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Everything posted by futronic

  1. futronic


    I write tasting notes for almost every wine I taste. I have a little book I scribble notes in, and then I transcribe them to my computer where I have a cellar management program that stores inventory levels and notes. Storing this information allows me to judge when I should have future bottles, and I almost always consult my program to select a bottle from the cellar (although, to be honest, by just looking at what I have available, I can tell what is (or is not) ready to drink). In addition to the notes, I write the date, where I was, and who I was dining with so it acts more like a diary/journal than anything else. Much like the foodblogs some people keep on here. I like writing notes, and some people look at me funny when I do, but after dining with me once, they get used to it.
  2. futronic

    El Cheapo Wine Tasting

    Sure you can. Go to the LCBO Product Search, and set the search criteria at the bottom of the page. Select price "under $10," product type "wine," prodcut category "still table wine," product size, "501-750mL." This will return 779 results. If you're searching for red or white specifically, change the product sub-category. Red gives you 378 choices. From there, you can select the country of origin to break it down even further. As for searching for the wines specifically mentioned in this thread, I can pretty much guarantee that nothing listed here is available in Ontario.
  3. I will likely be spending the time in Tuscany in Montalcino with a day-trip north to Siena and Chianti Classico. Considering I met several people that represent Fuligni, Poggio Antico, Costanti, and Antinori's Pian delle Vigne property at a Brunello dinner in the spring, I'm looking forward to seeing them again and tour their facilities.
  4. I use Speiglau glasses, both Bordeaux and Burgundy stems. I think the trick to not breaking them is leaving them on the counter until the day AFTER imbibing. Rinsing them out before you go to bed is probably a good idea, however.
  5. itch, Go to Harvest Wagon at 1103 YOnge St, just south of the Summerhill LCBO. They carry fresh morels and porcini, black trumpets in season, likely truffles too. I know they have dried, year-round. Be careful with that place - it's pretty easy to walk out with $100 in produce, but it's really, really good.
  6. What do you need windows for? Just put up some heavy plastic sheeting, and you'll be fine. Then you can use the money you saved to buy more wine. You might want to pick up a really warm sleeping back, however, as Mrs. tj might have you sleeping on the lawn if you pull that move. There is some really good '98 BdM out there, but I don't know what the market is like in your area. There hasn't been much hype about it and the '99s are coming soon, so maybe you'll be able to pick up some of the '98s on sale. I'm just speculating, however, as in Ontario we don't know what the words "wine sale" mean as they've never been uttered in the same sentence at the LCBO. Lots of great Chianti out there as well. I've never had a bad bottle from Grevepesa and I've had several of their bottlings. I popped my second-last bottle of their '97 Panzano Chianti last night and I'll post notes when I get a chance. Back to the topic at hand, I'll be sure to post my notes on the Leasingham next time I crack a bottle.
  7. futronic

    Aging bottles of wine

    Futronic: Again, I think you've misunderstood my intent. Of course certain wines improve with age. I'm a wine professional and clearly have been exposed to this concept. And if you're knowlegable enough to know which ones they are, both to purchase them and then lay them down for the appropriate amount of time, under the appropriate conditions, that's great. Obviously you're one of those people. But 95% of the wine on the planet was meant to be drunk WITHIN THREE YEARS OF ITS BOTTLING. My statements applied mostly to that 95% and to the persons that aren't that knowlegeable. Having a $10 bottle of wine sitting in the wine rack in your kitchen, suffering the extremes of temperature that go along with that, and then agonizing over whether or not to open it because you don't know if you've hit that nanosecond is just silly. Relying on ratings systems is silly unless you are familiar enough with the "rater's" palate to know that it is similar to your own. Quantifying a subjective experience is an excercise in futility and again, silly. I stand by my original statement that you won't ever truly understand what an underdeveloped wine or an "over the hill' wine is unless you TRY one. Sometime that requires the ultimate act of courage and leap of faith and you simply OPEN THE DAMN BOTTLE AND DRINK IT. No anxiety, no scrambling through back issues of Wine Spectator, no hours of on-line research, and no panicked phone calls to your favorite wine shop or restaurant sommelier. As Nike says - just DO IT! Katie, I concur with your statement. As an aside, much to the chagrin of my pocketbook, it seems like I keep purchasing wine coming from that 5%. ... and eventually I'll figure out that regular smilie symbols like :) and ;) don't work on this forum, and I'll have to stop editing my messages ...
  8. Thanks for the notes, tj. I'm still holding my last three bottles. Glad to hear that you've been drinking more Chianti as of late as well. :)
  9. futronic

    Aging bottles of wine

    Katie, I don't see a problem in waiting for appropriate age on a bottle before drinking it. For example, I buy and drink a lot of Italian wine, but you won't see me drinking any of my '96 or '97 Barbaresco for at least 5-8 years (or longer) because the wines just aren't ready yet. Why would I "waste" a bottle by opening at a point way, way before it would provide optimum pleasure? I've got plenty of other wine that is ready to drink right now and that will be much tastier as a result. Signed, The uptight, ratings driven snob that seek the aforementioned nanosecond.
  10. futronic

    Wine dinner

    Thanks for the notes on the Produttori del Barbaresco Moccagatta Riserva, Jim. I've got a bottle of it (and five of their other single crus) that I'll be holding onto for quite some time.
  11. futronic


    My concerns lie in the fact that they can't pull a proper shot with an appropriate crema. They also roast the hell out of their beans making it a more bitter espresso than it should be. Too much water + no crema + overly dark roast = bad espresso.
  12. futronic


    I'm not a fan of Starbucks, but then again, I only drink espresso. I think theirs is horrible, and I really don't like the fact that they serve it in a paper cup even if I'm staying at the shop. If I'm forced to go there with friends, I ask for a real cup, and they rarely have them. It's still awful coffee though. I'd rather end up at a real espresso bar or go without.
  13. Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just saying that this has been discussed ad nauseam on the WS forums, with representatives from Wine Spectator making comments on several occasions to the effect of what I posted above. With reference to your second point, in theory it would be possible to give a 100 point rating to a region with no good producers when taking into account terroir, history, quality of vines, etc. That said, how many perfect regions would not have a single producer of quality?
  14. Thanks Bill. I really appreciate all the help. I'll do doubt be picking your brain (and others) in the months leading up to my holiday. Believe it or not, this will be my first trip to Italia. I've got family there, but have never visited. Go figure.
  15. As was discussed on the WS forum, vintage rating charts state the *potential* for wine produced in a given vintage. It is *not* the average score of wines in a particular vintage. Therefore, a 100-point vintage means that every producer has all the ingredients to make outstanding wine if they have good plots, performed an appropriate level of green harvest, picked at the right time in October, etc, etc.
  16. Bill, I looked at the ristoranti that hosted events this year, and this is what I came up with: ANTICA TORRE ANTINE' RABAJA' VECCHIO TRE STELLE LA SQUOLA ALIMENTARE LA CIAU DEL TORNAVENTO OSTERIA DELL'UNIONE TRATTORIA RISORGIMENTO OSTERIA ITALIA Assuming the same ristoranti will be used for Barbaresco 2001, which of them do you recommend? It looks like we might be shortening our stopover in Alba by a few days so we can visit with la famiglia in Milano. The itinerary right now looks like 2, 4, 4, and 4 days in Milano, Alba, Montalcino, and ending with la famiglia in Pescara, respectively.
  17. In an email from Renzo Alluto at Ca' du Rabaja, he mentioned that Friday evenings in May they have the "dinner of Barbaresco" where you can taste 30 wines in one night at the Barbaresco district restaurant. I would assume that he is speaking about the Barbaresco dinners at Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco? I look forward to that night and would assume I need a reservation.
  18. Bill, I've been in contact with Andrea Giacosa at La Meridiana and booked the apartment with the terrace for the week of 16 May. Thank you very much for your recommendation. I understand that the third weekend in May hosts a festival in Barbaresco. As we'll be arriving at La Meridiana on Sunday, 16 May, do you think we'll still be able to take part in some of the festivities, or should we try to stay somewhere else for a single night on the Saturday?
  19. futronic

    I Have Become a Tart

    Craig, I agree to some extent that food and wine is getting separated. With the increase of "hedonistic fruit bombs" (thanks, Mr. Parker ) in the marketplace, wine is beginning to stand on its own. I find it difficult to pair these types of wines with food (unless I'm having a big Zin with smoked ribs or something). I guess that's why I prefer old world wines, terroir, and their food-friendliness.
  20. Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. I'll send an email to the Giacosa family later today. Grazie!
  21. I've seen a lot of talk about Tuscany and and other regions, but haven't come across any information about agriturismo or apartment rentals in Piemonte. I plan on travelling there in mid-May 2004, and am looking for an apartment rental with a kitchen suitable for two people in and around the Barolo and Barbaresco DOCGs so I can visit various wineries in the area. Since my trip will be a total of two weeks (one week each in Tuscany and Piemonte) I'll be look for a one week rental. Any recommendations/suggestions would be appreciated.
  22. futronic

    Matters of taste

    Well, Sprite or Ginger Ale (sometimes soda water) was added to Nonno's homemade wine to make it a little more palatable for youngsters. Purchased wine was rarely consumed at the time in my household.
  23. futronic

    Matters of taste

    I guess I'm definitely in the minority since I am under 25 and very much into wine. I understand that the article is from the UK, but to draw parallels to North America, I think there are several reasons why wine is not always considered a preferred beverage for people in my age group. First, there seems to be a social stigma towards alcohol consumption, especially at a younger age. Now, I don't think it's appropriate for teenagers to go out and get drunk, but I definitely don't see a problem with parents giving a teenager a half glass of wine with dinner, even if that means it's watered down with Sprite or Ginger Ale. I believe that if families have a more open view towards wine (or alcohol in general), kids will not see consumption as "rebellious," and are more likely to be responsible with it. Plus, if you grow up drinking wine, you're more likely to continue drinking it as you get older. Second, it's not "cool" for a response to the question, "What are you drinking tonight?" to be "Oh, I'm having a '98 Elderton Barossa Shiraz" or "an '01 Fontodi Chianti Classico." For many kids the responses are often tequilla, Budweiser, or vodka. Third, in this age group, wine-drinkers are often thought of as snobby, rich, or of an older generation (or any combination of the three). This is not necessarily true. Furthermore, I know several of my friends who have recently started to like wine (and have also recently moved up into the 25+ age category), a common comment is that they want to learn about wine, but don't want to feel stupid asking questions as some people have been quite condescending in the past. I'm quite fortunate that I began drinking wine at a young age, and I grew to like it quite early in life. I started purchasing wines for mid- and long-term aging a few years ago, and as such, starting a few years from now I'll be drinking aged Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Shiraz, etc. In the meantime, I have ready drinkers to tide me over. In the article, it mentioned correctly that many people don't acquire a palate for wine until later in life, and that's a shame. At 24, waiting 10, 15, 20+ years for a bottle to age gracefully isn't a big deal. At 35, 40, 45 years of age, it may be of concern to some people. For the past year and a half I've hosted monthly tastings of 4-8 people, all under the age of 30. The purpose it to get people more familiar with wine and taste juice from a variety of producers, regions, etc. It's always informal and fun, with great conversation. Attendees are from a range of experience, going from beginners to those with more experienced palates. Everyone learns something, and people are encouraged to discuss what they taste, smell, etc, without threat of embarrassment. There is no wrong answer. This type of environment is conducive to removing preconceived notions of who a wine drinker is. Knowledge is key, and the only way to expand it is to drink more. Most recently our tastings were focused on Chianti (five different wines) and Australian Shiraz (nine different wines). Themed tastings have been the most successful as the ability to distinguish the nuances between wines of different producers is much greater.
  24. Randall, In another response, you mentioned your love of Italian varietals and your interest in producing California wine with these grapes. My question is why do you think Italian varietals will grow successfully in California, to the extent that they result in wines of similar quality to the microclimates in Italy? I understand there is a substantial amount of vini di tavola produced in Italy, but there are also a substantial amount high quality wines available. I just don't believe that Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Barbera, etc., produced in California will ever be able to compete directly with their foreign counterparts.
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