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    Livermore, CA, USA

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  1. Steve, I remember that potluck well. I think the thread is still around somewhere, circa 2001. Paula was generous with her compliments, I made sherry vinegar chicken from A New Way to Cook and she quite liked that as well. Am still reading the book; she had a fascinating life and I'm sorry I didn't get to know her better.
  2. Perhaps this is related, but the recipe I use for nut brittle calls for adding lots of extra water (2 c. water to 3 c. sugar and 1.5 c. corn syrup) and then boiling it off. This is much more water than would be needed to simply dissolve the sugar, and takes a while (30 minutes or so) to reduce to the point where most of the water is gone. However, it does turn out very crunchy, and not especially sticky. Is this in McGee's book, maybe? Walt
  3. Update on my bottle, originally opened on the 4th. I finished it yesterday, after keeping it in the fridge for ten days, having a glass occasionally. It surprised me by remaining drinkable and essentially unoxidized, even when I left it out at room temperature overnight. The flavors got a little more liqueur-like, cassis-y, but it definitely held on. Based on that I actually would expect it to age. Walt
  4. Data about bacterial levels, etc. is all well and good, but is there any evidence at all that this keeps you from getting sick? I wash my hands after using the bathroom to prevent the good 'ol fecal-oral route, but is microwaving my sponge really going to save me from something nasty like listeria? Looking forward to any answers. Thanks, Walt
  5. My sainted mother saw fit to buy me an apron and potholders in vivid yellow that say "San Francisco" on them. These are the seriously ugly ones they have at the airport, with a cartoon drawing of a crab, cable car, etc. Plus, we live an hour from San Francisco, so it's not as if they make a good souvenir or a "hometown" present. On the other hand, she did give us a very nice brushed aluminum plate rack that exactly matches our sideboard, so she clearly has a sense of taste... :) Walt
  6. wnissen

    Mr. Beer

    Ooh, ooh, me! I admit it, I introduced myself to Mr. Beer. The beer was OK. Not much flavor, but not much effort, either. I ended up buying a beer-making kit and a turkey frying kit, which allows me to make some pretty darn good beers. The Mr. Beer is a good introduction, though. If you get bored with Mr. Beer, you will definitely get bored with real homebrewing, and if you like the process, then you will probably like doing it full scale. I still have that stupid "keg" if anyone wants it. Actually, the plastic caps that come with the kit are useful. To check that I have correctly carbonated a batch of beer, I always bottle one 16 oz. plastic bottle, and cap with the Mr. Beer cap. It seals and looks better than just re-using the Crystal Geyser cap. Walt
  7. Well, by the time I got to BevMo, the vintage had changed, but what are you going to do? <b>2002 Renwood Barbera</b><i> - USA, California, Amador County (1/4/2005)</i><br>$18 at BevMo, 14.5%. Relatively quiet, generic nose, kind of like a Cabernet Sauvignon. Exceedingly well-structured, with tartness and tannin in evidence. Medium bodied, rather pretty red berry flavors. A little more complexity would really bring together the whole package. After being open for four hours, the alcohol and oak become more apparent, and this is not an improvement. Good+. <i>Posted from <a target='_new' href='http://www.cellartracker.com'>CellarTracker!</a></i> For reference, my scale is Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent, with half points provided by pluses. This wine was good but not great, and I doubt very much I would pay US$18 for it in the future, given that simple wines with good fruit are generally available for around $12. I really like the Renwood zins, but you win some and lose some. Thanks for the opportunity to try this. I was under the impression that Barbera tended to be a wine for aging, and while this was structured for it in the acid and tannin departments, I worry about the alcohol and oak that came out over an extended period. Anyone had previous vintages with a few years on them? Walt
  8. wnissen


    Wine.com is great for ordering wine shipped to other people in states that aren't "reciprocal," meaning they don't allow wine shipments. Since wine.com works through distributors in each state, they can ship many more places than your average wine store. However, if you are buying for yourself, they are almost useless if you have access to a local wine store. Walt
  9. God, I hope so. Decided to try my hand at candy making this week with a pecan almond brittle. Turned out brown, glossy, and crisp using our regular probe thermometer that we use for roasting, etc. The durability of the probes varies (we've had our current one for two years of weekly use) but I don't think I'd use a candy thermometer. Hard to read through the steam and boiling sugar, and no alarm to remind you that you've reached 260F and need to add the nuts. At least for this beginner, no thanks. Walt
  10. Actually, the featured wine is the 2001 Amador County. The Sierra Series is the one that I pointed out as being potentially confusing, and apparently created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sorry about that. However, you will probably have better luck finding the 2001 Amador, as that is the current release, while the current Sierra Series is 2002. My local Costco didn't have either, but I will head out to Beverages and More, which does have it. Walt
  11. I actually think it's a pretty sensible survival mechanism. Back when the edibility of many potential foods was in doubt, long-remembered aversion to the food that made you sick was a very useful reaction. However, it has always seemed to me that, especially with microbial contamination, the aversion tends to fall on the wrong food. I had Norwalk a couple of weeks ago (often miscalled a "stomach virus") which could have been food related or not, there is no way to tell. However, my last two meals before I started getting really sick were an eclair and a dungeness crab (the latter consumed when I could tell I was getting ill), and I now have a mild aversion to both those foods. Not very useful, given that I was almost certainly infected with Norwalk several days before. Walt
  12. Should be interesting, although none of the usual suspects seem to carry it. Wait, I found it at BevMo for $18. I also noted that there's a "Sierra Series" with a California appellation on sale for $8, so be sure to get the right one. Walt
  13. Interested? Absolutely. The last time I was in New York I picked up a bottle of Heron Hill Meritage, and it was pretty good. Lean and somewhat vegetal, but attractive and tobacco-y. But as others have said, in the $20 range you're starting to get into serious money for me (my average bottle is less than $10). If the wineries were local and I could taste and choose, it might be worth it, but out here in California with no availability, it's not really worth the effort. I see more wine from Idaho and New Mexico than New York, as odd as that may be... Walt
  14. wnissen

    White Beaujolais?

    As Carolyn says, it wasn't a mistake. The one all the wine geeks go ga-ga over is Jean Paul Brun Beaujolais blanc. Actually, they go ga-ga over anything by JP Brun, but that's not relevant here. Brun has much better distribution on the East Coast, and wine-searcher only shows a few stores carrying the blanc. The problem is that so little white Beaujolais is made, and you are not likely to find it on a regular basis. However, any you find are likely to be good. If all you're looking for is a similar style, try the other Chardonnay-based wines from nearby in Burguny. Chablis, Macon, and Pouilly-Fuisse are frequently made in that crisp, clean style. Walt
  15. wnissen

    Beaujolais Nouveau

    The bottle of Duboeuf I tried Saturday night was awful, harsh and screechingly acidic. One of the worst wines I've ever tasted. Left corked on the counter, it improved somewhat by last night. The Charles Shaw Pinot Noir / Valdiguie Nouveau (yes, Two Buck Nouveau!) was also flawed, farty and sulphrous but not too bad, as these things go. The only winner was Louis Tete, a reliable smaller producer whose Nouveau tasted fresh, clean, and raw. Just like it came out of a tank. Good stuff. What can I say, Nouveau is a great excuse for a party! Walt
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