Dr. Johnson called me around 4:30 today. He says that Bubba has colon cancer. We’re going to do a second biopsy tomorrow to be sure. This is crushing.

There’s the highland Dutch and the lowland Dutch, the Rotterdam Dutch and the Irish.

Actually, the words I learned were “the goddamn Dutch and the Irish”.  No matter.  The point is, it’s been a drink drank drunk sort of week.

My family is a little different,  or a little more than different.  What I like to refer to as the Family Massacre [pronounced “mass-a-creee” see reference here] occurs usually a day or two before or a day or so after traditional Thanksgiving.  It’s been going on for years, like so many years that I was sitting in a location last night that was where the “kid’s table” used to be.  When we were actually kids on occasion my Uncle, who hosted the Massacre would come and sit at the kid’s table with us.  I don’t remember them not living in that house, but I do remember a remodel that occurred probably in the late 60’s after my Grandmother passed and the Aunt who lived with her moved into the house.  They’ve recently remodeled the kitchen, but beyond that, the home stands as it always has and remains in remarkable condition.  My Uncle was a cell biologist at the Viticulture and Enology department at UC Davis.  I remember when he was in the hospital sitting in his room waiting for him to wake up.  I was reading a book called “How you dog knows you’re coming home”.  He woke up and asked “What are you reading?”  I told him.  He looked at me like I was full of crap, a look I was accustomed to.  I said “It’s written by a cell biologist.”  He says “Oh!  Than it must be true!”  That was my Uncle.  He passed away in 2002 and for a couple of years the Family Massacre went on sabbatical.  My cousin moved her family back to the family home to care for her Mother and the Massacre resumed last year.  The poor turkey only made it one year, now they’re serving duck and lamb.  The guest list is stable and newbie’s had better bring some humble pie and a steel jock.  Their status is judged by whether we run them out of there on Greyhound or Amtrak.   Yep.  We’ll run you out of town on a rail.  As a rule, you never admit a weakness at one of these events.  The Brother mentioned his recent trial and essentially said that he lost the trial.  Personally, I don’t believe he lost, he just didn’t grind the opposition into powder.  But the silly boy said something in front of The Cousins and it was on.  That’s how we roll.

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With a background story like that you know we’re going to talk about wine.  We’ll start with the Beaujolais Nouveau.  Trust me, I dare not bring that shit to the Massacre without a bus ticket.  There are only two allowed appellations, the Beaujolais and the Beaujolais-Villages.  It is meant to be consumed immediately, prior to the May following its release.  French law governs its release no earlier than midnight of the Third Thursday of November.  Much fanfare goes on with its release.  Plenty of wine people like to turn their noses up at the young unsophisticated wine.  I think those people take themselves way too seriously.  Have some fun for crying out loud.  This stuff is generally around $10 a bottle and shouldn’t be kept for more than 7 months.  It’s a red that should be served at 55 degrees.  Go ahead and turn up your nose.  We think you’re boring anyway.

This year I’ve had these offerings.  Keep in mind, much of the smaller vineyards never make it out of France.  Reason #2 to move there.  Wine that never leaves there.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Village Nouveau

Maison Louis Tete Beaujolais Nouveau

Kermit Lynch Beaujolais Nouveau

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau

Pierre Dupond Beaujolais Nouveau

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau

Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau

I didn’t put the year because it’s this year.  This stuff is in the vineyard in August and in the glass in November.  It ain’t rocket science.  It’s whole berry fermintation.  The one I just didn’t like was the Mommessin.  It was way too tannic.  This is a tannic like hurt your tongue tannic.  Way too much and not much else going on.  The wine as a whole should be drunk with food.  Any food really, just food.  I don’t see this as a “paired with…” blah blah blah wine.  It’s a “this is what’s in the jug” wine that you would get in a cafe in France when you asked for a glass of wine.  They’d pour it until they were out of it.  But the Mommessin was too tight and when you’re dealing with a quick consumption period, I’ve got to say these guys missed.  Georges Duboeuf is like the Inglenook of France.  Occasionally they get it right, but they’re all about quanity and not quality.  This year they got it right.  I liked the Village a lot this year.  Bright dancing fruit with a floral essence.  Light tannins for a Beaujolais Nouveau. One of their best in years, possibly ever in my Beaujolais Nouveau drinking career.  I’d not had the Louis Tete before.  They could get my best of show if not for the Joseph Drouhin.  Crisp flavors, bright fruit, easy on the tannins and floral hints.  More interesting than most of these wines.  I’m not sure how the Kermit Lynch thing goes together, but it was not one of my top choices.

Now for the wine that went to the Massacre.

2005 La Storia Cuvee 32

2006 Hatcher Grenache

2004 Clos Pegase Pinot Noir

Best of show was the 2005 La Storia.  Not a surprise to me.  It’s a Sangiovese based wine.  Very well balanced with blackberries on the front palate and spice on the back.  Just like Miro Tcholakov makes his wines and just like I like them.  It paired perfectly with the lamb.  A little spottier with the duck, but I blame that on the duck.  It was a good duck.  Just not duck enough to stand up to one of Miro’s wines.  I thought the Hatcher Grenache would stand up well with the duck, and while it was ok, it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.   This is a bright medium bodied wine.  Raspberries, cherries and cranberries on the palate.  I thought it would be amazing with duck, but it was a little too tight on the finish.  I think I should have held it a little while and let it calm down.  The structure is there and I think this one will be decent in the future.  Just not so much with that duck.  Then there was the 2004 Clos Pegase Pinot Noir.  I think Pinor Noir and Napa is not what I think.  Oregon yes.  Sonoma, yes.  Carneros, not so much.  But this one is a good one.  Ripe cherries, that nice pinot earthiness, plums and lavender.  Nice lush finish on this one.  We killed this one (although they will say I killed it and I know I had help) before dinner, so it doesn’t need food.  It might have stood up to that duck.  Nuff said.

Bottle_Barbera

And finally best of show at Sonofabun’s house last night.  The Young’s Vineyard Barbera.  It didn’t make it to dinner, we had the Freemark Abbey Cabernet Franc with dinner and it was very good and held up well to Sonofabun’s rich meal.  Who takes that old green bean casserole recipe and updates it with fresh ingredients and panko bread crumbs?  Yeah rich.  But after dinner another guest whipped out that Barbera.  This thing was really amazing.  Sort of like a zinfandel but not.  Jammy for sure, blackberries, full tannins, cherry coke and a sweetness on the finish that I wasn’t expecting.  This wine sent me to my happy place.  Only 920 cases produced and I really need to get up there and check these guys out.  The best wine I’ve had in a week of drink drank drunk.

And now for 18 minutes and 36 seconds of your life that you’ll never get back.  You’re welcome.

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All the pay I need comes shining through his eyes

Even though there’s a couple of great wine posts in the works, a lot of you know how sick Bubba has been, so I think a report is in order.

11-26Bubba

I gave both dogs a meaty bone last Thursday.  They loved them.  I got a lot of work done while they were occupied. Hours worth of work.  Hours and hours worth of work.  Unfortunately, I was so busy working that I forgot to take them away from them.  And then the bad thing happened.  Rita was over it in a day.  Bubba not so much.  It was like a snowball rolling down a hill with him.  I put him on a bland diet on Saturday with no improvement.  When he’s sick he’ll lick his chops over and over again and his nose gets raw too.  Yesterday morning I took him to emergency.  I called to see if the internist who he’d already seen twice was in, but she wasn’t so we went with a walk in emergency.  Turned out it was a good decision.  The vet Dr. Priest, took a few minutes to look over Bubba’s chart and suggested a plan of action and then went to get an estimate.  Then she returned with Dr. Johnson, the founder and a pretty gifted Veterinarian.  I knew of people who had spent thousands only to come to Encina and have Dr. Johnson finally figure out their pets problem.  She introduced him and I knew three things.  Bubba was a very sick dog,  she wasn’t comfortable with the original plan and if anyone could figure it out Dr. Johnson could.  Bubba’s weight was down to 65 pounds.  He weighed 72 when I got him, I struggle to keep him around that, but he should really weigh around 78.  His ongoing stomach issues were probably the cause.  And I knew he was in trouble even though he wouldn’t show that anything was wrong.  I was afraid of him crashing today, so I took him in yesterday.  Dr. Johnson explained a couple of ways we could diagnose Bubba.  Optimal approach would begin with ultra sound and if nothing was found then move on to an Endoscopy.  The nice thing about being a Realtor in this market, people understand.  I had a big deal fall out of escrow two weeks ago and there isn’t much inventory to sell my buyers right now.  I’m smart so there were reserves, were.  But it’s been a tough slog.  When Dr. Johnson paused and asked me if I had any questions I said “I’m a Realtor”.  He said “OK, then you probably need the most bang for your buck in whatever we do today”.  He then went on to explain statistically which test would have the best chance of finding what was wrong with Bubba.  It was the Endoscopy.  It was pricey but he found things not right and that’s worth it to me.

Whatever the thing is at the top of the stomach that should close after he swallows, it stays too far open.  He doesn’t know what that means, but I’m sure he’ll be checking it out over the weekend.  The important part is that both is small and large colons were inflamed.  He took biopsies from both.  The other delightful thing that occurred was that while he was under bloody mucusy grossness leaked from his butt.  Now I’ve been cleaning up that bloody mucusy grossness for three days around here and my carpets are beat up, but I was really happy that the Doctors got to see it.  Dr. Johnson believes that once the biopsies are back it will show either Irritable Bowel Disease or another condition that I can’t remember this morning.  That one is a bacterial imbalance causing the similar symptoms as IBD.  IBD is treated with cortisone the other is treated with antibiotics.  This explains why he has been “massaging” his midsection and why his gut seems so touchy.  Now I’ve got to go sell a house, or in spite of my Bah humbug attitude, there really won’t be a Christmas around here.  Or a January 1 for that matter.

I used to get really despondent when crap like this used to happen.  Right now I have no room for any screw ups, so when I started up the car yesterday and only 5 cylinders were firing, it was not a good thing.  Between that and a crappy Word document from one of the Asset Management companies, my voice is shot this morning from yelling at inanimate objects.  Luckily the good engineers at BMW built this thing in where you can shut it off and restart it and the computer resets.  After two attempts all six cylinders fired.  I really need it to act right until I get another deal or two going.   So two good hits yesterday and I was pretty numb.  That’s the thing about being a Realtor.  Your car screws up and you’re toast.  It’s not like you can take the bus.  Then my good buddy Alfred E. Neuman re-appeared and I went about the rest of my day.

I got home last night with the intent of eating what I should, having a glass of wine and finishing up my paperwork.  Then there was a knock at the door.  I looked and it was the guy across the street.  He has never knocked on my door before.  His children have brought me cookies for Christmas and one time they brought me some salsa they made with tomatoes they grew in the back yard, but him, never.  We chat all the time, he’s a good guy, but he’s never knocked on my door.  Since both dogs were in the house, I figured someone sideswiped my truck.  It was that kind of day.  Nope.  He’s a commercial fisherman and he had a pot full of fresh crab, did I want one?  Oh hell yeah!  He went and grabbed me what he called a big juicy one and showed me how to clean it.  I built a fire in the fireplace, made some drawn butter, cracked a Spellbound Riesling and sat down to forget about yesterday.  That Spellbound Riesling really is something.  I mentioned it when I got it, but here’s your real notes.  Melon, stone fruit and honey, but dry on the finish.  Very unusual viscosity for a dry white wine, beautiful mouthfeel.  It would be excellent with spicy food, but it made me happy with my fresh cracked crab and drawn butter.  Add a nice fire in the fireplace and a blue Doberman finally sleeping peacefully on the couch and life is good.

‘Cause falling in love is a pilgrim’s sport

I have some wine reviews, but it was a long weekend so it’s going to take a few days to get them reconstructed written.  I made the very critical mistake of giving the dogs fresh bones on Thursday.  I am still paying for that this morning.  Rita had a little issue Friday morning, the SpotBot took care of that.  Bubba has been having issues ever since.  Including this morning.  I knew I didn’t want to carpet this place.  I really don’t want to be changing it up this quickly, but sometimes carpet just sucks.  Or carpet combined with a sick dog.  He’s been on white rice for a day and a half now (as soon as I realized he wasn’t going to get past this on his own) and he is slowly getting better.  That dog has the touchiest tummy I’ve ever had to deal with in a dog.

So today I have the Wine Dog’s Rules for Marketing.  Read it, know it, live it.

Halloween is on October 31st.  You may start advertising and marketing for Halloween no earlier than my birthday, September 26.  Market your little hearts out after then.  Upon the completion of Halloween you may put out your turkeys, pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce.  Stack it high and sell it pilgrim, but not until the werewolves and vampires have been put away.  On the day after Thanksgiving AND NOT A GODDAMN MINUTE BEFORE you may begin your Christmas marketing.  Period.  You know I don’t even like that you assholes market Christmas, but I’ll secede Christmas marketing is a necessary evil to the retail industry.  Have your friggin’ Santa arrive before Thanksgiving and I may not be able to curb the urge the cap the fat bastard.

grinch

And you reason for the season wankers are next.  That is all.

L’étendard sanglant est levé !

Today is Beaujolais Day. Tis the 3rd Thursday of November.

japan

Now long before the Japanese started bathing in the stuff I found my way to Nice, France. OK, I find the Japanese ridiculous. But I digress. Nice was one of the few places that we actually stopped for a while. We got in there very late one January evening. It was 1979. We’d heard previously of the tradition of the Beaujolais Nouveau and even had some, but my real memory is of Nice and the Beaujolais Nouveau. We arrived late and Madame Sophie ran the pension. She was part of an old Polish aristocracy that had run out of money. The French government had taken over half of the, well, essentially it was a palace, and Madame Sophie ran a pension in the other half. Our train had been delayed and it was very late and we were tired. She waited as we had reservations. She gave us our room and we crashed out. I remember reading an article in Rolling Stone that night about a serial killer that was terrorizing Florida by the name of Ted Bundy. The next morning Madame Sophie got our butts out of bed at the crack of dawn and made us go to the beach. I shit you not. What’s amazing about this is that it was the only sunny day in the two weeks we spent in Nice. Thanks Madame Sophie. Actually that’s not all that I thank Madame Sophie for. She taught me to “make zee om-let d’ way d’ French do”. She sent us to stores that had gone out of business 20 years previously to get ingredients in a language we didn’t understand, but it was quite the adventure. And I make a damned fine omelet. Thanks Madame Sophie.

Why do I remember France so fondly? Besides being young and impressionable, it could be my next home. Seriously. You can’t expect me to stay here if this happens.

beckpalin

OK, I really didn’t add the last line. And really, stuff like this makes me feel sorry for the RINOs. Y’all must be wanted to, well, move to France. I mean I love those French Fries and that French Toast. I never got behind that Freedom Fries thing. I mean really. Seriously. She gets the nomination with that asshat or any combination of the two and I’m friggin’ out of here. I’m par lay vous-ing and on the next Air France out of here. But I digress.

Back to the Beaujolais Nouveau. So far I’m only into one of them and I’ve had too much of it to open the second one. Yeah, generally these are really acidic and tannic and can sometimes hurt your tongue. Not the George Duboeuf Villages. It’s got some character, some nuance to the tannins and a little bit of Dr. Pepper on the back palate. I had it with broiled salmon with lemon and cracked pepper and it was very nice. I’ll get to the rest of them Saturday night but for now, I’ve got to give the George Dubouef Villages a big thumbs up. So in honor of all things French I wish you all a Happy Beaujolais Day!

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That is pouring like an avalanche, coming down the mountain

Love the inbox.  OTG send me this link.  I promise you, underwriting at title companies have come to a stand still while title officers argue the esoteric nuances of this decision.  Sadly, they’re the only ones that care.

The structures were built landward of the mean-high-water line (that is, were built lawfully, and on the homeowners’ own land), but because of continuing erosion the structures in part came to lie waterward of the “theoretical” mean-high-water line—waterward, that is, as that line would have existed had there not been those structures.

This is why I find that interesting.  See where the tide is marked on that map?  Does that decision mean the Feds own the Embarcadero Center?  And 101 California and everything on California street all the way to just past Sansome.  Surf’s up Bra.

embarcadero

Doesn’t seem to be a particularly well thought out decision, especially from a federal court. The ensuing gnashing of teeth should be interesting.  Talk amongst yourselves.

But first, a quick moment of lunacy.

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Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries

11-16fight

Now I’m starting to look like this commercial. Actually, it’s kind of funny how everyone who was alive back then remembers these commercials. I suppose they could be filed away under “Shit you’d never get away with today”.

The bank sent me out to a property yesterday to see if the people had any interest at all in relocation assistance. I’d been going to this house for close to three months. I knew someone was living there, but had no idea who since they were never there when I was there. Yesterday as I rolled up the teenaged daughter opened the door to come outside. I went up to talk to her but without thinking I removed my sunglasses. Generally I do that so I don’t appear like the FBI or something since I wear mirrored aviators. After I did it I thought “fail”. I will say that kid looked right into my eyes. I resisted the temptation to say “You should see the other guy”.

11-16-blackeye

Hopefully it’ll be gone in the next three or four days. It’s definitely draining down now.

Roessler has a La Brisa Pinot Noir. I probably paid around $25 for it. For the money there is no comparison. This earthy, cherry laden glass of beautiful balance will not let you down. Period. Layers of damp earth, dark cherries, bright spice, cedar and smokiness make this wine ridiculous at that price. I wouldn’t call it velvety but it wasn’t too tight on the finish either. By far one of the most interesting wines I’ve opened in a while and I’m really sad that it’s gone already. I grabbed a Pinot because I was making broiled salmon with a lemon honey sauce. Essentially I took 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1/4 cup of lemon some cayenne and some garlic, added a little cornstarch and reduced it. At the end I added a little honey and spooned a little bit over the salmon. The salmon was broiled with simply salt and pepper on it. Even though it was wild salmon it couldn’t stand up to this wine. I should have done a jerk rub or a cajun spice rub and grilled it. The wine was that powerful. I thought this one could hold it’s own with my Holy Grail of Pinots, a Merry Edwards.

Roessler is doing some pretty interesting things with their Pinot Noir. The La Brisa retails around $30 a bottle, I’m pretty sure I paid around $25 for it at Pleasant Hill Wine Merchants. This one would stand up nicely to Thanksgiving dinner. Personally, I want a wine that will stand up to all of that food and this one will do it.

Brad Pitt’s brother and a man on the run

11-14-black-eye

It’s kind of funny about black eyes. No one will say anything about it. Except your friends. Everyone else acts like it’s not there. I can imagine it goes from “You must be an ass to get into a fight at your age” to “Oh you poor thing, who is beating up on you?” I ran into a friend last night. First words out of her mouth were “What happened to you?” Rita. It’s getting pretty colorful. I’m just amazed that four days later the actual point of impact still hurts as bad as it does.

So if you look like you’ve gone a few rounds with Rocky Balboa, there’s really nothing left to do but to go out and drink a bunch of wine. And drink wine I did. My pals up at Pleasant Hill Wine Merchants had the monthly pick up party on Thursday. They had 25 wines open. Yesterday they had Nickel and Nickel in. They brought 16 of their wines, two Far Niente and the Dolce, for a total of 19 wines. Tasting notes from 44 wines would make all of your heads blow up and it would blow up my head too, so I’m going to list what was open, and comment on the ones that jumped out at me. First, Thursday night’s list:

  • R&B Sauvignon Blanc
  • Denzante Pinot Grigio
  • Folie a Deux Chardonnay
  • Mont-Ferrant Gran Cuvee Cava 2005
  • R&B Merlot
  • Folie a Deux Zinfancel
  • Santa Julia Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Graham Beck Chiraz
  • Stellenzhat Shiraz
  • Andrew Lane Merlot
  • Paco a Paco Chardonnay
  • Trinitas Sauvignon Blanc
  • Trinitas Pino Blanc
  • Trinitas Roseary
  • Hatcher Grenache
  • Krohan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Joel Gott Zinfandel
  • Hatcher 2006 Estate Zinfandel
  • Madeline Cabernet Franc
  • Trinitase Carneros Chardonnay
  • Roessler Borsseau Chardonnay 2006
  • Roessler 06 Savoy Pinot Noir
  • R&B Zydeco Napa Valley Bingham Ranch Zinfandel
  • Trinitas Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Liparitia Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Wow! I made it through the list. I used to go to Folie a Deux all of the time. They went bankrupt several years back and Trinchero bought them. When they went bankrupt they were selling their second label Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite a Deux for $4 a bottle. I got a case of it. It was one of the best wine deals I’ve made. The other was the case of Seven Hills Syrah I got for $7 a bottle. Anyway, they were bought in bankruptcy by Trinchero and the next few years the wine tasted like ass and I moved on. Recently I’d been hearing some of the wineauxs talking favorably about Folie a Deux. So I was looking forward to their Chardonnay. PHWM had it regularly $17.99, $11.99 for club members. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I wouldn’t call it a high end Chardonnay but I would call it a servicable Chardonnay. Very nice minerality, not very citrusy, a little banana, certainly some creaminess. I don’t love it at $18 per bottle but at $12, I’d grab it off the shelf pretty regularly.

Speaking of Chardonnay, the Paco a Paco was a good one. They have it for $23 a bottle, $18.99 for club members. I don’t even know if that’s spelled correctly. Or where it’s from. I didn’t bring it home but could have. It was well balanced, had some nice minerality to it, a little bit of citrus, maybe even pineapple and finished nicely. Not that buttery oaky thing that we see so much of, but a nice well made Chardonnay. Now, there’s nothing wrong with buttery oaky, because best of show on the Chardonnays was Trinitas Carneros Chardonnay, especially if you like a big buttery Chardonnay. This was it. It was a creamy, toasty, glass of goodness for all of you Rombauer fans out there. Full of vanilla and a bit of pears and lemon. 100% malolactic fermentation gives it that buttery, creamy Rombauer-esque mouthfeel. Really a well made ML Chard. It definitely had a WOW factor.  The last Chardonnay of note was the Roessler Borsseau 2006. It had nice structure, well balanced fruit, both tropical and citrus with nice minerality too. The Trinitas was so “in your face” that the Roessler was an interesting wine to follow it with. The Trinitas didn’t really need food, but the Roessler just called for a nice snack to go with it. A very food friendly wine. I doubt that pairing the Trinitas with food would be very easy or nearly as interesting as the Roessler.

I brought home a bottle of the Hatcher Grenache. It’s a bright wine with fresh raspberries and cherries. Some spice on the back palate made it a really interesting wine and one I had to bring home to play with. They’re growing these grapes up in Calaveras County and they’re coming out nicely. BTW, your website sucks boys. Hire a designer. Thanks.

I did not bring home the Joel Gott Zinfandel or the Santa Julia Cab. Both were thin and undeveloped wines that just weren’t very interesting in the glass. Both should have been but weren’t.  Their price points were too high to be that boring.  Just nothing.

I did bring home the 2006 Khroma Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Look at the pretty packaging.

khroma

It’s full of dark fruit, vanilla and spice. Retail $24.99, club price $16.99. By far a great deal for the price. It’s not going to stand up to your holiday prime rib dinner, but it’s going to do great with a tri-tip on a Saturday afternoon. Their website gleefully announces that this wine is being served in the luxury boxes at Fenway and that’s a good analogy for the wine. Also from their website (y’all do need to hire the web designers when Hatcher is done with them):

We crush.
We ferment.
We dance around the tanks to scare away any bad juju — and this is what we end up with!

I love that!  It’s working for you.  Keep up the good work!

Chris always has some tasty delights he keeps up at the counter.  Thursday he had some Nickel and Nickel as a tease for the Friday night event, but he also had a Liparita Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon.  Wow.  Just WOW.  OK, if you had time to make a wine like this, you had time to hire a web designer, although I love the label.  The splash page is the label.  Liparita is actually one of the Ghost wineries, pretty cool eh?  It’s an amazing wine full of plums and black currents, chocolate and mocha on the back palate with pepper throughout.  It’s got a smoky, leathery tobacco quality to it that you don’t notice until it’s left your mouth.  Really full of fruit, well balanced and amazing.  It will lay down for years before it starts losing it’s character.  Absolutely best of show for the evening.

Tired of reading about wine yet?  No?  Good because there’s lots more.

Nickel and Nickel was a Gil Nickel project.  He was one of the partners of Far Niente.  I remember reading about it when they first started with it.  It’s one of those places that requires an appointment and that requires more planning than I can handle on a weekend, so I’ve never been there.  We tried a couple of times but didn’t have appointments and were sent away.  So I would be an idiot for not showing up last night for a tasting of 20 of their wines.  In no particular order:

  • Medina Chardonnay
  • Truchard Chardonnay
  • Far Niente Chardonnay
  • Harris Merlot
  • Suscol Ranch Merlot
  • Bonfire Zinfandel
  • Darien Syrah
  • Dolce

And the following are all Cabernet Sauvignon

  • John C. Sullenger
  • Tench
  • Rock Cairn
  • Branding Iron
  • Kelham
  • Copper Streak
  • Dragonfly
  • Vogt
  • CC Ranch
  • State Lane
  • and the Far Niente Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

There are only a few really great white dessert wines out there.  Dolce is one of them.  They share the field with, in my mind the Edelwein and Joy.  I would put the Edelwein in first position, Dolce in second and Joy bringing up the rear.  The Dolce was well balanced full of honey, melon and apricot. Really an amazing late harvest wine.  Basically you have to trade in your first born for a bottle of this stuff, but you never liked that kid very much anyway.

The trouble with a single vineyard project like Nickel and Nickel is that sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not as good.  For the price some of these were just straight up over priced.  Of the Chardonnays I liked the Far Niente the best, but it comes from a couple of vineyards.  The Medina had nice minerality, that obviously I like in a Chardonnay.  This one has some melon in it, it hints of sweetness without being sweet and in finishes nice and crisp.  I don’t know that I like it’s $50 price point, but if someone put it in my glass I would certainly tell them to Please.  Don’t.  Stop.

The Far Niente was the superior Chardonnay.  No malolactic fermentation, 100% Chardonnay.  Still it had a slight creaminess to it and some toastiness.  The fruit was well developed and beautifully balanced.  A little spice on the end.  This was a food friendly wine just waiting for a great meal to pair up with.  It can hold it’s own.

The Cabs that stuck out were the Dragonfly, Kelham, Sullenger, State Lane and the Far Niente again.  Once again the Far Niente was not a single vineyard project and it showed in the glass.  Ripe elegant dark fruit on the fore palate followed by chocolate and maybe toasted marshmallows on the back palate.  Excellent mouthfeel.  It had a nice lingering finish.  It would be excellent for dinner tonight or laying down in a cellar for 10 years.  Really an amazing offering.

Obviously I like Cabs sourced from Oakville.  The John C. Sullenger was no exception.  Dark cherries, amazing viscosity made for a velvety mouthfeel.  Spice on the finish.  The Kelham Vineyard Cab also had very dark berries and almost a little dust in it.  Nice spice on the back palate and once again excellent mouthfeel. The State Lane was the best of the single vineyards in my mind.  Dark berries, chocolate, velvety mouthfeel, very well balanced, long finish with a little hint of tobacco after it left your mouth.  It’s hard to go back for seconds when there are 19 wines to taste, but I went back to this one.  The State Lane Ranch is in Yountville.  Damn close to Oakville.  Just sayin’.

Did y’all really read all the way down to here?  Gosh, thanks.

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But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered

It really pisses me off all the people who pay lip service to Veteran’s day but then vote against real veteran’s interests.  You know, the clowns that wrap themselves in the flag and then won’t acknowledge that the wars that they were so gunho to have some one else fight actually jack these young kids up, sometimes for life.  People who never did a day of service advocating battles for others to fight.  Like say, Dick Cheney, who won’t shut the hell up.  Then won’t pay for the services these young men and women need.  Veterans should be honored with the best care available upon their return.  This country has been failing them consistently.  They deserve better.  We should honor them all by our actions.  I flew a flag yesterday for the first time.  Granted, it was partly because I didn’t own one until a friend gave me one last month.  But I flew it because liberals are Americans too, and we respect our troops too.

Now a great little story that’s good to remember and a link.

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This was over on Mental Floss yesterday.  Videos of guys coming home, but with more of a PBE twist.  Listen the the wives in the background, they’re almost as good as the guys in the videos.