It was billed as a docudrama, which I guess means a mix of fact and
fiction. Afterwards, it
occurred to me that Hoboken, NJ born, Frank Sinatra, has been spoken about
and written about as having friendships and working relationships with
Organized Crime members. I have
even heard a rumor that Sammy’s glass eye was the result of some
“friends of Frank” sending Sammy a message regarding the women Sammy had
his eye on, but I can’t really go into detail, if you know what I mean.
The irony I was left with is that the people writing letters about
the Sopranos and movies like the Godfather
having a negative impact on the world view of Italians are the same people
driving around in their Cadillac’s listening to Frank’s greatest hits,
or buying DVDs of Sinatra movies. I
guess it’s just me but next time the NJ crowd gets vocal at the beginning
of the Soprano’s season, we should ask those same people how many Sinatra
recordings they own.
evening, Wino Rocker stopped by with the lovely Winette Rocker.
He had been in the studio with his newly formed band putting down
some cool jazz with his dark glassed, vest wearing, hipster new gang.
He’s angling for the wino music market, something more appropriate
then Red, Red Wine by UB40. Somehow,
I always had a craving for a blunt after that song.
No, this was more for the casual evening with a bottle of red and
friends. I’m getting the
sense that Wino Ray and Wino Rocker are heading back for a reunion, though
Mississippi Queen will no longer be the first song of the second set.
No, this could be the laid back sounds of the red wine and casual
gatherings CD, tour and black light poster.
The Rockers now spend time visiting small wineries in Pennsylvania
and Ohio when they weekend at their hunting grounds.
Last night they brought over a bottle of Cabernet Franc from a winery
in Ohio called DeBonne Vineyards. It
was our warm up wine as one bottle is never enough.
It wasn’t bad, carrying a lot of earthiness on the nose and some
dark cherry flavor.
Meffre La Chasse du Pape Prestige Cotes-du Rhone Rouge
They had the right idea, blending Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre
together and it could have been a beautiful thing.
But the balance was off, no bass line and very little depth
As a follow
up to the origins of the Seersucker Suit, I was told that they name came
from the fact that this fine garment was sold in the 1920 exclusively
through the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
Mr. Sears laughed every time another Sucker bought one out these half
cloth, half paper machete garments. Unfortunately,
that is not the correct explanation. Below is information that came
directly from a fashion editor at a high-class clothier.
The beauty of the explanation is that they use the words aplomb and
rumpled in the same sentence, a literary feat I have yet to accomplish.
American seersucker is a cotton version of the silk seersucker worn in
the nineteenth century by the British in India. The word itself seems to be
a Hindi corruption of a Persian phrase, shir shakkar, which translates as
"milk and sugar." This etymology refers to the alternating smooth
and rough textures of the stripes, the distinctive feature of the cloth,
which is achieved by what is called slack-tension weaving: alternating
fibers are held under normal tension, while intervening ones are kept slack
to create a pattern of puckered and flat stripes. Seersucker's most
distinguishing characteristic is its greatest stylistic virtue as well: it
flaunts its rumpled state with aplomb.
became popular as the perfect cloth for hot, humid climes. In the South, men
began to wear seersucker suits in the summer around the turn of the century
as a more comfortable alternative to flannel and linen, but they were
considered a rather cheap approach to dressing and had little fashion allure
until university men began wearing them after the First World War. They were
seen at tony country clubs in the '30s and '40s but didn't really catch on
with businessmen in the North until the end of the Second World War, as
witnessed in a newspaper column written by that great writer and dandy Damon
Runyon in July 1945.
September 26, 2003-Addendum
Driving around today, I heard
the sad news that author, sportsman, and genuine good guy, George Plimpton,
passed away at the age of 76. Why
did George’s death and not the hip, rocker Robert Palmer’s death sadden
me you ask? First off, Robert Palmer had too many hot chicks so I never
would identify with him. However, I had the occasion to meet Mr. Plimpton
and speak with him. About six
or seven years ago, a friend of mine was working with a product in the
tennis industry. He had been
invited to a cocktail party by the publisher of Tennis Weekly
and asked if I wanted to tag along. Now
this was before my hip, black, NY attire closet, my entry into the literary
world and wine drinking. What?
No, really! I am a member of the literary community. Seriously!
Well into my 5th
Gin and Tonic, I headed across the room, extended my hand and said something
unintelligible to George, like “Mr. Plimpton, I’m a big admirer of your
works. You know, I’m a paper lion, too.” I’m a paper
lion, too? What the F&%# does that mean?
I remember the look he gave me, like, "I’m a paper lion.
What the F*^% does that mean…
What impressed me was his
cordialness prior to spinning on his heels and heading in the opposite
direction from me. He was a
stately looking man, tall and thin, not that there’s anything wrong with
that. He wore a seersucker
suit, crisp white button-down oxford shirt and a tennis theme tie.
A chardonnay perched in his hand, he swept his distinguished gray
hair across his forehead and said in his proper boarding school voice,
“Thank you for reading my books.”
Sorry, I just can’t let
this one go. What the hell is a seersucker suit and why was it
invented? Does a well-dressed
man need a white and light blue striped suit where the puckers of the blue
stripe look like paper mache when bad?
And where in the hell did that name come from?
I would never be able to go to a store and ask the sales person to
point me in the direction of your seersucker suits.
And did the guy who made the name up do it in earnest or was it a
goof? Maybe he had a great
sense of humor and laughed as
country clubs around the US had cocktail parties where captains of industry
where donning seersucker suits and getting the following comments, “Biff,
that seersucker suit is you.” “Cubby, you certainly look handsome
in that seersucker suit” “Really, Ashton, I get hot for a man in a
seersucker suit.” Then they
all head out of the steam room, slap each other on the ass, and meet their
wives for dinner.
I’m sorry, Mr. Plimpton,
that was not appropriate in my tribute to you.
I was not a wine drinker at the time we met, but he was and had I
been, I’m sure I would have had a better story since my wine knowledge
would have had me invited to his swank Manhattan apartment for dinner with
his high society friends. I’m
sure by now I would have been the wine reviewer for his magazine and we
would have shared many a wild night in our white tennis shirts, cashmere
sweaters draped across our shoulders, hitting the hot spots in NYC.
(Editor's note: Correction. You would have
been out in your seersucker suit...)
Instead, I was tapped on Gin and Tonic and said a stupid non-sequeter
that he couldn’t get away from fast enough.
September 26, 2003
know I have been looking for more data and a professional heavyweight to
bolster my comments and bring intriguing information to our site. Well, I
haven’t been able to do that yet, so I spend countless hours scanning high
and low for research, data and things other then the crap that flows out of
my mouth. So here is one that I
could have made up, but didn’t. Its an actual article from a medical
journal in Copenhagen.
who drink moderate quantities of wine become pregnant more easily than
their teetotal or beer-supping sisters, a Danish medical review reported.
According to Dagens Medecin, a study of 30,000 women showed that
those who chose a glass of wine over beer or spirits were most likely to
conceive. The least likely to become pregnant were those who drank no
alcohol at all.
research was carried out by a team headed by Mette Juhl of the state
serology institute, Statens Serum Institut. They could not explain
the reasons for their findings.
know that wine-drinkers eat more healthily and are of a higher social
status than beer drinkers. But ability to become pregnant does not vary
according to social class," Juhl commented.
it rude to say to the research community in Copenhagen, "No- Duh"?
My misspent youth was research enough to tell me that I have no shot
at sex with a woman that doesn’t drink.
C'mon, look at me. No woman wants pipe-cleaner fingers running
through her hair. No alcohol,
no sex. Welcome to my life. Now,
I do not agree with the social status comment of beer drinkers and in fact
it was beer that allowed the few women in my high school awkwardness to
concede, or at least reduce their defensiveness to the point that I became a
hunk through their Beer Goggles. OK,
so 'hunk' is too grandiose but I guess I was the last stick figure standing
and it was better than her going home alone.
Hey, wait a minute. I was used! How dare they…
in the file of 'fact being better than fiction', Copenhagen wine drinking
woman breed like Mexicans. Maybe
it’s that their otherwise standoffish eggshells soften when soaked in wine
and are more receptive to the Olympic swimmer stick figure baby batter.
Wino John, I smell road trip! How do you say, “Good evening,
women. I am Wino Bob, and the bullets in my pea shooter are cocked and
ready to fertilize your Eskimo eggs...” in Copenhagenese? And to you
tea-totaling bitches, loosen up! Your eggs will be spoiled before you
can use them. Face it, I’m
sure you are holding out for Brad Pitt, but the wine drinking Jennifer
Anniston has him locked up.
September 26, 2003
I know that Wino Wally has
the corner on fine dining experiences and I am mostly limited to two places. Several days ago I did find myself in a steakhouse in NJ that
served up one of the largest Filet Mignons I have ever seen.
Assembly Steakhouse in Englewood Cliffs brought out a
filet that was the size of a ground hog and my T-Bone was cooked to
perfection. Located on 9W
North, its dining room boosts large Easterly looking windows that offer up a
great view of NYC (once the foliage all dies and the twisted skeletons of
the oaks and maples lining the Palisades' edge surrender their lifeless
bodies to winter allowing the lights of the city to sporadically shine
through.) Bring your wallet, they charge for the view, and the wines
by the glass, though the waiter was unfamiliar when I asked if they had a
syrah. The wine list is
appropriately overpriced for the proximity to NYC but the high priced steak
is worth the trip.
last week, as I recovered from a late night bender with Wino Ray, I flopped
on the bed with the TV glowing in the dead of dark.
Fading between stages of sleep, the last thing that registered in my
subconscious was the first thing I thought about in the early morning
shower. There was this slogan
or public service announcement whose tag line was something like, “If you
can read this, thank a teacher.” Not
thinking much about that throughout the day, that thought ran back into my
head when I sat down checking emails. Emails
lead to net surfing, which brought me to a section on NJ wineries that
connected to research being done at Rutgers University.
Rutgers page has a link to
departments and staff. Soon I
was searching the facility to see if any of my old professors where still
would have it, the one professor I most hoped was still there had her email
address blazing off the monitor. Now
here I am twenty years removed, but I thought about that PSA.
So I sent off a quick note telling this professor how much I enjoyed
the classes and projects I worked on with her and how greatly motivated I
was in her classes. This is a
major professor tied into the Alcohol research group at Rutgers, of which I
spent time and talent working my way to supporting my college costs.
Two days later, I received an email back and the professor asked how
I was doing and what I was up to. I
proudly told her of the great web site I work on and how much fun I was
having exploring the sides of wine not talked about by the pedantic,
condescending snobs. We
exchanged several more emails and I proposed how great it would be to have
the clout of a professor from Smithers Center for Alcohol Studies to be a
guest essayist on our page. She
could jot a thought or two and seeing how she was into wine, she thought it
would be fun. Sending her our web site, I told her to read around to get a
feel for our style and get back to me afterwards.
To finalize our new working relationship, I suggested we get together
for lunch and we could discuss some topics that I’d love to get her
perspective on….(insert sound of chirping crickets
here) (Call out to an empty echoing cave) Hello-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-,
So I guess
her profession career is more important than a free paragraph on a web site
that has yet to see emails from all our industry friends who have promised
to write. Veronique, my friend who works at the tasting room for Sebastiani,
Big Bob from Dreyfuss, the owners of 4 Sisters Winery…. Is it something I
great purchase as my value of the month.
Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOGC $
Yes, winos and winettes, at under six dollars, buy this and drink it any
night, with pizza or spaghetti and meatballs.
It does start out hot and needs time to settle down, but the wine
that evolves is a fun, easy drinker.
September 20, 2003
Look at that date. It
has been far too long since I have sat in front of this keyboard and pounded
out a non-sequeter. But, I have
a reason, and it is found in my new religious education.
Stop, I know what you are thinking, Wino Bob, you have decided to
give up your wantonous, wretched lifestyle and become a member of the cloth. No, though tempting as a new dating service, I remain the
hedonist that I am. But
borrowing from Luke 15.11-24, which I have always thought was the story of
the Prodicle Son, or Periodical Son, or Protocol Son, it turns out to be the
Parable of the Prodigal Son. But
I digress. Yes this week there was a bit of the Prodigal Son story that
unfolded at Chateau Wino Bob.
Last Saturday, my phone rang
and the voice on the other end was my long lost older brother. “Hey, I’m
at Newark Airport! Can you pick me up and can I crash at your
place?” OK, so we exchange
emails every few months and an occasional phone call, but it has been four
years since he and I have been in each other’s company.
Upon his college graduation, he accepted a good job out west, planted
roots and with life and work, has not been back in quiet a while.
So as the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, I threw open the
doors to my home, slaughtered the fatted calf and feasted for several
evenings as we openly spoke about life and change and world events.
Well, I don’t actually have a fatted calf, but there is a groundhog
that tunnels around the neighborhood. I
set up the safe trap but was unsuccessful in capturing the little bastard.
Thus, I resorted to hopping in the truck and slaughtering the meat
counter at Kings for some porterhouses.
While at Kings, I too had a
bit of a Prodigal Son moment and picked up a bottle of wine that would match
one I brought up from the basement. Yes,
one of my wino neighbors had given me a Provence wine, which I intended to
serve with the meal. As I
unfoiled it, the cork was wet and a tiny rust spot lay inside the capsule.
Concerned that it was shot, I selected (purchased) my first bottle of
French wine since the war. OK,
I have left myself open to criticism and I will gladly accept.
I’m not saying I’ve given up the boycott. Let’s just say
I have become French and feel that going back on my word for a moment is a
Be that as it may, I inducted
my older brother into the WinoStuff society. You must remember that
beer runs deeply through our gene structure and we made the rounds.
I trotted him to all the hot spots showing the bartenders and owners
of several of my hangouts that I am not a complete loner and occasionally I
can find someone to sit next to me and chat. He quickly identified each
place with the names I have given them in my woggings.
Though the sign on the door of Bacchus made that easy, UnBacchus does
not promote itself to the public in that fashion.
It has been a long time since we hit the town together and we laughed
the night recalling the drunken benders in the bars by ASU. I think at this point, I should make a revelation, or
heartfelt statement about it being great to see family and how no matter of
time and distance, there is always a certain bond, you know all that kind of
bullshit. It was touching to
see Wino Rocker and now, Wino Ray greet each other and embrace, not in a gay
way but more in a brotherhood way. They
haven’t seen each other in over 15 years and it was a great day we all
spent together. Genetically, we
just don’t do that touchy feely hello-goodbye thing, therefore I found it
hard to something other then, “Hey, it was a pisser, let me know next time
you’re heading back East and we’ll grab dinner” and “See you in the
Funny papers.” Now where did I leave that wine glass….
1994 Mas de Gourgonnier
Les Baux de Provence Cuvee Rouge gift
This blend from a smaller Southern Rhone appellation carried a maturity and
softness even with liquid sipping out the cork.
Fading in color but full on fruit with dark cherry and plum flavors.
2001 Mas de Gourgonnier
Les Baux de Provence Cuvee Rouge $
The younger brother to the 94, this blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre,
Carignan and Cinsault boasts a raspberry, cherry and tobacco nose with a bit
of untamed tannin. Sit this one
down for two years and enjoy the change.
sure if all web site contributors get personal phone calls from unhappy
friends bitching them out for comments in an entry, but never let it be said
that Wino Bob turns a deaf ear to critics.
Yes, over the weekend I fielded a call from Mr. T-Rex himself.
It seems my “inhumanely cheap” comment did not sit well with him.
After all, Winette Alice does have hot and cold running water and
indoor plumbing in their home and he manages to provide some very exquisite
culinary fare. As a matter of
fact, he sent me this picture of the meal and wine he was planning to make
for Winette Alice on Sunday. This
special dish was something he enjoyed on one of his swings through China
just last month. He told me
that using the youngest, freshest ingredients is the key to this dish.
can see that the kitten recognizes that a meat cleaver in hand is not a good
thing, I wonder if that is a bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz he will be
Wino T-Rex wanted me to post the other picture that the owners of the winery
took during their visit to Clover Hill.
As you can clearly see, I kid about Wino T-Rex being cheap.
In fact his money is hanging out of his pocket, albeit it’s his
commune money he got 37 years ago and has yet to part with.
It looks like he is just about to give Winette Alice a
There is nothing
better than opening an email with the two simple words “permission
granted”. The gracious
Winette Alice (aka Mrs. T-Rex) had forwarded me the picture of her big day
in the country. She promised a
new feature which I will call, Winette Alice’s Roving Report.
Below is a picture from her trip to Clover Hill Winery in
will notice, the bag is not filled with wine though Winette Alice will not
admit it nor write about it. She told me that Wino T-Rex sweet-talked
the girl behind the counter at the winery to give him a bag and stuff it
with napkins to make it look like he bought a lot of stuff.
Then he made Winette Alice pose for the picture with the beautiful
vineyard in the background, after which he refolded the bag, gave it back to
the winery people and sped off to Trader Joes in NJ for a case of Two Buck
Chuck. So I look forward to a review of the Two Buck Chuck.
for your new monthly feature and we look forward to your first review. (OK
Winette Alice, the world awaits, you can’t back out now.)
Life is too
short, so I must drink more wine. Maybe
life will be too short since I do drink all this wine.
Either way, I am committed to drinking wine from my racks so I can
rotate the crops. If I did
learn one thing from Mrs. Fanaldi’s Third Grade social studies lesson, one
must occasionally rotate their crops so you do not keep depleting the soil
of the same nutrients. Green
beans this year, soybeans next year; Aussie Shiraz last night, Burgundy
tonight. Oh, did I say that out
loud? Well, as you know there
are a few pre-war Frenchies in my rack, two of which I purchased after my
love connection with Veronique Drouhin.
So I rotated my palate from the bigger reds to the more feminine and
fleshy Pinot Noir produced by my favorite Winette.
It was an
evening with a simple beef stew in a red wine mushroom gravy so I decided to
deduct one more French wine from the very limited holding I have in the
rack. Getting in touch with the
sensitive side of my palate, I by-passed the cabs, syrah, shiraz, Malbec,
fondled a few whites and then laid my sweaty little pipe cleaner fingers on
a Gevrey-Chambertin. I am not going to spend time with the jokes, nor say more
than necessary, but Gevrey-Chambertin is a large wine-producing village in
the northern part of Cote de Nuits residing in the Cote D’Or. Now I don’t speak French so I’m not sure, but I think the
place is pronounced Coat da Nuts.
So if you are into impressing your friends, the next time you want to
sound like a real knowledgeable wine person, mention that you enjoy the
Pinot Noirs from Coat da Nuts. What would be most interesting is if the world famous French
chemist, Gay Lussac, came from the Coat da Nuts section of town.
Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin $$
Like glancing across the room and spotting a well dressed attractive woman,
I hesitated to approach this wine but once you gather the courage and walk
over to say hi, you find out she likes football.
There is a grace to the red and dark berry flavors and a finish that
makes you turn your head as it walks out to the lounge.
September 11, 2003
Lost But Not Forgotten
good to see that Wino John has fixed his keyboard and remembered that the
term What’s New refers to something at least younger than
the stains in my current pair of underwear. President Bush checks into this site more frequently.
He once told me he enjoys our current support for his war efforts.
I had a nice picture sent to me by the lovely Winette Mrs. T-Rex (aka
Solder Paste Boy’s wife), but need her permission before I can post it.
It seems that the inhumanely cheap, short-armed, long pocketed T-Rex
was nice enough to aerate the Mrs. with a drive to the country.
OK, it was Pennsylvania but for us New Jerseyans, that is the
reminds me of a story from the geek world side of my depressing existence.
Several years ago, a sales manager from one of the companies we work
with, flew in to do the sales manager thing.
You know, get out from under the eyes of the boss, in the most
inconvenient time to pretend he is busy while placing undue pressure and
anxiety on a small, over worked under paid field sales guy.
This was a day in which he flew into Newark airport; we headed south
on the NJ Turnpike to New Brunswick for a 'much ado about nothing' meeting. Since most of the people in the room were more impressed with
themselves and the sound of their own voice, what should have taken an hour
bled into five. What pissed me
off the most was that we were going to enjoy a meal at a nice restaurant in
White House, NJ as my treat for setting this hoedown up. But no, I lost out again and at the conclusion on the meeting
we headed back up the NJT on that late August afternoon towards the airport.
For those not familiar with that portion of the highway, there are
many of the best oil refineries, urban areas, auto-theft area, power plants
and waste management facilities in the world.
Say no more if you know what is good for you… Usually in the late
afternoon, the flash towers sporadically flare off the belched up deadly
flumes of the petroleum cracking process to convert them to unhealthy
irritant hydrocarbons and greenhouse gases that haze the sky a glowing amber
adamantly informed my guest, that smell in our car was produced from the
outside and not from my insides, he asked how I could live with this.
He, being born and bred on the wholesome lifestyle and crisp autumn
air at the base of the White Mountains in NH, informed me he was glad to be
heading home. Then, to add insult to injury, he asked where we kept the
brick and mortar seeds. The
what? Yes, in his smug NH
accent he amused himself with a comment that NJ has to update it's state
motto, unless growing cement is now a gardening technique.
Listen, you cow-tipping, sheep humping, back woods a$$hole, NJ is the
Garden State, still, really, no, I mean it.
Just look around. OK, I
got his point, so the entrepreneurs here decided to leave the farms and
manure for the industrial revolution and we decided to use brick and mortar
instead of oak and tarred rope. But
there are places here that most New Jerseyans themselves look at a map to
see if they are still in the State. As
I have grown older and realized that Born to Run was not the answer
to all my teenage turmoil, I started to appreciate this State in ways I
never did before. (Editor's note:
"Governor Bob". That has a certain ring to it...)
Covey Run Syrah $
This Washingtonian Wine has a pleasant dark berry fruit and hint of
chocolate but lacks the muscle this grape can possess.
Next time I
am in the presence of Winette Tia, I need to figure out a way to see if she
actually has a wooden leg without being slapped for inappropriate touching.
Last night, a quorum formed in the wine room at Chateau Bob and mass
wine consumption broke out. All
I remember in the fog that were my fiery eyeballs this morning is that the
bottle count out numbered the body count two to one.
I believe I did the French thing and raised my white flag around 2AM,
but Wino Rocker and Winette Tia matched wits on TV trivia until 3:30.
If I could only figure out a way to make money while sipping wine and
telling stories my life would be... well..., fun.
As a public
service announcement, the fall semester for the Windows on the World Wine
School begins Sept. 29th and will be held at the NY Marriott
As you know,
I owe my passion for wine to that course and if it weren’t for that legal
thing with me not being able to say I am personal friends with Kevin Zraly
and that 500 feet safe zone, I would be taking a class or two as an alumni.
I always say, one cannot drink enough of the wine Kevin provides for
each class and to the pourer I gave a tongue lashing to for skimping on the
fill; I am sorry. Part of my
education has been understanding the difference in fill level for a tasting
versus a party night drunk.
or rather the hour prior to me waking up, as I sat in bed unwinding (well
that’s what I call it), I panicked myself with the brilliance that befell
me. I have been trying to find
a way to add pizzazz to my entries, I say a film on women who wear thongs
and drink wine. Phashizzle my
nizzle; Wino Bob’s Girl’s Gone Wild.
I know Snoop won’t be using that title for a while since he will be
spending time explaining to the man what happened at Spring Break.
But then you wake up the next day, shave your tongue and realize that
some of these brilliant ideas look dull and gray when your head is pounding.
Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa $$$
understand the fanatics for this dark ruby nectar.
There is a regal dress to this wine as it lays out a headiness of
cassis, blackberries, chocolate, sandalwood and herbs. Luscious and full
bodied, with a long slightly tannic hem.
Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa $$
A fav of Wino John due to the big bold fruit and weightiness of this
wine. There are blackberry, blueberry, coco and plum that hit you
with this wine. An impressive
Day to all who labor their lives away trying to keep up with the stress and
financial obligations called life in 2003.
I apologize, it has been longer than expected since I have sat in
front of the computer but the end of summer caught me by surprise and I took
several days of down time. Yes,
for the past three days, I went without computer, wine, and out-going cell
calls to see if there are any coils left to be rewound before the crush of
work kicks back in. In the
absence of wine and computers, I did manage to have one of those weird
moments in time when the past slaps you in the back of a sunburned neck and
you realize how good it feels once it stops hurting.
Dinner tonight was simple but fulfilling.
as one of four kids to a night supervisor in Stanley tool, our vacations
were limited to the two-week mandatory time off when the factory closed at
the end of July. The majority
of time away from the home in Bloomfield was spent at my aunt’s bungalow
just off route 37 enroute to Seaside Heights.
Who knew my aunt and uncle had such foresight to buy a $4700 beach
house in a small town near the jersey shore town of Seaside, which now could
be resold for the low six figures. As
I have written about before, when my father was not working, the only
passion he had was to take us fishing.
Most of the time we were on my cousin’s 18 foot wooden skiff in the
Barnegat bay near Good Luck Point trying to catch, net or hook what ever was
still alive in that brown soup we used as a food and recreational swimming
resource. In the late sixties,
blow fish, snappers and Jersey Blue claw crabs were abundant.
Time, tides and environmental influences changed all that until
recently. In the past few
years, the bay seems to be making a minor comeback serving up a healthier
populous of snappers and blue claws.
parents now retired and awaiting their house in the shore area to be
completed, my father has sought refuge from the tiny temporary housing by
spending most of the day on the pier with a rod in his hand.
Thank God, it is a rod with line and bait; we don’t need a family
By time I
reached home last night, at the end of my head-clearing time away from the
dark hole called tech sales, I had a cooler containing the unopened wine
bottle I started out with on Friday morning, ticket stubs from a sail around
Baltimore harbor, six Jersey Blue claw crabs and 9 frozen snappers.
So tonight I dropped the snappers in the freezer, grilled a steak and
spent the afternoon with a bottle of wine and a memory.
Yes, the memory of summers of my youth when a half-day on the bay
brought us a peach basket filled with crabs.
cleaned the crabs, I thought back to the summer of 1967 when we caught crabs
by the basketfull each day and spent the evening boiling them in a large
blackened pot my uncle kept just for the outside cooking.
He and my grandfather built a brick bar-b-q pit off the sun porch
where we would burn scrub pine for hours to boil the water that would cook
the crabs. Then both families
would line homemade picnic tables covered in newspaper, under the shade of
large conifers to begin the eating fest.
For those not familiar with crab eating, there is a lot more shell
and work than meat in a crab as one breaks the apron, removes the hard
shell, clears the gills and digs for the tiny lump meat in a Jersey blue
claw. But fresh caught crab is
sweet and succulent and makes a great appetizer when mixed with a Chablis
To make the
day special, I dug out a new wine that my co-worker and friend wino JT (his
name is John but no one can take Wino John so I will call him wino JT)
brought me back from a trip to Germany.
I have been saving this wine for a special time and my reunion with
Jersey blue claws was it. Now my mentor, Kevin Zraly, told us that Germany only made
good white wines, but this red was a great complement to the crab Dijon and
the grilled shell steak. I must
admit I was not familiar with Schwartz Riesling, but it is most likely the
mutation of pinot noir in Germany, also know as Meunier.
As with most things German, they managed to toughen up the otherwise
fleshy Pinot Noir to a robust flavorful wine that drank well.
Maybe Springsteen sings about the tough times growing up in NJ but
there are those of us who enjoyed our summers at the shore.
Maybe we didn’t know there was a better life out there, maybe we
didn’t know there were better places to vacation, maybe we were just happy
to be with family and friends, eating a simple dinner as the sun set across
the bay and a swarm of jersey mosquitoes chewed one alive until large red
welts covered ones body like the pox. UH,
uh Growin Up…
Schlor Weingut Schwartz Riesling Spatlese
As red wines go, this one delivers a nice mix of tobacco, dark fruit and a
soft finish. Somewhat sweet on
the nose but dry on the palate and brawny enough to handle grilled shell
small portion of an email from my favorite author and Paterson historian,
Flavia. She has been spending
time enjoying Sauvignon Blanc for the summer and recommends Mario’s super
premium. Visit www.andrettiwinery.com
to get the story behind Mario’s move off the racing circuit and into the
the way, I've been trying a few whites and storing up stories about
them--if I weren't so busy lately you'd have seen something lyrical
from me by now.
Just bouncing off your PS, however, let me say that my husband and I
went to a benefit wine-tasting out at Settlers Inn in Hawley, PA (one
of our favorite getaway spots) and (1) avoided the blackout entirely,
and (2) enjoyed a great Sauvignon Blanc produced by none other than
Mario Andretti, who has retired from race-car driving into the
fast-lane of California wine production. I'm not sure what it sells
for, but it's a label to look out for. Just as a side note, his
Sangiovese is spectacular.
is a simple entry as Wino John and I met for a quick lunch and a
bottle of California cabernet to discuss business, catch up on the waning
days of summer and see where things will be heading for the WinoStuff staff
into the fall. Chateau St. Jean
was a good lunch wine for a causal sandwich.
was a simple dinner with the folks from Fulton Street Films.
Grilled porterhouses with a Rhone wine that has been sitting idle in
my cellar for the past two years, this simple blend from Cotes du Ventoux in
the Southern Rhone Region is a good example of why Grenache and Syrah work
well together. Both of these wines are fun, easy drinkers that fit casual
food and conversation with good friends.
Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma $
This wine boasts currant, cedar
hints, plum and tobacco in a well-crafted wine, but lacks a powerful finish. It is a great wine for the casual crowd.