Thursday, April 30, 2009

Love in a Clear Bottle Heads the List...

Liquid love in a clear bottle was consumed a few days ago in the form of 2007 Aveleda Vinho Verde Grinalda Reserva, a seriously delicious wine for the heat that just recently broke. At a non-mind boggling 11.5% alc, I damn near killed this one off on my own. Just really refreshing Louiero, Trajadura and Alvarinho from a winery with a long history that is cheap and lovely, one of my favorite combinations. Perfection with tilapia simply prepared with a squeeze of lemon...

Ahh, now that the reds from Joseph Roty have hit, what more can I say about the 2006 Joseph Roty Bourgogne Cuvee de Pressonier, it has exceeded my expectations from tasting it at the cellars of Roty in January. The vines are located in Gevrey Chambertin; part of them village level and part Bourgogne. But this is about as tasty a bottle of value Gevrey (it really drinks like village) you'll see and its a perfect indicator of just how good the 2006 reds are. If you don't buy some 2006 Red Burgs, you may be kicking yourself down the road...same as those who poo-poo'd the 2001 vintage. I won't discuss the other reds from Roty, as I don't want anyone buying them. There ain't much left and I sleep better at night knowing that they are still here!

JCB the 4th

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Digression..

Just a quick post to say that I made my debut on guitar this past weekend. Despite performing on stage as a vocalist for 20 (that's right, I said 20 for those not familiar with "Rock-n-Roll Joe") years, I haven't felt nerves like this since I first became a man at the not so tender age of 16. Talk about performance anxiety!

The show went off without a hitch, or at least that is the report that I have been given. And while my performance at 16 was way, way shorter, this one was pretty gratifying. I took guitar lessons as a 12 year old for about a year. But when my teacher insisted on showing me scales rather than how to play "Strutter" from Kiss, my enthusiasm waned. Fast forward to this past January and I made myself three tiny resolutions for the new year: learn French, drink more Italian reds this year (check) and pick up the guitar. Since my 11 year old son, Isaiah, has been playing for a year and a half now, I have been inspired to do the same. Every time he'd came over, I'd pick up his guitar and noodle around. In February, I bought a Fender Telecaster (Burgundy colored of course) and started hacking away. And now "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" will always have a special place in my heart. Just like that first time...

JCB the 4th

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Viva Italia! - The "Grown Folks Zone"

Without question, the one place in the world of wine that use to mean nothing to me was the wines of Italy. I'll chalk it up to one part ignorance, and two parts immaturity. While I'm still pretty immature in some ways, (like my love for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on wheat bread) when it comes to Italian wines, I have come into the "grown folks zone". By that, I mean the period when you wise up, and learn that its not all about T & A. And that a little age isn't necessarily a bad thing. Kinda like the difference between Justin Timberlake "Sexy Back" and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". Need I say more?

Italian wines always struck me as hard and fruit-less when I was a littler in the wine world. These days, I drink them more than wines from any other country and that includes my beloved France or more specifically, Burgundy. The value can be staggering. I'm in love with little Dolcetto's with pizza, Barbera's with pork and Chianti Classico with Bolognese. And let's not forget the whites, like Verdicchio and Pigato, San Zuan and Vermentino, perfect for quaffing and superb with seafood. In the land of a thousand grapes, the list is endless.

Sometimes patience is required for the more noble wines like Barolo and Brunello to come into their own. But isn't that what being a "grown folk" is all about? Wisdom, patience, knowledge, understanding...

Dim the lights, and let's put on some Marvin, cook up some pasta and open a bottle of Bonarda from Oltrepo Pavese. Who says getting older isn't fun?

JCB the 4th

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sweatin' the Small Stuff

Happy Easter! My apologies for the long delay between posts. Life intervenes times a slight malaise equals no output. Which brings us to this holiday thought...

I try to make it a point of never forgetting about the inexpensive wine. If you are a 56 devotee,(which I hope you are if you're reading this) you know we call these Cellar Defenders. It describes the wine equivelent of a "defense" against constantly raiding ones cellar and consuming all the collectibles at breakneck speed. I am often guilty of not having Cellar Defenders handy, but sometimes it's a joy to be "forced" into opening something special at a not-so-special moment. It can make a night.

So as I enjoyed my Easter dinner at my fathers house, without wine, I returned to my Montclair lair and opened a bottle of 2005 Chateau Lauriol Cotes de Francs made by the Stephane Derononcourt and the Thienpont family of Vieux Chateau Certan and Le Pin fame. This wine is so delicious, that it re-affirms my faith in inexpensive wine. Not that my faith has ever waivered but everyone needs afirmation. God bless drinkable, juicy Bordeaux that is less than $20. So drinkable that it doesn't even require food right now. It's that lovable.

I went to dinner at Culinariane in Montclair on Thursday Night with one of our clients. I brought a 1996 Marquis d'Angerville Volnay Les Taillepieds 1er cru that was about as pure a wine as you'll ever encounter. I was in ecstasy. I'm getting NEARLY as much joy from this little Cotes de Francs tonight. The former wine is about $100 and the latter is $19.50. Value is alive and well people! Ya gotta just know where to look.

JCB the 4th