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Everything posted by wnissen

  1. wnissen

    Blind tasting

    Hee! From you way you describe it, at least some of the tasters drink wine and were not complete neophytes. The way I see it, cola is the most popular beverage in the country, so therefore people will probably like wines that taste like colas. Between 2BC and a tannic Cabernet, I know which one tastes more like Coke and which one tastes more like heavily steeped, unsweetened herbal tea. Walt
  2. Beans? Sage, garlic, and olive oil can make a mean vegan bean dish, assuming the no-veggie person will eat beans. It's not like they're leafy or anything. :) Walt
  3. Specifically, the restaurant is competing to supply the best-tasting food for a given price. Empty calories not only taste good, but are cheap! If Chili's can make their burger taste 5% better by adding 50% more margarine for a nickel, they will. That's why their blue cheese burger has 64 grams of fat; as much as an 11 oz steak from a well-marbled piece of beef. Give me the broiled steak any day!The tone of the article was hilarious, though. Was it aimed at the 3% of consumers who are so dumb that they think restaurant food is good for them? The bit about the clear liquid (what could it be?) in the omlette was especially funny. Thanks to GG for posting it. Walt
  4. Ditto on the not too sweet. I make cherry pork in various forms, and it always works better with sour cherries. As for wine, I would probably go with something Syrah-based from the Central Coast like Qupe. Or, a cooler climate zin from Mendocino. Walt
  5. To answer your specific question, yes, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is not only priced in line with the others, but is a US$4 wine. What it has going for it it is near flavorlessness. When I think of all the people who pay $40+ a bottle in restaurants for a wine that is one step up from coming in a juice box, I weep.OK, back on topic: 2002 Bishops Peak "Rock Solid Red" - Paso Robles, Central Coast, California, USA (10/13/2004) $8.09 from The Wine Steward club, 14.4%. I'm conflicted about this wine. One one hand, it's flavorful and balanced, but on the other hand the flavor is marred by clumsy oak and a charry note. Big but not oozy or jammy. Not a bad match with grilled lamb chops, and my wife likes it more than I do, pouring herself another glass. Still a good value and overall Good+. Posted from CellarTracker! Plus most of the wines in my earlier post WTN: Six months of mostly value wines. Walt
  6. Mr. Hawksworth, my dinner at West last year was one of the best of my life (I can still taste three dishes). But your link has an extra http:// in it.http://www.manresarestaurant.com/home/index.html Regards, Walt
  7. My wife and I dined at Victoria and Albert's last week, and it was a delicious meal with extraordinarily attentive service. None of the dishes put me on the floor in ecstasy, but all were excellent in flavor and beautifully presented. I really should do a writeup. The only misstep I can point to is that they had a service table right in the room where they arranged silverware. This was occasionally distracting. Also, I should note that they have only early and late seatings. 6:30 was the latest "early" and then 8:00 or so was the earliest late seating. I thought it was worth the money, but unlike Taillevent I don't regard it as a tremendous value. Walt
  8. Hurricane Jeanne and the rather shocking rudeness of Disney Cruise Lines meant that my wife and I happened to be visiting Disneyworld during the Food and Wine Festival. We had a blast, and during one day at Epcot managed to try at least one item from each of the 25 or so country booths. My only "insider" tip is that they have a soft opening of the booths the night before with shorter lines. We were dining at Le Cellier that night, and so had a couple "amuses" before our supper. Bouquet du vin, I really liked the Cave Springs semi-dry. Very good with food, and delicious. I am also a big fan of Maudite, if you import that as well. I'm embarassed to say that I thought it was Belgian. My vote for most pleasurable and surreal experience at Epcot Food and Wine goes to sipping a glass of Inniskillin Okanagan Vidal Icewine from a plastic cup while watching a fantastic fireworks and laser show. Now that's living! Walt
  9. Interesting. Marcella Cucina was supposed to be her last, and that was published in 1997. It must be great to love one's work so much. Walt
  10. wnissen

    Ciao tutti

    Hi Craig, I have really enjoyed reading your articles, especially. Best of luck in your new venture. Walt
  11. 24 million gallons, actually. Pretty unreal. I too have mostly seen in at events for older folks. Maybe they remember when you could get a good bottle for $2? Walt
  12. Yep, and is advertised as such on TV. To return to the topic at hand, the Bee had a much better article describing the precise manner in which the consumer is being played like a fiddle: http://www.modbee.com/business/story/9127820p-10027206c.html Yeek. Walt
  13. In advance, I ask you to please pardon my sarcasm. Oh, my! God forbid someone make wine, at a winery, in Napa! My god, they'll be sacrificing goats by the hundreds, next! Seriously, the folks living in Napa lucked out and the industry that developed turned out to be viniculture, and not hog farming. Rather than celebrating their good fortune of having wineries paying mucho taxes with minimal pollution, and a landscape made for coffee table books, they constantly try to restrict the very industry that makes the valley what it is. Grrr. Walt
  14. wnissen

    Homebrewing Question

    ← Glad to hear it! As you get more familiar with brewing, you'll be able to control the carbonation better. Far preferable to have slightly less carbonation than too much. You might end up like some folks, who bottle and then end up with two cases of miniature CO2 bombs, ready to explode at the slightest concussion. Congratulations on your good flavor, too. Cleanliness is next to yumminess, I always say. Walt
  15. The first container of 2003s arrived a little while ago, and after this time to recover, were offered for tasting. I didn't see the usual WLDG suspects, but did meet up with "chaud-froid" a.k.a. Paul. But to start, a couple of 2002 auction wines.<br /> <br /> <b>2002 Egon Müller Schärzhofberger Riesling Kabinett Auction</b><i> - Saar, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$37, AP 10-03.<br>Rich, savory, tart. This is Kabinett? Open, very enjoyable. Very Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2002 von Othegraven Kanzemer Altenberg Riesling Spätlese Auction</b><i> - Saar, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$35, AP 10-03.<br>Closed nose but good palate, a bit of petrol. Juicy finish. Very Good.<br /> <br /> OK, here are my first tastes of the 2003s. Didn't find them exactly lacking in acid, but fewer were what I would consider balanced. There was a distinct lack of floral scents, more grass and artificial-smelling fruits. Still, some very good wines. <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling QbA Trocken</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$12, 12.5%, AP 2-04.<br>Synthetic cork! Austere, stony nose of quartz, and then hot and a little coarse in the mouth. Tasted better than it sounds, Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Al Alba Vinceró Riesling Kabinett Trocken</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$13.50, 13.0%, AP 005-04.<br>Rainwater and slate nose, taste the same, with maybe a vanilla/oak note underneath. Balanced, doesn't even really taste German, it's more "normal." Very Good.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Reinhard & Beate Knebel Winninger Brückstück Riesling QbA halbtrocken</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$15, 11.5%, AP 2-04.<br>This one is really hard to describe. No rating.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Kabinett feinherb</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$13, 13%, AP 006-04.<br>Lush, floral nose, rich and smooth but hot at the same time. Pretty, and full-bodied. Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Kabinett</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$13.50, 8.5%, AP 7-04.<br>Sulphur blows off, but still closed, maybe a little rainwater peeking through. Far softer on the palate than the above, flabby but remains attractive. Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Reinhard & Beate Knebel Winninger Rottgen Riesling Spätlese</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$19.50, 9.0%, AP 11-04.<br>Fine "red" nose, but just explodes in the mouth. Sweet, just enough acid, flowery. Very Good.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Dhroner Hofberger Riesling Spätlese</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$18.50, 8.5%, AP 8-04.<br>Caramel, fruit, spice, another sweetie, oh, the caramel! Delicious. Very Good+. Picked up a couple of these, just so much fun to drink.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spätlese</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$20, 8.5%, AP 9-04.<br>Quiet. Lacks the intensity and density of the Dhroner Hofberger. Closed? Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Reinhard & Beate Knebel Winninger Rottgen Riesling Spätlese alte reben</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$28, 8.5%, AP 10-04.<br>Grassy, dry nose paired with <b>sweet</b> full-bodied similar palate. Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Spätlese</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$14, 12%, AP 8-04.<br>I would guess Sauvignon Blanc from the nose, and this one tastes seriously dry, a shock after the Winninger Röttgen Spätlese. However, it turns out well and I would love to have this with dinner. Very Good. If I had been smart, I would have gotten this instead of the Goldkap.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Spätlese alte reben</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$16, 12%, AP 10-04.<br>More grass. Is there something in the air? Rocks. Less interesting than the regular. Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Hattenheimer Hassel I Riesling Spätlese</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$16, $14 on pre-arrival, 11%, AP 9-04. This doesn't seem the same weight as the other spätlesen, but it's good. A bit blowsy, but just a bit. Balanced, fruity, a hint of plastic. Good+, actually might be Very Good.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Hattenheimer Hassel II Riesling Kabinett</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$13.50, no pre-arrival discount (what's up with that?), 8.5%. AP 007-04. This is noted on the tasting sheet as "auslese grade taste," and is quite sugary. Not that flavorful in terms of intensity, but pure fruits and, very, very nice. Very Good.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spätlese ***</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$22.50/500mL, 9%, AP 16-04.<br>Oh my. This has the flavor and stuffing to exceed its shy nose. Bubble gum, unidentifiable smells. Very Good+.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Gerhard Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Spätlese Goldkapsel</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$15.50, again no pre-arrival discount, 11%. AP 011-04. Hmm. Purple Kool-aid, doesn't seem that rich. Decent food wine. Good+. It's an inexpensive Spätlese Goldkap, but I was hoping for more. This is what happens when you don't attend the barrel sample tasting!<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Reinhard & Beate Knebel Winninger Rottgen Riesling Auslese</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$35/500 mL, 8%, AP 13-04.<br>Melon, hand lotion. Honey. Oooooh. No more words! Excellent. My wife is gonna kill me, but I got a bottle.<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Auslese</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$24.50/500mL, 9%, AP 11-04.<br>Honey, less lush than the Winninger Röttgen Auslese, more savory. Still pretty darn good. (forgot to give this a rating).<br /> <br /> <b>2003 Josef Rosch Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Auslese ***</b><i> - Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$42/500mL, 9%, AP 11-04.<br>Rich, a little lacking in flavor for my taste. This is ***? I'd rather have the Spätlese. Good+.<br /> <br /> Next a couple of wine club wines.<br /> <br /> <b>2002 Schloss Vollrads Riesling Spätlese</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (9/12/2004)</i><br>$19.75.<br>Apples! Grapes, simple, balanced, tasty.<br /> <br /> <b>2001 Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach Steinberger Riesling Kabinett Goldkapsel</b><i> - Eltville, Rheingau, Germany (9/11/2004)</i><br>$21.50, 9%, AP 026-02.<br>Hard to come down to this. Just off-dry, crisp, solid. <br /> Good+.<br /> <br /> <br> And finally, a few other selections.<br /> <br> <b>2000 Etude Pinot Gris</b><i> - Carneros, California, USA (9/11/2004)</i><br>Bad bottle.<br /> <br /> <b>1999 York Creek Vineyards Meritage</b><i> - Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California, USA (9/11/2004)</i><br>$45/ 36.75 Dee Vine wine club, 13.5%.<br>Cassis, earthy. Not quite ripe? Medium bodied. Good.<br /> <br /> <i>Posted from <a href='http://www.cellartracker.com'>CellarTracker</a></i><br /> <br /> Walt<br />
  16. He does know that you're supposed to serve it in a cocktail glass, not a pitcher, right?
  17. Hi Charles, CellarTracker is at http://www.cellartracker.com and you can look around at most of the features without having to register. You are correct, the Concannon wine is from the closeout sale earlier this year. I have not tried the new, Wine Group, wines in the fancy-looking silver labels with gratuitously heavy bottles. My "upscale" alarm is very sensistive. When crush is over and the crowds leave, I typically do my main Livermore tasting for the year. Interesting that you and I both bought the P.S. and the S.B., I also picked up three cases for family. Great deal, although the Livermore wine shop owner stopped carrying Concannon in his local wine section in response. Walt
  18. With the many sources for wine in the San Francisco Bay area, I tend not to purchase anything by mail if I can help it. So I'm a member of the most basic club at my local wine shop, The Wine Steward in Pleasanton. It's a good club, $20 a month (roughly) for one domestic and one imported red. Some of it is Parker values (Thorne-Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz), and some is stuff I've never heard of from relatively obscure appellations. Between my wife and I, we only consume about a case a month at home, so a single-winery club would just be too much. I don't think I could handle drinking 50% of my wine from five producers. But I cast a broad net and prefer not to drink the same bottle again and again. Walt
  19. Cointreau is around US$20/375mL here. I'd much rather put that money toward better tequila. By the way, I find 1800 too woody for good, fresh tasting margaritas. Silver or reposado tastes more like tequila to me. Walt
  20. Carolyn, Thanks for your compliment. For the record, I love CellarTracker. It is incredibly well-designed and useful, and allows me to keep track of all my bottles, purchases, drinking "windows," and tasting notes with minimal effort. It doesn't directly support PDA data entry, but you can download your cellar as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file, or it has a low-fidelity version for web-enabled cell phones. I just use the web interface. The best part, for me, is that all the wines are in a hierarchy, so you can query to find all your, say, Burgundies. Furthermore, when users enter tasting notes, they show up on your view of the wine, so you can compare. Before the most recent interface, it took me several hours to enter roughly 100 unique wines, but now it is much easier than that. The only real work is entering wines that are not yet in the database at all (i.e., no one else has the wine), but there are now 27000 unique wines entered in the database, so this is less and less of an issue. Eric does ask for a voluntary donation if you use CellarTracker, but it's well worth it. Walt
  21. Recently I have started using www.cellartracker.com and keeping an inventory of the bottles I have and drink. I've also been keeping tasting notes, purely for my own reference. However, I'm going ahead with this posting on the thinking that even an amateurish, brief note is more descriptive than silence. So, here goes. Most of the wines are rated on an eleven point scale, which is pretty approximate. The levels are Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent, and Outstanding, with pluses. There are some repititions, although I've tried to weed them out.<br /> <br /> <ul type='square'><li><b>2003 Bodegas Juan Gil Wrongo Dongo</b><i> - Jumilla, Murcia, Spain (8/31/2004)</i><br>$7.19, Wine Steward club selection. Electric purple color, this has a promising nose, smells structured and fine. However, little Mourvedre character on the nose or palate, and while tannic it doesn't have much else in the way of structure or grip. Good.<br /> <li><b>2000 Lapis Luna Merlot</b><i> - California, USA (8/28/2004)</i><br>Wine Steward club selection. The label claims this is from Northern California fruit. Clumsy, plummy, and woody, this is quite uninteresting. Fair+.<br /> <li><b>2003 Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer Rhinefarm Vineyard</b><i> - Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (8/25/2004)</i><br>$22 ex cellars. This off-dry Gewurtz is probably the best I've had from the New World, bringing together really pretty Gewurtz fruit with a hint of grassiness and impeccable balance. Works equally well by itself or with food. Vivid. Very Good+.<br /> <li><b>2000 Firesteed Cellars Pinot Noir</b><i> - Oregon, USA (8/23/2004)</i><br>$13 at Made in Oregon. Starts off with a stinky (brett?) nose, but settles down into a pleasant "sous bois", not so fruity nose. Oddly disjointed and sweet on the palate. Good with salmon and roasted eggplant, but not really a complete package. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2000 Atalon Merlot</b><i> - Napa Valley, California, USA (8/20/2004)</i><br>$21. I'm not usually a fan of Napa Merlot, but this is pleasant, with a juicy fleshiness that manages to come through despite too much oak. Probably too much acid for most, but I like it, and it goes well with sausage, leek, cabbage, and fontina pasta. Can't decide whether this is Good+ or Very Good, but I felt this was a little overpriced.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Tedeschi Vineyard Ulupalakua Red</b><i> - Maui, Hawaii, USA (8/16/2004)</i><br>A gift from well-meaning friends, $12 at the winery in Maui! The winery's description: This medium-dry red wine is soft and easy to drink. It was developed with our casual Hawaiian eating style in mind. It may be served slightly chilled. My TN: Significantly sweet, there is generic fruit mixed with something like a weedy sewer note on the nose. Doesn't taste as unappetizing as it smells. I have heard that this winery's "Maui Blanc," made from pineapples is quite good. This wine reminds of poorly made Sangria, and is not. Fair.<br /> <li><b>2003 Livermore Valley Cellars (LVC) Syrah "Syrahnade"</b><i> - Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California, USA (8/15/2004)</i><br>$12 ex cellars. Although it weighs in at a stunning 15.9% and sports a color darker than some Pinot Noirs, this dry rose manages to be charming. Very fruity, only a bit overripe, not exactly crisp, but not tiring to drink, either. Perhaps a bit of a powerhouse, but my wife and I both like it a lot and bought four bottles. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>1988 Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon</b><i> - California, California, USA (8/14/2004)</i><br>Not dead, but not interesting either. This bottle came from my wife's grandfather's wine rack (he is deceased) and I was expecting it to be terrible or great. Oh well. No rating.<br /> <li><b>2003 Annie's Lane Riesling</b><i> - Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia (8/9/2004)</i><br>$16 at 1st Street Wine Company. I guess I was hoping for more from this dry Riesling. Good balance, but not much fruit to speak of, somewhat pretty but just not flavorful enough. The back label says it should age for five to eight years, which might explain the blah showing. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Hugel Gentil</b><i> - Alsace, France (8/2/2004)</i><br>$7 on clearance at Safeway. Somewhat austere, nicely aromatic. This blend of several varieties is balanced and delicious by itself, but for whatever reason kind of clashes with insalata Caprese and corn soup. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Viano Cabernet Sauvignon Private Stock</b><i> - Contra Costa County, California, USA (7/28/2004)</i><br>$8, Pleasanton Wine Steward Club selection. Extremely impressive creme de cassis and cassis nose is followed by a very balanced, very fruity palate, with good structure and a healthy dose of fine tannin. Slight mid-palate hole. The best thing to come out of Martinez in years, as far as I'm concerned. This is really good now, but I would even be curious to see it develop. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>2001 Bregon Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine</b><i> - Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine, Pays Nantais, Loire Valley, France (7/27/2004)</i><br>Correct Muscadet, but no great shakes. Good+.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille</b><i> - Vin du Bugey-Cerdon, Savoie, France (7/20/2004)</i><br>$16. A Kermit Lynch import. If you haven't had a Vin de Bugey Cerdon, you need to start now. A VDQS, this slightly fizzy pink sparkler is an ideal summer wine. Slightly sweet, but with more balancing acidity than you'd expect, it might be best described as "kir royale in a bottle". A mere 8% alchohl means that you can slurp down a whole bottle when it's hot out, you just can't go wrong with this strawberry-filled little gem. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille</b><i> - Vin du Bugey-Cerdon, Savoie, France (7/20/2004)</i><br>This is the new release of this nonvintage wine, from 2003 fruit. Darker pink, a little less crisp but still very, very tasty. Both of these bottles disappeared at a dinner party tonight.<br /> <br /> <li><b>2001 Gerhard Hattenheimer Hassel Riesling Kabinett</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (7/9/2004)</i><br>This medium-bodied Riesling also shows great balance between sweet and tart, with minerality and a tiny hint of plastic that adds complexity. A Very Good wine, and a great match with the pork and its sauce. Develops floral notes with time, too. Got this on sale for $9 at Dee Vine Wines.<br /> <li><b>2000 Thomas Coyne Mourvedre</b><i> - Contra Costa County, California, USA (7/7/2004)</i><br>Smoky, bright yet brooding at the same time, good structure, a hint of bitterness, very pleasing. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>2002 Paul Hobbs Malbec El Felino</b><i> - Mendoza, Argentina (7/2/2004)</i><br>$12, a wine club selection at The Wine Steward. Somewhat monolithic, not bad with steak.<br /> <li><b>2003 Thorn-Clarke Shiraz Terra Barossa</b><i> - Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia (6/30/2004)</i><br>$13 at the Wine Steward in Pleasanton. This wine is unreviewed by Parker, according to the Wine Steward, but it seems "Parkerized" to me. One of the more viscous dry wines I've tasted, and it has high fruit intensity and high alcohol (listed as 14.0%). A vivid violet color at the rim. My wife likes this a lot, I like this pretty well. It's smooth as heck but still mananges to seem a bit coarse, texturally speaking, and is a real fruit bomb. Yum. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>2001 Antica Terra Pinot Noir</b><i> - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (6/27/2004)</i><br>Lightly corked, dammit. If anyone is listening, cork sucks! Still, what showed through was pleasant enough that I was willing to drink it. Fresh, red fruits, good acid, pretty. If not corked, probably a Good+ or Very Good.<br /> <br /> <li><b>2000 Georges Dubœuf Côte de Brouilly Domaine de la Feuillee</b><i> - Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France (6/24/2004)</i><br>What showed as banana last time came across as yeastiness, but very pleasant, wrapped around berries. Medium bodied, good structure, finish a bit acid. Showing better than last time, a nice little wine. Good+.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Grape Vine Winery Rhubarb</b><i> - Iowa, USA (6/18/2004)</i><br>$8 at the winery. Holy crap, this is a tart wine. Good rhubarb flavor, slight amount of sugar, although totally overwhelmed by the tartness. Maybe a hint of plastic, but overal tasty. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Vines Lodi</b><i> - Lodi, Central Valley, California, USA (6/15/2004)</i><br>$60/case on a stained label sale at the winery. Berry and yeast nose leads to some very nice berries and even some crispness and pepper on this medium-weight Zin. Not much finish and a little tannic, but very enjoyable with chili. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Erath Vineyards Pinot Noir</b><i> - Oregon, Oregon, USA (6/13/2004)</i><br>Quiet nose, mostly dried leaves. More expressive on the palate, sour cherries and more sous bois, plus a hint of tropical/flowery, actually rounded and quite nice. Good structure, but light as a feather, not lush at all. If you are a fan of California pinot, this won't appeal at all; it is very cool-climate. Somewhat overwhelmed by grilled salmon served over spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette, but would be good with less robust dishes. Stupid wide bottle doesn't fit my rack. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>2000 Georges Dubœuf Côte de Brouilly Domaine de la Feuillee</b><i> - Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France (6/10/2004)</i><br>$7 at K&L. A quiet nose, a bit of banana-ish floweryness. More of the same on palate. No flaws, just not much there and not very interesting. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2002 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc</b><i> - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (6/7/2004)</i><br>This last bottle of three was something of a revelation for me. Finally, it seemed like the extreme grassiness and tropical fruit had calmed down just slightly and integrated into a more complex whole, with, it seemed, a longer finish. I was very impressed. Very Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Andrew Murray Enchante</b><i> - Santa Ynez, California, USA (6/3/2004)</i><br>$53 at Wente Vineyards Restaurant. Deep gold, especially for a young wine, this doesn't show especially fruity on the nose, and has a little too much vanilla-oak for my taste. The first sips are a little harsh and short, but 15 minutes in an ice bucket cool it from cellar temperature and change the palate almost completely. It becomes crisper, and the chalk and stone notes really come out, and give a fine, fine finish. Not that complex, but extremely enjoyable, and good with a range of food from squash risotto to grilled chicken breast to grilled salmon to salad. Very Good+.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Zanger Vineyards Plum</b><i> - Santa Rosa, California, USA (6/2/2004)</i><br>This sweet wine is actually a bit too tart for my taste, but when young and fresh is delicious. This was not young, and had turned fairly amber after 2 years in the cellar. Luckily it was not really oxidized. Still somewhat plummy, eh. Fair. Drink young!<br /> <li><b>2000 Brutocao Merlot Estate Bottled</b><i> - Mendocino, California, USA (6/2/2004)</i><br>13.2% alc. - I think Merlot has gotten a bad rap. This example from Mendocino combines sweetish berry fruits with crisp acid and is not overwhelmed by a moderate amount of toasty oak. Decent finish too. Don't know how much this retails for, but it was very enjoyable with sausage and fontina-sauced whole wheat pasta. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>2001 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine VQA</b><i> - Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada (5/30/2004)</i><br>Given a little time to wake up, this golden icewine is just raging with that outdoorsy musk that I tend to get from icewines. Probably too sweet and not acidic enough for lovers of German icewines, this is just a delight, dessert in a glass, although surprisingly good with German chocolate cake. Long fruity finish, syrupy, I just love this. Excellent+.<br /> <li><b>1994 Parducci Cabernet Sauvignon</b><i> - North Coast, California, USA (5/28/2004)</i><br>This bottle was flawed, or at least distinctly inferior to a previous one with the same storage. Light corkiness? Browning slightly at the rim, this was purchased at Trader Joe's for $7 by my late grandfather-in-law, a Pearl Harbor veteran, and then was given to me while we were helping to clean out his apartment, so it has sentimental value.Actually pretty good, juicy, a bit of tannin (exacerbated by the massive quantity of Swiss chard I served as a side) and good with and as part of bacon-wrapped filet sauced with red wine reduction. Good+, would have been Very Good if not for the flaw.<br /> <li><b>2002 Hogue Riesling Late Harvest</b><i> - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (5/7/2004)</i><br>This wine is 12.4% alcohol, and has quite a bit of sugar on top of that. Not as crisp as I was hoping, but quite a variety of nice smells, including honeysuckle, flowers, and honey. Full bodied. A bit harsh with a maple-glazed pork tenderloin. Not a whole lot of finish, but decently complex. Still, I didn't *like* this as well as the text might indicate. Good+.<br /> <li><b>1999 Abtei St. Hildegard Rüdesheimer Klosterlay Riesling</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (5/4/2004)</i><br>Celebrated my birthday with this at the excellent Koi Palace in Daly City, CA. Delicious, balanced between lemony fruit and stone, slightly sweet, and a great match with the variety of foods we tried. Not especially complex. Very Good.<br /> <li><b>2000 Debonné Chambourcin</b><i> - Grand River Valley, Ohio, USA (4/26/2004)</i><br>Along with Firelands Pinot Noir, this wine is atypical for Ohio in that it's dry and tasty. Smoky, simple, crisp, a tiny bit too much VA, but good with food. Good+.<br /> <li><b>1999 Diamond Grove Zinfandel</b><i> - California, USA (4/22/2004)</i><br>Not really a Zin in any sense, more generic "red wine," simple, but not grossly overripe like many really cheap wines. Very high QPR at $2. Good.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Eckert Estate Ensemble</b><i> - California, USA (4/19/2004)</i><br>I remember this Rhone-ish blend being pretty good at the winery, but now it's balanced and decently fruity, but not much more. Lacking the complexity I remember, this is a good pizza wine, but doesn't develop with air. Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Artesa Chardonnay</b><i> - Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA (4/18/2004)</i><br>Tried this at a wine shop tasting. It is possible that I had a bad bottle, but similar aromas presented themselves in the Pinot Noir as well. Stinky like old barrels, oaky, flabby (more so relative to other Carneros Chards), almost nothing to recommend it. I don't think I would even cook with this. Poor.<br /> <li><b>1999 Chouinard Apple Hog Canyon Orchard</b><i> - California, USA (4/14/2004)</i><br>Just off dry, this wine looks like a grape wine, but smells unmistakably like granny smiths, although my wife didn't notice until I pointed it out. Crisp, simple, this is good with red Thai curry. Honest wine, better than a lot of industrial grape wine. Good.<br /> <li><b>1988 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape</b><i> - Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France (4/10/2004)</i><br>Just for reference, this is my first mature CdP, although I have previously loved Ogiers and Clapes from the same period. Fill was just below the capsule, cork was only halfway soaked and in good condition, color was dark with very little bricking. The sommelier indicated it had been cellared since release, which explains why it was "only" $100 on the list of the White Orchid in Reno, Nevada. I just loved this wine to bits. It was quiet, and mostly earthy upon opening at the beginning of the meal, but after a few minutes it became unearthly. Just so smooth, complex, and deep, this medium-bodied wine was pure pleasure. I loved this with pheasant soup, halibut, and and a short-rib mushroom melange. Just yum, yum, yum. It changed quite a bit over the course of 90 minutes, mostly becoming more fruity, until about two hours in the acid started poking out and and it fell apart. I loved the ride. It was slightly bretty but only the most sensitive would object, I think. My wife, who likes wine but isn't into it, was agog at how good this was. I don't really do points, but this gets an Excellent+, the highest rating on my very informal ten point scale. <br><br>I can't imagine how this wine would get any better, so my advice would be to drink up. Or, better yet, go to the White Orchid, a fine if tacky restaurant, and enjoy one of their very well-stored, reasonably priced bottles. Their wine list is on their website, and it has quite a few good deals, to my eye.<br /> <li><b>1996 Chateau Woltner Chardonnay Titus</b><i> - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA (3/30/2004)</i><br>I have heard that this is the best of the Woltner vineyards, and this bottle bears that out. Slightly more yellow than a young wine, but this one seems to be mature now. Like the others, a bit oaky on opening, but this one has great clarity and a glossy minerality. Not especially fruity, but intellectually and hedonistically satisfying. Elegant despite the oak. Very Good+.<br /> <li><b>2000 Van Duzer Pinot Noir "Barrel Select" Estate</b><i> - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (3/20/2004)</i><br>Oh my. This is a really wonderful wine. The nose is just gallons of perfume and flowers, not especially fruity. Tastes like a great combination of earth, cherries, dried cherries, and smoke. A bit of smoky oak, lots and lots of structure, good acids, maybe a little unbalanced in the acid department. Yum, yum yum. This will age, I can just feel it. Very different from its brother from the Flagpole Block, more muscular, less perfumed, if you can imagine. I really like this. Excellent.<br /> <li><b>1997 Chateau Woltner Chardonnay Frederique</b><i> - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA (3/19/2004)</i><br>Significantly darker color than the St. Thomas of the same vintage. Would be worrisome, but does not show any older. Similar flavor profile of French oak (a bit too much), fruit and minerals, in good balance. Burgundian, although somewhat lighter in structure, not in body. Very good.<br /> <li><b>2002 Fenestra Sémillon</b><i> - Livermore Valley, Central Coast, California, USA (3/14/2004)</i><br>Almost no nose, this wine is fairly fat, a bit of bitterness, not much to it really. Decent but not great with food. Good.<br><br>UPDATE: 15 Mar. I take it back, after a day this has picked up quite a bit of richness and flavor. Still not that much aroma. A Good+, at least.<br /> <li><b>2000 Concannon Petite Sirah Selected Vineyards</b><i> - Central Coast, California, USA (3/13/2004)</i><br>An initial nose of just pure overripeness blows off to reveal a fine, if simple nose of strawberries. A very dark wine, the palate is predominently dusty, fine tannins mixed in with those same strawberries. Decent finish. This needs time, I think it will smooth out and the fruit will just shine against the structure. Good+. If you're in the area, this weekend this wine is selling for $60 a case at the winery.<br /> <li><b>2001 Concannon Sauvignon Blanc Selected Vineyards</b><i> - Central Coast, California, USA (3/13/2004)</i><br>This is an inconsequential wine, with a somewhat dilute nose of slight grass and citrus. On the palate, it has a light body, a little more grassiness, and a pleasing, citrusy finish. Lightly oaked, but not at all intrusively. Shortish finish. Chilled down in the heat of summer, this is the perfect patio wine. If you're in the area, this wine is available for $24 a case this weekend only at the winery.<br /> <li><b>1999 Müller-Catoir Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spätlese #6</b><i> - Pfalz, Germany (3/12/2004)</i><br>My wife and I liked this quite a bit. Morphing nose of flowers, grass, some minerals. A teensy bit harsh, but not distractingly so, off-dry and good with maple-glazed pork tenderloin. Not a whole lot of structure or acid, but enjoyable.<br /> <li><b>1997 Chateau Woltner Chardonnay St. Thomas</b><i> - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA (3/4/2004)</i><br>My first bottle of Woltner (recently bought and now known as Ladera) Chardonnay. Comes off too French-oaky at first, but this blows off to reveal a quiet bouquet of mostly fruit and a little oak. Medium to light body, good with asparagus risotto, not in your face at all. Not buttery, which is how I like them. Despite being old for a CA Chard, in no danger of fading. Very Good. Sorry, no numbers.<br /> <li><b>2001 Concannon Pinot Noir</b><i> - Central Coast, California, USA (2/29/2004)</i><br>Pleasing, earthy nose and palate. Not complex, not much finish, but tasty and a good food wine. Extremely good value. Don't believe in point scores, sorry.<br /> <li><b>N.V. Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs</b><i> - Carneros, California, USA (2/27/2004)</i><br>My wife wanted a Kir Royale, so this came out. Tasty with and without creme de cassis. Not as crisp as I would have liked, but pretty palest salmon color, smallish bead and a whiff of yeast. Not bad.<br /> <li><b>1998 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve</b><i> - Napa Valley, California, USA (2/12/2004)</i><br>A very, very nice wine, the only 1998 Napa Cab. I've really liked. Wonderful fruit, long finish, cool weather showing as good acid rather than greenness. Balanced, great finish. A fine wine for Valentine's Day.<br /> <li><b>2001 Navarro Vineyards Gewurztraminer Grape Juice</b><i> - Mendocino, California, USA (2/1/2004)</i><br>A very enjoyable, very Gewurtzy drink. Sweet, but much more delicious than any grape juice I've had. Good stuff.<br /> <li><b>2001 Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir Grape Juice</b><i> - Mendocino, California, USA (10/1/2003)</i><br>I may be in the minority here, but this mainly tasted like plain old Welch's to me. No typically Pinot flavors, no great finish, nothing. I would rather pour grape juice into a wine bottle. Now, the Gewurtz juice on the other hand, is really something special.<br /> <li><b>1997 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Seven Springs</b><i> - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (6/15/2003)</i><br>This takes a while to open up. I would definitely recommend a decanting. When it awakes, the nose is really beautiful, with crushed flowers, fresh flowers, blueberries, and a hint of dried leaves. This may get 50% new oak, but it doesn't show it. Light bodied, but still intense, with much more cranberry and sour cherry than suggested by the nose. Still, there are a lot of fruits popping up here, strawberry, cherry, yum. Some minor dusty tannins underly the fruit. Even later in the evening I get some almost raisined notes, plum and yellow raisin. Long finish with a hint of bitterness and dilution, but in no way detracting from the great fruit. I was completely unimpressed with the 2000 Pinots from St. Innocent, but this is a real gem. A fine match with grilled king salmon, Very Good+.<br /> <li><b>2001 Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen Riesling Spätlese Auction #12</b><i> - Rheingau, Germany (4/13/2003)</i><br>$32 at Dee Vine. A nose of a whole batch of exotic yet unidentifiable spices. Intense in the mouth, good length and acid. Very yum. My wife likes it too. What can I say, we like a fruit bomb, I guess. A bottle of this was our other purchase that day.<br /> <li><b>2001 Wegeler Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett</b><i> - Middle Mosel, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (4/13/2003)</i><br>AP 257628100902, $14 at Dee Vine. Beguiling tropical nose. Enough acids, with lots of floral and, I think, slate. Nice long finish. Bought a couple bottles of this because it was so pleasant and relatively inexpensive. I saw quite a few people leaving with a bottle or two, I guess you could call it a crowd pleaser.<br /> <li><b>2000 Torii Mor Pinot Noir</b><i> - Oregon, USA (5/18/2002)</i><br>At winery, $25, 2468 cases.<br><br>If the majority of your production is one wine, it had better be good, <br>and this one is outstanding. An earthy nose and more earth on the palate, <br>but complemented by beatiful cranberry and red fruits with great acid <br>backing them up. Very well balanced with a long finish, and ready to go, <br>with very fine tannins. Yum. Excellent.<br /> <li><b>1999 Torii Mor Pinot Noir Seven Springs</b><i> - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (5/18/2002)</i><br>At winery $40, 170 cases.<br>The first pour is sorta stinky, I wonder if it's flawed. Trying again, I think it's just green and a little odd. Fair.<br /> <li><b>2000 Torii Mor Pinot Noir Quail Hill</b><i> - Washington County, Oregon, USA (5/18/2002)</i><br>At winery, $40, 343 cases.<br>A cherry cola nose, not a whole lot going on. Minerally, more tannic, <br>less lush than the others. It just doesn't seem to be giving as much. <br>Good+.<br /> <li><b>1999 Torii Mor Pinot Noir Temperance Hill</b><i> - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (5/18/2002)</i><br>At winery $40, 217 cases.<br>Another yum. Similar in flavors to the Oregon bottling but more <br>restrained and with better structure. Good acid, and I would expect this <br>to develop well. Very good+.<br /> <li><b>1999 Franciscan Merlot</b><i> - Napa Valley, California, USA (1/29/2002)</i><br>Pleasant plum nose, very tasty with subtle but persistent tannins. Flavorful, well balanced if short on acid, should be beautiful in 2-3 years.</ul><br /> <br /> <i>Posted from <a href='http://www.cellartracker.com'>CellarTracker!</a></i><br /> <br /> Walt<br /> <br />
  22. wnissen


    Is there a page anywhere with statistics on these mandolins? I want one to make 8mm slices of squash, but it's sometimes hard to find a product page that contains this specification. Any pointers? Thanks, Walt
  23. It's interesting that Parker believes the Web is the future, and yet his bulletin board and website are both run by third parties. I guess he doesn't find them sufficiently important just yet. I'm curious about the argument that there will be ten times the demand for the greatest wines. Certainly this has already happened once, but (and please pardon this broad assumption) many of the new winos are Boomers. It would not surprise me to see a decline in fine wine demand as the boomers leave the market. Then again, 10% of the U.S. population drinks 85% of the wine (ish), so it wouldn't take much to increase that percentage. Walt
  24. My Trader Joe's in Pleasanton, CA continues to carry several varieties of Total. I didn't ask about it, but this doesn't appear to be a national supply problem. Weird. Walt
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