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Everything posted by RobInAustin

  1. Once you open the wine to that much oxygen, and dissolve it into the wine, you will see some definte improvement.
  2. Well, that is true, but, my point was that Rocks "hates" manipulated mass marketed foods, and the state of Tx feels that Coke is not good for school kids either...yet Rocks advocates Coke..... Though, ya know, maybe if the Baptists lightened up a little....well, never mind... Cheers, Rob
  3. Busboy, I stand behind the word "hypocricy". Rocks starts off demonizing Gallo in terms not suitable for print media, and then suggests Coke as a better alternative in the very same breath he decries his hatred for mass market manipulated foods. Did you know that the state of Texas has BANNED the sale of Coca Cola products in every elementary and high school in the state because it is not suitable for a proper diet for kids? For the record, Coke owns Dasani bottled watter. Do you KNOW what Dasani is?? Your local Coke bottler runs local tap water through a small filter, similar to what you might have in your own kitchen, and puts it into a bottle for a dollar plus a crack! for tapwater.....THAT is not "market manipulation? BUT, Gallo is evil ?? I think he deserves more than a "ragging". I don't mean anything personally, but I am all about intellectual integrity.
  4. Carolyn, From my experience, you got exactly what they make. I have been underwhelmed by Rochioli for years. Not only is their wine not up to their hype, they are the most rude, unpleasant and frankly obnoxious people I have EVER ever met in the business. Every year, I make a "working vacation" trip to Napa and Sonoma for a week or so, to catch up with old friends and try new products and restaurants etc... Being in the trade, I am always most careful to book my appointments well in advance, through the proper channels. Three years ago, I wanted to visit Rochioli to really see what all the "hype" was about first hand. I showed up precisely on time for my appointment at Rochioli. Walked into the tasting room, letter of confirmation for tour and trade tasting in hand. Stood for literally FIFTEEN minutes in a not crowded room (three behind the counter and perhaps five visitors) before a woman, said "Can I help you?" I said my name, my appointment time and handed the confirmation letter to her. She said "just a minute." and disappeared for ten more minutes. She came back saying "Sorry, but so-and-so isn't here today to give you a tour. We only have Sauvignon Blanc to taste, you can buy one bottle." She deposited a small glass with one ounce of SB in it in front of me and walked off. I left the glass untouched on the counter. When I returned to Austin, my first call was to my Rochioli distributor, cancelling my annual allocation of a "generous" 6 bottles... With an extra hour to kill, I showed up at Dry Creek Vineyards early, and my great buddy and wonderful pal Don Wallace and I spent a wonderful couple of hours in the barrels and into his grappa, and then lunch. For the money, there are so many more great Pinots from California than Rochioli, that you can actually BUY, and which are made by wonderful, generous, gracious and well mannered people who will sincerely appreciate your business. IMHO, leave Rochioli for the more money than taste crowd....If anyone knows the folks at Rochioli personally, feel free to pass this on to them. Cheers, Rob
  5. No question for me...Wine with pizza. I do not drink Coke with meals, ever. WAY too sweet and all the sugar kills the tastebuds (and I prefer the diet Coke anyway....) Now, if there is inferior wine only available with the pizza, then yes. beer. Now, re read this quote from Rocks, emphasis added: what actually TASTES better with a greasy pizza, a glass of cheap wine, or a glass of Coke? This thread isn't so much a slap against Red Bicyclette, or even Gallo, or McDonald's; it's a continuation of my hatred of mass-produced food, of anything having a taste that can be fabricated, replicated in response to a marketing poll, or manufactured in a chemical lab. Now, isn't COKE itself the quintessential mass produced, fabricated, replicated in response to marketing, over advertised, manufactured in a chemical lab product on the PLANET??? am I the only one smelling some hypocricy here??
  6. From my experience, I have yet to encounter anyone 'new' to wine who started with it. They all seem to be wine drinkers who want a "good deal", like my 80 yr old parent's friends who are retired and looking to save a buck. They load up the car with cases of the stuff. (their friends, not Mom and Dad thank God they know better). To be fair, I bought a bottle of the Chardonnay and Cabernet to try when last in Los Angeles...so undrinkable I could not even bear to cook with it. After two hours open, hoping for improvement, I poured both out in sheer disgust.
  7. First, this topic is Dover Canyon's idea, so I won't take the credit. Just thought I would get the ball rolling. No particular order: Condesa de Laganza from Spain. $7.99 or so. A smooth easy to drink red with nice bright fruit and soft tannins with a hint of smoke. We jokingly call it Condeleeza Rice. Jewel Winery: all 8-9 bucks, from Calif.. I recommend the whole line, but my personal favorites are the Viognier (VIG for under $10! amazing and pretty darn nice, with pretty flower notes and decent viscocity and clean finish), Petite Syrah, for a more full red and the Pinot Noir for something lighter. Amano Primitivo, Italy. 9.99. Rustic cousin of Zinfandel. Big, rich and fun. Bonny Doon "Big House" Red and White. 9.99. Gascon Syrah, Argentina, 8.99. Full rich, smoky and perfect with any red meat from the grill. Fairview "Goats do Roam", South Africa. 7.99 Fun Rhone blend from Charles Back. The Goats white is pretty decent too. Peach Canyon "Incredible Red" Zinfandel. Paso Robles, 9.99 Finca Flichman, Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet, Argentina. 7.99 each. Now the last one is bit of a cheat, is $10.99 BUT is a full LITRE so you get more: Berger Gruener-Weldltliner, Austria. So light, clean and crisp, with nice herbal tones and pretty acidity. Great with fish or chicken or warm evenings.
  8. Jaymes, I agree that all the places you mentioned are surely better than Salt Lick, and the "upscale" outlet in Westlake is to be avoided. HOWEVER, Lockhart, Llano, Luling are all much farther out of town, and I only advised Salt Lick because I was fairly certain that people attending the ACL event would probably NOT want to drive several hours just for BBQ and that Salt Lick would be the best choice for experiencing Austin, more especially since to Austin's shame, there is no better BBQ actually IN town, that I have found yet. If someone knows some, let me know.
  9. Welcome! Jump on in. Thanks for your response. Let me know what you think of the others.
  10. Actually, I did. but then Im certainly NOT an "average consumer"
  11. While I HOPE desparately that the Mondavi Family can buy the assets for sale, the estimated price tag is $400 MILLION, and the financial community is not sure they can raise it. Also, there are several interested corporations with VERY deep pockets who will also bid against them, including Constellation Brands (the world's largest wine company). If they Mondavi family cannot, I for one will be very sad to see the end of that era. I have had the genuine pleasure of dealing with Mondavi for years now, and been the fortunate guest of their incredible hospitality in Napa and most fortunate to have met and dined with Robert M. several times. I can honestly say that they were always wonderful people, who treat their employees and business relations alike AS family. Rob
  12. My 2 cents, I used to "bash" Gallo for making nothing but an ocean of swill. (Gallo even tried to get me FIRED from my job for saying so publicly - it didn't work.). To be fair, they still make an ocean of swill, BUT, and this is a MAJOR "BUT", they are now making a LOT of well crafted, varietally correct, pleasant wines at a reasonable price. The entire Gallo of Sonoma line of wines are excellent quality wines for under $10. Rancho Zabaco Zins are great values. There is a place in this world, a valuable one, for what I like to call "Tuesday night Pizza wines"... This must be given to their credit. As for marketing, every winery has to market its product. There are SO many examples of 'stealth labels' out there (ones where the average consumer wouldn't know were by the same company). And frankly, I think marketing designed to attract NEW wine drinkers is only a good thing, even if the wine is crap. It is my experience that alot of the new wine drinkers palates "grow up" and they want to branch out to better wine. (Who out there here used to drink only white zin or Blue Nun in college?? Hands up please and no cheating). I don't thing Gallo deserves this bashing here. cheers, Rob
  13. Andrea, I think you EXEMPLIFY the best of "Type B" by this statement...and for my money, Type B are the ones to be admired, honored, appreciated, extolled, encouraged and loved. THEY, to me, create the finest wines in the world. BRAVO. Cheers, Rob
  14. Dear Andrea, First many thanks for joining us! To me, I feel there are two kinds of winemakers in the world, each very different: A.Those who view themself, the winemaker, as the star, manipulating the vineyard and grapes as just tools to create their own personal artistic expression, vision, and style for the wine produced. and B. Those who view the vineyard as the star, and believe themself, the winemaker, to be just another tool used to create the best possible expression for the terroir of the vineyard in the wine produced. Are you more type A or B? What are your thoughts about the merits and/or flaws of the two different approaches. Do you think ultimately one or the other produces a better wine and if so, why? Cheers, Rob
  15. First, Craig, I knew that about the Elena Walch, I was mentioning it for people who might not know. As for the prices, here in Texas all of these wines are over $10. Virtually all are $15-20 each, sorry to dash your hopes.
  16. I led a wine tasting dinner the other night for five couples, and thought I would share some of the evenings highlights. The theme was "under $20 and really cool", I added the twist that all the wines I selected were "off the beaten track" to show the guests that exploring can be fun. 1st flight: Elena Walch Pinot Bianco 2002: Clean,light and crisp, with a pleasant balance of apple, herb and mineral, more Austrian in style than its Italian origin would imply. Nice with the prosciutto and melon. Quinta dos Roques Encruzado 2000: An unheard of Portuguese white varietal, totally under the radar, and yet totally COOL. Imagine a slightly oily mouth feel and slight "gout de petrol" combined with layers of minerality, dense green fruit and the same long herbal/thyme finish as a good cru White Burg of twice the price. Crowd fave and mine too! Stood up to pesto stuffed cherry tomatos well. 2nd: Theo Minges Gleisweiler Holle Riesling Kabinett 2002 My personal favorite of the flight. Everything you expect from bone dry German Riesling, that great contradiction of light and clean on the nose and palate, combined with the elegant dance of layers of mineral, flint, fruit and acid. Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Kabinett 2002 The crowd favorite. Much like the Minges, but with a noticeable and pleasant apricot toned sweetness from some residual sugar. was perfect with the Pad Thai. 3rd: Muga Rioja Reserva 1999 I love everything Jorge Ordonez touches and this is no exception. Feels light on the palate, but serves up a hefty dollop of leather, clean smoke and dark black fruits with a gentle clean finish. Smooooth as a baby's bottom to boot. Domaine de l'Oratoire St. Martin Cairanne, 2001 About as perfect a Cotes du Rhone as you can ask for and beats the pants of more expensive Rhones too. Enticing nose of classic Rhone, woodsmoke, beef, new leather and spice, and delivers it all on the palate. Dense, dark red, chew, beefy and spicy, but all elegant balance and finesse and supple tannins that never overpower. My personal fave, was perfect with the seared Beef tenderloin sandwiches with fresh horseradish. Trentadue Petite Syrah 2001 The crowd fave of this flight. All new world brashness and style. Rich fresh berry fruit and woody tannins, all up in your face. A fun big wine. Cheers! Rob
  17. My 2 cents... Jeffrey's and Hudson's are good. My personal favorite is Aquarelle, just off 6th St. downtown. A small old house, converted into a fine restaurant. Continental/french cuisine, that changes with whatever is fresh, local and in season. The Tasting menu is a great value. Rob and Theresa in the kitchen are wonderful and will probably come out to say hello. For Barbeque, the Salt Lick is the best, but is about a 40 min drive (and worth the effort) but you have to bring your own alcohol. I like Guero's for local funky Mexican food. Threadgill's is good for "down home" style food. If Fried Green Tomatos are on the menu, order them.... For a sheer Foodie experience, visit Central Market at 40th and Lamar (dont' eat there, the cafe is mediocre). Imagine Balducci's on steroids...There is not an upscale, gourmet grocery store like it anywhere in the country. Another fun experience for me is Alamo Draft House downtown. Fun, off beat movies, and a full bar and food menu delivered right to your seat, so you don't have to get up! Malaga downtown is a fun Tapas bar, with a great wine list and amazing bar, Cedar Street next door has good music and a good bar. You will love Austin, it is unlike anything else in Texas. Am a transplanted Calfornian myself... Cheers, Rob
  18. RobInAustin

    Wine with Sushi

    Now everything makes sense. It was Paul Wasserman, Becky's son, who turned my LA buddy onto the pairing!!
  19. Ok, its my first day on the forum, and I'm already going to stir up trouble. I am a Sushi snob, I'll admit that up front. Once I discovered the real thing in Los Angeles (Sushi-Sushi on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, Shige is a MASTER), I can't eat supermarket sushi or sushi from a Korean restaurant. SO, this pairing only works with the good stuff, dont bother with inferior sushi. Now, for years, the thought of wine and sushi was about as useless as wine with Mexican food (there are only 2 proper pairings for Mexican food - Margaritas and Beer). So, last visit to LA, my best friend there, a crazy Wine Snob lawyer with an amazing palate and curmudgeonly attitude meets me for Sushi dinner bearing a wine bag. His first words "Trust me"...and pulls out a bottle of German Riesling Auslese and a Clos des Epeneaux '96 from Comte Armand. (I can't remember the Riesling other than it was from a great producer from 2002, since we both drank all of both bottles!) Trust me, I was as sceptical as Michael Moore at a Bush rally.... I only went along since I've known him for fifteen years and he has yet to steer me wrong when it comes to wine. The Riesling was a wonderful complex flinty, clean wine with just that slight light fruit tone and was amazing with the lighter first courses. But when we got to the Pommard with the main meal, WOW. The interplay of the Chu-Toro and the Burg was amazing. The tobacco, black cherry and violet nose of the wine just sang with the clean sea breeze and beefiness of the Tuna and was in perfect harmony of the eel and when Shige put the blowtorch to the Toro Tuna, the combination was again perfect. Now, the caveats here are that the Sushi MUST be the real Japanese style done by a pro, the Riesling must be from a superior producer and an auslese or halb-troken and the burg should be a softish complex one with a bit of age. Sadly none of these come cheap, (the sushi "Omakase" meal was $75 EACH alone) but I can guarantee that if you LIKE sushi and love wine, it will be worth the cost and effort. Cheers, Rob
  20. I think Lancelot nailed my sentiments exactly. Even those Zin's from producers who's wine will age STILL are totally unpredictable. I have had different bottles of the same wine from the same case be different. One was great so we opened a second, which was gone. I find aging Zin to be such a crap shoot that it isn't worth it. Cheers, Rob
  21. Central Texas, where I live, is a brutally un-wine-friendly region...freezing in winter and over 100 for months in the summer. When my customers ask me about cellar/storage solutions, I ask them some questions first, which I think anyone looking into this topic should consider: 1. Are you looking to store your wine "forever"? Are you looking to hold wine medium term to improve it's character? or are you just stocking up on everyday favorites? 2. How much wine do you REALISTICALLY foresee storing? Keep your investment budget in mind. Are you stocking up on lots of everyday stuff or saving up for a couple of expensive bottles of great wine for special occassions? 3. What kind of storage space do you have? be creative...I keep the bulk of my "medium term" wines (about 200 bottles) in my bedroom closet in wooden shippers under the shoes. The bedroom closet is an interior space, always temp stable all year round, a/c in summer and heated in winter. Admittedly, it is always in the high 60's to 70 all year, but I frankly find after doing this for 12 years with perfect results that I can age good wines in a shorter time than in a "perfect" cellar condition. It seems to take about half the "pristine storage" time, which is fine with me as I usually don't want to wait 15 or 20 years. The really best stuff I want to keep pristinely I keep in a controlled storage cabinet in the store. 4. Assess your storage budget. Does it really make sense to spend $1000 on a storage cabinet to keep $10-$20 a bottle wines? (don't laugh, I have more customers who have done this than you think...a high end storage system filled with Kendall Jackson Chard and Clos du Bois Merlot) I strongly do not advise the use of old refrigerators, even turned up high, a. they tend to be too cold still, but more important, b. they are VERY low humidity, they suck the moisture out of the corks...
  22. RobInAustin

    Wine 101: Sulfites

    I also applaud this topic!! It is very frustrating to try to explain that the genuine Sulfite allergy is a hystemic allergy like Bee Stings or Peanuts. Those few people with this reaction simply can not have wine, just as any other serious reaction. The headaches and hangovers are not sulfite related. But again, try explaining that to the customer that loved that bottle of Rhone wine in France but "gets a headache" from the same bottle back home. Also, two strips of bacon have more sulfites than a 750ml bottle of wine. I just found this forum, and am glad to be here! Cheers, Rob
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