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Untangled Vine

An attempt to sort through all things wine. Specifically of, and about, but not limited to: Food and Wine in Toledo, Ohio. Plus the day to day musings of a Wine Distributor...
 

"A Good Year" Comments

Friday, December 30, 2005




Ever since I decided to immerse myself in the world of wine, my already lackadaisacal reading habits took a serious hit. The quadrant of my brain ordinarily set aside for literacy for leisure has been overwhelmed by Rioja Vintage reports, and keeping track of how Constellation brands plans to further gentrify all that is good in the world of wine. I think the last book I read was "The DaVinci Code" at seemingly everyone's insistance. Upon finishing, it was deemed an utter waste of my time and the most overrated piece of medium I ever devoted any amount of time to. That said, I have been itching to get back into reading for enjoyments sake, and what did the Chrismukkah Fairy deliver to me this year? That's right, a fictional wine book: Peter Mayle's "A Good Year".

Now, I'd heard of this book, but I never seem to remember to write down what is on my reading list, but my wife Heather, has proven useful yet again, and now it is the function of some sort of dictation machine. I apparently expressed my intrest in this thome out loud, although, I don't recall actually uddering the words. Somehow, she knew, and I spent a very lazy Xmas day devouring this book.

This is a thouroghly enjoyable book that doesn't worry about getting too geeky in it's wine references, but it paints a warm and romantic version of what life as a Provencal Vintner must surely be like. It always keeps it's sense of humor, and with a few fun twists and turns, it is enjoyable enough for the layperson, but perhaps a little more interesting for the oenophiles. This is no "Catcher in the Rye" but it is serviceable escapism, and that is really why we read these things anyways. Certainly recommendable reading...
More exciting is the fact that I've dusted off my old brain, and now plan to get back into the reading swing of things. Next up, the book of "Sideways" by Rex Pickett.

Rare gems from a personal favorite-mobile blogging

Thursday, December 22, 2005




I have a long history with Jaffurs Winery- , dating back to the 1996 vintage. For those of you unfamiliar, Craig Jaffurs & Dave Yates produce some of the best examples of Rhone Varietals I've ever seen in this country. They produce wines that have structure balance and terroir. Sadly, the ratings haven't shined on these wines nearly brightly enough. I have either bought or sold Jaffurs for a large chunk of my professional career. That said, I had a rare chance last night to imbibe some rarities from the bellows of the Jaffurs Cellar. I was visiting with my good friend Dave (the aforementioned Yates), and as our kids rode the merry go round, he asked where I was going for dinner that evening, I replied "Westside Cellars", he said, "Do you want some wine?". Duh! So Dave gave me 2 bottles, pictured here. So off we went for dinner with Mark & Sue Storer , winedude, and proprietor of markstorer.com. It was great to spend an all too brief evening with The Storers, and Mark has really been too kind in how he writes of me. As I explained to him last night, he has been the one person (along with my wife Heather, but she has to live with me) to support and encourage me to pursue wine writing. He had a great Steinbeck quote last night that I can't seem to summon...

But I digress- The Upslope Syrah, which is a blend of Thompson, Melville & Bien Nacido Syrah, only available at The Wine Cask and in NY State. And the Cane Felice Sangiovese form Paso Robles. The Sangio. was delicious for our first wine with beautiful and delicious sweet red fruit. Highly chuggable. The Upslope was a revelation. It is without a doubt, the most age-worthy rhone red I've had from the new world. This was actually reminiscent of an Hermitage with it's tight, but perfumed black fruit. Dinner was amazing as chef Kelly Briglio is a tremendous talent and displays a heavy hand with the Madeira marinated filet. Every year, Jaffurs blows me away, but they rarely surprise me. You can color me impressed and syrah-stained!

So in conclusion, I am thankful for Syrah, specifically those from Jaffurs, friends, particularly Mark & Sue, and great food, especially the kind you get at Westside Cellars

Regarding Violet Beauregarde

Thursday, December 08, 2005



After being inundated by ads for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, (by the way, my second all time least favorite Tim Burton film, and I am or was, a big fan of Burton. Even my 4 year old preferred Gene Wilder's version, which I can't stand either. Neither film did the book justice, but I digress...) I had a thought about the oft forgotten Violet Beauregarde in reqards to wine. In the scene where she tastes the magical gum, she tastes an array of different foods in succession. This is an excellent visualization for the reality of what the best wines will offer from a flavor perspective. It's not uncommon to stumble across fully realized flavors that go beyond hints,rather offer a detailed account of a food memory. Now, how to make a Meursault flavored gum?

Keepin' "the man" in check!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mark over at Uncorked at The Dayton Daily News has really touched on an interesting story about Trader Joes, and the evil monolith that is corporate wine programs. Ok, good and evil, who can tell, but the consumer would never deal with this experience from a local wine shop. The dirty little secret is that Trader JOes wine program isn't all that different that Big Lots. It's often liquidated wines that may be perfectly fine, or terribly flawed. Wineries know that if a wine is ruined, they can just slap an anonymous label on it and sell it for a depply discounted price at TJ's. Please check out the link above.
 
   





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