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About Hopleaf

  • Birthday 05/01/1971
  1. I just watched all 13 episodes on hulu and I found the show to be entertaining enough. nothing whatsoever like the book, but a decent enough show. ninety percent of what went on in the kitchen was complete farce. But I was constantly thinking that Bourdain is either doing a great job of keeping his mouth shut about what a debacle FOX made of his book or he's just enjoying cashing the check. At any rate, there's a show on hulu that I really enjoyed that the BBC put out called Whites. It also met the same fate as KC, but it was lightyears better. Check it out.
  2. Make that TWO questions!! So we actually need more bottles than the list provided before the class started? Six varietals of whites for Assignment #1? I'm confused.
  3. Just read through the introduction and before I get started on the tasting I came away with one question. You say on the one hand that wines should never overly smell of asparagus but on the other hand that this is a flavor one might pick up while tasting the wine. Actually you say "...wines should never have unusually "green" aromas like asparagus,..." Can you explain how one might taste something but not necessarily smell it?
  4. First Varietals

    That's good news. I'll try their Zin. I'm currently conducting an experiment (well, not this minute). I found two of their Pinot Noirs, Monterey and Carneros, and am trying to notice the difference between the two. Just attempting to refine the old tastebuds a bit. Not even sure if I'll notice a difference, but I'm hoping there's something. nothing like the wow factor of picking up on stuff like that.
  5. Origins

    As are the yeasts used to make the wines. ← There's a difference, winesonoma. The milk doesn't taste like anything close to what the cheeses end up tasting like after the yeast is added. you don't use specific milk for specific cheeses (well, ok, goat milk for goat cheese, but you see the same cow's milk for Cheddar, Stilton, Exploratoir [personal favorite of mine], etc.) I'm asking here if the grapes do taste like the finished products. Since the varietal plays such an important factor in how a wine tastes, it would seem there'd be more of a sensory relationship between the two. And actually, I might even say that the yeast isn't as influencial in the taste of the final product in winemaking as it is in cheesemaking. Clearly the yeast is necessary, but does it take precedence over the varietal? If it did, we'd be reading about yeast varieties on wine labels. CTGM, you consider the yeasts to be the most important factors in what exactly? winemaking? or the taste relationship of the grape and the wine?
  6. Origins

    Mark was that a gewurtraminer winemaker that told ya that!? mrbigjas, big ups yo! Rebel Rose, that's a helluva response. thanks.
  7. Origins

    Not really, Keith, but only because the yeast strains introduced to the milk are what give cheeses unique flavors. So the analogy doesn't work. Specific grapes are used to make specific wine.
  8. WOW - Columbia Crest "Grand Estate" Merlot

    I know I kinda am. I really enjoyed the film, no doubt. but the more I hear about spikes in sales of Pinot Noir, the boom at the Hitching Post II, the outcry that Virginia Madsen didn't get the Oscar (puh-lease...she was good, but not THAT good) and that Thomas Haden Church's performance made me forget he cut his bones in Wings (he'll always be Lowell the mechanic to me). It's like Sideways has or is about to jump the shark (though no listing yet at www.jumptheshark.com).
  9. First Varietals

    sorry, didn't mean to pester. just geeked for the class. Anyway, I'm busy buying bottles for the er...lab materials. Funny that some of the bottles mentioned were echoed by my friendly neighborhood wine dudes. The Columbia Crest Merlot and the (can't remember the exact name) M'bosch Sauv.Blanc, both at very reasonable prices. And if I can make a recommendation of my own, Castle Rock has decent (to this novice) Pinot Noirs at a fair price point (around ten bucks in my neck of the woods (Chicago area).
  10. First Varietals

    Am I missing something or has this class just been delayed? I still don't exactly get how the courses work at the eGCI, so maybe I am just not getting it. And if I attend the class, will I have to change my handle to Grapevine? or do you allow reformed beer drinkers?
  11. Wine 101: Starting a Collection

    That's a great post, Brad. I really enjoyed reading it and came away with more than a few new things. I wonder if you or someone could make some recommendations specific to a noobie on a budget. I typically look for new wines that are a decent introduction. I often spend a lot of time talking to the various knowledgable people selling these wines and take their recommendations to heart. I've gotten several gems that have helped me carve my tastes out a bit at this early stage in my wine development. Perhaps there are many of you that post here who are well beyond such an introdcutory stage but can harken back to those days of yore. And if possible consider the price element. I know this is probably bad, but I tend to shy away from any bottle beyond $15. This isn't solely because there's not a lot of money to be had and I'd rather spread the wine budget on more as opposed to less, but also because I guess I lack the confidence that that money was well spent. One of my local wine merchants (Binny's, for those of you in and around Chicago) offers a great program that is free to sign up for and has many benefits for wine lovers, novices and pros alike. It's called the Frugal Wine Lovers Club. Basically it's similar to loyalty cards you see at grocery stores, but you also can sign up to recieve a weekly email newsletter with listings of new arrivals, you gain points towards a $10 gift certificate (which you can use on anything in the store...I plan on using mine on a $25 bottle, just adding it to my wine purchasing ceiling). Most importantly card holders get really great discounts on bottles that are otherwise not on sale. Members only! The people working these stores are so informative. Highly recomend them. So any specific recommendations around ten bucks a bottle +/-$5 would be greatly appreciated. I started my wine education on Zinfandel, tried to get a handle on some Beaujelais (Villages, the Nouveau this year and last, Fleurie and one other I can't remember), worked through a bunch of Shiraz (even did a comparison between Australian Shiraz and Californian Syrah...the latter proving to be a much softer interpretation of the grape), have dabbled in Pinot Noirs, both domestic and French, and now am trying my hand at some Côte du Rotie and some other Rhône offerings, have begun to try rosés of most of the above grapes and some whites, Pinot Grigio mostly. I have purchased Karen MacNeil's extensive wine book, which is quite helpful, but lacks much specific wine recs. I also have gotten a few recent Wine Spectators that I find helpful. Anything anyone can recommend would be greatly appreciated.
  12. A little of this . . .

    ok, so sort of like how a shiraz has that nearly cloying weight to it but can at the same time show off noticeable berry flavors that aren't necessarily part of that sticky sweetness?
  13. A little of this . . .

    This might sound nitpicky or like I'm trying to be a troublemaker, but I'm curious what you see the difference, if any, is between "reticent" and "reluctant." Or is this simply a case of looking for the right word and not wanting to sound redundant? Plus, I wonder if you can expound upon how you're using these terms? Is a reticent or reluctant nose one that you find lacking? If so, is this in comparison to other wines? Is there a certain level of nose that you expect? Also, how could the bourgogne be "lightweight on the palate" and yet also have "intense cherry flavors" at the same time? I'm just deleloping my tasting abilities, but they're pretty limited and when I read something like what you've presented here, I'm always struck by the words and descriptors used. A lot of the time I'm wondering what the hell I missed. But I'm slowly seeing that developing this sense is a slow process of pealing off layers upon layers of inability.
  14. Ok, this wasn't a bottle, but for all intents and purposes it amounted to as much. I was in culinary school at Kendall College in Evanston, IL in my fine service class. There was a 17-top reservation, a wine tasting group headed by a poly sci prof from Northwestern. Our instructor asked who wanted the big table? I didn't even look up so much as raise my hand, but I guess that was everyone else's response as well. She gave it to me. Fine, no problem. Turned out it was a great table. Laying on my charm and staying on top of the flights was no problem. They were working through an assorted case and a half of Chardonnay, worst first, best for last. The apps and entrées fit right in with the wine service. It was going along just swell. Well, that last bottle, a good three hours from the first...I'd poured the entire flight at our little bar and was about to bring out the first tray (the second sat ready next to the first). By that time, my arms, wrists must've been tired. I saw one glass start to waver and could do nothing to stop the horrible domino effect before my very eyes, a domino effect that would not limit itself to one tray, but insisted on taking out two. The ensuing sickening sound of glass breaking and liquid hitting the floor made the entire dining room hush. I felt my entire body blush scalding red and a feverish sweat break out on my forehead...and just sort of stood there not believing what had just happened. Their best bottle. It just had to be their best bottle. I did manage to save one poured glass from doom, towards the end of that interminable mass wine suicide, grabbing one of the few remaining glasses before they all fell. I don't have a clue what bottle it was, what the vintage or anything was. All I know was that the poly sci prof was very, very, very forgiving (bless him). And despite a few glum faces, the entire table passed the one glass I saved and each took a small sip. I think of that professor when people, my kids, anyone make a mistake or have a bad thing happen as a result of an accident.
  15. heh, no, I haven't considered that. but unless they're battery operated, supplying...ahem...power would be an issue. Besides, there comes a point when you are faced with a problem like this and you just balk at the fact that these creatures are forcing you to spend money on things you otherwise would not. Even tho an airgun would fall into this category, I guess it sits better with me because i could find other uses for it. Target practice, (drumming my fingers thoughtfully here)....um....target practice! and uh...well look at the time. :)