- Skis -- The Fischer SC's were great as were the Salomon Crossmax 10's. The Dynastar Intuitiv 74's would have been great the last two days during the blizzards, but who knew we would get 2 feet of powder in 2 days. (Of course, we got 7 feet in 7 days last year!) The 70 mph winds on Friday sent me back to the condo but I was ready for a rest. I think skin freezes in a matter of minutes at 20 degrees with 70 mph winds, but I am not a wind-chill scientist. This year I did not burden myself with second guessing my ski selection. Anyway, the Fischer SC's rock, period!
- Wine -- Well, as I anticipated, the wine selection in Park City (and maybe Utah) was limited, so I am glad I brought the Sake. (Is premium Sake available in Utah? I never saw it.) My sister from Cambridge loved it and declared that Sake should be served more often. Of course, I agreed! The Chambers Tokay never made it to Utah due to an unfortunate accident in the front hall. The tile floor will be shiny forever, but it will take awhile to get used to the sticky residue when we welcome guests. I also brought 2 bottles of the '98 Wightman Cab as I correctly anticipated that the wine "stores" in Park City would be closed Christmas Day and the following Sunday. Sometimes, I am brilliant!
- Wine Stores -- I only saw one, which was actually a "liquor" store. Wine and "strong" beer is not sold in supermarkets. I do not know the regulations of liquor retail in Utah, but I got a hint that maybe Ohio is not as backward as I had assumed. I am guessing that the 'liquor" store was owned (or maybe franchised) by the state and that the friendly staff didn't know wine. "I haven't tried that one. Is it dry? If it is, I wouldn't like it." This, from the "manager". Further, from a wine bar owner, the bars pay retail for spirits and the selection is limited. If my observations here are wrong, let me know.
- Bacchus Wine Bar -- If you go, say hello to Meshelle and Tony. He is from Cincinnati originally, and she is from this world. This is Park City's only wine bar, on the right side of the street uphill of the Post Office, downstairs in a basement. Great selection with more than 100 wines by the glass and several "flights" and Meshelle's wine knowledge is vast. If you wish, you can sample the 2001 Opus One by the glass for about $50! Opens at 3pm, closes at 1am. $10 and you are a member for a year. ( I won't even begin to go into Utah's arcane liquor regulations!) Mention my name and you can go as my guest. I now have four clubs and this one is by far the easiest on the budget. But my brother-in-law's club across the street, "The No-Name-Bar" really rocks apres-ski and pre-dinner and is a must stop. Just don't order wine or you will be run out! The local Wasatch micro-brew drafts are great, on and off the slopes. I really liked the Polygamy Porter, not just for the name. "Why have just one?!"
- 350 Main Street -- A great restaurant with a good wine list. About $30 per entree and definitely worth visiting due to the ambience and quality of food. I ordered a Pietra Santa "Super Tuscan" ($46) from Hollister, California, which was the last bottle. Let me say, that I will be hunting this wine down in Ohio. It is a beautiful wine at this price point ($25 retail). Back up the truck! Wait staff was very attentive even with a complicated bill. ****
- Windy Ridge -- For New Years, I tried to get into Wahso but couldn't and I had gone to Chimayo last year two times. Windy Ridge is part of this chain and is a bakery and commissary for Grappa, Chimayo and Wahso, so the food is very good. We had a fabulous New Year's dinner for 18 there and the service and food was great. The setting is almost cafeteria like in an industrial park off of the main highway, but we got to stay all night and couldn't have been happier. The waitress from Boston really busted her ass to make it a special occasion. The wine list was short however. ****
- Lookout Cabin, the Canyons -- Once in your life, you need to enjoy white linen table service for lunch when you are skiing. This may be it. Table for 12 at 11:30 while the wind and snow blows outside. Let's talk about where we skied and where we should go after lunch, but first let's enjoy the spinach and arugula salad with grilled shrimp, or the grilled portabella mushroom sandwiches, or the huge buffalo cheese burgers, prepared on the flaming grills in front of you. If you show up before 12 noon, then you will have to wait for your martini or "strong" beer, but the local drafts seem to hit the spot. Oh, when you are done, you will need to ski through the blowing winds as you meander your way on several bumpy catwalks over to the Dreamscape lift to explore the rest of the mountain. But, you would be advised to keep skiing the Super Condor lift. See the following.
- Ski Areas -- My personal opinion is that Park City is the best ski area compared to Deer Valley and the Canyons. Canyons is weak except for the Super Condor lift, and Deer Valley is much better but just OK. (Although the dining is very good and some of the trophy homes are outstanding for rubbernecking.) Both areas suffer from a topography that requires that one take a chair or a catwalk down at the end of the day. I personally dislike that and it colors my whole experience. Park City has better challenging blacks, bowls, chutes and high speed groomers -- you know, where you lunge down a face picking up speed until your eyes tear up and your helmet whistles, and then it flattens out before the next drop, then it turns left before a hard right, if you can hang on, and you pray no one is below you when you get some air, and then you jam the brakes on hard for 100 feet trying to stop, and suck down air as you are out of wind while your thighs burn. And Park City has a "last run home". You can take a right off of "Payday" and take "Quittin Time" home to the bottom of the Town lift, or if you are going to the Mountain Resort, you can cut off to "Payday" and then take a left by the NASTAR course and follow the chair line to "Heckler". And "Payday" isn't bad unless it is overcrowded. Definitely stay away from "Homerun" due to the beginner crowds. We skied Park City 3 days and the others one day each.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
Packing for Park City
- Skis -- I do this on every ski trip as I have many choices here. (Some people are amazed at the ski collection, others eye me nervously -- "Are all those yours?" -- I have stopped having the skis I buy on Ebay shipped to the house so as to preserve domestic tranquility!) Last year, I brought four pairs to Utah, but this year I am only bringing two, I think. The new Fischer World Cup SC's in a 165cm with a turning radius of 11 meters are definitely going. I sampled last Sunday at Perfect North (400 screaming vertical-feet in Indiana) and they cut up the ice and can carve and did not seem to have an upper speed limit. Now the hard part is the one and only second pair. (Say Polly, can I put an extra pair of skis in your ski bag -- or, better yet, just throw a third pair in there without telling her!) I should take the Dynastar Intuitiv 74's due to the absolute possibility of powder out West, but I am leaning toward the Salomon Crossmax 10's as they can float and carve. Yeh, float and carve! That's it, until I change my mind tomorrow.
- Wine -- This is complex too. On some trips I will bring a case if I know I will be 100 miles from the closest wine store. Last summer I brought a case on the drive to the Adirondacks and am glad I did. It was a 30-minute, dusty trip to town on dirt roads. I did find a store in Old Forge that had a decent selection and offered some New York wines that were very good. On the trip to Maine last summer I flew, so I went empty-handed but had access to the Portland and Boston wine stores, not to mention the tiny out-of-the-way shops in Maine that surprise you with gems. (I found a very good Malbec from Argentina for $7 at a Texaco station!) And I loved the "Big Store" in New Hampshire that is, I think, owned by the State and had huge highway signs declaring that it was the "Last Stop for Liquor". Should a state be advertising with huge highway billboard signs to stop in for liquor? Reminds me of the billion-dollar tobacco settlement with the states where they get a piece of every cigarette sold. Do you want us to smoke them, or not? I thought cigarettes are bad for you! I guess it's OK in New Hampshire to drink so long as you drive on the interstate and stop by the State stores. (It's OK officer, I got all this stuff at the State store, the same one that pays your salary!) Sorry for the digression, but here is my current thinking on bringing wine to Utah. (Don't tell anyone as it is probably illegal.) First, Park City must have some decent wine stores there with a good selection as the restaurants do have great wine lists, so I am only bringing a Sake and a Chambers Tokay. They are light and small in half bottles and could come in handy in the case of flight delays. (When was the last time you had a really good wine at an airport?) I figure the reds and whites will be covered in Park City, but I will faint if I find a premium Sake and an Australian Tokay there! Then again, I am arriving on Christmas Day and the next day is Sunday, so the stores may be closed, so maybe I had better bring one or two reds, just in case! I can live without whites for a day or so, but going two days without some good red wine, well....
I will give you a full report when I return.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
My New Favorite White Wine
I liked the steely fruit nose and balanced taste and structure, and it opened up as I left the bottle on the counter and continued to sample. I can't say that I would enjoy this all evening like I would a Cab or a Malbec or a Shiraz (ones you can curl up with for hours on a cold night), but as a starter or with food, it would be perfect. So, is this my new favorite white wine? Maybe?
That reminds me of the time my six year old daughter, out of nowhere, turned to me in the car several years ago and looked at me with those huge blue eyes and blonde curls and said warmly, "Dad...., you know, you are my best friend." My heart melted and I smiled back and said how sweet that was. Just think, I am my little girl's best friend! How cool and great is that! And then she smiled back at me and said, "Dad...., I have a lot of best friends!" ........Oh.
Well, I have a lot of favorite wines!
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
[The Next Day -- OK, so I liked it alot and still do. The enthusiasm and the Parker challenge (are we still friends Bob?.....Bob?) could be explained by polishing off the little bottle by myself, but it really is great and should be experienced.]
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Mr. "X" (I am not using his name because he is not in jail yet and I have learned to be careful in naming names) was an "investment advisor" that was touting huge returns in his off-shore portfolio on "can't miss" option trades. An aquaintance on hard times (now deceased) had arranged the lunch at "Tellers" in Hyde Park to entice me to add money to Mr. "X's" portfolio and to get my clients in early on this great deal.
Having lived in Miami for several years, I think I have a PhD in scams, and I smelled this one from the start. First off, Mr. "X" said that he was running late and did not have any of his materials because "he had left his briefcase in the Viper." (Feel free to use this at any time as an excuse for not having your materials with you, even if you don't have a Viper.) Next, he said he had no audited financials, and the portfolio was owned by an off-shore (Cayman?) company for tax purposes, and I couldn't look at the trading records. I was done right there considering this great "opportunity", but I enjoyed the rest of the lunch as I was hungry. Then came the clincher.
When he got the check he paid by credit card for the lunch bill and then with great flourish handed the waitress a crisp, new $100 bill. She squealed and was very excited, and he said as a poor kid growing up he thought it was "proper and righteous" to take care of the little people now that he had arrived. The waitress is probably the only one to come out ahead on his scam. I am sorry for those that were taken ($10 million plus), but it wasn't me, this time.
So Mr. "X", you didn't impress me much. Have fun in the big house, and say hello to Big Larry and the "Twins" for me. I heard that they're dying to meet you. And thanks again for lunch!
Monday, December 20, 2004
Wine Serving Temperatures
This is old hat to most of you, but I think it bears repeating as I think the temperature that wine is served at makes a huge difference in the overall experience. Temperature and decanting are the two easiest ways to vastly improve the wines you serve. Too cold and the flavors and nuances are hidden, too warm and the alcohol takes over and masks the fruit. I think that, in general, the white wines are served too cold, and the red wines are served too warm. Try changing the temperatures to see if you notice an improvement. I am not going to suggest a chart of exact temperatures as the last thermometer I saw around here was used to, how should I say this, check a child's fever. Got it!
- “Low-end” White Wines -- If you must serve them, serve it very cold in small glasses.
- “Low-end” Red Wines -- If you serve them, don't expect me to stay long! There is nothing that is going to help this situation except for cold beer or good gin. I am not referring to inexpensive wines here, just the mass-produced, supermarket wines.
- Sparkling Wines -- Start cold and then let stand on the table depending on how long it is going to take to finish off the bottle. I guess leaving on ice is fine too. It is traditional, after all.
- Better White Wines -- Start it cold, and then let it sit out to let the flavors evolve. In the beginning, when it is cold, you can warm it up with your hands on the glass to get the right temperature.
- Pink Wines (dry rose, not white zin) -- Same as whites but pull from 'fridge 30 minutes before serving.
- Better Red Wines -- Technically, serving at room temperature means 60 to 65 degrees, not at 75 degrees, which is room temperature in the U.S. I don't think 15 to 30 minutes in the 'fridge is sacrilegious, and is often recommended for the lighter reds, like Pinot Noir. Again, you can warm them in the glass with your hands.
- Dessert Wines -- Some are better cold, or cool, while others are traditionally served at room temperature, like the Ports. Experiment! I think they are best when they start cool, not cold, and then warm up.
Mt Veeder Cab
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Saturday, December 18, 2004
A Sandwich to a Banquet
Like I said, I am feeling pretty suave now about my wine choice and I hadn't even got to the good part of the story of the weekend that I had "discovered" this rare gem. The host then motions for me to follow him to the living room. As we stand there, he pushes a small button on the wall and a four-foot by four-foot section of the living room floor begins to open up on hinges. I peer down into a metal circular staircase. My confused brain quickly figures out that my host has a wine cellar. Not just any wine cellar, but a "major" wine cellar. "Why don't we pick out some wines for dinner." (I guess the Blackstone was going to sit on the kitchen counter tonight. It's probably still there!)
The doctor is quite pleased to show me around the room stuffed with First Growth classics, names, at the time, I could not comprehend. He said that he was overloaded with such great (and expensive) wines, that he was unsure of what to do with them and that he had been collecting for some ten or fifteen years. How and when do you serve that 20 year-old Petrus? He picked out a few wines and we ascended back up the staircase to the kitchen. (I wish I could tell you that we tasted some of the good stuff, but my recollection is a little fuzzy and I think we only sampled some second or third labels.) As I turned back to look into the living room, the hatch quietly closed into the floor.
The rest of the dinner (and wine) was great and we all had a wonderful time.
But, my New Years resolution this year is to get myself invited back to re-visit that cellar, and this time the Blackstone stays at home!
Friday, December 17, 2004
Beginner Muscat (without Training Wheels)
Having recently delved into the world of dessert wines (Ports, Madeiras, Tokays), I came across this little bottle with the familiar name. It is not as complex as the other wines I have sampled lately, but would be a good start and, for the same cost as two combo meals at Wendys, is an economical introduction to Muscat. I do not imply that this wine is low-end and not well made, but compared to other dessert wines costing two to ten times as much, it is not in the same league. At the beginning the flavors and taste are there and then it shuts down, while the more expensive wines keep going and flourish and add complexity and drip over the tongue.
I like this wine and think it is a great beginning in your exploration of Muscats and Tokays.
I Don't Make Up the News, I only Read It!
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Salt of the Earth
And they have a fine selection of about 150 wines that are hand-picked by Jim who really knows his wines from his stints at the Celestial and Bacchus. (What, am I nuts recommending another wine store!) Jim personally knows all the wines and can give you a story on each. I spotted a Robert Pecota Sauvingon Blanc for $13 and I asked him about it, as I really like the Pecota Syrah. He said "Bob" makes some great small production wines and deserves our support. "You know I stayed with him once out in California." Jeez, if "Bob" were to invite me out there once (Hint, Hint), I could really get behind his wines and start selling cases and cases!
Robert Pecota, Sauvignon Blanc 2003 ($13) -- I tasted when the bottle was a little warm, not really chilled and got a floral, friut nose and a very well balanced taste with a medium finish. This would be an excellent summer aperitif, or a crisp wine with spicy food. I like the range of aromas and flavors that one gets with the Sauvignon Blanc grape, from floral to steely. This wine is a must try for anyone who likes Sauvignon Blanc. Even if I don't get that invitation to visit Bob, I Would Recommend This Wine.
[I re-tasted after proper chilling, and I concur with the above, and would add that the floral aspects have hidden and offer more subtlety, complexity and mystery. Even Better!]
Thinning the Herd
"Man Dies After He Dared Friend to Shoot Him While Wearing Protective Vest" A 20-year-old Idaho man is dead after apparently daring a friend to shoot him through a protective vest. Officials say Alexander Swandic died of a gunshot wound to the heart. And his friend, 30-year-old David Hueth of Kamiah, is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Some Really Old Stuff
Now about the age. Prohibition had just started when these grapes were picked. I am unsure of the history of this bottle as to when it was bottled and where it has been for 85 years. The idea of getting this wine came up after I invited my father-in-law over for dinner this week. He was born in 1920! What fun it will be to share this with him and my mother-in-law and their daughter and his grandkids (they may even get a taste!). "Kids, this wine is as old as your grandfather!"
I like the story of when Winston Churchill was given a grand dinner on the island of Madeira in 1950, they broke out the good stuff, the 1792 Vintage Madeira bottled in 1840. I have read that Sir Winston insisted on personally serving each guest the prized wine, while declaring to each, "Do you realize that when this wine was vintaged Marie Antoinette was alive?"
Something New, Something Old
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Ten Top Reasons for Half Bottles versus a Glass of Wine
- (10) - It's a brand new fresh bottle, not that last glass of two day old wine.
- (9) - You can pour yourself 1/3 glasses and swirl away instead of just staring at a full glass.
- (8) - You can enjoy the wine as it opens up glass by glass.
- (7) - It's cheaper than wine by the glass. Like you're going to drink just one glass anyway!
- (6) - It's great to share, or you can drink the whole thing yourself without guilt (but see #2 below).
- (5) - OK, so it's a kinda cute bottle that is easy to lift and pour, but not as cute as the little airline bottles that are really cute and what the hell are you going to do on the plane anyway. Sorry!
- (4) - If it's on the menu, it must be good for you.
- (3) - So many wines, so little time.
- (2) - In theory, you could share some with the hottie at the table next to you, while your wife is in the bathroom, but her date would probably not appreciate it, and well you could get busted, so...
- And the Number One Reason to Order Splits versus Single Glasses
- (1) - You don't have to wait for the damn waiter to show up to order another glass!
1999 Muga, "Reserva" Rioja
Monday, December 13, 2004
Domaine Manciat-Poncet, Pouilly-Fuisse, “Les Crays” 2000
So instead of "decanting", just splash the wine into any cheap decanter and let it stand for an hour. Your $10 wine will taste like a $20. Your $20 wine will taste like a $50! And the dinner guests will appreciate the fine wine you are serving. So go out and buy several $20 decanters. The ROI will be huge!
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Another Good California Pinot
Saturday, December 11, 2004
French Labels -- Redux
Another Hot Pink
Friday, December 10, 2004
I took one lesson from Fritz Kohler, here seen carving it up at Keystone and getting a pretty good hand drag, actually almost a forearm down. He used to say, that if you can get your elbow down in the snow, you got it! It was the best ski lesson in my 40 years on the slopes. At one point in the lesson, as a carving exercise, we threw down our ski poles, locked arms and carved together down the run like ice skaters, playing crack the whip. Amazing! I had planned to go to Switzerland last year to ski with him for three weeks, but had to change plans due to family and work duties. Sadly, in August I learned that he had been killed at the age of 34 in a motorcycle accident. Carpe Diem!
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Dinner with a Winemaker
The day before you had nervously poured out your first wine, a Syrah from El Dorado County, half-way between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, that previously you had only served barrel samples to friends and family. Now, it is a wine rep for a distributor and a wine-store owner and some strangers (and some friends) swirling your wine in their glasses. The color is a dark red and the nose a little closed due to the six week bottle age, but the mouth is full and elegant and lasts with a long finish. This is a well-made, beautiful wine. The wine-store owner nods over to the wine rep from the big distributor, "This is really good!" She nods back, "Very good!" The wine is the hit of the tasting and soon it is all gone and everyone wishes there were more bottles of your wine. Jeff, we can't wait for the cases to arrive! A New Wine Arrives in the World.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
U.S. Supreme Court -- Inter-state Shipping
In Ohio, wine stores are allowed to buy directly from in-state wineries, but not out-of-state wineries. They must buy from distributors after mandatory mark-ups. They can arrange for special orders and special shipments, but the pricing usually puts some wines out of reach. If I wanted to support a new and upcoming winery, who wanted to break into the Ohio market, by purchasing 10 cases, he would have to sell his wine to me at $15 to have it retail for $30. He would rather keep the $30 by selling direct, but I could probably negotiate with him and pay him directly $20 to $24 and everyone wins. Except for the distributors!
And then, where will the distributors be? Big chains would cut deals with the big wine producers (Krogers with Gallo, Mondavi, Constellation, etc) bypassing the local distributors. Could the distributors survive selling the mid-sized wine producers to the little stores and restaurants? Could the little stores survive if they couldn't rely on the inventory of the distributors which allows for just-in-time delivery of single bottles? Where would the restaurants buy their wine from? Would we see the emergence of "big box" liquor stores that could buy in quantity with large selections?
It's a brave new world out there! I see the consumers winning on this one (unless the changes end in only 30 wines available at Costco/Sam's/Krogers). And I would be shorting the distributors' stock. And the little wine stores (as in every other industry) are under fire. Look at the plight of small local hardware stores, book stores, pet stores and drug stores. You do remember the small local hardware, book, pet and drug stores, don't you!
Monday, December 06, 2004
Artazuri - Navarra 2003
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Best of Show
Friday, December 03, 2004
Trader Joes -- $2 Chuck
- Charles Shaw, Merlot 2003 ($3.39) -- California; a very slight fruit nose, then none, then some sort of gas (sulpher) nose; horrible taste which gets worse. I can't imagine drinking more than the sip I just finished. Give Me a Beer!
- Charles Shaw, Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 ($3.39) -- ditto with less nose!
- Charles Shaw, Shiraz 2003 ($3.39) -- A little more nose that was slightly appealing with some pepper undercurrents. Barely drinkable, but by now I am cringing when I see the label.
- Trader Joe's Coastal, Merlot 2003 ($5.39) -- Central Coast?; ditto; no nose, not pleasant.
- Trader Joe's Coastal, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 ($5.39) -- ditto!
- Trader Joe's, French Market Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 ($4.79) -- French, Vin de Pays D.O.C.; now this one is REALLY bad!
You are all welcome! I just saved you the misery of paying $27.54 for tasting 6 hideous wines. I am very greatful that I had some Wolf Blass, Brut NV ($13) to wash all this down with so that I am not stuck with a horrible aftertaste. The Brut is a very simple, pleasant, refreshing Sparkler at a great price. I will review again under better circumstances.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
The Open House
- Duval Leroy, Cuvee Paris Brut NV ($38) -- A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that spends three years on the yeast deep in the famous “Crayeres” caves. A champagne with delicate, fine bubbles, the mark of good bubbly. Golden straw in color, aromas of honeysuckle and hazelnut make this a treat before you even sip. Full-flavored and fresh, rich with an elegant and long silky finish. Presented in a spectacular blue bottle, designed and painted by artist Leroy Neiman.
- Domaine La Hitaire, Hors Saison 2003 ($12) -- A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, 85%, and Sémillon, 15%. It offers aromas of super-ripe white fruits and a lush, silky-textured personality. Apricots, gooseberries, juicy red currants, and spices can be found in its highly expressive medium-bodied character. A fabulous value.
- Cask One, Chardonnay 2002 ($14) -- A classic California Chardonnay that comes to us at an amazing value due to the excess of Chardonnay being produced in California. This wine was made entirely at Byron Winery in Santa Maria Valley and then sold at a discount to Cask One. The most recent issue of Wine Enthusiast awarded the ’02 Byron Chardonnay, which exists in far more limited quantity than usual, a score of 90 points. This is quite simply a great value.
- Fondreche, Rosé 2003 ($14) -- The textbook, dry, rich, Cotes du Ventoux Rosé is medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured and concentrated, exuberant with intense aromas of flowers, strawberries and spice. It is as good as it gets when it comes to Southern French Rose. Real men drink pink!
- Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Syrah, Côte de L’Ouest 2001 ($17) -- A California Syrah from one of the greatest Syrah houses in the United States. Specializing in French styled Syrah, Terre Rouge is known for elegant silky wines. Everything from the soil to the climate bears similarity to Northern Rhône. It has dark fruit forward style with great acid balance. Aromas of raspberry, pepper, and cinnamon contribute to this great food wine experience.
- Two Hands, Brave Faces 2003 ($30) -- A blend of 65% Shiraz and 35% Grenache from Australia’s famous Barossa Valley. This may be the hottest winery in the world right now and their introductory blend is a good reason. Buoyant raspberry, red-cherry characters with a restrained savory palate, grainy tannins backed by integrated oak. A serious food wine that shows what a wonderful marriage these two varietals make if blended with balance in mind.
- Wightman Tri-Leopard Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 ($30) -- A small production, boutique producer from Napa Valley with about 500 cases. Aged in 100% French Oak it has hints of chocolate, cassis and black cherry fruit on the palate. Although ‘98 was not known as a great vintage in California, some winemakers adjusted well to the difficult year. This wine is drinking great right now. Enjoy it now while your other California Cabs, from other vintages, sit in the cellar. A great value due to the ongoing grape glut in California.
- Chambers, Rosewood Vineyards, Rutherglen Tokay NV ($17 for 375ml) -- Australian dessert style wine. Reviewed 11/29/04.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Hot -- Not Hot
Here's my take on the wine biz right now in the United States:
- Blends -- haven't the French been doing this for awhile?
- Spain -- great value and fresh wines.
- And Argentina and Chile -- ditto!
- Sauvignon Blanc -- a great range of flavors.
- Un-oaked Chardonnay -- it's so NOT chardonnay.
- Gruner Veltliner -- it's a drier, toned down Reisling without the baggage.
- Secondary Malolactic Fermentation -- just kidding!
- Wine Bars -- wine by the glass, brilliant!
- French Oak
- Chablis -- who knew? Skinny ties next?
- Syrah, Petite Syrah -- flavors and elegance.
- Malbec -- a hearty red wine with steak. It's good for you.
- Cava's and Prosecco's -- Pinot Grigio with bubbles! But chicks dig the bottle.
- Oregon Pinot Noir -- better than Burgundy?
- Inter-state shipping?
- Chardonnay -- ABC (but see above).
- France and Italy -- no offense, great wine--bad labels.
- Australia -- love the Two Hands, but Yellow Tail! OK, it's better than Gallo or Mondavi.
- Paying $28 at a restaurant for a $12 bottle of wine. I'd rather pay $38 for two bottles and everyone comes out ahead.
- Ratings -- is an 89 not as good as a 91?
- American Oak
- Merlot -- unless we're talking Petrus, of course. But, that's only 90% Merlot!
- Pinot Grigio's -- I'll have a cold glass of white tastless 12% alcohol please. No ice.
- 30 wines at Sam's Club at great prices -- is this the future? 30 wines? Great Prices? Give me 20,000 wines from $2 to $2,000. I'll decide! Or maybe, try them all!