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Posts posted by RobInAustin

  1. The one I did that was a huge hit was a "Meritage" tasting (and the word is Merit-egz NOT Meri-tazhe, per Meritage Society name is from Merits of Heritage). tasted blind a couple of cabs, merlots, Cab Francs, a Petit Verdot (only Murphy Goode makes one that I know of) and a Malbec. THEN talked about basic blending, either Cab based or Merlot based, then had people blend their own Meritage. Lastly, we tasted a Calif. Meritage and a Bordeaux to see how experts do it. Was alot of fun...Even the newbies got into it, and was challenging enough for more advanced folks too.



  2. Re SM Pinot Grigio. Is even worse if you know the "back story" of the wine. Demand soared years ago long past the amount they could source, so they now get ALL their wine from Mezzacorona in bulk. You can buy Mezz. Pinot Grigio for $12=15 for a 1.75 Litre bottle. NOW try to justify a retail price point north of $20 for .750 bottle for the SAME EXACT WINE! Yet another "dirty little secret" of the wine trade...lol.



  3. I have not seen this specific vineyard, but I have seen other Austrian Eisweins. They are very similar to the German ones, perhaps a tad lighter in complexit, but neverthe less, lovely, rich, sweet dessert wines, showing a nice honey tone, and slight minerality to keep it from being cloying. A nice gift from your friend, as eisweins are not inexpensive.



  4. Yes, Texas is still backwards in prohibiting wine shipped into Texas. That said, the only real teeth in enforcement applies to wineries, who can have their license to sell their product in Texsa revoked if caught direct shipping or to the one in ten thousand chance that a random inspection of UPS or Fedex or whoever discloses the alcohol in which case it is confiscated and thats it.

    I have yet to actually hear of any private party getting busted from having a bottle or three shipped to them. The only instance I know of at all was a large collector who had several cases shipped at once and one of them was broken and the wine leaked all over the UPS depot while a state inspector was there (there are only like 3 or 4 inspectors for the whole STATE).

    Now, NONE of the shipping companies will KNOWINGLY ship alcohol, in my experience.

    Segal's is the largest chain in the Dallas area, with a fine selection and am sure can arrange for delivery, Hell I'd do it FOR you if we were still in business...(it being legal to ship wine IN texas itself.

    FYI the PJ 2 glass gift box is a handome presentation, but the retail price in Texas is in the range of $135 or so, before shipping or delivery charges.

    If you need more help, let me know.


    RobinAustin (tx)

  5. Don't expect world class cuisine in Austin. It just isn't here. The Italian, chinese, sushi, French, all are ok by NY/LA/Chi standards, but not great. Austin is more the ambiance and experience.

    To me, Austin is: Threadgills (north on Lamar only, downtown avoid), El Arroyo for cheap good TexMex food and margaritas in funky atmosphere and usually a funny slogan on the sign out front that changes daily or Guero's, also good tex mex. Shady Grove on Bartons Springs Rd downtown if the weather is good to sit outside for lunch. For a burger lunch, you can't do any better than Dirty Martin's right by UT campus on Guadalupe, is stepping back in time to 1940.

    Wink is good for the experimentation they do, but it isn't always a hit, is best to order a bunch of smaller plates of apps and share buffet style. I've yet to be impressed by Zoot, but, I keep hearing other people love it. I love Aquarelle, never had a bad dish there, and while not cheap by AUSTIN standards, the Prix Fixe gastronomique menu is a good value at $60. If you don't like the dish you are served, ask to see Robert, the owner/chef and I'll bet anything he'll fix it, Rob and Teresa in the kitchen there are wonderful folks who really CARE about their food.

    I have to concur with the above statements about BBQ being worth the drive out of town if you have a car and the time.



  6. Maybe y'all will have to come up with a "Third Coast Palate" for me in Texas

    So Rob, how would you define a Gulf Coast (GC) palate?

    Rebel Rose,

    first, we prefer "third coast" to Gulf Coast. Mississippi is a "gulf coast" state, Texas is "Third Coast". :biggrin:

    Texans who are into wine seem split into two catagories. One is the "I like it cuz the Wine Speculater or Parker rated it over 90 points, so even drinking it on release it must be great and worth all the money I paid for it..." I am NOT in this group.

    The other is, we are often the "forgotten" market, so overlyhyped wines dont make it here, so, we tend to be less interested in the reviews and more interested int he actual quality in the bottle. We are interested in a core of tradition, will look at experimentation, but, does it TASTE good, and is it worth the money are most important at end of day. The winemakers' resume doesnt count, terrroir means something if you can find it in the bottle. Wine Speculater gets it wrong as often as right, and Parker doesn't know EVERYTHING despite his PR agent. Just because its new doesnt mean its good. Just because it always is done that way doesn't mean its right. Im in this camp 110%

    PS: and if you use more than 10-15% new oak a year, you are a LUMBERYARD and not a winery.

    Cheers, Rob

  7. If anyone is in the Central Texas area, there is a wonderful restaurant in Austin called Hudson's on the Bend. They specialize in exotic game, Ive seen wildebeast, gazelle, snake, alligator, etc. on the menu and they have one of the finest wine lists in the area. John the sommelier can recommend a wine to go with whatever the have on the plate. You can experience this first hand!



  8. Hi,

    Sorry to chime in so late here, but been out of pocket last week or so since New Years.

    Yes, I think there actually IS a difference between Village wines and Cru wines in White burgs. AND when pairing with food. (Ok, well in a perfect universe anyway, some crappy producers bollox up the otherwise useful rules.)

    Village wines are pretty much thinner, "paler" versions of their Appellations. Yes, they will show some terroir associated, but, not all that much. Think of the difference between a fast food hamburger and a home grilled burger made from hand ground prime sirloin, and you'll get the picture, they're both burgers, but not the same.

    So, you will want to choose lighter fare for the village wines, the GC and PC wines certainly can stand up to more robust food. I certainly could see a fine Montrachet GC standing up to say creamy lobster stew with saffron...

    Also, the more complex GC and PC wines actually, when well made, can tolerate the use of new oak. This is one of the few, very few, exceptions I make about using oak. The oak can balance out the acids with tannins, and frankly all GC and PC wines must be aged to really bring out the best in them. (yeah,, I know some "new world" style producers are there...remember this is in a perfect world.)

    Chablis, a slightly different critter, since the cheaper village and PC wines are more for drinking now, and the GC really must age out, and are not to everyones taste.

    This is just a really quick answer. Grab Matt Kramer's book on Burgundy for a really great treatment of all the different appellations and producers.



  9. In Texas we refer to "Screagle" as Screamingly Overrated....

    I love the questions, so will play....

    1. Which is more important to you in wine?

    (a) primary fruit

    2. Which rules?

    (a) nose

    3. Choose one...

    (a) Burgundy

    4. My attitude to new oak is...

    © A few people know how to use it right...but it should only appear in limited cases

    5. Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

    (b) Acid

    6. You can only have one of the following. You choose:

    (b) Lytton Springs

    7. At what price point does a wine need to be able to age (improve with, not just hold) to earn your interest and dollar?

    © Over $40

    8. Super Tuscans are: (b) Okay if they've got plenty of Sangiovese and don't taste like trees

    My responses. Maybe y'all will have to come up with a "Third Coast Palate" for me in Texas??



  10. The Dom was the 1990. The other players were VC Grande Dame (either loved or hated), Cristal, J. Schram (the WINNER to much surprise by all and chagrin to several snobs), and Cuvee Louise.

  11. If you like DP, fine, drink it in good health.

    Let me just throw out this caveat, at one point until early 1980s, Dom P was a true luxury cuvee, made in limited quantities. Thanks to the Bond films and clever merchandising, Dom P is now produced at a level of about, sitting down?, 100,000 CASES a year or more.

    For perspective, Krug's entire production is 5000 cases. Perrier Jouet's entire line is 50,000 cases.

    Lastly, I particpated in a blind taste test of luxury cuvees, twelve people, experts in the wine trade, and ten wines.

    All 12 of us agreed that one wine was the worst, not bad mind, but totally boring, thin and not worthy of prices of a luxury cuvee. Dom Perignon.

    I think there are far better values than DP, but thats just my 2c.



  12. Price wise, most decent sherry is not very expensive. The Tio Pepe is around $15 for a 750ml.

    There are alot of decent ones sold in 375ml bottles for $8-15 so they are a good way to start experimenting.

    One caveat about Finos: they deteriorate very rapidly even in the bottle before opening. This is one wine you really DO want "Fresh" and "New". ASK the retailer how long ago they got in the Finos on the shelf. If they are a year old or more. Pass for SURE. If less than 4-6 months then go for it. Once you open the bottle, plan to finish it in a day or three else save for cooking.

  13. Yimay.

    one of my closest friends worked in Tokyo for three years then came back to Los Angeles. He turned me on to a place, now closed, run by a third generation sushi master. First of all, any sushi chef worth anything understands "Omakase". The chef's choice of what is good, presented by him in a specific order, each dish playing off the last and setting you up for the next.

    Second, only the very very best fish available is used. If yellowtail isn't good, they won't serve it. It should also vary substantially according to the seasons. If the place ever serves imitation pressed pollack flakes with crab juice added and call it imitation crab, run for the door.

    The sushi should have a clean, slightly sea air taste, but never fishy. The tuna should be almost beefy. It should melt in your mouth, unless is sea clam or squid. The sea urchin roe should taste the way deep water ocean smells...

    Frankly, I have never had a meal at Musashino that was anything better than ok, and twice I've gone home feeling queasy in the stomach (never a good sign).

  14. Sometimes it can be hard to tell. But, a dumb phase is where the weight and mouthfeel can still be there, but the wine has just "shut down", I use the analogy of obsedian...just all dense and dark, no layers.

    Dead usually shows a total lack of fruit, leaving only tannins and bitter components and/or a mustiness/

    If there is still a decent nose, it probably is dumb, not dead.

    Of course, alot more depends on the wine, vintage, storage conditions, age, yadda yadda yadda.



  15. First

    STAY OUT OF THE GROCERY STORE for sherry! Go to a good wine shop or better liquor store with a good wine selection. Buy only real sherry from Xerex Spain. Don't buy the junk made in the US and called sherry, I wouldn't even cook with it.

    Fino- very dry, light and slightly nutty (makes a nice apertif before dinner)

    Amontillado - a little bit sweet, more nutty (my personal fave)

    Cream - sweet, heavy and a bit toffee like.

    It gets more complex than that, for sure, so consider this the "reader's digest" version, which I think is what you are asking, before someone far more knowledgeable than I about sherry jumps my case for leaving the rest out...

    To me, a fairly easy to find, reasonable priced "intro" sherry of good quality is Tio Pepe. Pedro Domecq also makes good products as does Lustau.

  16. To be fair, I have not yet been to Uchi. To be equally fair, I am used to the most authentic Sushi available on the West Coat (which is where I learned to eat sushi.) I will need to try Uchi and must exempt it from my comments since I haven't eaten there.

  17. The bulk of the cellar offered were indeed wines from the Massandra winery. The primary varietal is Tokay. We today have no real knowledge of these wines, which is why, sadly, they performed poorly at auction. Prince Golitsyn was considered the very finest and most knowledgable wine maker and sommelier of the turn of last century. His lectures and tastings were considered legendary. The cellar he compiled was unequalled in Europe at the time. His favorite welcome for any visitor of note to "Noviy Svyet",(New World) his personal estate near Massandra was to ask the guest to name his very favorite wine, by specific producer and vintage, whatever it may be. After the guest named the wine, Golitsyn would disappear into the cellars and produce the very wine named, and serve it in glassware from the time of Catherine the Great. Massandra was the personal property of the Tsar, and Prince Golitsyn ran the Imperial wineries in Yalta for the Tsar.

    Massandra wines are amazing. They will last for many decades. The closest approximation are the finest Hungarian Tokaj Assiz wines, the 5 or 6 puttanjos. The cuvees made by Golitsyn in the late 19th century were prized far higher than anything from Bordeaux or Burgundy.

    What a shame that the lifeless Cabernets of Napa garner far more attention today that these incredibly crafted, complex and long-lived gems made by an amazing craftsman.

  18. Musashino doesn't even know the meaning of the word Omakase. I sat down and tried to order it and the guy at the sushi bar looked at me like I was from Mars. AVOID Musashino if you like "real" sushi (ie: like in New York or LA). I avoid sushi totally in Austin period, since no one here really 'gets it'. Austin's best sushi is grocery store quality stuff in LA.

    The best tasting menu I know of in town is Aquarelle. Rob and Terry change it seasonally depending on what is available and good, and there is always a well chosen wine supplement to go with it. The price ($60) last time I was there was very reasonable for the six courses.



  19. Off the top of my head:

    It don't suck : the ultimate superlative for a wine. First used to describe a DRC "La Tache"...now applied as the non-plus-ultra.

    "This is a clam sofa" : Anyone with more money than sense, taste or wine knowledge. They are usually the ones ordering the current release vintage of Opus One in an expensive restaurant or walking into my store asking for all the wines I have that Parker scored over 90 points regardless of WHAT that wine might be. Origin is an old television commercial featuring a hideous lady whining "This is a Clam Sofa! It cost more than the original..." pointing to a "clam sofa" equally hideous...



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