Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bolton The Pirate and Gnarly (and cheap) Zin

Fun Stuff:

The first time I saw Adam Samberg was in the movie Hot Rod, and I was not very impressed. The next time I saw, or at least the next time that I can remember, was when he did that fake music video "Dick in a Box" with Justin Timberlake. I laughed hard.

Since then I have been a pretty big fan of The Lonely Island Videos on SNL and YouTube. The last one I saw cracked me up. It features a semi-delusional Michael Bolton belting Bolton-style about how amazing captain Jack Sparrow is. Take a look:

Wine Stuff:

I used to dislike Zinfandel because I did not even know that red wine was made from the grape. I only knew about white Zinfandel, and that stuff is... hard to respect.

Well the day finally came (it's been a while now) when a good friend set me straight. I am writing this now to spread the word in case there are others out there with the same unjustified impression of Zin. Zinfandel makes some pretty good wine. If you like Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon, especially the BIG fruity versions that so often come out of California, you should give Zinfandel a chance.

Tonight I am drinking an inexpensive Zinfandel from from Gnarly Head. While it is cheap, and not the best Zin ever, it is a fairly good representation of what the grape usually tastes like. Big, fruity, jammy red fruit.

Now, if you decide you like the stuff, or you already know you like it, and you want to try my favorite, get a Zinfandel from Rombauer. I think they only make one, and it is amazing.

Happy Drinking

Monday, May 23, 2011

Starting Fresh: Wine Color Vs Grape Color

I have been on hiatus from wine blogging for a long time. I apologize to the... One person who cares. I am assuming there is one, but I may be giving myself too much credit ;)

I have a new application on my iPad that makes posting to my blog easier and more fun. It's called Blogsy in case anyone is interested. I have only made one post so far using Blogsy (to another blog), but it seems to work well. Let's try it out.

Before I took my long vacation from updating this site, I put out a survey. While few people responded, it appears that those who did want to learn more about wine. I like to talk about wine, so my first new post will be an informational, and hopefully interesting, one. I chose a subject that many people know about, but about which just as many are confused.

Wine color

The first easy question is: Does red wine come from red (purple/black) grapes?
And the simple answer is: Yes.

The more interesting question is: Does all white wine come from white grapes?
As is so often the case in life, you might be surprised to learn that the answer is: No not necessarily.

Why is that?

The color of a red wine comes from being in contact with the grape skins.

The grape juice, regardless of the grape, is white. So if you want to produce a red wine, you need to let the juice mingle with the skins for a while. After the grapes are pressed, to produce a red wine, the skins are left in the vat with the juice. The skins form a cap that has to be "punched down" during the primary fermentation process. The "punch down" is the process of pushing the skins down into the juice to extract more color from them. This usually happens a couple times a day throughout primary fermentation. The amount of time that the pulp stays on the skins depends on the wine maker, but commonly the pulp and skins are not separated until primary fermentation is complete.

Okay, so that is how red wines get their color. Now back to white for a moment. What white wines are made from red or black grapes? One of the most common and popular is Champagne (the Champagne region is marked by the red splotches).

Champagne is made from Pinot noir (black), Chardonnay (white), and Pinot Meunier (black). As you might expect, the skins have to be separated from the pulp right after the grapes are pressed. That process, however, is not enough to reach the clarity of a fine champagne. So the wine is filtered. Many levels of filtration can be used in wine making. It is a simple process though. The more clarity you want the smaller the particles you need filter. So even different white wines from a single white grape can have differing levels of color.

Well that's my little lesson. I hope it was informative and interesting.

Happy Drinking,

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fun and Wine in El Paso

We are packing up to leave El Paso after a long weekend of fun and lots of wine drinking with the family. I have no wine reviews to speak of. I don't think I remember any of them ;)

Thanks Charlie and Tracy for enjoying the weekend with us, and letting us stay with you.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interestingly Oxidized Wine

Roucaillat from Hautes Terres de Comberousse

I have a 1996 Vin Jaune d'Arbois that I can't wait to drink. I blogged about this wine in June and it was titled "Local Crazies and Old Yellow Wine" in case you are interested. The local crazies part made me giggle tonight when I read it again. Anyway, I plan to drink this wine with friends over Thanksgiving this year.

Thinking about it lead me to my local wine shop, and to question the shop keep, "I understand if you do not have any vin jaune, but do you have anything that is that unusual and interesting?". I am always looking for new interesting wines, and I enjoy learning about the novel wine making processes as much as the wines themselves. It just so happened that the shop had something pretty interesting. Not a vin jaune, but nice nonetheless.

Now the key to the interesting flavor of a vin jaune is the fact that it slow ferments and ages in a cask for SIX years before it goes into a bottle. On top of that, the cask is never topped off, so there is a lot of oxidation.

Well, the wine I got tonight is fermented/aged for a more normal period of time, on the order of months rather than years, but at a higher temperature than normal, and with more oxygen allowed to enter the barrel than normal. It is from the Coteaux du Languedoc and it is called Roucaillat.

Sounds a bit technical and boring? Okay, forget all that. It tastes like a really light sherry. Claudia hates it, as she does vin jaune, and I love it. Also... I really love to hear these stories.

happy drinking,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Glasses in which to Pour Cotes du Rhone and the Birthday Girl

Les Garrigues

I picked up a 2007 Les Garrigues Cotes du Rhone yesterday. It is too young, but Grenache usually helps make a wine more drinkable even when it is young. In case you are wondering, the standard blend for a red Cotes du Rhone is Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre with Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, and Picpoul to lesser degrees. They always have a lot of Grencahe, upwards of 40% depending on the sub-region. Anyway, I think I will buy this again, but I will cellar it for at least a year, or drink it with food.

Today, I got some bargain wine glasses. Linens n' Things is going out of business, so I dropped in for some depressing shopping in a ransacked store. Seriously, that place looked like a tornado hit it. I don't think they had 2 matching towels, or 2 folded towels for that matter. I did find some wine glasses that I like. I got 4 red and 4 white wine glasses that were even in boxes. So I bought them and you can see one in the picture. I like how huge it is ;)

Claudia's Birthday

I think Claudia had a nice birthday weekend. We had a great dinner with friends last night, and today we were about as lazy as we possibly could be. I think we changed out of our jammies (mine have rubber duckies on them) at 2:00 PM. Then we went out for lunch. That was it. Just a nice relaxing Sunday.

Here is one cute picture. For the rest, go to facebook.

happy drinking,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Carving and Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Carving

I have not dressed up for Halloween since I was a kid. I really want to dress up, but I want the costume to be really well done. I just never spend the time and effort it would take to have a good custume. Nevertheless, there is one thing Claudia and I always do for Halloween. We carve a pumpkin. For the past 2 Halloweens that we have spent in NY, we have carved one pumpkin each. This year we went with friends to a local pumpkin patch and picked out our pumpkins. Then on Wednesday we all got together and sliced those babies up ;) Take a close look at Claudia's pumpkin. It is the one with the wiggly mouth and oval nose who seems to be looking up into the sky. He has a baby pumpkin implaled on his stem, and he is pretty sad about it.

Pumpkin Ale

I hate beer. Blech! And I don't like pumpkin ale either, so I don't have anything to say about it.


Happy drinking

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Google's New Mail Goggles and New Grape Wine Goggles

Google's Mail Goggles Feature

Do you often find yourself emailing ex-girlfriends when you have had a few too many? When that happens do you find yourself composing an email that says "I LOVE YOU BABBY COM BACK ILUV U AWWW BABY COME BACCK"?

Well, now Google has you covered. They now have an option that activates itself late at night when you just might have had a drink... or 5. It asks you to do math problems before it will let you send an email. I am laughing just typing this it is so funny. Here's a picture.

Blogging about a New (to me) Grape, Prieto Picudo (with wine goggles)

Google should expand the functionality of mail goggles to Blogger. Actually no. If they did that, I would never get to blog about wine unless I set my math level really low. However, I am not sure I lose my mad math skills when I am drinking... But I digress.

I found this Spanish wine called Alaia, de La Tierra De Castilla Y Leon. Actually, my local wine shop recommended it, and I have to say it was a great recommendation. If you can find it and you like Tempranillo or Zin or Shiraz, you will probably like this. For the price point ($12), however, I would say it is better than any of those. What I noticed is that it can match those other popular grapes in fruitiness and boldness, but it has a lot more character than a $12 Zin. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it is not 100% Prieto Picudo (some kind of Weevil?). It is 50% Prieto Picudo, 45% Tempranillo, and 5% Merlot.

I don't think I can talk about the complexities and the technical aspects of this wine. Not only have I had too much of it, but you will not care anyway…

Happy drinking


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Politics Politics Politics, and Alberiño

Crazy Crazy Election

We have about 4 weeks until the most exciting election in recent memory. Claudia and I are addicted to this presidential election cycle. We constantly watch the news, and we have watched virtually every debate. That includes the primary and general election debates.

I am a YOUNG man. Very very young indeed, but even in my short years, I have seen a few elections. I have never, however, seen the population so excited and so engaged before. I am pretty happy about that, and I think after a lot of polarized years, we might do a little better than a 51% to 49% split this year. I will be happy to see that because I do not think the attitudes in the U.S. are really as black and white as they have seemed in recent years.

My last thought on the subject: I am glad to know that we will make history this year regardless of who wins.

The Spanish White, Albariño

I could not think of anything funny or witty to say about the wine I had tonight, so I thought instead to try to be helpful ;) Winter is fast approaching, but in case you live somewhere warmer than New York (not difficult), I have a good warm weather white to tell you about. If you are generally a Sauvignon Blanc fan, and have not tried the Spanish grape Albariño, you should give it a try.

The body, which is generally light to medium, is about the same as Sauv Blanc. The acidity is a little lower as is the minerality. The one I had tonight tasted like pear and Mellon with a slightly tart finish that resembled grapefruit. I could not quite put my finger on that finish actually. The one area where Sauv Blanc really out shines Albariño, however, is the nose. I did not get anything specific or interesting out of this one. It smelled nice enough, but it was nothing compared to the floral bubblegum bouquet of the average Sauv Blanc. Albariño goes well with lighter foods like chicken, fish, and pasta with pesto. It is also nice for quaffing.

Happy drinking,

Monday, October 06, 2008

Strong Arms Shiraz Label by Mel Kadel

Only Fun Stuff Today

This is the label from the wine I spoke about in the blog yesterday, Strong Arms Shiraz. It is tiny and hard to make out, so I did a little more digging on the interwebz. What a wonderful thing, the net ;))

I found the name of the artist who created the image on the label. His name is Mel Kadel, and if you are interested in seeing more of his stuff, just click on his name. He has a lot of interesting stuff.

Happy brinking,

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Portable Blogging and Stong Arms Shiraz

Portable Blogging

So I finally got an iPhone/iPod application that let's me blog on the go. So this is the first test of that application. That's really all I have to say about that. ;)

Strong Arms Shiraz

So, I found this Australian Shiraz that I had to buy because of the label. I am not usually prone to that sort of purchase, but in this case I could not pass it up.

So, because I found this lovely gem in my local wine shop (where I find myself quite often, and I know the owners) I was not worried that it might be a skunky loser behind a cute label. In fact it was quite nice. I should have written this right after I drank it, but since I did not I will have to call on my bad memory. It had typical eucalyptus notes with the jammyness of a CA Zinfandel. And yes, jammyness is a word. It can be used to describe how Jammy something tastes, or it can be used to describe the degree to which someone looks ready for bed.

Happy drinking,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Not Picasso, Picasso, and Wine from Picasso's Birthplace

Fun Stuff

Beacon has put up an "exhibit" on an old warehouse at the east end of main street. I will show my favorite of the 24 pieces that are hung in the window frames outside of the building. Perhaps I will show some of the other pieces in later blogs, but here is my favorite.

This piece was of particular interest to me because it is a new depiction of Picasso's 1937 "Guernica", and that piece is one of my favorites by Picasso. Picasso began painting "Guernica" 15 days after the German Nazis bombed the Spanish city of Guernica during the Spanish civil war. Some powerful images in there.

Wine Stuff

While I was doing a little research on "Guernica" I started wondering, since I have no wine on which to report, what did Picasso enjoy drinking. Well, I did not do an exhaustive search, but I could not find anything in particular.

I did however find his last words. The night before Picasso's death, he and his wife, Jaqueline, had a dinner party. Late in the evening, Picasso said "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink anymore." Then he retired to his studio to paint, which he did until 3AM. He died the next morning.

On top of that, Picasso was born in the city of Malaga in Spain. Malaga is also the name of the fortified wine that comes from the city of Malaga. Fortified wines are interesting because they are holdovers from a time when normal wine was likely to go bad during shipping. So early wine shippers fortified the wine with spirits, usually brandy, to help it withstand the time, temperature, and pressure changes that take place during shipping. Port is the most common example of a fortified wine, and most are sweet like port. Malaga, to sum up ;) was not considered a serious wine until recently. Currently the Malaga wine "Molino Real" is considered one of the greatest wines from Spain.

I have never tasted one of these wines, but would love to hear a review from anyone who has :)

Happy drinking,

Monday, May 26, 2008

Adult Soda Pop and iPod Touch (this is not an advertisement)

Fun Stuff:

Most of my friends know that I am an Apple computer lover. Some would say I am a fanatic. Maybe they are right, but I still have to talk about my new iPod touch. I call it "everything but the phone" when people ask if it is an iPhone. I love this little gadget. It is already a great device for audio, video, email, and internet, but in June I expect it to be able to feed me and drive me to work ;)

iPhone/iPod touch software 2.0 will be released in June along with new applications from Apple and third parties. Among the new tools will be the ability to connect to Microsoft exchange servers for business mail.

I can't wait!

Wine Stuff:

No wine today. After such a long hiatus from writing the blog, I decided to drink and write about something very special. This is a drink that is effervescent, and amazingly consistent from vintage to vintage. It is possible to find this nectar in virtually every city across the country, and the price is consistent and reasonable. You guessed it, I am talking about malt liquor.

Today I drank a May, 2008 Bacardi Pomegranate Mojito malt beverage. You too can try this wonderous drink ;)

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

happy drinking,

Monday, July 30, 2007

Potter and Pinot

Fun Stuff:

If you did not see it already, scroll down a bit and see me as a Simpson's character. Funny ;)

I have not seen the Simpson's movie yet, but I did see the Harry Potter movie and I am reading the final book in the Harry Potter series. Claudia and I went to see the fifth Harry Potter movie, The Order of the Phoenix, at the "local" drive-in theater. In this case "local" means it is only thirty miles away.

Anyway, the drive-in was kind of cool. I had never been to one before, and sadly it is the closest thing to the Alamo Drafthouse that we have. You can get crap to eat at the snack bar, but luckily they have no problem with customers bringing their own food in. On top of that awesome fact, the sound system is as good as you make it. The soundtrack is broadcast on a radio station, so it sounds as good as your stereo system can make it sound.

Oh yeah... the movie was fine.

The last book in the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows, is pretty good so far, but I expect it to get much better. Claudia has already finished the book. We bought two because I did not want to wait for her to finish, and she will die of old age before I finish. I am special. I recommend the series for young and old.

Wine Stuff:

Mmmmm, Pinot Noir. LOOK AT THAT BURGUNDY COLOR AND CLARITY. It is so pretty.

I wrote about Burgundy (Bourgogne) not too long ago, well I just opened the first of the Burgundys that we brought back from France. While in France, I found that finding good Burgundy was no trivial task. Finding good value was even harder, so when I came accross this one, I was a little nervous. It had good reviews, but it only cost about 6 euro 50 cents. It is easy to find a decent Cotes Du Rhone for that, but Pinot is another story.

Well I lucked out, and that means that if you can find it here in the U.S. it will not be outrageously priced. This is a 2004 Bourgogne, Hautes Cotes de Beaune, Domaine du Clos Ministere.

The color, as I began to mention at the top, is a pale consistent ruby with no browning near the glass edges (signs of age). In the nose, the most obvious scent is young eucalyptus followed closely by car tire. Those come through at my storage temperature of 60 degrees F, but as it warms, the fruit starts to come out. Interestingly a little cinnamon peeks out from the notes of warm cherry pie. On the palette there is a high acidity and ripe tannin well ballanced with red fruits and herbal notes. It is only an 04', and I think it will reach its peak in another two or three years. It will probably stay there, happy to be drunk, for another five years.

happy drinking,

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Simpson's Are Taking Over

Funn Stuff:
Here I am in all my Simpson's glory.