Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Godson.

Tasca d'Almerita, Cabernet Sauvignon, Contea di Sclafani, DOC , 2002. 

We loved this wine,and honestly, I wasn't expecting a lot. Cabernet from Sicily promised to be raisined and dense and dirty. Instead it was totally clean with really good intensity of tannins and great complex concentration of fruit AND acidity. It actually had good acidity. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth every penny. I'd drink this over Bordeaux any day. 

While I usually don't say much about the producer, because there are lots of places you can find that info on your own, Jeff Z. from Rosso Wine Shop, where I bought the wine for $40.00, sent me this info.  

Tasca d’Almerita’s experiments with the most important international red variety have led to the creation of this outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has focused the entire world’s attention on Sicily’s extraordinary but still little-known potential for creating truly impressive wines. Winner of many Italian and International awards, Tasca d’Almerita’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a very cosmopolitan wine. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in estate vineyards planted at 1,600 to 1,950 feet above sea level with a south/southwestern exposure. This iconic Cabernet is aged for 18 months in oak barriques to achieve maximum elegance and refinement.

I love that it's COSMOPOLITAN! Just like me!!

This was actually a sort of "challenge" to a wine I wrote about a while back that reminded me of the Godfather. I have to say, Jeff was right. This wine just reeks of  violins and horse heads. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The schnizzle! 95 pt. (RP) wine under $50.

2004 was a great vintage in Tuscany and the Isole e Olena, Ceparello, IGT is 100% Sangiovese, it spends 14 months in barrel. Really low yields (Only a pound and a half per plant for those of you who care.) The estate was founded in the 1960s by a man who made his way to Tuscany via Piedmont. Yahoo!

The wine is very concentrated, but still traditional in style, a little dusty but also has a great long, incredibly sexy texture. Give it a go... It's Buzzin' like Shwayze. (I know what she was on - by the way - Ceparello. And she did fall in love - by the way - with Ceparello.)

Available at Woodland Hills Wine Co. for $49.95. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blue Barbera.

Giacoma Bologna, Braida, Monte Bruna, Barbera d'Asti, 2005.

Now if this picture appears slightly pornographic I apologize. It's just that the wine was so delicious that we each had to lick the bottle. Sort of gross, but you know, we were in the cemetery so it seemed to make sense at the time. (The featured tongue is Kris Longley, Chef de Cuisine at the Hungry Cat.)

It's semi-modern in style. A little oak, a little fruit, a little dust, a little tannin, a little acid. It was just super well-balanced and quite complex for barbera. Peter says this is "everything he likes in Barbera." Amy (that's me) says, "Perfect for drinking outside when the weather is turing a little cool."

Peter found this at Mission Wines in South Pas for $26.99.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Udderly delicious.

Are you seeing red? No! It's just the Atalayas, Ribera del Duero, 2005. 

I have been in a real Ribera del Duero phase lately. Don't ask me why - I just can't seem to get enough of the old world and the new American Oak. This one was particularly delicious especially for the price point! I found it to have some wonderful plummy fruit and that high toned bruised apple (ala volatile acidity) quality. It's not very weighty - perfect for Sangiovese and Pinot lovers who want to take a little trip to good 'ole Espanol. 

I found that the moderate plus alcohol would give me courage to fight a bull should the opportunity arise. Or at the very least it could persuade me to milk a cow. 

For some reason the model (one Cynthia Mendoza) felt compelled to advertise her own little udders.   

Purchased at Mission Wines in South Pasadena for $23.99.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Llama wine.

I totally dig this awesome little wine, La Yunta, Torrentes, Argentina for $8.99 at K&L in Hollywood. 

This is one of those wines that when you smell it you expect it to be sweet and then its not. It's just a lightly tropical juice monger, not too high in acid and really floral and aromatic. 

Torrentes has certain albarino and even viognier like qualitites to me, but lacks the acidity of albarino and the weighty mouthfeel of viognier. This Torrentes is another Capri-Sun style wine, which isn't a bad thing in this case!

I certainly feel like if I had a Llama and a case of this wine I could travel around the Andes for a while.  

Anyway, for $8.99 what do you have to lose?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where's the beef?

This is the first and only time I am going to write about an unimpressive wine. I figure it's really a waste of your time, but think this as a warning.

First, you should know, I am generally weary of recommendations because I have such specific criteria and I know what I like. Second, I was at Wine Exchange with an incredibly knowledgeable Burgundy man. He said to me, "Jadot and Bouchard were great in 2005... you have to get this wine..." as we loooked at the Louis Jadot, Savigny-les-Beaune, Clos des Guettes, 2005.

So I bought it - for $29.99 none the less. 

And, you know what? It tastes just like I thought it would. A little weedy, coarse and edgy with a short finish. And the alcohol stands out. That's crazy!!! The fruit does not support the alcohol. Where's the soft 2005 fruit? It was a near perfect vintage. But still, Jadot is a big "slick" winery (for Burgundy) and produces exactly what you'd expect it to produce. Industrial wine. This may be the first 2005 that's disappointed me. 

This is the deal - I'm not saying it's total crap. It's drinkable for sure and not entirely unpleasant. But for the money? I've got better places to spend $30 thank you very much. My socks and underwear have holes in them for Godssakes. That's the sacrifice I make to drink to good wine every night. And for the record - this is not worth holey panties. 

Victoria's Secret here I come. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Cote de l'Ange, Chateauneuf-de-pape, 2005 is another uber-delicious wine. It's like crazy people! I got REALLY lucky 2 nights in a row.

Peter blind tasted me on this one again, and I thought it was Italian because of some really nice (not offensive) notes of Volatile Acidity. But - big shock - I was wrong. AGAIN.

Anyhoo, all ego aside, this wine is just luscious goodness. The fruit is so sweet and elegant and refined. Ultra silky smooth (like shiny pantyhose) and really complex with lots of baked cherry and spicy cedar qualities.  

It's $37.99 at Domaine 547. Remember - free delivery in LA. As in, you call up Jill, order it and it shows up at your front door and you didn't have to do anything. 

You're not kidding anyone with that gym membership that you never use. Go ahead, let loose. Embrace your sedentary lifestyle.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Million dollar baby. (Boxler... get it?)

A delicious Alsatian! Albert Boxler, Riesling, 2005. Wine House $29.99.

This wine had lots of great mineralit, fresh and tangy but it was infused with such rich (but bone dry!) honeyed notes. Broad but liner. Does that makes sense? I just loved it. Peter blind tasted me on it (I got it wrong - put it in Germany at Spatlese level fermented to dryness) I thought, wow, my husband loves me a lot to open this for me tonight!

We watched Weeds and drank Boxler and I thought - it doesn't get better than this! (I'm fairly easy to please... hmm... well, on second thought I guess that depends on who you ask.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Like taxidermy for wine people.

My designer friend, Marcel, sent me another odd design link. This time to a funky antler decanter. 

I have to say - I love this one! It makes me want to go camping (at Chateau Marmont of course). I have no idea how much they cost but I have every intention on getting one since I LOVE decanters. I think decanters are just about the best thing in the world to give as gifts or to just blow some extra money on. (Extra money meaning the kind you take from your spouse's wallet when they aren't looking.)

We got a beautiful etched crystal decanter from Tiffany for our wedding, and we totally use it all the time - it's sooo fancy - and it makes me feel regal. That's about the only time in my life when I do. 

This one tops the cake however. Check out the cleaning instructions!

 P.S. I just found the price. At 2100 Euro this might be a little out of reach. I don't think Peter ever has that much money in his wallet. Bummer dude. 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hi Tocai.

Now, I know you will say to me we can't afford Spago! But I don't care. You must go. Friday lunch. It's so fantastic. The food. The Champagne. The people watching especially! Rich people fascinate me - and there's no better case study that Spago Beverly Hills. 

The wine list is really something else. Kevin O. and new somm Chris Miller are still incredibly focused on this impeccable list. And it's not expensive. There are some great deals. 

This Scarbolo, Tocai Friulano, 2006. A minerally, semi-tropical, moderate acidity Italian white that's perfect for sipping in the summer on the patio at Spago. $11 a glass. $44 a bottle. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

No green peppers here.

First, I've been a terrible blogger this week. I keep forgetting to blog!!

Meanwhile, I've had a lot of fun wine this week! (Probably the source of my amnesia).

Lang and Reed Cabernet Franc, 2006 is a favorite at aoc. ($11 a glass!) It's named after proprietors John and Tracey Skupny's two sons, Reed and Jerzy Lang. To me the label like it was drawn with love and crayons at the kitchen table on a Saturday afternoon. We get great comments on it at aoc. Designing a label is very hard work (Hocus Pocus took Peter and I months to figure out). The story about the art work is here. I love it! (Thanks John!)

I saw it on sale this week at Mr. Marcel at the Grove for $22.99 and am here to say - go pick yourself up a bottle. It's totally lacking that weird green pepper / herbaceous Cabernet Francy thing that can be so off putting when unripe. Really fruity, with very light tannins and just jump in your mouth raspberry juiciness. My friend Daryl LOVES this wine. It's red wine that's light enough for summer, but substantial enough to impress your California cabernet loving friends. 

We are off to Hollywood Forever to see Clockwork Orange this Saturday night and think we'll bring a bottle to scare off the boogey mens in my head!!! 


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's all about the balance.

I want to drink Brunello every night, but unfortunately the lottery tickets Peter got for his birthday from our friend Rob did not pan out the way we had hoped. So sometimes we are stuck drinking the little brother of Brunello. 

Not a bad price at all for Rosso, but be  warned this wine needs lots of time to open up and to blow off it's stink. It has that horse poop aroma that I usually don't find very appealing. We decanted it and left it alone for an hour or and it got much much better. It became more integrated into the wine. More balanced, if you will. (Will you??) And it's all about balance. Decanting really does do wonders. Rustic tannins, but with hints of sweet Brunello cherry fruit. 

"Good for meat", says the recovering vegetarian.

I know there are some of you out there who love your horse poo, if so, don't bother with the decanting. There's a nice steamy one ready for you upon opening.  

I  also for some reason felt compelled to try to balance the bottle on my head. The results were not positive. 

Today's hellomw post is on Fermentation. Check it out. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feeling hot hot hot.

Paisajes IX, Rioja, 2003. 

This has true 2003 qualities!! That crazy year in the EU when the HOT HOT HOT weather created concentrated ripe stewy fruit. A blend of Tempranillo and Grenache This wine has got serious depth and fruit concentration. It's also starting to develop some secondary characteristics, like toasted nuts. (HA!! I said NUTS!)

For my friends who drink a lot of California wine, this is a perfect cross over / gateway into the Old World. 

Come on in - it's the perfect time to take an Old World dip! Come naked if you like, no one's looking. (Well, I might be)

You can get it online at Domaine 547. My friend Jill owns this virtual joint, and she does free shipping in LA. That means you don't even have to get your lazy butt off the couch to get a bottle. $29.99.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Liquid air conditioning.

Another find at John and Pete's on La Cienega.

Naia, Rueda, Spain, 2004. I love this little wine, and it's fairly widely available and easy to find around town. Verdejo is the grape variety, very lemony, tart and tangy. It's FRESH. No oak, just pure clean drinking fun. 

Naia makes a higher end wine that's super fantabulous, it's called Naiades. It has more texture because of the time spent in oak. Well worth the extra few bucks!

The Naia is $11.99 and perfect for your Koreatown apartment that lacks AC. 

Friday, July 11, 2008


La Pialade, Cotes-du-Rhone, 2006. 

I like this wine because it tastes like summer. To be more specific, it tastes like bug spray. My friend Tom Hunter always says that I need to come up with more positive adjectives to describe Grenache, but I just can't get mosquito repellant out of my mind. 

I mean this, of course, in the most positive way. Some people describe Grenache as loaded with garrigue, but if I had to put a more positive spin on bug spray I'd say grapefruit skin. More appealing perhaps?

So shower the kids with Off, go in the backyard with a citronella candle and pour yourself a glass of this lovely Cotes-du-Rhone. You'll be bite free!!

$22.99 at John and Pete's on La Cienega. 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't cry for me Argentina.

Paris Goulart, Malbec / Cabernet Blend, Glam, 2006 from Mendoza, Argentina. 

I saw this at Silverlake Wine last week, and thought $10 is a great price for this grapey little juice bomb. Not too alcoholic, with a good semi-chewy texture and dark plummy fruit. I'm not sure why it's called GLAM, but I'm going with it. It's Glam like Robert Goulet. Old School. 

Now this isn't a wine that will make you weep with pleasure, but it's one of those wines Peter likes to call "Recession Proof". 

Seriously people, what do you want for $10???

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Take a bite out of me.

Schafer-Frohlich, Riesling, Spatlese, Halbtrocken, 2006. 

Haltrocken means half dry of course, and it's very half dry - as in half sweet. This wine was so JUICY and honeyed, with good acidity but not like seering crazy taut acidity. 

It reminds me of those Harry and David pears that my father-in-law sends us every Christmas. They're so ripe the juice is practically seeping out of them. When you go to bite into one it leaks everywhere. You have to eat it over a bowl and then drink the juice out. YUM!

Peter really loved it, and he drank it at lunch over the course of 3 days and it seemed to hold up really well. I got this wine at Palate for $17.99. 

P.S. I had to hide my face because I was feeling ugly and Peter insisted I be in the picture. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cremant d'Awesome.

The Allimont-Laugner, Cremant d'Alsace, NV is super lovely. Juicy cherry and strawberry fruit like a Capri Sun with alcohol and sparkles. Yum-o-rama baby!! What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in gulpability. Bring your own straw. 

It's $13 a glass at Hipster hang out extraordinaire Cafe Stella in Silverlake. 

P.S. The photo is horrible, but blogger won't let me upload the good one for some reason... so apologies. Use your imagination!

Monday, July 7, 2008


I'm a big fan of it, Nepotism. So here's my husband's wine!! This is, unfortunately, a terrible photo that doesn't do justice to the label art - but blame it on the iPhone.

I know it seems weird to recommend a Syrah in July, but not so weird because I think any great quality wine should be refreshing and Piedrasassi is no exception. 

Piedra means rock in Spanish and Sassi means stone in Italian. It's a reference to the winemaker's names, my Peter and Sashi Moorman, his partner.  

The grapes are sourced from 5 vineyards in the Central Coast, which is nice because they blend some really warm climate fruit (from Paso) with some cooler climate fruit. All the lots are fermented separately in new French Oak - which integrates the oak very early on keeping it from being too bombastic and creamy. The 2005 was kept in barrel for 30 months, but it's is not overly extracted or cloyingly sweet like so many Syrahs from the Central Coast. I think it's very minerally, smoky and gamey with intensity of black fruit. Like souped up syrah from the Northern Rhone. 

The 2004 vintage is $55.99 at Larchmont Wine and Spirits. The 2005 is available at Fraiche and aoc by the bottle for around $100, and at the Wine House. 92 pts. RP (not that anyone cares!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Go green.

A great Sunday wine: Broadbent, Vinho Verde, Portugal, Non-vintage

I've seen this bottle around everywhere and was intrigued by the back label, which strikes me as I don't know... funny? You heard it here first, Vinho Verde is perhaps the world's best pairing with a caesar salad...

Lightly spritzy, very linear and clean, at only 9% alcohol this wine is just plain simple and refreshing. A little green, yes, as seems obvious from the name, but not off putting. It's like a Sprite without the sugar and all that carbonation. 

Actually it's nothing like a Sprite which is a disgusting beverage. Drink wine not soda! 

I got this bottle at the Wine House for $8.99 but you can also get it at Cheese Store of Silverlake.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

And now the pink.

I blogged on the Reverdy rouge a few posts back - but this wine I love even better!!  

2007, Pascal & Nicolas Reverdy, Pinot Noir Rose from Sancerre was a true 4th of July treat! It was so light and delicate it was like sipping soft cherry breezes (wow - that's CHEESY, huh?). Totally dry - as in bone dry - dry dry dry. Truly fabulous and ephemeral. The best part? I didn't even have to buy it. 

David Lentz, owner of the Hungry Cat in LA and Santa Barbara, brought it to the Malibu shindig. He clearly has excellent taste in wine. He bought it at Vendome Wine & Spirits on Ventura Blvd. in Valley for under $20. 

Friday, July 4, 2008

Rose heaven.

Since it's a holiday and all... I thought we'd take a tour of Silverlake Wine's Parade of Rose. There are lots of choices and price points and they are open today from 10 to 3 for those of you who forgot to get your party wine! 

Personally, I'm usually partial to Provence because I like a lighter style, but since we are celebrating America today we can be a little more bombastic. 2007 Domaine de Fontsainte from Corbieres (top photo), $16.75. It's a blend of Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault - crazy! It's also bottled within a month of completion of fermentation to preserve freshness. Loads of ripe red strawberries - almost like the real thing.  

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Priorat is prioright.

When we first opened AOC this was my favorite wine on the list. I sold it as much as I now sell the Fattoria Laila, Rosso Piceno. 

I want to say that it's not one of those ultra slutty Priorat style wines. The 2004 Laurona, Montsant (Montsant is sub-region of Priorat in Spain) has good structure and I guess I attribute that to the small proportion of Cabernet in the blend. I uploaded the back label so that you can see the grape breakdown, 'cause I think it's pretty cool. Very juicy dark stone fruit, some serious spice and a peanut-butter stick to your palate texture - this is yum-yum good! (Andrew - you would really like this one!) 

$29.99 at the Wine House. 2004 was a terrific vintage in Priorat, so maybe load up now for the autumn months! Also, check out this great article on Priorat from the San Francisco Chronicle. 

On a personal note:   TARA - are you out there?? I erased your message accidentally from my iPhone that I still don't how to use and I don't have your number - please call me again!!! Or I will be at AOC tonight and Saturday if you want to stop in :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to Peter!

This wine is perfect example of why vintages are important! I previously blogged on the 2001 Elio GrassoGinestra Vigna Casa Mate a beautiful, dense chalky and ageworthy wine, the 2002 Barolo (everything at Elio Grasso was declassified into this one wine in 2002) is delicious but much more straightforward and simple. It's easy to drink and ready to drink now! No harsh tannins or acidity that need extended bottle aging. 

 We went to Dominick's on Beverly last night to celebrate Peter's 34th birthday! Our Hocus Pocus Pinot was in the flight so we were celebrating that too. And we had a great time - realizing that there are many ways to use an Elio Grasso bottle,  as a flute (see Daryl playing Mozart above) and as a Parrot (on Rob to the left).

Peter is blowing out his candle!! And drinking some killer Homemade Limoncello!

The Limoncello is $8 a glass. The 2002 Elio Grasso Barolo is $78 a bottle.