Friday, September 30, 2005


I just came from my first annual meeting of the Mount Adams Yacht Club (MAYC) and I admire the organizational efforts and cunning of the Cincinnatians who have contructed a yacht club that is at least a half mile from the river and about 200 feet uphill from the river bottom. They are working on donating an old riverboat tow cleat to a park on the "Hill" to solidify their standing in case some big ship would want to tie up, but the overall purpose is not unlike must clubs in the Midwest. They just want to have fun!

The bad news is that the MAYC has no access to any kind of water unless there is a lime in it. Although, there are reciprocal privileges at many other real yacht clubs that are actually on the water on real lakes and oceans. The good news is that the meetings take place in a wine shop/bar where you can pull a bottle of 2001 Silver Oak Cab at about $75 and share it after a $6 corkage fee. I opted for the L' Ecole No. 41 Apogee at $45.

Most of the conversation at the annual meeting was about whether to share e-mail addresses in the new Club directory, and not about how much of the capital budget was needed to rebuild the sea wall after the most recent Nor'easter. But at $100 a year I am all in and since they have opened the membership to 200 members, I suggest you join now. The burgee is already flying over the front door of the shop!

Who knows when you will need to flash that membership card next time you are in Naples or Marco Island or Newport or San Diego or Put-in-Bay! Or your favorite bar in Mt Adams!

Permission to come aboard!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I Think I May Run For Office in Georgia!

Georgia: Lawmaker to appeal denial of immunity in DUI case


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 09/28/05

State Rep. David Graves failed Tuesday to convince a Cobb County judge that he should be immune from prosecution for DUI because he's a lawmaker. Now he plans to take his argument to the Georgia Supreme Court
Graves (R-Macon) has two pending DUI cases in Cobb, but is trying to avoid prosecution on one of them by relying on a centuries-old and rarely used provision of the state Constitution.

That provision holds that state lawmakers cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly or its committees or while lawmakers are traveling to either one. Exceptions are made for "treason, felony, or breach of the peace."

Cobb State Court Judge Irma Glover on Tuesday rejected Graves' argument that he should have been granted immunity from arrest because lawmakers were in session and he was leaving a dinner meeting with other legislators when he was stopped Feb. 15 at a police roadblock in Vinings. He was arrested after refusing a sobriety test, authorities said.

Glover ruled that there was no evidence that the dinner, where Graves admitted to drinking two to four glasses of wine, was either a committee meeting or part of any legislative session.

"The fact that several legislators attended and [Graves] was wearing his legislative pin does not sanction the dinner," she said.

William C. "Bubba" Head, who is representing Graves, immediately filed an appeal to have Glover's ruling reviewed by the state Supreme Court. The process could take months.

"Because of the unique nature of this case, I think this is the only sensible way to go," Head told reporters after the hearing. "This is brand new law. And as far as I can tell, there's no case even close to this."

Georgia's legislative immunity provision has been on the books since 1789. Similar laws — including one in the U.S. Constitution for Congress — date to colonial times, when lawmakers feared being arrested by political rivals.

Assistant State Court Solicitor Gary Jones said the appeal delays Graves' trial, which had been set to start Tuesday.

LaTresse Snead, the state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, attended the hearing. She said she was disappointed to see "such a high-profile figure charged with drunk driving.

"Drunk driving is not a mistake or an accident," Snead said. "People have a choice."

Graves, who is chairman of the House committee that oversees regulation of the liquor industry, was in the courthouse, but generally steered clear of the courtroom, reporters and television cameras. He made one brief appearance to tell Glover he willingly waived his right to be present for the discussion of his case.

In March 2004, Graves, a 47-year-old pharmacist, was arrested after authorities said he ran a red light in Cobb County. He consented to a blood-alcohol test and registered a .13, well above the .08 legal limit, records show.
In the latest case, Glover said Cobb police had sufficient evidence to arrest Graves, including a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech and his admission that he had had several drinks.

If Graves is convicted of one or both drunk driving charges, he faces fines, possible jail time, loss of his driver's license and the possible loss of his committee chairmanship.

Cuvee de Pena

2003 Cuvee de Pena ($9) -- French Vin de Pays des Pyrenees-Orientales. This may be the best Vin de Pays I have found so far. I couldn't find much info on it but it is produced in the South West corner of France right next to Spain (which may explain why I think this wine has a lot of stuff for the money).

The wine is made by the Cellier Agly Cooperative from the Cotes de Roussillon-Village. The 2003 vintage is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre. Big smokey aromas and flavors with lingering finish. It has been a favorite value wine for Mr. Parker. I agree! And if you buy it by the case, it is only about $8 per bottle.

Next up is a 3 liter box for about $20.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Showket Vineyards

2001 Showket Cabernet Sauvignon ($70) -- Napa Valley. Usually the reps bring around the value and mid-level wines to sell and I enjoy searching for that next great value wine at $8 to $12. Then, sometimes we get treated to something special.

Heidi Barrett is the winemaker and along with her own projects has made wine for Screaming Eagle and Dalle Valle. I think this wine may be the least expensive of the bunch and should give you a flavor of her winemaking skills.

It is hard to say whether a $70 bottle of wine is worth it, but this wine is unbelievably elegant, full of fruit with a long sumptuous finish. I do love to find a great $10 bottle of wine for everyday use, but when I hit the Mega Lottery for $100 million net after taxes and present value of the annuity stream, this wine will be my everyday mid-week pizza wine!

I convinced the rep to leave a little extra glass around so that I could wash down my Chicken Parmesan and garlic bread.

And if you can't stretch for the $70 Cab, I would suggest trying the $35 Sangiovese or the $50 Super Tuscan called Asante Sana.

Bon Appetite!

French Vin de Pays

2001 Maison Nicholas 1-1-1 Merlot-Syrah ($12) -- French Vin de Pays by D. de Virgine (and/or Michel Peresse). I am a sucker for a cute French wine label and am always on the lookout for a very good wine value at the lower-end of the French wines, but am usually disappointed in the results. This wine was nicely stacked at Biggs in wooden crates.

This one has some fruit flavors with not much aroma or finish. It is a blend of Merlot/Syrah (70/30) as the front label proclaims. Kudos for that.

The search continues!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Racchus Red Wine

2003 Racchus Red Wine - Alexander Valley CA ($12) -- A blend of Cabernet and Syrah (63/37) by Ty Caton. A wine rep tasted this with me a few months ago and I ordered a case and then it sat in the garage covered in dust (but cool!) during the summer months until a wine geek came by the store and asked if I had tasted the Racchus. I couldn't remember but a few weeks later I found the case and he came by again and we popped (actually unscrewed) the top.

Soft big fruits and a nice finish. Now I know why I ordered a case! 14 months in new and used French Oak. 552 cases made. I think it's time to order some more!

From the PDF file on the website:

"Deep and rich in color, this wine’s enhanced warm oak
nose leads to flavors of black currant, blackberry and
plum. The soft texture leads to an extended finish with
hints of chocolate."

I concur and all that for $12!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wine Blogging Wednesday #14 - October 5th

New New World Pinot Noir

I am honored to be asked to host the next WBW for October 5th. Completely unrelated to THAT movie we all saw and with fall approaching (eventhough it is 89 and humid here) this month's theme is to find a Pinot Noir from someplace other than France or the West Coast of the United States -- New New World. Over the last few months I have seen Pinots from Chile, Spain, Australia (of course), New York, but I am sure there are some out there from places I haven't seen. This should be a great opportunity to explore an old varietal in some new locations and then compare them to the usual suspects.

So, find a wine, write it up, post it and then send me a link by e-mail to that I can write the wrap up shortly after the 5th. Between now and then I will freshen up my posting and linking skills! No need to find a food pairing unless you are already hungry. If so, include it. Go farther!

To learn more about the WBW concept and history please go to Lenn's site Lenndevous . You can read all the old wrap ups as he has organized them in the right column.

You can also read his first post on the topic on July 27, 2004.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wine Blog Wednesday #13

Well I never got around to finding any wonderful recipes for chocolate cake, let alone whipping something up. So, I am pairing my wine choice with a bag of M&Ms. Color doesn't seem to matter much here although the new blue ones are cute.

NV Chambers Rosewood Vineyards, Rutherglen Muscadelle (Tokay) ($17 for 375ml) -- Australia with 18% alcohol. This wonderful dessert style wine has been open for at least six months and is still full of syrupy flavors. Although you can enjoy this wine by itself it is even better with sweets, even M&Ms after lunch. The delicate fragrant aromas entice and the long silky finish delivers. Parker raved about this wine saying life is too short not to experience this Australian treasure. As with all dessert wines of this type it is wise to hide from the women and children as it will soon disappear.