Thursday, November 27, 2008


Our new wine! Genuine Risk, Merlot, Santa Ynez, 2005.

It's totally different from the styles we've made in the past. It's pretty big and juicy. I mean BIG and JUICY. I think the rich texture is really nice. You get lots of intense black fruits like plums and blackberries with flavors that really linger for a while after you swallow. Just like a good date. KIDDING! Can't anyone take a joke around here?

This is a good quaffing wine prior to dinner or would be good with chocolate cake just like Mom used to make... from a box and chocolate icing from a tin can. Umm Umm Good. 

Available at Silverlake Wine for $22. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The other wine.

This was the OTHER wine we had at La Botte. 

Castello di Neive, Santo Stefano, Barbaresco, 2004. 

Now this is what I'm talking about!! From a famous vineyard that Bruno Giacosa also uses for a wine that sells for $250 a bottle. This is like a BARGAIN. $40 at Wine House. 

I love the texture of this wine. I'm a huge fan of that chalky mouthfeel that grips my palate but is not overbearing, does that make sense? I mean, for instance, I am not the hugest fan of cabernet (yes, hugest is a word) because I always feel like its hitting me over the head. This wine sticks to your palate but isn't overly fruity. It has elegance. More minerals and earth than fruit and me likey!!!!

BOCK BOCK!! The turkey's a comin'!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wonder if the Pope likes it?

Cuvee du Vatican, CDP, 2006. 

This was a perfect wine to drink at La Botte with the very Sicilian and Catholic owner, "Mama". I don't know her name. We just call her Mama. I do know she likes to go to the Chumash Casino to play the slot machines with her sister. And she likes sweet wine, marsala I think. 

But, I digress. The Vatican was really adored by Peter's parents who preferred it to the Barbaresco that we also brought to dinner. It was jammy, a little stewy and very plummy. Soft tannins. Soft acidity. A perfect wine for the parentals who were a little overwhelmed by the tannins in the Nebbiolo.  

Another great Thanksgiving wine that can be purchased at the Wine House for $35.99.

By the way, the Brouilly I mentioned below is $13.99 at Vendomes in Toluca Lake. Hooyah!

Monday, November 24, 2008

An alternative sparkler.

Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley, Brut Rose, NV. In Magnum!!

Let's celebrate with magnums this week! I really like Roederer as an alternative to Champagne. 

From the website: The Roederer Estate Rosé is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. For color, the winemaker prepares a small portion of Pinot Noir with extended maceration and adds about five percent to the blend before secondary fermentation, imparting a subtle salmon hue. Both the 60/40 blend and addition of the small amount of red wine create a charming wine of discreet finesse.

Also, no malo-lactic fermentation, spends 2 years on the less and this is not methode champenoise! It's made in tank which allows the price to be cheaper than REAL rose Champagne. Still, I find this wine fruity and fun with notes of cherry, vanilla and graham crackers, but still bone dry and ready to drink. 

Go get 'em boys and girls! In this economy who can afford to drink Champagne anyway??? And with the car companies going bust we need a new industry here and I vote for Sparkling Wine. YES WE CAN! 

$49.99 at Sepulveda Wine Co. in Manhattan Beach. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The perfect Thanksgiving wine - aren't you sick of hearing that? How about this week I do a series of Thanksgiving wines that you AND your parents will enjoy. Thought you'd never agree with them on anything? Well, that's all about to change. 

Domaine Ruet, Brouilly, Vielles Vignes, Beaujolais, 2004.

I love the candied cherries and brightness of this wine. Lean mouthfeel, good acidity, could almost be California PN, except that well, it's so very Gamay-like. I think this is textbook example of Cru Beaujolais, so much so that I actually identified it correctly in a blind tasting. I was smelling the glass and tasting it and thinking "this can't be Burgundy - what is it?? what is it??" and then I had that AHHHH HHAAAA moment, "Beaujolais!!!" Duh!

Anyway, Cara bought this at... crap... I can't remember where - I'll ask her and get back to you!!

The husband comes home today from the harvest for good, so I guess I have to kick my lover out now. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Now back to the tried and true. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

If on;y it were still summer.

Wolf Blass, Yellow Label, South Australia, Riesling, 2006. 

Now I don't think this is quite "a classic wine of great character" but for the price it's pretty good. 

I don't often find myself drinking Wolf Blass, but Cara brought it over for me to blind taste and she got me! I thought it was a trocken wine from Germany. I think I put it in the Rheingau.

Lots of lemon/lime citrus fruit and a decent amount of petrol. I think what I really wanted was more complexity. I kept waiting for it to do more and it never did. STILL - every wine has its place and this one would be totally suitable to drinking on your patio in the middle of the summer. 

Too bad its not summer anymore! 

You can pick this wine up at Whole Foods for $12.99 (I think that's the price!!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Valpo or Burg?

This was a wine I bought for our 10AM Drunks Wine Tasting Group. 

Brigaldara, Valpolicella, 2006. $15.99 at Woodland Hills Wine Co

I asked the staff, "is it typical?" because for the tasting group you should bring a wine not as a stumper, but as representative and typical of a region. 

I liked it, but I would not say this is typical Valpo which should have some elements of chocolate, or at least that's what I've read! the truth is I haven't had that much Valpo except the big guns like Dal Forno and those are a whole 'nother animal. 

It had moderate to high acidity, fresh red berry fruit and soft tannins. All the components were well integrated, except that the tannins were maybe a little green giving the wine a little bit of an edgy finish. BUT it wasn't unpleasant, just a little rustic. And for the price, it's pretty darn good. 

Eduardo called it 2004 Burgundy. The color was so light and translucent. If I were blind tasting it I think I would have called it a Grenache / Syrahblend because of the spiciness. I never would have guessed Valpolicella, but then again, who would??

Also, looks like the 2004 is available through Jill at Domaine 547 for $14.99. 

Go crazy my friends and try both vintages next to each other!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Doggone good.

Our friend Steve Goldun, wine director of Palate, makes this wine with a friend in Santa Ynez. 

White Dog, Grenache all from Larner Vineyard is very minerally, but simultaneously full of black plummy fruit and verve. That's right, I said it VERVE. It's richly textured, layered with spice and some new oak. Some might even say, velvety. The 2 Vs - velvety and vervey. 

Plus, I like supporting local!!!!!!! 

You can get it at the Cheese Store of Silverlake for $32.99. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Plastic Barolo?

Massolino, Barolo, 2003. $63 at Palate Food and Wine.

This had stewed black fruits and a sweet chocolate quality, the downside is it was maybe a little "plasticy" too. Like smelled like plastic. Still, Barolo for $63 - what do you want people??  The alcohol shows through a little, but the tannins are pretty soft and this is a fully enjoyable bottle of wine for the money. 

We had a terrific meal at Palate given a few snafoos (is that a word??). Still the company was good and the wine was good and there you have it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Being charitable.

I'm so irritated with blogger!! I can't seem to upload pictures which is why my posts have been so sparse. 

Last night was my birthday dinner just with me and Peter at Piccolo in Venice. Truly spectacular food!

We drank San Patrignano, Avi, Sangiovese di Romagna. Very expensive $126 - but we had a gift certificate so really threw caution to the wind!

It was deeply colored and much more fresh and fruity than I expected. And weighty - it was a real ball buster - but in a good way. Almost tasted like a 2003 - so much fruit and alcohol was at 14.5% - I wasn't driving!!!

The winery is known for hiring and rehabing drug addicted troubled teens. So when you spend $126 it's really a charitable donation. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

No info.

I've been a very unreliable blogger - with harvest and an MW mock exam this weekend I can't seem to get a blog post up. 

This was a terrific Yellow Muscat from Slovenia that I had at Grace. Low Alcohol, around 8%, very lean with a slight oily texture and fairly low acidity. It had real Riesling qualities, a little diesely and floral. 

Now, I can't seem to make out the name, but you can drink it at Grace if you want to give it a go! Ask for Eduardo. 

This is a nice post, huh? No price, no producer name. REAL INFORMATIONAL LIKE. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My vote for Pax.

I know this is backwards, but I was too lazy to take a real picture. I turn 35 in a matter of days and its getting harder to motivate myself to do the simpliest things. Like washing my socks. Ugh. What a chore. 

Pax, Syrah, Cuvee Reltic, North Coast, 2005.

In the past I haven't loved Cuvee Christine, which might seem weird because my last name is Christine, because its just too much fruit and alcohol. BUT I really liked this wine, the alcohol was still a wee intense, but not distracting from the underlying minerality and smokey, gamey notes. It was very Rhone-like, which is cool because even in the Rhone those alcohol levels can creep up!! There's a little note on the back that explains their philosophy to try to produce wines as great as Hermitage. And it costs about half the price of Hermitage ($60).

Cool beans babies - it tastes good! 

BTW - HAPPY ELECTION DAY!!!!!!!! Did you vote?? Tell me about it! I'm so glad I voted by mail!! I just drove by my polling location and there's 2 long lines around the corner of the church. So....Will you be cheering or crying tonight??? I will be doing both!

There's going to be a 42 inch plasma screen TV at AOC - I'll be having dinner at the bar around 7pm - so come join me friends!!!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Port Party.

Remember the last Portugese wine I wrote on? It was cheap and spectacular! And this one is no less so. It came to me via a challenge with Eduardo that he could not produce an under $15 retail wine that would REALLY LOVE. One that had balance, a great texture and good fruit and complexity. Something that made me want to drink another glass. So I gladly lost - just for the record - I WANT to lose at this game! I need more cheap wine as Burgundy sales are lagging in this horrible economy. 

Casa Ferreirinha, Douro, 2002. This is a family owned operation that's been around since 1751 (I read this on the importer's site which has good info.) It's density is so impressive I just wanted to roll it around in my mouth forever. It was a little raisined, and definitely high in alcohol, so just don't drink too much, or its like hangover city! 
Vinha Grande is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, and Tinta Roriz grapes from vineyards in the Douro Superior and Upper Douro, aged in new and used French oak barrels. 

You can get it at Grace, but I couldn't find it retail in CA. Regardless, I am now a huge fan of dry Portugese red and am suggesting that you, my friends, get on the bandwagon. Ask at your local wine shop.