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grandcru

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    Long Beach, CA
  1. grandcru

    East Coast vs. West Coast palates

    To get your statistical sample rolling, Jim: 1. b 2. b 3. a 4. c 5. b 6. a 7. a 8. b
  2. grandcru

    WTN: 2000 Shafer Relentless

    Gordon, I am a bit confused by your use of Meritage. Were you under the impression that this wine is a Bordeaux blend? It is, in fact, varietally syrah, with a good dollop of petite sirah. If you were using Meritage in some other context, pardon the ring. I tasted the '99 a few years ago and, like Bill, found it undrinkable. Just too much for my finesse-craving palate. I knew then that unless I heard about something drastically different in the winemaking approach, it would remain a wine I didn't need to track.
  3. Yeah, Jean, I enjoyed this one last year (probably the same vintage, not sure), and it's a nicely quaffable Nd'A that hasn't been overmanipulated into a blowsy fruit bomb. The price is nice, dollar/euro imbalance be damned.
  4. That would be Picnics Deli, at 435 E. 17th St. Not a cheese superstore, by any means, but a well-chosen selection of a couple dozen, mostly imported cheeses. Very knowledgeable and helpful owner, always ready with a sample of something new.
  5. grandcru

    Best Cioppino in SF

    Just curious as a So Cal interloper into this topic, are the reasons an institution like Scoma's does not show up in these reccos due to quality/price reasons? Too "touristy"? Something else? I enjoyed a meal there ten years ago; the broth was tasty, the seafood fresh. I seem to read nothing but knocks against it from the foodie set. What gives? Are others just that much better?
  6. grandcru

    Secret Japanese BBQ place

    Just genuinely curious here, Tana. Would you ask the same of a group of Japanese who wanted to attend an expat American restaurant in Japan?
  7. This was a snack I concocted after meals at my college dining hall: Goldfish crackers, ranch dressing, and bacon bits. Sorta like a salad without the lettuce. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!
  8. grandcru

    Secret Japanese BBQ place

    Hell yeah, I'm in! I'll keep an eye on the developments.
  9. grandcru

    Conversation with Stuart Devine

    Now you've done it, you've mentioned Clifford Bay! Folks, for those of you who have not tried this wine, and think that the pinnacle of Kiwi sauvvie is Cloudy Bay, I implore you to do whatever it takes to try one of the rare bottles that makes it to North America. It's a wowwer, worth the price, which will probably strike you as high. Suppress your frugal superego and buy this wine!
  10. grandcru

    Wine Tasters from Hell

    Aww, cum'on, Carolyn! What's wrong with a little bretty aroma in the tasting room?!
  11. grandcru

    Soquel winemaker missing in Sierra snowstorm

    Fortunately, we have a happy ending in this case: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file.../21/FOUND21.TMP Relieving news, indeed, and of course our hearts and minds are still with those who may remain stranded.
  12. grandcru

    WTN: An Aus-picious tasting

    On Saturday, Oct. 25, the rag-tang band known as the Cellar Rats gathered at Slip 12, Dock A, in the shadows of the HMS Queen Mary’s trio of stacks in Long Beach. Present, accounted for, and ready to roll were Kirk and Ines Nyby, Jack Patterson and Nikki Tennant, Jim & Beth Hilbing, Dave Welch and Christine Votava, and your faithful scribe. We turned our vinous attentions Down Under, mostly to Australia with a few white Kiwi interlopers – not that there’s anything wrong with that! NV SEAVIEW SOUTH EAST AUSTRALIA SPARKLING WINE “BRUT” – Not much to report on this one, as few of us tasted it. The lion’s share went to Nikki who, in her own words, drank it all and was happy as a clam. Having recently explored the realm of clams up to my knees, I wonder if this is saying much. Cold, wet, and bubbly, one could do much worse. NV ENRICO MERCURI AUSTRALIAN SPARKLING WINE – No information on origin or grapes used here, maybe someone in Oz can chime in? This was interesting on the nose, and on the palate for a few seconds. It almost reminded me of an Asti spumante, but there were no familiar muscat notes on the nose. It was almost table grapey in its flavor profile. A bit cloying to be a truly attractive food wine, but it was ok with some of the nibbles we had. Our Kiwi trio steps in… 2002 GIESEN MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC – Bright aromas of lime and gooseberry (according to Ines – I have never tasted a gooseberry), not as herbaceous as the other two. 2003 NEUDORF NELSON SAUVIGNON BLANC – My favorite of the three on the night, this showed honeydew melon and bell pepper, and left the crispest finish. This was really a winner with Beth’s baked chile rellenos con queso fresco. 2002 CLOUDY BAY MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC – Nothing to see here, folks, move along. Just another pleasurable bottle that was light on the tell-tale cat’s pee note. NZed was now laying down the gauntlet to their Antipodean cousins. They responded with… 1996 MITCHELTON VICTORIA CHARDONNAY – Deep golden in the glass, it gave rise to worries about excessive oxidation. No worries, mate. Mouthwatering butterscotch and ripe banana on the nose and palate, and great supporting acids to round out the mouthfeel. This was the food/wine paring champion of the night when tried together with the grilled prawns and mango-black pepper dipping sauce. A resounding success! Advance, Australia! And from the jaws of victory, we snatch ignominious defeat. 2002 ROCKFORD BAROSSA VALLEY ALICANTE BOUSCHET ROSÉ – This was the dog of the night, flaccid and completely lacking in any interesting edge or angle. It had a banal off-dryness that might make it a popular party quaff for those not too demanding of their pinks, but we all poured it out and left a half-full bottle for the fishes. The worst part? I brought it. Fortunately, the reds swung the tide back in our favor. 2000 DEVIL’S LAIR MARGARET RIVER CABERNET SAUVIGNON – I was very happy that this was the first of a duo of WA wines we had on hand for the day, as I believe that the region offers a safe refuge from point-laden oozemonsters. Judiciously toasted oak frames dark berry and tanned leather notes, and the finish is decently long. Three of Rosemount’s top-tier wines, compared and contrasted. 1998 ROSEMOUNT MCCLAREN VALE “GSM” RED WINE – Oddly enough (or maybe not), this drank more fully developed than the Balmoral, two years older. Replete with ripe cherry fruit and a turpentine-like funk likely due to the mourvèdre, this was a hit with Ines’ chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce. Ines’ second-day impressions were that the acids were going somewhat volatile, but that it still made for an enjoyable wine. 1996 ROSEMOUNT MCCLAREN VALE “BALMORAL” SYRAH – This was the nice, slightly mousy girl you grew up next door to – give her some time, and she blossoms into a confident, sassy woman of substance. Initially, very closed, betraying a little brett and tarry aromatics. Mind you, we could still tell it was a very well-made wine. Ines’ later report confirms the truth, gorgeous dark fruit coming to the fore to match the bacon and clove secondary notes. A true vin de garde in the Australian paradigm. Ines wishes she had more; I wish I had some! 2001 ROSEMOUNT MUDGEE “HILL OF GOLD” CABERNET SAUVIGNON – I tasted this late, and only briefly, but enough to appreciate a full-bodied, generously-oaked cab with noticeable eucalyptus and mint on the midpalate, finishing with a touch of chocolate. I liked it, but on balance I preferred the Rhônish wines above. An unexpected QPR winner was one of the consensus wines of the night. 2002 FLINDERS BAY MARGARET RIVER SHIRAZ – I brought this wine, complacent nearly to a fault that this would be a laid-back, medium-bodied syrah demonstrating the difference a cooler climate makes. The wine had other ideas. Very extracted, with loud but inviting fruit, and nice dollop of toasty oak. Note to Jenise: this was Dave’s wine of the night, so that speaks volumes, but it was universally praised for different aspects. For me, the ample acidity kept it fresh on the palate, preserving a winning package retailing below US$20. Two wines highlighting the underappreciated (in these parts) enclave of Langhorne Creek. 2002 BROTHERS IN ARMS LANGHORNE CREEK “NO. 6” RED WINE – This is a 50/50 cab/shiraz blend, medium-bodied with a mild touch on the oak. While a nice drop, I didn’t find anything extraordinarily compelling beyond the basic red-fruit profile. I can’t imagine a wine shutting down this soon, so maybe there’s just no more “there” there. 2002 BLEASDALE LANGHORNE CREEK “FRANK POTTS” RED WINE – This was serious infanticide, but a pleasurable one at that, and an endorsement of further experience with this wine. A substantial wine of 78% cabernet, 13% malbec & 9% petit verdot, it shows plenty of deep plum and cherry fruit, mint and eucalyptus, and rides a structure of stiff tannins. This is another vin de garde, and finding out just how long it may go might require me to purchase a few more bottles. In its youthful size, though, it still never showed out of balance. We sipped & munched until we were the only remaining activity on A Dock, and probably for several docks around, then went our separate ways into the night. I could almost swear I heard the sing-songy strains of Waltzing Matilda in my head.
  13. grandcru

    Urasawa

    Maybe if I try to stop buying wine for a month. Yeah, who am I kidding?
  14. grandcru

    Dessert Wines for the Holidays

    Of course, these would be a must at El Bulli.
  15. grandcru

    Dessert Wines for the Holidays

    Though I was skeptical at first, as I am picky in how sweet and savory flavors are mixed, foie gras does indeed have an affinity with Sauternes. Lightly seared, served on toast points or tartlets, and you have yourself a winner that will produce a pairing epiphany for some, if not most, of your guests. Since you only need hors d'oeuvres-sized portions, a little lobe will go a long way.
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