Monday, August 1, 2011

My wine made me HURL!

Actually, just gagged a bit... Let's explain--no, I wasn't on a bender and no I didn't consume too much. In fact, I hadn't had anything to drink at all! I was just on the 'smell' stage (e.g. Swirl, sniff, sip) and the result was so harsh I actually almost threw up.

Background-had an old 1995 French wine; nothing super nice, just something my Mom had out in their workshop for a while (a/k/a wine room). I don't know if it got hot there (that room is air conditioned though), in the car on the way home (even though we drove w/Air Conditioning and we never parked/left it in the sun) or if it was just plain OLD but I should have known better than to have sniffed so hard... I decanted it and it was quite orange (a bad sign; old and aged but mainly just old...) and then I poured a glass, swirled a few times and stuck the nose in deeply to take a huge sniff and... OMG! Calm the gag reflex dude! I couldn't believe it. Was it corked or just plain old? I had to throw it out and opened up something young and fun to put that smell out of my memory banks. (I actually left the decanter out for a bit; tried a SMALL sniff about an hour or so later but it was still foul). SO lesson learned-if it looks ugly, be a bit more careful about a huge sniff! The result may not be so friendly.

(I think I have another bottle of the same that I poached some time ago; we'll have to see if perhaps the 1st one was a one-off or if both are way past their prime!) Again, it wasn't an old-growth Bordeaux, but typically Bordeaux can be (should be?) cellared about a decade to calm the tannins; as an example last night I had a nice 1998 Robert Sinsky Stags Leap Cabernet and it was PHENOMENAL, so the fact that it was 16 years old shouldn't have been a problem--we'll have to try the last bottle to see if it too is nasty...)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A new fave, and it's "Hot to Trot"!

No horsing around: 14 Hands "Hot to Trot" blend is a winner! I picked some up at Sam's Club last week and found it to be a yummy, fruit-forward blend. What a great deal I thought for just over $10!

THEN I saw an old flyer from Bullock's and it's only $8.97 per bottle! Time to stock up a bit! Click HERE for a data sheet from the vineyard and click HERE to find Bullock's (Sandy Plains in East Cobb and off Barrett Parkway, east of I-75. This is a perfect BBQ wine (yes, I actually recommended something OTHER than a ZIN!) and will be great for your Summer parties. ENJOY!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Snob or Sale?

I get accused of being a wine snob. Au contraire, mon frere! While I do love wine, my perception of a wine snob would be someone who would turn their nose up at the inexpensive beauties that I tend to recommend. Sure, I'd love to drink something like Orin Swift's "The Prisoner" all the time, but I can't drop over $30 per bottle of wine. Even a "deal" like an email I received for a Mollydooker wine for around $20 doesn't help--that's just too high for my wallet these days. So am I a wine snob? Hardly! I do like yummy wines though; I just tend to buy more bargains--it's like 'hunting"--I love to find a great wine at an inexpensive price! So let's go shopping!

As noted before I love blends. I received a flyer from Bullocks (East Cobb/Woodstock) and found Apothic Red to be $7.97! Other winners include Monte Antico Rosso (a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet) is $8.97 (the 2006 was rated at 90 points per Wine Spectator), La Crema Pinot Noir is $15.97 (yep, that's 'high' but it's touch and go finding a 'cheap' Pinot out there that's as solid as La Crema). Finally, Ravenswood Vintner's Blend is a low $6.27. I know many other top retailers like Tower and Total Wine have similar pricing; get out there and shop!

But that's all red wine, and it's hot out there! You can also find a good value on Estancia Chardonnay at Bullocks ($7.97) and Brancott Sauvignon Blanc for $6.97 (look for any Sauv. Blanc from "Marlborough" in New Zealand and you can't go wrong). Pinot Grigio is a nice, crisp option as well and "Kris" Pinot Grigio is under $10 there too. Why not try something different? Other wines that beg to be left in the ice bucket can be found from Spain (Albarino) Viognier (Rhone or Central Coast/CA), and Argentina's Torrantes, as mentioned in Gil Kuler's most recent AJC article.

One quickie about wine glasses--yes, I can be a wine glass snob; check my previous posts about Riedel. Suffice it to say that I hate going to restaurants that have crappy glasses. One thing that can hurt you more than a cheap glass is a smelly glass! I've talked about this before--I have several types of glasses, from stems I bought for $5 at Cost Plus World Market (excellent!) to the same 'style' (e.g. for the same varietal of wine) that was given to me (Riedel's "Sommelier Series" that retails for almost $100 per glass!)--all the glasses are in a glass-front cabinet in the kitchen. EVERY time I pull out a glass, if I don't rinse the glass, it smells like the cabinet! If it wasn't rinsed well, it may also smell like soap. All I'm saying is that the glass should be clean, dry and not have residual odors. As over half of your wine experience is based on what you smell (yep, even over the taste itself!) you really need to do this before serving your wine! Give it a shot-take 2 glasses, rinse/clean one and try the wine out of both--you may be surprised at the difference between the two!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good news/bad news with vino

Good news: found a new yummy wine at a reasonable price! Keep a lookout for Amitage, a lovely red blend from Columbia Crest Winery in Washington State. Here's some info on the wine; I believe it was under $10.

Bad news: I don't remember where I bought it : ( I am guessing it was a warehouse club (most likely Sam's?) but I am unsure. Once I figure it out, I'll let you know!

APOTHIC RED FANS: new low price at BULLOCK's in East Cobb!

TOTAL WINE FANS: they are doing the "6 mixed" sale again, through 4/30/11!

Cheers, Bo

HR 5034: Back from the dead as HR 1161! Shame on Georgia Representatives David Scott and John Barrow!

I had heard rumblings that we are in a 'take 2' situation as it relates to the war against consumer choice waged by rich wholesalers. This article explains what's at stake in clear, concise terms. Please take a moment to read it and then contact your representatives in Congress! (By the way, Tablas Creek is some YUMMY juice!)

So SHAME on you Rep. David Scott, Rep. John Barrow of Georgia! Guess they're getting PAID by the wholesalers, along with the rest of the other co-sponsors!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Here we go again: HR 1161

So this article popped up on my radar this morning. Sounds like they are trying to dump of alcohol regulation to the States. On the surface, that sounds like a good thing but in all reality (as shown by our weak Republican leaders in the Georgia Senate) the local interests (Christian Coalition, Wholesalers and Distributors) will use their influence (and money) to line the pockets (AGAIN) of the Regulated Beverage Committee and the Consumer will LOSE. We need to be able to order wine from whatever source we choose--consumer friendly laws should be the focus, not further limits to competition! But then again that's just my 2 cents as a Centrist/Libertarian.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh SNAP! Must-see video : )

Hopefully this is the CHEAP WINE section! What a shame; all that lovely vino tossed onto the floor in this EPIC FAIL! CLICK HERE to watch the video. Don't let this happen to YOU! Cheers, Bo

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coolest wine ad EVER

As you know, I love Zinfandel. Enjoy this awesome ad: CLICK HERE! (Worth watching even if you hate wine, etc.)

"Cowardly Republicans" in Georgia

This posting by Neal Boortz is right on. Our Georgia Republican representatives are afraid of their special interest groups--the Christian Coalition. We have an out of date law on the books; it's time to give me (a voter, citizen, etc.) a chance to vote on the issue. Do I have enough wine around the house? Sure (i.e. I don't need to go buy anything on Sunday). Do I want the CHOICE to be able to purchase it (when we do our grocery/warehouse club shopping--typically on Sunday)? YES. Heck, at this stage, I'd like a shot at being able to VOTE to buy on Sunday. Right now, the elected officials are too chicken$hit to let the law pass, and put it on the ballot for us (Georgia residents) to vote yay or nay. Shame on you, elected officials! What next? Will you run away from Unions? Oh wait--those goons protect the Democrats (just ask Wisconsin and Ohio--and look how great those state balance sheets are looking, but I digress). LET ME VOTE on this issue!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Of Sales, Value and Wine to Drink!

I love shopping at various places, including the warehouse clubs (BJ's, Costco and Sam's), local shops like Sherlocks, Bullocks, or Tower, but if you've ever read my blog you know I'm also big fan of Total Wine & More. They have a great selection and some pretty solid pricing--my only consistent gripe is that they won't give a case discount on 'mixed' cases. If you buy an entire case of 1 wine, you receive a 10% discount (as with most retailers). Until the end of this month you can receive the same discount on only a 6 bottle purchase! Go stock up!
It's funny-is expensive wine 'worth it'? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. 2 thoughts on that: There is a very well-known brand that gets tossed around often--I won't 'go there' but back in my wine bar days, when someone asked if we had that brand I immediately knew that 1) they didn't know a lot about wine 2) they had some money and 3) typically they have friends who thought highly of that wine as well. It can be a bit of the "Emperor's new clothes" as the reputation is still there, but the quality (in my opinion) is not... For that same $80 I could easily blow that brand away.
As for the second case in point, I took a huge risk and bought a $60+ bottle of wine totally on faith. Yes, the same guy that tells you never to buy a wine for the label alone took a chance on buying an expensive Napa Cabernet solely because it shared the same name as our good friend's newborn (Congrats again J and Carol!) Their new son's name is Cade and when planning for a 'celebration' dinner for all of us, I was excited to see a bottle with the same name and knew we had to toast to the new baby with it! What an amazing wine, probably one of the best I've had in a while. So every once in a while I guess it's best to 'take a chance' and see what happens! So was it worth it? Even if it had been 'good', yes, it was worth it to share a special moment with friends--the fact that the wine was amazing was a bonus! Step outside the box a little and try something different than what your wine snob friends recommend--try something new and fun or go wild (like I did) and take a chance on something fun.
By the way--if you find yourself off Dresden (Brookhaven) you need to stop in "Pour" and have some wine. What a cool place (and fun, moderately-priced selections). Pour Wine Market is a pretty neat wine shop/wine bar that is not a chain (and it shows!). After a glass or two, Kaleidoscope is a fun restaurant (try the duck fat fries--trust me) and it's just a few doors down. Pour also offers craft beers if you aren't into wine (shame on you ; )

More fun with ZIN

I love the style of this article--maybe it's the 'user friendly' style of Zinfandel that makes me such a fan. Yes, there are many cheap 'fruit bomb' zins out there (and some pricey ones too) but the awesome single-vineyard selections from Ravenswood, Rosenblum or Ridge (the three R's!) are 'benchmark' wines. Give Zin a chance; it's one of the most food-friendly wines out there! Cheers, Bo

Open That Bottle Night 2011

Heard of this event? Have you ever saved 'something' for a "special occasion" and found that the opportunity had come and gone (or was missed completely)? While I do have one bottle that is set aside for a special occasion that will continue to be saved (until January 3, 2021 to be exact) I do have some other bottles that need to be dusted off and consumed in the name of "Open That Bottle Night". Read this press release and learn more about OTBN 2011! What's in YOUR cellar? : ) Wine is a living creature--if you keep it too long it may turn into very expensive vinegar so go ahead--Open That Bottle this February 26th! Cheers!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wine Sale at Total Wine and More!

Total Wine & More is always a fave of mine but next month they have a sale on 'mixed' wines (one gripe I have always had with them is that you ONLY get a discount on full cases of the same wine). If you a minimum of 6 bottles, you get a 10% discount! They also tend to have a lot of fun value wines (e.g. under $10) and I recently had one called Daisy Chain "Ana's Red". If you can get past the girly label (light blue with a lot of yellow daisies) the juice is quite nice for around $8 (the blend in the 2008 is Zin/Merlot/Cab/Syrah and is quite yummy). Another one I have mentioned before is the Grand Pacific "Heritage Red" ($8)and the 2009 is a blend of Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc.

The only 'catch' (if you call it that) is that their true 'deal' wines (prices that end in 7, like Ravenswood Vintners Blend for $6.27!!!) are NOT part of the 10% discount as they have already cut the prices to the bone (try finding that price on Ravenswood at your local grocery--more like $9!). BTW--You've got until 2/26/11 and this offer is available only in GA per the email I received from them...

Have fun, stock up! Cheers, Bo

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oh, Zinfandel!

Here is a great article about my favorite wine, ZINFANDEL! Such a yummy, food-friendly wine (try it with spicy foods especially!), you should buy some for tonight's Falcon's game (to go with your Pizza and wings, 'natch! Ridge is amazing stuff, and there is a Ravenswood at all price points (from the $7 Vintner's Blend, to the sub-$20 'county' series to the $35-45+ single vineyard series). Take some time to read about this wonderful wine's history!